Postmodernism didn’t invent skepticism: it perverted it into a corrosive cynicism.Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay, Cynical Theories, Kindle, Loc 4119
One could look at the postmodernist-induced unrest, conflict and chaos and the overwhelmingly anti-enlightenment ideological pursuit of its adherents and passive supporters, and start to be convinced that the rapid advances in human prosperity and well-being across the board since the Enlightenment—brought about by peaceful cooperation in the division of labor, the application of the reasoning mind to overcome man’s natural physical state of poverty, starvation, disease and tribal conflicts, and a recognition of the power of the human mind to acquire an integrated body of scientific knowledge to replace mystical superstition—is failing.
But not so fast. While the forces of conflict arising from minds returning to the Dark Ages are gathering, the challenges posed by the ideas and confusion of postmodernism are being addressed head on by enlightened people with minds committed to reason, logic, practical moral sense, and the recognition of the value of individual rights as the basis for a safe and flourishing society. I’m thinking of the quiet but forceful pushback and rebuttals by educators and authors such as Helen Pluckrose and James A Lindsay (Cynical Theories), Peter Boghossian (How to Have Impossible Conversations), Gad Saad (The Parasitic Mind), Stephen Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism), Michael Rectenwald (Beyond Woke), Alan Sokal and Jean Briemont (Fashionable Nonsense), Heather Mac Donald (The Diversity Delusion), Jordan Peterson (12 Rules for Life and Beyond Order), and the many other brave voices who are bringing on the fight—the fight for minds engaged in reason as against the invasive and soul destroying mind-virus that is postmodernism.
The understanding and guidance of such authors are having real-world impacts by giving individuals the education, context, and thinking tools to understand the issues of this bewildering world-view, and to make up their own minds about the soundness or unsoundness of postmodernism as a useful framework for an understanding of problems and an efficacious guide to the discovery of practical and effective value-enhancing solutions. They are discovering ways to fight back both intellectually with arguments, and politically through media campaigns and political and legal action.
If you don’t know who these people are and how, on behalf of all reasonable people, they are fighting an important and mostly hidden intellectual battle dealing with fundamental questions about the survival of the basic pillars of civilization itself, then you should take some time to find out. At the least, devote fifteen minutes to looking them up on amazon and discovering what their books are about and what they are fighting for (or watch some of the videos referenced in the text of this blog series). That in itself is reasonable and enlightening.
Next: Part 10 – Ayn Rand’s Anticipation of Postmodernism and the Antidote
Some video resources for further insight about Postmodernism on the march:
1. James Damore, Helen Pluckrose & The Second Culture, 2018. https://youtu.be/87e1aXxruTo
2. How Social Justice Silences | Peter Boghossian, 2020. https://youtu.be/MlV9Tss9Rwc
3. The Rubin Report, Grievance Studies Exposes Academia – Peter Boghossian & James Lindsay, 2019. https://youtu.be/97FuO-hEhQo
© 2021, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.
Barry Linetsky is a Partner with The Strategic Planning Group in Toronto, Canada, where he and his colleagues have been helping executives and owners define and align their business purpose with customer values since 1994. Barry is the author of the acclaimed business biography The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Theme Park Press). His two most recent books, Understanding and Creating Vision and Mission Statements and Understanding and Creating Strategic Performance Indicators and Business Scenarios, co-authored with Dobri Stojsic, are available from amazon. The third book in the series Understanding and Creating Critical Success Factors will be available soon. Barry’s thought-leadership articles have been published by Ivey Business Journal, Rotman Magazine, Mises Wire, and the Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with Harvard Business School. Barry is also a writer, researcher, analyst, photographer, and business strategy enabler. Read his blog and learn more at barrylinetsky.com. Follow him on Twitter @BizPhilosopher.