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Reinventing the Family Wheel



The great audacity of the western worldview is the idea that progress and independence are virtues to be cultivated at almost any cost. Each generation tends to regard “the world that is” as a trap from which to escape… into more progress, more independence.[1]  Many think they can fix the world, (In fact, I just listened to a graduation speech which made this very boast) and each generation seems to arm itself against the past with the firm conviction that they are the hope of this brighter future, so long as they can throw off the constraints of those fools who have gone before.[2] One of those constraints in our present social struggle is old fashioned notions of family. 

  1. Beat down the very idea of male headship in the home. (Some already have their dander up at the mere mention of the traditional family structure that sustained human society for millennia.)
  2. Cut human sexuality free from moral obligations to marriage.
  3. Promote a vision of human sexuality without consequence or restriction.  
  4. Undermine the institution of marriage by promoting divorce.
  5. Undermine the institution of marriage as an essential part of starting a family.
  6. Redefine the institution of marriage to include any combination of genders.
  7. Redefine family around the core relationship between mother and child, disenfranchising men as extraneous.  
  8. Promote the murder of children as a woman’s right… and if you balked, “You mean abortion? Those are fetuses not children,” then my point is well made.  
  9. Break down natural parental rights over their children.
  10. Cast children as belonging to society at large, forcing society’s agenda for them in discipline, education, religion, and health.
  11. Foment distrust between generations. Indeed, children should teach their parents.
  12. Make the government (and not the family) the primary safety net in society.
  13. Cripple the strong to sustain the weak.
  14. Cultivate selfishness as a virtue.
  15. Leave every individual standing alone in a fractured community of fractured families.
  16. Marginalize traditional family advocates. They are boring and exclusive.
  17. Centralize the marginalized members of society. They put the fun in dysfunctional after all.
  18. Redefine “family” as the product of chosen association rather than natural association.
  19. Declare the worst sin in society as making someone feel bad about how they live.
  20. Demand that all speech and action be “inclusive of all”… except the intolerant; it’s okay to exclude them.

I don’t want to whip up the choir with common rallying cries like, “The family is under attack, defend traditional family or we perish!” In fact, I don’t want to argue the legitimacy or illegitimacy of these 20 markers at all.

Instead, I’d like to consider the very concept of a society actively attempting to reinvent the family, or should I say, a society falling victim to those actively attempting to reinvent the family, to change its fundamental shape in the hopes of creating a better society. It is, in my mind, like trying to reinvent the wheel.

Most in our society have, in the ecstasy of the progress of our nation’s infrastructure, lost sight of a few fundamental truths. After all, “we don’t get our food from hardworking farmers, we get it from the grocery stores.” (Actual quote) 

  1. Life is hard.
  2. Survival is a battle.
  3. Community is essential.
  4. Family is the core of community.

In every society that has ever been in every place that society has ever been, the interaction of human nature with specific and ongoing threats to survival have shaped patterns of life… social patterns designed to win the battle for survival. One of the most basic elements in these patterns of life is family. Family traditions emerge in each community quite naturally, having an almost evolutionary strength to them… i.e. adopting patterns that don’t work leads to the weakening, or even destruction of, the society… survival of the fittest, so to speak.

This is not to suggest that all patterns that have allowed survival are equal; quality of life, fragility of survival, and the happiness of individuals within particular systems are not inconsequential, but it does highlight a problem with modern social engineering designs.

  • This desire to reinvent the family is driven by a craving for progress and independence that is fueled by secularism.
  • Secularism is relatively new.[3]
  • The patterns being promoted by secularism are untested by the unfolding of centuries.
  • These patterns have not emerged naturally, but are being advanced through media campaigns that conceal the consequences of particular actions.
  • These patterns are not sustained naturally, but are being sustained by government pressure and threat and at great economic cost to all.

I often wonder what the world will look like when those pushing the hardest for a reinvention of the family wheel get their way. My own sense of it is drawn from a few examples provided within Scripture, in say, Genesis 6:5 and 19:1ff, and from a handful of modern glimpses into the societies of those most dedicated to atheistic systems of rule (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc.)… but I wax dramatic.

My point is not to bash anyone who fails to find himself or herself, for one reason or another, nestled comfortably within a traditional American nuclear family, nor to argue the many complexities of the issues involved in my original list of battlegrounds, but rather, to draw your attention to the unchecked arrogance of thinking we can reinvent the family wheel without consequences, scorning all that has gone before us, and pressing on full steam ahead icebergs or no… “What could possibly go wrong?”


[1] This is certainly not universal, for it is also the nature of individuals to seek familiarity, to cultivate traditions, to replicate as best they can the comfort situations of their youth.

[2] Then they resent the next generation for thinking the same thing.

[3] This has not, however, prevented it from racking up quite a body count. The victims of atheistic systems that have emerged in the last 100 years are some 200 million. If we count abortions in those numbers these systems may boast nearly half a billion victims worldwide.

2 thoughts on “Reinventing the Family Wheel

  1. Tom says:

    Do you have any suggested readings on the subject matter? I found your points interesting and wouldn’t mind reading further. Thanks.

    1. My best recommendation is Thomas Sowell’s book A CONFLICT OF VISIONS where he attempts to untangle the foundational visions of man that stand behind almost all political theory. He uses extensive excerpts from the different perspectives to let each side tell their own story.

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