Today, I'm starting work on a new series of essays called The Culture War Is Cancer. The series is subtitled: And it's eating away at the soul of America.
That may sound hyperbolic. But over the last year, as I’ve worked to understand the culture war, I’ve also watched its grip tighten around the throat of this country. I bet you’ve noticed it, too. From our divided Covid response, to the summer of racial strife, to an election that many still refuse to acknowledge. The temperature is rising, and fast.
I firmly believe this phenomenon is one of the greatest threats to the American experiment we’ve ever faced. Unlike the conflicts of decades and centuries past, this time there’s no external enemy. The call is coming from inside the house, and the enemy is us. Not just the red tribe or blue tribe, mind you, but all of us.
Unless we find a way to recognize this dynamic, and pull ourselves from our self-inflicted death spiral, the consequences are likely to be dire, both for our lives, and for future generations.
That’s why this series needs to exist. Because the stakes are genuinely existential, and because I know it’s possible for individuals like you and me to do something about it.
So what can you expect from the writing ahead?
Some of these essays will be large, and others tiny. Some will be intellectual, drawn from an array of historical, psychological, sociological, and economic perspectives. And some will be personal—as I detail my own messy relationship with culture war media.
The goal here is for readers to walk away with a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon, so they can navigate themselves out of it, then lead others to do the same.
We'll first define what the culture war is, so that we have a common understanding of what the hell is going on. We'll dig into how the culture war is infecting and corrupting the institutions we rely on for our safety and our continued progress—media, law, government, business, technology, and civil society as a whole.
We’ll look at how the culture war is toxifying our individual and collective psyche—bringing out our most tribal, violent instincts. And most importantly, we’ll look at how individuals can regain their agency, and respond in a responsible way.
My hope is that the writing here will help concerned Citizens see the culture war for what it is, a ravenous cancer eating away at the American body politic. And more than that, I hope to arm people with the courage and tools to opt out, and chart a healthier path for future generations.
These times may feel perilous—and they are. But trust me when I say there’s hope for us yet. All it takes is for more of us to opt out, and embrace the role of Citizen.