Friday, April 27, 2018

Explaining Postmodernism

There is a movement in Western society today that is bent on its destruction. It thrives in the universities, but you see it also in large companies where it is a fifth column dedicated to destroying such organisations from within, and it permeates almost all political discourse, particularly on social media. I am talking about post-modernism, a nihilistic political philosophy that resents the freedom and prosperity of Western capitalism and aims to bring it all down.

It is post-modernism that is the foundational belief behind almost every assault on our liberal democracy, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter. It is the philosophy of identity politics and social justice warriors, those who insist that we all be pigeonholed into groups that fall on one side or other of a perpetrator-victim divide - men versus women, whites versus blacks, gays versus straights, etc. It is based on the philosophical concepts of subjectivism - that there is no objective reality because everything we experience is based on subjective perception - and relativism - that there is no good or bad and any belief or morality is equal to any other. Post-modernists reject science and reason as Eurocentric, patriarchal concepts and yet see the solution to all of their grievances as the ideas of that old white man, Karl Marx. This is doubly ironic because Marxism is a materialistic and supposedly scientific philosophy, the very concepts post-modernists claim to reject. But post-modernism is not intended to be logical or consistent, any more than a bomb is meant to be constructive.

If you want to understand why post-modernism is making such inroads into modern society and its impact in the world today, you should read Stephen Hicks's Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Hicks is a professor of philosophy at Rockford University, Illinois, and is the author of several popular philosophy books, the best known of which is Nietzsche and the Nazis, an examination of the ideological and philosophical roots of National Socialism.

Hicks starts with the history of post-modernism and explains that its roots go back to the German counter-Enlightenment thinkers Immanuel Kant, George Hegel and Fredriech Nietzsche - the same philosophers that provided the intellectual foundations of both National Socialism and Marxist-Leninism. The development of post-modernism as a distinct field was the work of the 20th Century French radicals Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Jean-Francois Lyotard. It soon became the philosophy behind the left-wing terrorist groups of the 1960s and 1970s such as the Red Army Faction in Germany and Weather Underground in the United States (it was the latter, for example, that invented the concept of "white privilege"). These violent exemplifications of post-modernism were infiltrated and subdued by Western security agencies, but the philosophy survived and its adherents went mainstream.

Hicks provides a discouraging analysis of the prospects of post-modernism co-existing with modern democracy. He concludes that there is no middle-ground between post-modernism and Western liberal values - the former rejects the very foundations of the latter. You cannot have a rational debate with someone who rejects rationality and you cannot present evidence to someone who does not recognise facts. This is why it is so futile debating a social justice warrior. Hicks concludes that post-modernism is disingenuous, and that its battlegrounds - such as minority rights, eliminating hate speech and equity - are mere stalking horses for its goal of Marxist dictatorship.

Hicks provides a timely warning about the dangers of post-modernism for Western liberals who may support many of their causes. If you think that appeasing post-modernists will save you from the ultimate fate they hold in store for you, i.e. the destruction of your family, your livelihood, your property and your life, then you are deluded. We are like the frog in the slow-boiling pot and one day we will wake up to discover we are all the victims of those we thought only had the victims' interests at heart.

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