Reilly examines two opposing schools of philosophy: those of Aristotle and Rousseau. For the followers of Aristotle, nature is a cause that operates for a purpose. There is reality out there, objective truth exists and there is such a thing as natural law. The family is a real unit and not a mere construction of the mind. Male and female complementarity is real and not simply a construct of the human emotions. In contrast, the followers of Rousseau would have us believe that reality is what we create in our own minds. The family is a human construct that can and needs to be changed. There is nothing natural about civil society. Man must sever his relations with his fellow man as much as possible in order to be free. The family must be effectively abolished. How can this come about? By state control! The direction from Rousseau to Marx is linear. Like his friend David Hume, Rousseau had little regard for reason, seeing it as a slave of the emotions.
It would appear that the school of Rousseau is currently on the winning side as, to quote T. S. Eliot, "humankind cannot bear much reality." The book is really a reflection on the nature of reality. Natural law arguments are applied to show that sex and procreation cannot be severed without consequences. If sex is denied its procreative purpose, it would be illogical not to support what became known as "gay marriage." Elizabeth Anscombe said the same thing so many years ago when Catholics largely rejected the teaching of Humanae Vitae. Reilly quotes Mary Eberstadt: "Once heterosexuals start claiming the right to act as homosexuals, it would not be long before homosexuals started claiming the rights of heterosexuals." The great Thomistic philosopher Joseph Budziszewski puts it less pithily: "Sexual powers are good, but only when exercised by the right person, for the right motives, in the right way, and in the right state, which is marriage."
Reilly does not say so but it is surely worth noting: the only institution which consistently defends authentic marriage is the Catholic Church, an institution that is experiencing its own crisis currently.
It was also good to note that Reilly quotes from the book The Homosexual Network by Fr Enrique Rueda, a book that was lent to me back in the eighties by Fr Thwaites. If only the Catholic bishops had chosen not to ignore that prophetic work.
Reilly argues that for the supporters of the homosexual movement, moral wrongs must aspire to
universality. In other words, mere tolerance of homosexual behavior is insufficient. What is required is the total
assent by the entire community. Dissenters are to be regarded as bigots and homophobic and, in keeping with the
teachings of Rousseau, the state must be in control. And what better way for state control than abolishing the