Category Archives: Social Justice

Read With Us: “The Decline of the Natural Family” and the Fickle Nature of Social Justice

Note – This piece is meant to be read alongside Allan Carlson’s article on the decline of the natural family. We are using Carlson’s writing to make some quick conclusions about the unstable nature of social activism throughout American history.

Public opinion is a squirrely guide. With respect to the sentiments of Isaac Newton, “standing on the shoulders of giants” may help us to innovate and achieve, but it also helps us see the fickle and transitory nature of public consensus on ethical and moral issues. Great reversals within a few generations are not uncommon, and the memories of activism in the opposite direction are often either forgotten or glossed over with a brush of condescending words like “old-fashioned” or “stagnant.” Through the language of liberation, safety, and health, America has changed its mind on slavery, same-sex orientation, same-sex marriage, women in the workforce, women voting, and immigration, to name a few.

The question at hand is this: can public opinion be trusted for the long haul? For one case study, let’s look together at a piece by Allan Carlson, a historian and Catholic apologist who teaches at Cornell University. In it, he tracks the changes in the American concept of the family unit and its relation to economic and social shifts.

Finished? Let’s move forward together.

Continue reading

Facebook’s 56 Genders: Group Identity and Positioning in a Millennial America

by Ryan Mayo

Abstract: The millennial generation tends to see social realities primarily through the lens of group identity and inter-group relations, which often shapes the dialogue in unhelpful and distorted ways.  Facebook’s expansion of gender options in 2014 highlights the moral fuzziness at play in some Millennial perspectives regarding the current issues of inequality, identity, and marginalization.  

In 50 years, it may be difficult to sort out the legacy of the Millennial generation1 on the American cultural landscape2.  Millennials will certainly be commended for their collective bravery in social movements, as nearly every “marginalized” group is rapidly becoming “unmarginalized”.  Our great-grandchildren will read that homosexuality, for example, has gone from a psychiatric disorder to an acceptable – even championed – lifestyle in just two generations3.  Either by inheriting the social inertia of their parents or by developing their own activist muscles, Millennials are currently shaking the world.

Perhaps, though, in our haste to normalize each and every minority status with respect to race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, weight, ability, and intelligence, the courageous Millennials are displaying laziness in asking fundamental questions.  Is progress always progress if we’re unsure of the goal?  Is it a moral good that a human being can publicly identify in a category that didn’t exist 20 years ago?  Who are the gatekeepers for legitimizing an orientation or an experience?

Continue reading