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Postmodernism Eats Its Own

Image by DrSJS via Pixabay. Image by DrSJS via Pixabay.

Disagreeing with postmodernism is difficult because it means flipping the popular idea of tolerance. When professors preach tolerance, they do so explicitly through the influence of postmodernism. And unfortunately, when they speak about tolerance and criticize anyone who believes in absolute truth, you may feel pressured to accept what your professor is saying to avoid an embarrassing conflict.

Postmodernists claim that two contradictory ideas can coexist rather than conflict. Apparently, claims to absolute truth in modernism blatantly ignore subjectivity in a way that discounts personal experiences and opinions. Postmodernists reject the idea that the universe holds one set of standards, choosing to emphasize personal biases. At first this sounds wonderful because it encourages all opinions; it empowers tolerance. So what could possibly be wrong?

The problem is an underlying threat to absolute truth. Despite the façade of harmony and tolerance, postmodernism slowly replaces absolute truth with infinite subjective truths. Over time this creates extreme conflict because without absolute truth, nothing can be resolved. Since your truth is subjective to your up-bringing, you cannot prove anyone wrong, and neither can you prove yourself right. There are no objective standards to adhere to; we make them up.

But if everyone determines their own truth and they accept that everyone else’s truths are equally valid, wouldn’t the world avoid hostility and conflict altogether? Ah, if only.

If you were to move to a society where human sacrifice is both allowed and encouraged when you believe it is wrong, how could you defend your opinion? If truth only depends on subjective circumstances and biases, you can't. You won’t be able to explain why the taking of another life is wrong without a base of objectivity to draw from. You must accept this society's standards even though you disagree, and somehow, this is where that happy idea of tolerance and harmony will come in. You will feel that by accepting human sacrifice, you avoid conflict.

But let’s go a step further. Let’s say this society chooses to sacrifice you. You can't object because your respect for human life comes from your personal bias. Your belief may be right, but so is the society's belief that you need to be sacrificed, and since you live in said society, human sacrifice wins.

This is where postmodernism poses a threat anyone who ignores or overlooks it entirely: it refuses to recognize that one opinion or idea might be superior to another. Simple logic may understand that two conflicting truths cannot both be right, but without objectivity, this question will go unanswered and the very conflict that postmodernism tried to escape is now intensified.

Postmodernism is a self-defeating argument. It claims that there is no objectivity or absolute truth, but this claim is an absolute truth in and of itself. You cannot logically argue against absolute truth without absolute truth as the basis of the argument. In this case, the absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. Furthermore, claiming that objectivity does not exist requires you to put yourself in an objective stance in the first place. And so the argument disintegrates. Not only does it create more conflict, but it cannot support its own claims.

We don’t need to speak up every time one of our professors argue for postmodernism, but it is important for us to know whether or not we are caving to its popularity. On the surface, it brings together a multiplicity of ideas and beliefs into harmony. The unfortunate truth, however, is that this harmony is only a passing façade.


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