Pride Month 2024: How Did We Get Here?

The deep roots of our current social crisis lie in failed subsidiarity.

As my eyes endure another Pride Month, I’m struck by the scope of a movement that barely two election cycles ago was opposed by the majority of Americans. At least once a year, our entire society is covered in more glitter and rainbows than a 7-year-old girl’s birthday party. Recent pushback notwithstanding, Pride is everywhere—in our stores, our schools, our billboards, our churches, and even our crosswalks. It’s treated as a decidedly settled topic. Opposition to the LGBTQ+ agenda is incredibly unpopular and not tolerated in our institutions. Woke: A Field Guide Fo... Johnstone, Caitlin Best Price: $20.37 Buy New $23.02 (as of 10:35 UTC - Details)

All of this in less than twenty years (doesn’t anyone remember Obama in 2008?). Christianity didn’t achieve such spread for hundreds of years. Even Islam’s more, er, aggressive evangelization tactics couldn’t achieve such hegemony in a mere twenty years. It forcefully prompts even the most uninterested to wonder: How did we get here?

The simple answer is staring us in the face all this month; LGBTQ+ ideology has spread so far and so fast on the wings of corporate and state investment. Twenty years of movies, television, advertisements, government-sponsored parades, events, recolored infrastructure, and so on have had their intended effect. How did we get here? Simple: government and cultural agendas.

But those of longer memory are left to wonder how those institutions—corporate and state—became so militant. It didn’t used to be this way. The single biggest cultural whip today—Hollywood itself—used to be a conscious promoter of Christian values.

It was called the Hay’s Code, and it controlled every major picture released from 1934 through 1968. Created by a Jesuit priest and enforced by a Catholic layman, the code aimed to prevent films from “lowering the moral standards” of the audience. While there was plenty objectionable in the Hay’s Code (bans on interracial marriage come to mind), for the most part it worked. American media in the 1940s and ’50s still has a reputation for pure optimism and simple virtue, if anything to a fault.

Amazingly, the code wasn’t a government imposition. It was self-censorship from movie studios, brought about by religious activism and even the personal convictions of executives. But neither was it completely devoid of state action, as a variety of cities and states had censorship boards that created economic pressures on studios to clean up their content. The Great Austrian Eco... Holcombe, Randall G Best Price: $8.86 Buy New $12.90 (as of 07:00 UTC - Details)

The Hay’s Code is a snapshot of a well-integrated society. The general public, corporate megaliths, government power, and religious tradition all worked together to uphold a coherent public morality—all according to the principle of subsidiarity.

It is this principle of subsidiarity that has failed us today. But not in the way you think. Most Catholics know subsidiarity prohibits higher powers from overriding more local institutions; but few remember that the definition extends in the opposite direction, which is where our culture has primarily failed.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines subsidiarity as such:

a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good. 

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