One of the first case studies into America was done by French Catholic and philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. Specifically, he analyzed the sociological attitudes and personalities of a broad sampling of Americans.
To the naked eye, it would seem that America has profoundly changed since the cusp of the Civil War. He, however, foresaw what Americans would become and their eventual destination.
Tocqueville, 186 years ago, highlighted America's major flaw — its reverence for equality. In his classic book Democracy In America, he calls it out directly, writing, "Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom."
Implementing this language of equality has been a consistent strategy to manipulate Americans into supporting policies that go against their core values. Abortion was manipulated to mean "equal rights" for women. Gay marriage was manipulated to promote "equal rights" for gays. Now today, legalizing the genital mutilation of children is considered a fight for so-called transgender equality.
The problem is, equality isn't an ultimate end. It's not an absolute good. It's a non-moral platitude that must be analyzed as either good or evil. If ignored, the consequences of equality at all costs will deny common sense and upend the social order. This is known as disordered equality.
The Founders, perhaps, didn't foresee how these platitudes were ripe for bastardization. Tocqueville did; he believed that given enough time, equality of opportunity would necessarily manifest itself as equality of outcome. It eventually did, spreading its error to the rest of Western civilization. Marxists and liberals alike have used equality to drive forward an agenda of abstracting/broadening the meaning of well-settled questions — questions the Church has already answered.
One of these, ironically, is the question of equality. Paragraph 1928 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly explains what well-ordered equality looks like. It says, "Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority."
Notice the words "nature" and "vocation" predicating social justice. In Catholicism, the platitudinous concept is beholden to natural law and Church Tradition. It doesn't transcend it. This is the big lie of progressivism. It asks the individual to go against nature, go against Tradition and move forward. This, unfortunately, is fallacious. It negates a core objection; just because one is moving forward doesn't mean one is going to a better destination (i.e., a runaway train heading over a cliff).
In a culture that measures status based on branding, as opposed to virtue or piety, the mirage of platitude-based morality is an easy sell. It's especially easy when people rely on advertising to convince them of what is worth pursuing or not. A catchy slogan becomes convincing far quicker than a complex morality based on 2,000 years of academic, theological and systematized Tradition.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. America has a problem, and it's woven into the fabric of its identity. Take Tocqueville's lead, and start talking about it.
To learn more, watch today's episode of The Download — Fake Equality.