The abnormality of the new normal

In recent years there seems to have been a push to redefine “normal,” or perhaps to even eliminate the idea of normality. This can often be seen in such statements as:

I guess you can call it normal, if there is such a thing as “normal.”
What is normal anyway?
Who decides what is normal?

I am sure that you can add your own to this list as well. From where I sit, the motivation behind such statements is a desire to reshape notions of normalcy and to make those things that were one considered abnormal as, in fact, normal. So, what we are actually being asked to do is accept as normal those things that have traditionally been considered abnormal and socially unacceptable. The selection criteria for what we see moving from the abnormal category into the normal category is telling, however. In particular, there is a noticeable assault on traditional Christian values. So, for instance, various forms of romantic/sexual relationships that were seen as abnormal not long ago are now considered by many to be normal. Whether we are speaking of homosexual, bisexual, or unmarried cohabitating heterosexuals, these are all counter to traditional Christian values. Yet, when these pairings (or groupings) are questioned we can often count on some sort of response like those listed above.

However, without some idea of what normalcy is, or the ability to identify it, then it would seem that anything could be classified as normal. Perhaps that is the ultimate goal. But what would such a world look like? Could we no longer say that mental illness and abuse are abnormal? Would we be forced to accept any sexual relationship, no matter how vile, as acceptable.

Something tells me that those who advocate for a redefined, or open interpretation of, normalcy actually recognize that there are such things as normal and abnormal. Pushing others to question the idea of normalcy betrays a desire to have one’s abnormal trait accepted as normal. The problem is that the trait is still abnormal. If the person is successful in having his or her audience doubt the validity of normalcy, then all that has been done is a movement of the goalposts. Imagine a football game in which the sidelines are moved everything a player steps out of bounds. In addition to the adjustable sidelines there are also moving goal lines and goalposts. The result is a situation where nobody can score or go out of bounds. Now, ask yourself whether or not there is still a football game being played. As an avid football fan, I can say with with a great level confidence that what you would have is chaos and not a football game. In much the same way, when we sent that there is such a thing as normal, the result is chaos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s