you can’t be a pacifist if you haven’t got a war to fight
I share his assessment of where the culture wars lead and the need to abandon them, but I object to labeling one opposed to the culture wars as a pacifist. The description gives too much legitimacy to the idea of the culture wars. The culture wars are founded on a framework for interpreting others of differing culture positions, a framework that reduces others to enemies and is (dis)ordered toward their defeat. That defeat never comes with any finality. Not in a pluralistic and democratic society.
The label “culture war pacifist” defines an opponent of the culture wars within the culture war framework, but that framework itself has to be forsaken in order to end the culture wars.
I don’t know. It seems to me that declaring oneself a pacifist in any given conflict doesn’t so much legitimize the conflict as simply admit that yes, indeed, we are embroiled within [insert war here] but I personally will not take part.
Does this define my stance “within the culture war framework”? Essentially it does. However that is irrelevant unless we want to go purely rhetorical. The framework of the culture war is the one we’ve got to work with, and standing opposed to it – much like standing opposed to the Iraq war – can only be done in light of its existence. Thus I am a pacifist in the very real military wars going on today as well as in the culture war, and sadly the only way I can meaningfully express – or perhaps locate – my position is in terms of my opposition to those wars, rather than in some new framework that renders them obsolete. For now. In the future, Kyle is right to hope that we can do away with these notions altogether.