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Gender Ideology 5: Subversion of the social order

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jun 08, 2016

Having examined how gender ideology undermines human wholeness (or integrity), it is time to look outward to see its inescapable impact on society as a whole. The fundamental principle here is that a healthy social order must always be rooted in male-female complementarity. In the passionate individualism which has overtaken Western culture, we have lost sight of this important truth. We cannot see the forest for the trees.

The trees in this case are particular human persons. In our atomistic view of society, this particularity is all that we see; what we do not see is that an excessive emphasis on the individual destroys the very conditions necessary for persons to flourish. Without society as a whole, each person must be in the position of starting over again in every way. All chance at improvement is lost, beyond what a single person can accomplish unaided in his or her own lifetime. Thus there can be very little progress of any kind, including moral progress, without the benefit of a social order which, with all its interdependencies, embodies a culture. This culture, in turn, is extended through time by what we call tradition.

This is not just a matter of “human achievement”. The social order and the tradition which shapes its fundamental character over time are necessary even to individual happiness, for the human person is definitively social. Even at the purely natural level, the human person knows that he is made for love, which is the most fundamental of all social goods.

The Family

It does not take an advanced degree in hieroglyphics to realize that the natural personal structure for intimate human love is the same as the natural personal structure for human reproduction. As embodied beings, that structure is revealed to us first in the male-female complementarity of the sexual organs. Already this tells us that we are designed for a special sort of social union, a kind of completion in a greater wholeness. Arising from this organic, in-built differentiation, this male-female complementarity flowers in a variety of ways in each and every healthy person. It plays some role in every human interaction and achievement and, most directly of all, it establishes the marital structure—the very basis of the family, and of society itself.

Every examination that has ever been made, whether using common sense or scientific analysis, has concluded that the family, rooted in male-female complementarity, is by far the most successful vehicle for bringing new persons into the world, new persons who can grow up to be happy adults. At one level, this integral happiness is reflected in the term “well adjusted”. Gender ideology consistently pretends this is not the case, that a wide variety of social arrangements for dealing with children can be implemented with equal or better results. But every honest observer knows that the family is so superior in this respect that a social order without a strong family structure will inescapably suffer all kinds of spiritual, psychological, and physical dislocations. Where the family in general is very weak, a social order loses its ability to nurture and protect. Ceasing to be rooted in permanent bonds of human love, it is doomed.

Every child thrives best with a permanently committed mother and father. It is the irrevocable character of this commitment which enables the openness and trust that are actually necessary to know and respond properly to all the members of the family. Social destruction is first and foremost rooted in the fundamental betrayals of the unitive and procreative goods toward which marital commitment is ordered. The first signs of betrayal are the refusal of new life (as in contraception) and the refusal of constancy in love (as in divorce). It has proven to be a short historical step from these refusals to the substitutions of all kinds of ersatz semi-commitments based purely on mere individual satisfaction. This pattern of inorganic and artificial substitution has reached its supremely rationalized height in gender ideology.

The State

Without strong marriages between men and women—without, that is, committed mothers and fathers as the indispensable context for strong families—individual persons become disoriented, anxious, insecure, and obsessed with all kinds of surrogate needs. Personal happiness declines, and with it personal stability. Gradually, whole societies lose their ability to develop and grow in positive ways. The cohesiveness upon which human achievement depends is frittered away. Virtue, which ordinarily depends on such cohesiveness, declines rapidly. Everything begins to spiral out of control.

In the modern world, the normal responses to this process are education and bureaucracy. Western history over the past two or three hundred years is a history of reducing the formative power of families by increasing the formative power of ever more comprehensive schools, whether for commercial or political or more broadly utopian reasons. We assume first that education can take the place of familial nurture in forming good, well-adjusted persons. Then, as the ideal slips ever further from our grasp, we add continuous state regulation, not only of habits but of our very thoughts and feelings.

At first, perhaps, we did not realize how socially dangerous it is to dilute the natural unity, commitment and authority of families. While this is sometimes necessary in specific instances, where families have become dysfunctional (that is, where the familial values of unity, commitment and authority are abused), to deliberately undertake such a dilution on a broad social scale is folly. All efforts to “improve society” by such means are unworkable. This is the most important reason that (a) All societies with weakened families tend toward totalitarianism; and, (b) All deliberately totalitarian efforts begin by undermining the family. The history of the modern West amply demonstrates this thesis. We see the same pattern, perhaps more clearly than ever, in the results of gender ideology.

Ties that Bind

In any case, the modern West now boasts of an inorganic, fractured culture which we increasingly attempt to hold together by State regulation. One would think that we had seen enough of totalitarian experiments in recent history to know that this approach to civilization is self-defeating. All of society is naturally rooted in the family. When the nurturing and protective patterns of strong cohesive families no longer predominate, society weakens and splinters.

The connection among gender ideology, the decline of the family and the disintegration of the social order is just that simple. The results of gender ideology mirror in the social order its impact on the interior life of each person, the disintegration of the personality, the massive increase in dysfunctionality at every level of human action. It is ludicrous to expect anything else. Neither unbridled individualism nor the great power of the modern State can produce properly ordered persons capable of understanding and attaining happiness. The reason is that neither individualism nor totalitarianism can ever be what the family is—a school of love.

There is considerable truth in the cliché that “it takes a village”—that is, a cohesive social effort—to achieve many important goals. But without the family, there can be no villages. Collections of insecure individuals are not villages. State-imposed political districts are not villages. No: We must beware the selfish, the cynical and the utopian. Natural ties alone form the foundation of healthy societies.


Previous in series: Gender Ideology 4: The scourge of our inner life
Next in series: Gender Ideology 6: The common denominator of chastity

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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