Institutions are easy to topple if you suck out the values.
Author’s Note: The idea for this post came out of a conversation I had with NovaSeeker. Links to the original comments are given.
Length: 750 words
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Institutions are Built on Values
The mission and point of an institution is to propagate and propel a set of values into the future.
The MAIN (if not the ENTIRE) task of an institution is to STAY THE SAME.
Every institution, from marriage, to the church, to the Boy Scouts, must keep this task in clear eyed focus in front of it at all times.
I’ve been arguing a part of this point for some time now, without much luck getting people to listen.
Liz brought up the point that many social programs and institutions that were designed to help people get more out of life (such as the boy scouts which was intended to help young men who lacked a paternal role model of any kind) have been struck down by “woke scolds” and snowflakes who are riding on the crest of progressivism.
The deepest, most maleficent factors on the left know that institutions are built on values. If they take out the values, then they can take out the whole institution.
How are Institutions Subverted?
Novaseeker spelled out the details of just how an institution becomes converged.
- Change the institution from the inside out (feminism has been trying to do this with marriage, gay marriage is another tool to do this).
- “Hollow out” the institution so that it collapses under either its own weight (which it can no longer support, as the substance of it has been removed in the hollowing-out process) or under its contradictions, which are highlighted by the same people who control the institution.
“You do both at the same time, all of it at the same time, because under no circumstances do you want the current institution, as currently constituted, to survive. So, in working both to undermine it and to change it from within, you ensure that the current institution is either changed to what you want it to be, or it is destroyed — and either way, the current version is gone, which is really what you want in the end.”
The way this is done is by removing the values that were once attached to the institution. That’s what “hollow out” means.
“[It’s a] Pretty effective approach if you are bent on fundamental social change.”
The problem is, once they take over an institution, they are stuck with the conundrum of knowing why the institution exists, while being ambivalent about the values that the institution was meant to uphold in the first place.
“We own and run this thing. Its purpose is to keep the status quo. But we hate the status quo. What do we do now?”
“Once faced with the nightmare scenario of a possible institutional collapse, the opposition to social change can generally be co-opted into making changes to the institution under the guise of preventing its destruction, and then those institutional changes also serve to further undermine the institution.”
Everything I was part of (Boy Scouts, the Church of Christ, marriage) is totally unrecognizable to me, and therefore has lost purpose to exist, and is useless to me and my children.
Are there any institutions left that haven’t been subverted?
“Essentially it takes some ironclad powerful institutional force to prevent this, and that was never going to be present in the United States, because the country is founded on the principles of liberation.”
This is why those of us who are psychologically constituted toward more conservative values no longer have faith in any institutions whatsoever. We are on our own, to maybe, create new ones, or something.
“Of course, this is a significant part of the liberationist strategy as well — hollow-out the institutions enough such that people like us leave them, which hollows them out more and so on until they either disappear or remain technically present but are virtually unrecognizable. But what can you do? At the end of the day, we have to do what’s best in our own lives, really.”
It’s (one of) the reasons I gravitated toward Holy Orthodoxy. No doctrinal change since 787AD. I LOVE that!
“One of the nice things about the structural dysfunctionality of Orthodoxy is that it actually offers a profound advantage in this era, where change is rampant and rapid. An institutional inability to change, in a structural sense, has its advantages in a time like this one.”
One more reason to be thankful for my church.
Aaron M. Renn discusses this social phenomenon further.
- The Masculinist (Aaron M. Renn): Newsletter #24: How to Respond to Failing Institutions (2018 August 16)
- The Masculinist (Aaron M. Renn): Newsletter #35: Rebalancing Away From Institutions (2019 July 12)