No Mo’ PoMo

Stanley Kurtz has an interesting attack on the postmodernist movement in today’s National Review Online. He especially attacks the resistance of postmodern scholars towards the National Security Education Program, a federal program to encourage language training for future civil servants. He correctly notes that postmodernism, Marxism, and anti-Americanism often go together for many postmodernist thinkers.

Postmodernism is an interesting way of looking at the world, but for much of academia it has become the only way of looking at the world. The tripartate axis of race, gender, and power has become an idee fixe with the academic world, often to the neglect of other viewpoints. Postmodernism is especially dangerous in today’s world, as it teaches a worldview that rejects any kind of value judgements or moral authority. If we cannot believe in the moral and ethical superiority of civilization versus anarchy or a society that promotes life versus one that embraces death, then why bother defending life and civilization?

Worst of all, postmodernism stands against the most important goal of education: teaching critical thinking skills. Rather than encouraging people to make rational and educated value judgements, postmodernism teaches that such decisions are irrelevant, and anything that is viewed as standing against the "oppressive patriarchy" is to be embraced. Without a system of values and morals, one has no way of judging the relative value of anything. Postmodernism is essentially self-defeating, as Kurtz notes, because it teaches that whatever value is held in esteem is simply part of some invisible and oppressive system that cannot be undone.

Postmodernism shouldn’t necessarily be removed from the curriculum, but it is an ideology which needs to be seen as only one small part of many worldviews, and not a very constructive one at that.

2 thoughts on “No Mo’ PoMo

  1. Well, there are many flavors of postmodernism… the one that seems most overlooked (probably because it’s not really “post-modern”- it’s an extension of the fundemental project of the Western enlightenment) is that of Jurgen Habermas- his integral constructivism seems like the worldview that’s most likely to lead the way towards the next step in philosophy- wherever that may be…

    But yes, I will agree that this aperspectival madness that’s being called philosophy these days has gotten out of hand. It’s time to rein in the Cultural Studies departments before it’s too late…

    Richard Dawkins also had a great article skewering postmodernism a while back… however, I find it ironic that while Dawkins believes that philosophers, sociologists, and other practitioners of the social sciences have no right to comment on the “hard” sciences, he seems to have the idea that he can spout off about anything… 🙂

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