The weekend at the college didn’t turn out like we planned.
I know those of us who read the Twitter thread from MartyrMade were nodding our heads in agreement but again, I must stress that this is not new – perhaps it has been taken to new heights of perfidy, but what we are seeing is not new.
As proof of my thesis, I want you to read the following quotes and guess when they were uttered:
“We live in an age of disbelief, in which citizens increasingly do not believe what their government says, or, for that matter, what is accepted as true by popular culture.”
That is straight down the line with what MartyrMade typed into his Twitter feed.
How about this one:
“The theme of this presidency is not just that the media is on its side and invested in its redistributionist vision, but that the administration is so certain of that fact that it need not worry even about the most blatant evidence of dissimulation and untruth.”
Or this one:
“There is a third contributor to our increasing disbelief. Socialism is scary because it envisions heaven on earth if we are just willing to employ the necessary means to obtain it. To question those means is to question why someone should not have as much as someone else. In theory, the advocates of socialism should not be Hollywood stars, Washington grandees, trust-fund beneficiaries, and high-paid professors and lawyers, inasmuch as their largess must, in such zero-sum thinking, have come from someone else. In fact, promoting socialism has become a therapeutic exercise for the better off: it offers psychosocial comfort for those who have a lot, with the assurance that they have so much that their own redistributive plans would not make that much difference to themselves. The resulting disconnect is that capitalists par excellence promote redistribution, and feel no word or act is out of bounds to achieve that noble goal — and the rest of us believe almost nothing they say.”
Could all be about the Biden campaign and administration, right?
But it was not. These were written a decade ago by historian Victor Davis Hanson in an article titled “Do We Believe Anymore?”
And yet, here we go again. Once more into the breach.
We have not ridded ourselves of these troublesome progressive priests and priestesses because we never get to the root of the issue, and the issue IS NOT CRT, illegal immigration or “democratic socialism”. Those are symptoms of a philosophical shift in our culture, a belief in the nihilist and existential contradictions of something I have come to call Unreal Reality. We live in times that are not only post-truth and post-constitutional, but it is also post-everything – and so much so, lying comes as easy as breathing.
And nobody cares because nobody expects the truth. Society no longer values the truth, so we have learned to expect the lies and have rationalized how to internalize them – but lies are dangerous when the Constanza Rule is applied to large groups, like a political party, for long periods of time, because believing lies and acting on them is psychopathic. A liar knows he is a liar, a psychopath has no idea – and to the best of our knowledge, there is no cure for psychopathy.
Postmodernist thought psychopathic, and that is the problem. I know my repetition is getting old, but for the past 50 years, this relativist ideology masquerading as philosophy has corroded and eroded our society, our culture and our discourses and now it threatens to destroy our children, our future and our nation.
Even as many postmodernists reject a relativist label, many of the characteristic doctrines of postmodernism do constitute or imply some form of metaphysical, epistemological, or ethical relativism. Postmodernists deny that there are aspects of reality that are objective, and they reject the notion that there are statements about reality that are objectively true or false; that it is possible to have knowledge of such statements (objective knowledge); that it is possible for human beings to know some things with certainty; and that there are objective, absolute, moral values.
Postmodernists posit that reality, knowledge, and value are constructed by discourses; hence reality can vary with them. History has no value as the only thing that matters is what happens today. Since it has no relevance or usefulness, why bother?
This even explains the vehement adherence to “climate disruption” (or whatever it is called this week) because a postmodernist view means that the discourse of modern science, when considered apart from the standards of evidence internal to it, has no greater purchase on the truth than do alternative perspectives, including astrology and witchcraft. Postmodernism allows political motives to be treated as equal to scientific method – remember, it does not matter what the data says – the important thing is how we feel about it today.
Unsurprisingly, postmodernism and communism have a nexus. Karl Marx theorized that the proletariat had no objective reality of its own, that it was a slave to the reality created for them by the bourgeois who had power over them. In true Marxist tradition, the “progressive” forces understand that collective reality means centralized power. What Marx really endeavored to do was to create a collective reality where people like him were in charge.
I cannot emphasize it enough, prosperity protects the Costanza’s among us because it distances them from the basic realities of life. The Costanzas can get away with a life built on lies because prosperity insulates them from the inevitable consequences. People struggling to survive have little patience or use for lies prosperous societies tell themselves. Transgenderism or fourth wave feminism is of little concern in the slums of New Delhi, Bangkok or many countries in Africa.
Having spent time in those areas, I can tell you they have adopted the Steely Dan interpretation of America’s “beautiful gestures”:
“The things that pass for knowledge, I can’t understand…”
The closer we come to nature, the less need we have for beautiful gestures. Our advances in bending nature to human will has convinced us we are gods – and if we are, we are arrogant and prideful gods.
The only hope for our world is a return to rationality.
Arrogant and prideful gods always fall. Nature always wins.