Last Tuesday, Dr. Thomas Sowell was interviewed on The Rush Limbaugh Show by Walter Williams, who was serving as guest host. During this interview, Williams inquired about Sowell's opinion of direction that America is heading in . "Are you optimistic or pessimistic?" Williams asked. "Pessimistic, and I am fighting off becoming despairing," replied Sowell.
Sowell's words should not be taken lightly. As a recent Investor's Business Daily editorial about Sowell said, "Doomsters are a dime a dozen. But when a leading economist who's been called "the nation's greatest contemporary philosopher" sees serious trouble ahead, we'd better listen up."
The editorial went on to explain:Sowell sees the national equivalent of a "perfect storm," a gathering of "dangerous forces (that) have been building .. . for at least a half-century."
Yes, he says, our great nation has weathered many storms. But, he quickly notes, so did the Roman Empire before it collapsed. "Is that where America is headed?" Sowell asks upfront. "I believe it is. Our only saving grace is that we are not there yet - and that nothing is inevitable until it happens."......
The Obama administration "is not the root cause of the ominous dangers that face this country at home and aboard," Sowell says. But "it is the embodiment, the personification and the culmination of dangerous trends that began decades ago. Moreover, it has escalated those dangers to what may be a point of no return."
What are these "dangerous trends that began decades ago"? To understand what is happening in the world today, one must understand the a philosophy that has taken root in Western Civilization and brought us to this point in history--and, yes, ideas really matter; and when you are basing your society on bad ones, then you can expect bad things to happen.
The philosophy that is behind these dangerous trends is Postmodernism; and Barack Obama represents the culmination and embodiment of the perfect postmodern demagogue.
POSTMODERNISM as defined by Wikipedia:
Postmodernism is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. Postmodernism has influenced many cultural fields, including literary criticism, sociology, linguistics, architecture, visual arts, and music.Where modernism is based on reason, truth and the acceptance of an objective reality; postmodernism and it metaphysical and epistemological foundations, in contrast, is based on emotion and whim; subjective or relative "truth" and a belief that reality is whatever you believe it to be.
Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from modernist approaches that had previously been dominant. The term "postmodernism" comes from its critique of the "modernist" scientific mentality of objectivity and progress associated with the Enlightenment.
If you have noticed that Western Civilization no longer seems to be able to defend and stand up for itself--either intellectually or culturally--and that insanity and irrationalism reign, then you need look no further than this anti-modern and anti-progress mind-set and how it has infected almost every aspect of Western culture, politics and thinking.
Postmodern 'thinking' (and I use the term loosely) and rhetoric is the direct cause of the West's descent into the abyss of political correctness and cultural relativity (i.e., the dogma of multiculturalism).
The dual insanity and subversivenss of these two key components of leftist/progressive thought are brought together in the following common, but wholly contradictory, threads of politically correct postmodern rhetoric: On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.
These two mutually contradictory postitions are both firmly held beliefs--one might even say they are considered holy writ by the acolytes of the liberal left.
For years now, this contradiction has trickled down into the consciousness and belief system of the West. It has quietly been integrated into the K-12 curriculum and is forcefed to students at most univeristies (where free speech is no longer tolerated if it happens to "hurt" someone's feelings); it is regularly integrated both directly and symbolically into popular movies, books, and into the news tickers for the mainstream media.
And, Postmodern's PC/multicultural dogma has now been duly enshrined into the national platform for at least one of our major political parties; and it even has begun to eat away at the values of the opposing political party--both realities which have led to the rise of the Tea Pary movement and the grassroot anger directed at both Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have forgotten real American values: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Stephen Hicks in his book says that Postmodernism has, "become the activist strategy against the coalition of reason and power." He quotes Frank Lentricchia, a noted Duke University literary critic. Postmodernism, says Lentricchia, "seeks not to find the foundation or conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change."
It is because of the pervasive influence of postmodern philosophy and the ubiquitous use of postmodern rhetoric by the political left that America and all it stands for is now on the brink; and this should make you, like Thomas Sowell, very worried.
Rather than setting you free, in the postmodern world, truth just keeps you from believing what you--or someone else--wants to believe; and therefore it must be banned from polite conversation.
In this "innovative", postmodern world view you are permitted-nay encouraged!--to break free from the oppressive shackles of reality and venture into the realm of a "higher" reality, where fools like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barney Frank are taken seriously. And where a grandiose and glib, but charismatic man deeply immersed in the contradictory discourse of postmodern rhetoric and the collectivist ideology of "social justice" can be elected President of the U.S.
In order to survive their crushing defeat in the Cold War, the remnants of Soviet communism, along with failed Marxist, socialists and communists around the globe had to evolve and mutate into a form that would not be easily recognized; but the fundamental toxicity of their ideology remained as potent as ever. And it is these various mutations that are truly the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.
In postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, they found the perfect epistemological, ethical and political vessel to reassert their poison. And that is why, despite the untold misery and the millions of dead that were the result of the implementation of their political policies, their ideology never quite made it to the garbage dump of history.
The politically useful concept of "social justice" is now the dominant philosophy forced down the throats of teachers, who obediently spoon feed it to their students from kindergarden through college; while in academia they use "science" to demonize their enemies.
As a vehicle for obtaining political power, postmodern philosophy and its attendant rhetoric are unparalleled in today's academic world. Through the deliberate manipulation of reality, truth, and reason, the children of postmodern nihilism have figured out a way to win any and all arguments. They have pretty much taken over the curriculum from kindergarden through college and thus no major area of that curriculum is now free from political interference.
And, in addition to the toxic dogmas of political corectness and multiculturalism; it is postmodern philosophy that is at the heart of radical environmentalism. Combined these poisonous ideas make up three of the four pillars of the socialist/communist--or, more accurately, the neo-Marxist--revival that has been staged in this first decade of the 21st century. This is the perfect storm in which we find ourselves.
Remember that postmodernism eschews truth and those who adhere to its ideas prefer to exercise power to force social change. They live in a world of contradiction and emotion. Their strategy is not to persuade people to accept their ideas, but to confuse them; to distort the truth, propagate lies and smears; and to use whatever rhetoric is necessary to accomplish their purposes. And when rhetoric fails, they will force through their social change anyway.
Since rhetorical skill is essential to accomplish their purposes, it is little wonder that a trancendently inexperienced but rhetorically gifted nobody like Barack Obama could rise to the top of the [garbage] heap. His career was meteoric, and is based entirely on words, not deeds or accomplishments. In truth, he is the quintessential political postmodern demagogue; skilled in the neo-Marxist/fascist talking points and easily able to convince all who hear him of his passionate committment to "social justice," (better understood as the redistribution of wealth) and universal peace and brotherhood (better known as the appeasement and enabling of evil).
Nothing that is going on now makes any sense, unless you understand that "sense" is not a useful concept when one is talking about postmodernism. That's why to get out of debt we are spending more money and digging deeper; that's why to defend against war we are disengaging from the enemy and enabling them; that's why the "doublespeak" is used over and over again in this Administration.
Truth does not matter; all that matters is that people believe it is true.
But you can make sense out of what the political left is doing. It just so happens, that their basic tenets are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategy that the socialist/Marxist and communist remnants around the world have siezed on and are using to prevent their ideology from entering the dustbin of history.
As I have written before, the fourth pillar of the overall strategy is Terrorism. I believe this last pillar is mostly an unconscious one in the nearly brain-dead minds of the Western elite; but it is why they make common cause with Islam who acts out their own unconscious fantasies.
We can think of the four pillars--POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, MULTICULTURALISM, RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM, and TERRORISM-- as the foundation for both the socialist revival (particularly in the Western hemisphere recently) and for the rapid advancement of the Islamic Jihad and Islamic fundamentalism.
Below is a flow chart that has been adapted from Stephen Hick's book, Explaining Postmodernism (p. 173), which summarizes the evolution of these four strategies/pillars of leftist/progressive thought; and though I have written about it before, it is well worth repeating over and over again as the perfect postmodern storm that swirls around approaches a Category 5; and as reason, truth, and reality are belittled and ignored by our leaders: