Mahoney’s assessment of how the word “culture” has evolved to describe almost anything in human civilization is correct; I trace this evolution in By the Waters of Babylon. My solution to this evolved redefinition was to connect the current definition with the New Testament, and then to specify the term “high culture” for what “culture” used to designate.
Mahoney’s take is that we need to go back to the old definition. I don’t personally think that is possible (hence my solution in By the Waters of Babylon), but I share his concerns that in this redefinition, we have lost any sense of true “high” culture.
We need much greater clarity about the meaning of this sometimes slippery and amorphous word. We would be wise to stop using the word culture in ways that undermine respect for the authentic cultivation of the human soul and the human mind. The word must become something of an “absolute” again, not the plaything of sundry moral and cultural relativists.