Logical, but Mad

A note from Robert Royal: As Professor Carlin argues convincingly today, we’re living in a time when our cultural elites make plausible, logical arguments for things that are absolutely crazy. And it’s not easy to argue them out of assumptions that have virtually become religious dogmas for them. But we have to keep up the effort both for our sake – and for theirs. And one way we do so on this site is by examining both the madness we see all around us and the mistaken views of the human person and the world on which it rests – and that have enabled them to become so prominent. Perseverance in the face of much that’s disturbing has to become an even more prominent virtue for us now. At The Catholic Thing, we’re prepared to persevere, every day and in every way needed to fight these battles. If you agree that our situation is dire, are you prepared to help? It’s easy enough. Click the button. Follow the simple steps. Don’t let madness overrun our Church and world.


You can draw a straight line from the beginning of the sexual revolution to that weird phenomenon, transgenderism, and to that even weirder subsection of transgenderism, “non-binary”-ism.  The later developments in this insane course followed from the earlier with an inevitability resembling the system of Euclidean geometry.

The sexual revolution (at least in its American edition) commenced in the early 1960s.  At first, it seemed a naughty but relatively harmless thing.  It was college boys and girls choosing to go to bed with one another while at the same time demanding that their elders, i.e., parents and college authorities, either approve or at least tolerate this breach of the rules of conventional (and Christian) morality.

“What harm does it do society,” these boys and girls asked, “if on a consensual basis, we share intimate sexual affection with one another?  Keep in mind that we love one another, and we always use contraception.”

Of course “love” soon became a euphemism for a variety of sexual intimacy that was more lustful than loving; and the revolution quickly spread off-campus; and not everybody took the trouble to use contraception; and before long America saw an epidemic of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births.  Not many years passed before unmarried parenthood and fatherless children became common features of the American scene.

Quite logically, this led to a new “appreciation” of the merits of abortion.  Hitherto abortion had usually been seen as an unmitigated evil, a kind of homicide.  Now it came to be seen as a necessary evil.  After all, how could Americans have a moral regime of sexual freedom if they didn’t have abortion as a back-up when mistakes were made?

Soon the Supreme Court got into the action by “finding” a right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution – thereby proving, despite the fact that the Court was made up of “nine old men,” that it could be as “with it” as any college sophomore.

The Court was a kind of Christopher Columbus, finding a new legal/moral continent.  The Court was even greater than Columbus.  The Italian navigator did no more than discover a continent that pre-existed his discovery, while the Court (or at least 7 of its 9 members) simultaneously found – and created – a new legal/moral continent: a more God-like than Columbus-like achievement.

The principle of sexual freedom having been secured, it made no sense that married men and women should be bound by their marriage vows.  And so in one state after another the old divorce laws were succeeded by laws permitting “no-fault” divorce.  By the mid-1970s, getting divorced in the United States was, legally speaking, if not always psychologically speaking, as easy as falling off a log.

Likewise, it made no sense, sexual freedom for heterosexuals having been achieved, that homosexuals should be denied a similar freedom.  And so the gay rights movement was born, demanding not just freedom for gays and lesbians, but respect as well, a place of public honor in society.


This led – how could it not have led? – to a demand for same-sex “marriage,” or “marriage equality” as progressives agreed to call it.  In 2015, the Supreme Court, this time “with it” by a 5-4 margin, made another one of its great creation/discoveries: it “found” that the U.S. Constitution includes a right to same-sex “marriage.”  This was a right that the makers of that earth-shaking document had apparently written into it in invisible ink, which explains everybody’s inability to see the right prior to progressives examining it in the ultraviolet light of post-Christian wisdom.

At that point some of us, lagging seriously behind the times and clearly not on “the right side of history,” said to ourselves, “Well, all that is very bad, but at least now it’s finished.  Now we can return to normality.  After all, what more can they ask for?”

We underestimated our enemies.  Hardly had Barack Obama and Joe Biden finished jumping with joy at the great discovery of a Constitutional right to gay marriage than our progressive brothers and sisters announced the launching of another great crusade, the campaign to make the world safe for transgenderism.  The gay rights movement became the LGBT movement.

And why not?  If the gay rights movement had taught us that, when it comes to erotic love, we need pay no mind to nature’s apparent intention that erotic love is something to be enacted only between men and women, not between men and men or women and women, why should we pay any attention at all to the sexual equipment that nature (or God) has provided us with?

If my genital equipment has no legitimate vote in telling me whom I should love, why should it have a vote or a voice in telling me anything at all?   Why should my genital equipment bind me in any way regarding either sexual behavior or sexual identity?  Why should it tell me which rest room to use?  Why should it dictate which swim team or wrestling team, male or female, I should belong to?

Further, if (in a truly progressive society) a man can say, “I am a woman” and a woman can say “I am a man,” why shouldn’t somebody say, “I am non-binary, I am genderless, I am neither man nor a woman”?  The culturally dominant forces in America today are – with  a furious logic – piling absurdity on absurdity.

Who knows what comes next?  If you have a lively imagination, you may be able to predict the future that progressives have in mind for us.  Don’t dwell on this, however.  It may give you bad dreams.

On the bright side, one of our fellow Catholics, Joe Biden, is president.

Oops!  I forgot.  Biden is the captain of the team promoting this insane agenda.

Don’t despair.  Our Catholic bishops, brave as Joan of Arc and standing like Horatio at the bridge, fearing nothing but the displeasure of God, will save us from this anti-Christian and anti-civilization madness. Won’t they?


*Image: Yard with Madmen by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, 1796 [Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX]

You may also enjoy:

Mary Eberstadt’s Five Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Part I


Five Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution: Part II

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America and, most recently, Three Sexual Revolutions: Catholic, Protestant, Atheist.