Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fragmentation and the Family - By Deana Chadwell

Time was when society was a fairly simple arrangement.  There were Noah and his wife and the three sons and their wives.  That mini-society obviously worked well, because in just a few hundred years, human beings found the time to build giant monuments.  Babel complicated things, but still, people split up and went their own ways and continued to populate the Earth.  But now there are close to 320 million of us in this country alone, the internet has us all sitting in each other's laps, and our ability to function intelligently and cohesively is getting lost in the shuffle.
And time was when most of us in this nation operated on similar religious and moral standards.  We believed in Truth.  We all wanted to survive, to thrive, to build a free nation.  Even with the awfulness of slavery and the question of how to handle the native tribes, the majority of us marched forward toward the shared goal of a free and noble nation.
We did that by starting with the family as the main organizing factor.  The family is one of the four divine institutions and has always been a mainstay in human society, so we knew how to do it: you have a father and a mother, and they produce children for whom they are responsible until those children marry and produce their own children and the original parents grow old and become the responsibility of the grown children.  It's a pretty slick system.
But that time is no more.  We've dismantled such a large percentage of our families through welfare, through redefining marriage, through relaxed mores about adultery, that the family is no longer the foundation of many of our communities.
Human beings seem programmed to work best in small groups; we self-divide into manageable clusters.  Either society is separated into families as per the divine institutions, or it's divided into groups of its own making: blacks vs. white, Jews vs. Gentiles, men vs. women, citizens vs. illegals, Muslims vs. everyone else, etc.  Creating ad hoc identities wreaks havoc on a society.  We can see this just looking around us.
Instead of a nation of cooperating adults working toward a common goal, we become a group of squabbling children fighting over the available toys.  When society divides into traditional families, children are raised to get along, to work together to accomplish common objectives, to find a way to fit in with other families.  When the groups are instead gathered by superficial commonalities that pit them against other groups, the result is a fragmenting of society – an us-against-them mentality that produces nothing but vitriol and complaint.  We are not Americans anymore, but conservatives or liberals, Christians or atheists, pro-Trumpers or anti-everything leftists.
Since groups organize merely by yelling the loudest or creating the most guilt, they multiply.  It won't be long before we'll have, in addition to gay pride parades, adulterers' pride parades, and then the shoplifters and the prostitutes will demand their due respect – oops, forgot Stormy Daniels, guess that's already happening.  Now even pedophiles are claiming what they think is their due.  There's nowhere to stop, no group too objectionable to support or too specialized to gain a hearing.
And since groups are self-forming and there are no guidelines for determining their shape and no list of qualifications for membership, a person can claim group affiliation regardless of reality.  Men can claim to be women; whites can claim to be American Indian or black (remember Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who claimed to be black?).
To further snarl things, many people find themselves in multiple special interest groups.  A person, we'll call her "Jane," can easily be black, gay, and female all at once.  What sociology professors call "intersectionality" happens, and poof! like rabbits, the number of special interest groups increases exponentially.  Now Jane belongs not only to her original three groups, but to the group that is both gay and black, the group that is both female and black, and the group that is lesbian.  Each group has its own set of issues and grievances and each group is competing with the other for attention and money.  Where does that leave Jane?  More discontented than ever, because she now has to face off against white lesbians, against Christian blacks, against white men more than black ones.  Can she be friends then with a white Baptist preacher?  Or with a Muslim?  No – her social life gets both complicated and limited.
This gets to the next point: issues and grievances.  Families don't have to gather around the drumbeat of shared miseries – they're already connected by blood.  But these synthetic groups need to have a common cause, so victimology is inevitable.  Groups tend to face off against one another, far more than families do, and this behavior increases when there are payoff funds to vie for and nothing helps more than a super-sad list of atrocities the group has suffered at the hands of what they imagine to be the rival group.  "He wouldn't bake my cake!"  "I make less money than he does!"  "My great grandmother had to sit in the back of the bus!"
Groups just as often organize themselves around an issue that doesn't necessarily directly affect their members.  Very few of the angry demonstrating college kids have any real iron in any of the fires they set.  They are aligned by ideology rather than by skin color, ethnicity, or sexuality.  They are motivated more by hubris than by righteous indignation.  They believe in socialism, and so they fight the capitalist.  They think the Earth is being destroyed, so they fight pipelines and plastic straws and beef.  They are lesbians in favor of abortion or men outraged over women's issues or whites drowning in assumed but unnecessary guilt.  Cross-reference this type of group with the racial-ethnic divides, and the issue of intersectionality becomes acute.
We see this all the time – feminists who are pro-Muslim immigration, or men who are anti-gun but also pro-Hollywood shoot-'em-ups, or pro-choice where abortion is the issue but anti-choice where religion is at stake.  It becomes impossible in a society like that to be a coherent thinker.  A groupist finds himself constantly having to swing several hula-hoops at once, each spinning at a different speed, and often going opposite directions.
We can no longer have intelligent conversations partly because we can no longer express a rational thought, but also because we are talking no longer as individuals, but as members of a soulless group – BLM, or Antifa, or LGBT, or La Raza, or NOW.  Thinking for ourselves is no longer an option, so adopting the latest talking points is all that is possible.  No problems get solved that way because groups don't think; individuals think, and because to focus on the problem, the supposed injustice, does not produce solutions.  Negativity never arrives at the positive.
Speaking of which, what do we do about it?  We've made a good start by electing Donald Trump – a man who strongly believes in family.  We've made other good starts by going back to teaching our own children, another reinforcement for the family.  Let's go forward and undo the welfare restrictions that remove the male from the household.  This policy has destroyed the black family.  Let every step we take going forward be a step to bolster the health of the family.  After all, the family was God's idea, and He generally knows what He's doing.
Deana Chadwell blogs at  She is also an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon.  She teaches writing and public speaking.