Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Slippery Slope of Postmodernism

Assuming you've heard of Postmodernism or Nietzsche or have been in a public educational system in the past decade, chances are you've heard the term "Deconstructionism" or "Deconstruction." The term is commonly applied in the realm of literature, and is increasingly finding its way into history, science, and other fields of study.

Essentially, Deconstruction is a system of evaluation by which the subject is judged by its own merit, devoid of outside influence. A book may be evaluated by how it makes a student feel or what it makes them think rather than by what the author intended it to mean or who the author's target audience was. A historical text may be evaluated simply by whether or not the reader's opinion jives with the presentation of the book, rather than examining the author's background and point of view at the time the text was written.

"Deconstruction focuses on a text as such rather than as an expression of the author's intention, stressing the limitlessness (or impossibility) of interpretation and rejecting the Western philosophical tradition of seeking certainty through reasoning by privileging certain types of interpretation and repressing others. It was effectively named and popularized by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida from the late 1960s and taken up particularly by U.S. literary critics."

- Oxford American Dictionary

The problems implicit to such a system should be explicit, however not many give it enough consideration to even realize the implications of such a philosophy. So, lets look at its potential natural escalation from a logical perspective:

Deconstruction abolishes the standard for meaning, education becomes relative, "knowledge" is placed above scrutiny or question by becoming inscrutable and questionless. Meaning, being left unattended by any absolute standard, is de-legitimized, and we become confused as to any sort of standard at all. When standards become confused, we lose our sense of equality; with no sense of standardization, we have no measurement of conformity for equal status. Without a measurement of equal status, we notice more readily that others have privileges we do not, so we determine that in order to be equal we must evenly distribute those privileges. Once we begin redistributing privileges, we notice that others get more preferential treatment in the distribution system than we do, so we clamor for more until there is no more to give. When we run out of privileges to distribute, no one has any privleges left. When people run out of privileges, they grow angry. When people grow angry, they become violent. When people become violent, they kill each other.

On a timeline, we're about 50 years into the cycle. We've lost our standard for meaning, we've confused ourselves as to any standard at all, we've lost our sense of equality and everyone ascribes to being in some sort of minority be it ethnic, locational, or even preferential; all the new minorities clamor for the privileges enjoyed by "the majority" (i.e. anyone other than themselves, including other minorities; thus is the minority minset: "us against the world"). So the minorities pressure the people in power until they start to receive a tip from the hand of the distributor, then other minorities notice and clamor for their own piece of the pie. Before long, the pie has been entirely distributed, and the distributor has to resort from scrounging from pieces of pie already been handed out and even promising pie that doesn't exist to pacify them. The people grow tired of their insubstantial share or unfulfilled promise of a share, and become angry; because they identify themself primarily by the minority they have aligned themself with, they determine that the distributor is discriminating against them because of their minority. This escalates to violence.

So the question being, with the government already in the hands of those who seek to deal with the public via distribution of the wealth; with riots already being inspired by ethnic identity; and with constant public displays of racial, sexual, mental, and ideological pride growing ever more provocative and/or destructive, what is the next step?

Ethic wars? Genocide? In other parts of the world, it already happens. The question is, how much longer will our "democratic philosophy" keep us afloat? The answer is unclear, but history shows us that one thing is nearly certain: one day someone will take power, and based on the selective identity that someone is associated with, he will tear the country, if not the world, apart. Caesar's Rome, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, the Warlords of Somalia, Saddam's Iraq... are we next in line?

It should be noted that the implicit goal of a Democratic system of government is to pacify the people by pleasing the greatest number possible. The people vote, the voice of the majority is heard, the government acts. By catering to minorities, we effectively destroy what made our nation successful by undercutting its basest ideology.

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