By Blogger Chuck Redfern
Cue the off-key organ grinder monkey music. The postmodern circus has come to town, with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich enrolled as the unlikely ring leaders. Step right up and watch them assert “traditional values” while twisting and bending the truth until it snaps. The political Left tries to join the circus but is no good at it, and journalists, truth’s supposed watch dogs, sleep at the door.
Postmodernism is a vague, multi-layered worldview born in the rubble of World War II and nurtured in the iconoclasm of the 1960s. Many of its adherents shun labels — including “postmodernism” — before arguing that our cultural and personal biases so cloud our vision that we cannot see reality. Our concept of “logic” is tethered to a Western-centered saga, or “meta-narrative,” and is really an excuse for our quest for world domination. Objective truth, if it exists at all, is unknowable. We grope with psychological and cultural cataracts. We’re like Clint Eastwood wandering through Alice’s Wonderland while reading the script for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly written on an Etch A Sketch. We can’t even interpret our interpretations — so please, let’s do away with religion’s moral absolutes. As Stanley Fish once said, “The trouble with principle is, first, it does not exist, and second, that nowadays many bad things are done in its name.”
Apparently, principled leaders like Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi and Desmond Tutu don’t count.
We can thank the postmodernists for dismantling some of the Enlightenment’s arrogance and applaud them for underscoring our intellectual and cultural hubris, but the baby howls as we lob the bath water: Rendering truth unknowable leaves us with nothing but pretense and posturing. Statements are not measured on their accuracy but on their marketability. We’re peddler’s pawns. The organ grinder drones as the ring leaders portray themselves as awe-shucking, wholesome, home-town boys: we loathe the clowns and lion tamers and acrobats. Trust us. We’re sincere.
Take Rick Santorum, the most unlikely living portrayal of Postmodernism’s flaw. The avid Catholic characterized President Obama as a “snob” because he supposedly wants “everybody in America to go to college.” But Obama actually said this: “Regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st-century economy.” Santorum’s remedy to Obama’s “snobbery:” all should “have the opportunity to go to college or any other higher level of training skills.”
Read full post here.