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Postmodernism, the reason our country seems to be going crazy.

Postmodernism, the reason our country seems to be going crazy.

It started in the 60’s after two World Wars scarred the minds and dreams of millions of humans across the globe.  Communism failed to provide economic and social justice, while science had been used to justify the eugenics movement in Nazi Germany.  Many academics, philosophers, and social observers at the time began to feel very disillusioned with the world and the symbolic concepts we had created to understand it, especially those that dominated and influenced the Western world the most: objective truth, human universalism, scientific empiricism, and critical thinking.  Since different human cultures used different systems of interpreting knowledge around the world, postmodernists used this as evidence that all claims to truth were biased cultural inventions produced by the very groups who made them.  This meant that everyone’s claims of truth were of equal value and that one could not declare one knowledge-gathering tool (for ex. the scientific method) superior to another (such as astrology).  Postmodernism developed more rigid and consistent principles that are best described in the book Cynical Theories by James Lindsey and Helen Pluckrose, which can be recognized as the following: 

This school of thought existed only in academia, entertained by elite institutions and the eccentric scholar.  But then postmodernism evolved into something more elusive yet equally sinister: Theory.  Occurring in the 90s as a way to put postmodernism to use in the “real world”, an emergence of academic studies that used all of the postmodern principles and themes began to gain attention.  These fields were known as critical race Theory, postcolonial Theory, Queer Theory, and feminist Theory.  They were flashy and new and sold themselves as tools of social improvement because they claimed to critically scan discourses and common narratives for privilege and other imbalances of power between interested groups.  On paper it sounded noble (just like all bad theories, ex. Communism), but in practice turned out to be the most potent enemy to democratic values.  

Theory views racism, oppression, and prejudice to be natural and present in every interaction and American institution, that power benefits the privileged even without them knowing or trying, and that all racial disparities can only be explained as evidence for racial discrimination.  The biggest flaw of Theory is that it believes its views to be the absolute truth and anyone who attempts to disagree is either speaking from a place of privilege, or is simply too dull to see the truth.  This allows the opportunity for groups to label situations or interactions as “racist” when it may not necessarily be the case.  One can imagine how this could be a dangerous affair, the power of accusation in which no one can deny or challenge without sacrificing their personal and moral image.  It reminds us of the Spanish Inquisition, a previous era in human history in which heresy, blasphemy, and impiety were criminalized by Catholic Monarchs.  The linguist and author John McWhorter makes the argument that contemporary America filled the void of Christian faith in civil society with a different religion of social justice, critical theories, and identity politics.   

But Theory also views acts of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other social ills in the same manner; that to subjectively experience these phenomena is ample evidence that they have occurred, regardless of what the contexts of reality are.  If men overrepresent a category of outcome, such as overwhelmingly being engineers or physicists, it is because they are oppressing women and are either subconsciously (or god forbid, purposefully) working to keep them out.  While historical evidence of barriers to entry are certainly trueーand may possibly exist in different manifestations todayーthere seems to be little to no evidence supporting the idea that on a systemic level, men exclude women out of STEM career fields for the purpose of maintaining their own power and superiority.  Jordan Peterson has offered his own professional explanation to the gender disparities that actually make a bit of sense: that personality characteristics differ between men and women and that these differences in temperament influence the career decisions each makes in their life.  For example, Peterson’s argument explains why we see a disproportionate number of female teachers, nurses, and social workers.  If Theory were actually consistently useful, you’d be able to apply it to all human situations, but you will never see a supporter of critical theories claiming that female nurses and teachers are oppressing men and preventing them from entering the industry.  This is the hypocrisy and absurdity of postmodernism’s influence over social justice: black people can’t be racist, women can’t be sexist, include all cultures but exclude any that contradict or challenge our beliefs.

And what has any of it accomplished?  What has cancel culture, cultural appropriation, social constructions of gender and sex, dismantling oppression,  performative antiracism, reporting microagressions, or being “woke” done for the people it allegedly fights for?  How has it lowered the black poverty rate, reduced single-parent households, improved economic opportunities for communities of color?  Has it made broader society more accepting and safe for gender minorities?  Has it solved any of the disparities it says are so vile and rooted in prejudice?  No, because postmodernism was never meant to generate answers, it’s simply not interested in them.  It’s not a tool, it’s a kaleidoscope that views the world as cynically and perverted as possible.  It leaves no room for criticism or correction but instead is totalitarian in its beliefs.  

Its danger lies in the principles and behaviors it elicits out of the American public, each one in direct violation of the foundations of the democratic values this country was built upon.  The Founding Fathers created all frameworks of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence after the Enlightenment movement, an era in colonial Europe in which ideas of individuality, personal agency, liberty, equality, freedom, and science emerged as a rising culture of influence.  Postmodernism goes against all of these values.  It ignores the individual and sees only identity groups, it rejects truth and promotes subjective knowledge, it inhibits discourse and conversation through the policing of language and social norms.  It does not care for due process or “innocent until proven guilty”.  It doesn’t even care to generate solutions, but just expose problems wherever they exist, even if they don’t.  

This ideology is what currently infects the Left.  It informs their politics and their policy, as well as their rhetoric and beliefs.  It’s why you see extremely liberal institutions condoning aspects of theories the most: college campuses and universities, big corporations, social media, news, and the entertainment industry.  All of them have adopted postmodernism in one way or another and the majority don’t even know it.  That is the danger we face, the enemy within ourselves we couldn’t even recognize.  It’s what inspired my political shift from a Democrat to a Republican and why I believe it is time for the Republican Party to reform and adapt if we hope to survive this inevitable culture war.  In order to stay true to the core American values incorporated in our Constitution and defend liberal democracies everywhere, we must stay consistent to the very principles that produced the Civil Rights Movement, granted women legal equality, and decriminalized homosexuality.  We must avoid all symptoms of postmodernism and not give in to identity politics or trivial culture wars or social justice rhetoric.  As long as we enter the conversation with facts, methodologies, and pragmatic solutions to genuine issues, we will always win.  This in essence is what makes a Rational Republican.

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