Frank Wright’s ‘War on the family’ series continues today with his analysis of the battle waged against the notion of biological sex – separation of sex from procreation, the feminists’ de-feminisation of women and the neutering of procreation. You can read Part 1 of the series on the war of attrition waged socially, economically and politically so successfully over the last 40 years that today the married nuclear family is the exception not the rule here and Part 2 on the failure of both fatherless and dual-worker ‘families’ as workable economic or social models here. Part three on the sexualisation of manhood and womanhood is here.
ENLIGHTENMENT values which gave us the idea of individual liberty as equalling freedom from constraint have led, with the technological revolution, to an atomised and fragmented society prey to the perils of mass communication.
The digital age is not merely a lonely one, but one in which people are increasingly dependent on and ‘patterned’ by visual media. The life examples internalised are virtual, not real. The internet they inhabit is without structure from the point of view of sense. Minds, like overflowing dustbins, are filled with the scraps of their media-grazing habit, both saturated and soulless.
Family once was the ‘mass’ habit. The loss of the habit will lead to our extinction. It is, and still needs to be, the means of the transmission of healthy, sensible and nurturing norms. It is the basis for lifelong human flourishing. People wither outside it; the struggle they endure to defray the cost of its loss is evident in every sphere of their life skills, adaptability and social survival.
The benefit of strong social bonds is not fungible; it cannot be replaced with ‘likes’, Instagram images, with a new kitchen, a lifestyle change or some paid-for pampering. Breaking the social bonds of blood and kinship reciprocity is to shatter society. Enemies of the family from Marxists to Davos Man have always seen it as something that needed to be smashed or undermined in order to break people into compliance and dependency and leave them with nothing and no autonomy. The family as the main line of defence against this wholesale break-up of society, is for them, an existential threat.
The mass society they would have us inhabit is a borderless supermarket which renders everything a product, and through which all things tend to sameness. One architecture, one ideology, one set of correct opinions on every subject. The same films, television, memes and media tropes appear on the screens we all carry around. A massification which is far from healthy or beneficial.
Normlessness or anomie results, making the family merely a lifestyle choice (for those who can afford it). Yet the family remains the only anchor point in the turbulent marketplace of everything, where even identity is a product.
So does moral inversion, making virtues of the vices. It is the process by which the anchorless become full of nihilistic fervour for one passing ‘crisis’ after the next, from climate to Covid, a hook on which to hang the desperate need to believe in something when everything of genuine value has been ransacked and ruined. The sense of belonging this generates is fake; just as criminal gangs offer a substitute paternal family structure, ours is a culture of fakes.
Cities, whose metropolitan elites decide what we are to think and do with our lives, most closely resemble the internet on which our young people are increasingly socialised. Both are place of limitless momentary experience, of mutual strangeness. Both are ‘refuges’ for young people ill at ease with themselves, whose replacement of family support with like-seeking online status has left them with a permanent sense of anxiety.
Committed family relationships replaced with transient interactions and ‘instant’ pleasure-seeking strangers dehumanises. Every damaging social trend from crime to weird sexual fetishes, pornography and addictive behaviour is a result of the starvation of the human spirit and the over-consumption of the vices which are valorised in its place. This atomisation of society is accelerating the degradation of public life, where explicit obscenity and exploitation normalise paedophilia in the term ‘minor attracted person’, the most recent and most shocking example.
Obsessions and sensations are tossed like scraps of meaning to the ravenous, creating and cementing division, like hatred and demonisation of the unvaccinated, all on the basis of opinion manufactured on a massive scale for thoughtless consumption. Lacking any wider moral framework, and with no sensible family structure to correct or challenge these views, irrationalities dominate thinking, thus replacing real virtues. Such ‘beliefs’ are tailored to confer some sense of unearned superiority on the believer, a running poison which is spreading through vanity.
The war on the family is a war on sanity. There is no better foundation for the formation of healthy, mentally stable human beings. Its replacement and removal deliver us into the many evils of obsession, self-absorption and mania which flatter us in the backlit isolation of our beloved screens.
In the final part I aim to show the social forces which undermine the family amount to a planned posthuman future.