“Modernity” is the name for a cultural transformation which saw the rise of representative democracy, the age of science, of reason over superstition. It has given us the Industrial Revolution and has provided more wealth and stability than any other societal system before or since. It has provided healthcare for the masses across the world along with an accessible education to all.
At its core, it values empowered the individual to think, believe, read, write, speak, doubt, question, argue, and refute any ideas at all in pursuit of truth. What is there not to like?
But now, in 2017, we find ourselves offered an alternative upon which so called progressive thinkers bill themselves as the only true defenders of Social Justice and moral progress. They call themselves Modern.
This is not strictly true.
Johnathan Rauch, the American Author and journalist said “utopianism and perfectionism, however well intended, should never displace reasonable caution in making social policy… It’s much easier to damage a society… than to repair it.”
If you look around, and you do not have to look far, the damage is very evident. The progressive left has aligned itself not with what was once labelled modern but with postmodernism. It rejects objective truth as a fantasy dreamed up by naive and/or arrogantly bigoted thinkers.
Take a look into the “Social Justice” world, and you’ll find the objectionable notion that truth is “situated” in identity, which leads to the belief that truth is relative to whatever one’s cultural background is held to be — unless that culture is considered to have unfairly dominated in the past (read white), in which case anything it holds to be true must be refuted as a lie and ideally some kind of reparation offered.
If this sounds confusing, all is not lost. Well educated representatives (often from academia and always from the media), have appointed themselves along this path to decide who can say what to whom and under what circumstances.
You need only to check your privileges in life, then fall in line, next become an “ally,” and shut up. Listen to those who were more oppressed than you are. The shutting up is particularly important. It’s impossible to avoid being a problem if you are speaking independently and engaging in some free thinking.
You probably won’t like being told you are evil and responsible for the world’s collective problems, but according to the mantra (about which you will be regularly reminded) there are those less privileged in the world and they like their oppression (and you) even less.
I will be writing a further article in the future breaking down all the different factions and what their goals and aims are. And you will see their aims are united, not in a positive goal, but in tearing down all that modernity created. And they will not stop until it is totally eradicated.
You will also notice that the chief tool of choice here is hysterical moral panic, an absolute intolerance of thinking differently. Postmodernism, despite insisting to the contrary, is bent toward authoritarianism and a value system at odds with anything ‘not in line’ with previously stated goals. Sound familiar? To me it has echoes of the Cultural Revolution. Or Lenin.
These Postmodernists make up a relatively small, intrinsically divided, but alarmingly powerful minority. Not least because they have the support of the mainstream media.
A brief look at the history of this movement may shed some light on dark corners of human development. Postmodernism is a set of ideas from the 1960s, rooted in the works of French theorists including Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, and Jacques Derrida.
It has been adapted and further politicised within the fields of intersectional feminism, critical race theory, post-colonialism, and queer theory and manifested to various degrees in left-wing policies and Social Justice activism.
Although the founding fathers of postmodernism claimed to be continuing the Modern project by breaking down oppressive power structures they were, in fact, replacing them with their own versions.
They treat truth, as we know it, selectively, using only the portion of the whole truth which supports their moral ambitions. Anyone who has watched BBC Question Time, or indeed pretty much anything the BBC has pumped out over the last 30 years or so, can verify this. Who could forget the recent assertion that the Roman empire was multicultural? (Conveniently forgetting they had slaves who were not citizens until they had earned their freedom.)
The skill with which the anti-modernists/ post-modernists are able to conquer and co-opt political movements on their side is a huge contributor to the problem. Postmodern extremists have co-opted the Women’s March, for example, BLM and Pride UK is currently under great pressure from the same groups to ban criticism of Islamic homophobia. Additionally the vast majority of the education movement is unashamedly left leaning and actively instil their skewed message of progress in young impressionable minds.
Now not everything that happened in the Modern period is without its faults. There has been war, genocide, imperialism, and slavery to name a few. It needs to be kept in context, there was an intellectual shift which produced benefits that had been lost in the Medieval period. You are pro-Modern, as opposed to post-Modern, if you believe in the scientific method, human rights, individual liberty, and established thinking based on evidence and reason.
These defining values include
- A profound respect for the reason and the strength of science.
- An unwavering commitment to the norms of society, including rule of law.
- An understanding that the base of society to be defended and cherished is the individual and the family unit.
- An appreciation that Good is best achieved through a balance between co-operation and competition.
Despite being still being popular, these values are currently under threat.
Support for scientific thinking, human rights, representative democracy, individual liberty, and arguments based on evidence and reason, as well as the society which protect and develop them, is overwhelming. But we must speak up. Be seen. Be heard. To silently approve is no longer enough.
We must promote and support these values explicitly, engage with society and our current political situation in these terms. In this way, the defenders of Modernity can unite to help society climb down from the existential polarisation that is forced upon us. Even now, some people hint at a racist motivation behind Brexit and Donald Trump. (Notably I have seen no evidence of it.) It is vital to marginalise those anti-modernist/post-modernist fringes, so as a country we can continue to grow. If we don’t, the fate of the Roman Empire may await us.