Why the Culture War Must END — Part 5: Ending the Culture War

Robert B. Marks
5 min readDec 12, 2023

NOTE: This was originally intended to be a single article. However, as the word count grew ever higher, it became clear that it would need to be divided up into bite-sized chunks. So, there are five parts, and you can read the others here:

Part 1: The Death of Nuance

Part 2: Psychological Harm

Part 3: The Normalization of Bullying and Abuse

Part 4: Exposing Western Culture to its Enemies

It would be nice to be able to say that there is a simple and easy solution to the problem of bringing the culture war to an end — but there isn’t. Both sides think they are right, both sides think they are the underdog fighting for a higher purpose. Both sides interpret any setback for the other as a victory for theirs, regardless of why it happened.

But, while it is a long road, it is possible. It just needs to be approached in several different ways.

First: Disengage and Preserve Your Mental Health

As strange as it sounds, the first step anybody should take in ending the culture war is probably to disengage from it entirely. Don’t let it live rent-free in your head. As documented above, engagement in the culture war trains one’s mind into the very same mental harmful habits as those suffering from anxiety disorders, PTSD, and Depression. They also destroy one’s sense of perspective. And this means that the most important thing anybody can do about dealing with it is to get away and recentre themselves.

So, disengage from the culture war. Remove the culture warriors from your Youtube feed. Spend the time that you would watching videos or reading articles about it reading books about subjects that interest you, or taking up new hobbies. Catch up on some shows you like, or rewatch some old favourites. Use your leisure time doing what gives you joy.

When it comes to what new media you decide to consume, don’t worry about whether it is diverse or “woke” — watch it or pass it by based on whether the concept, story, and/or characters interest you. Then, decide for yourself if you liked it or not, if it is good or bad. And whatever you do, don’t hate watch — life is too short to spend your leisure time consuming something that you know will make you upset or unhappy.

And then, once you’ve gotten away from the culture war and restored your perspective — and only if you feel up to it — re-engage with the culture war and try to help end it.

Peace Protests and Activism

While both sides of the culture war are vocal, they are also minorities — they do not represent most of the population. And this means that it is time for the rest of us — all of us who are sick and tired of the culture war and its ongoing toxicity — to find our voice and follow the example of the peace protestors against Vietnam of the 1960s.

What this means is engaging with culture warriors in their comments in a manner that protests the culture war as a whole. Resist the urge to just rebut somebody’s points — that makes it too easy for people to dismiss you as just being a culture warrior on the other side. If you are going to rebut an argument, make sure you do it on both sides in the same post.

That said, simple is probably best — a message consisting of “End the culture war,” or “End the toxic culture war,” or “End culture war toxicity” is unmistakable. One can even just reply with a hashtag: #endtheculturewar.

Related to this is putting pressure on social media websites to enforce their own rules. Most, if not all, social media websites have rules against bullying and harassment. If you see somebody is using the culture war as an excuse to bully others, report them. If a moderator is engaging in misconduct, report them. If nothing is done, contact the administrators of the website and demand to know why not.

Very important, however, is to only take this step when somebody is engaged in an actual violation of the bullying and harassment rules. Cancel culture weaponizes this sort of reporting to de-platform those who are saying things they dislike — never join them in that. Nobody is required to like everything they read or hear, nobody has a right to not be offended. Save reporting for actual rules violations — if somebody says something you find disagreeable and you want to do something about it, either write a rebuttal or just add them to your ignore list and move on with your life.

Legal Reform

One of the biggest enablers of cancel culture — as well as the culture war — is the degree to which defamation law in both the United States and the United Kingdom are in dire need of reform.

It is very easy to call somebody out as a racist when you don’t have to worry about consequences. However, the possibility of being dragged in front of a judge to explain yourself has a chilling effect on defamatory discourse. The problem is that while it is relatively easy to sue somebody who has defamed you in Canada (something that served me well when I was libelled by a media company), it is much harder to sue somebody in the United States or the UK. When a culture warrior or participating magazine shouts down criticism by calling somebody a racist or transphobe, many people are left without any recourse — and this, in turn, means that there is no motivation to stop.

But, laws can be reformed. If you are in the United States or United Kingdom, contact your elected representative and demand that the defamation laws be changed to make it easier for individuals to seek justice when they have been slandered or libelled.

Remember the Big Picture

The culture war is complex, with many moving parts. It is not possible to try to influence it all, and there’s no point in trying. Just worry about whatever little bit you can influence, and don’t endanger your mental health to do it — there is nothing wrong with disengaging or deciding to stay away.

Some of the culture war is self-correcting. As I mentioned, most people are not members of the far left or far right, and most will vote with their wallets when it comes to the things they like or dislike. Media catering to the extremes tend to fail over time on word of mouth alone.

Ending the culture war will happen by inches. Everybody who steps up and protests in just one comment helps push it closer to the end. Everybody who contacts their member of Parliament or Congress to demand defamation law reform does the same. And even disengagement from the war helps to end it by reducing the view count of videos. And that may be all it takes in the end.

#endtheculturewar

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Robert B. Marks

Robert B. Marks is a writer, editor, and researcher. His pop culture work has appeared in places like Comics Games Magazine.