The Vacuity of ‘Social Construct’ Arguments Against Tradition

The person who is influenced by the errors of postmodern relativism will often attack traditional moral claims by referencing the idea of a “social construct.” I take this to mean that what we in society accept to be “true” are not discoveries embedded in the hierarchic, metaphysical fabric of reality, but arbitrarily agreed upon power structures imposed upon members of a given society. The use of the “social construct” tactic is considered to be an acid that eats through every traditional claim regarding moral acts, the reality of the human person being made in the image of God, the sacramental recognition of marriage, and even the traditional family structure.

A primary problem with this maneuver is that if applied consistently, the “social construct” cannibalizes itself, because the relativity of the claim used to attack the metaphysical structure attributed to reality by the traditionalist is itself a product of the intellectual social environment of the academic intelligentsia. The “social construct” would itself have to be a “social construct,” therefore undermining the very standard imposed upon competing views. We are left with either a self-referential defeater of the claim, or an infinite regress of socially constituted constructs leaving any claim thereof incoherent and useless.


– Lucas G. Westman

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