The so-called "modern world" was based upon secure faith in the power of reason, scientific method (empiricism), and a common ethic of Judeo-Christian values to secure a constant improvement in the condition of humanity. This belief system gave us the Industrial Revolution, capitalism (a constantly growing middle class), public education for the masses, and health care systems nearly doubling life expectancies for all economic classes. The "human experience" has altered more in the last four hundred years than in all the thousands of years of previous history. This all being undisputed fact, where did "postmodern thought" come from, and where is it possibly leading us?
As a short set of generalizations, let me observe a few critical observations. "Modernity" (the net ideology stated above) was based upon a conviction that reason, science, and a secure common ethic stabilizing society promised man an almost limitless improvement in all dimensions of his life. That confidence has been shattered by two world wars, multiple wars of ethnic cleansing, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, growing class-income discrepancies, debt-driven economies set to implode, and a litany of other seemingly unsolvable problems.
In short, modernity's intellectual and vast social improvements did not actually alter the nature of man. Sin not only still exists, the modern world has given it new levels of collective power. The modern world promised what it could not deliver, and worse than that, man should no longer place significant confidence in his ability to discover, comprehend, and build upon absolute objective truth. Postmodern thought all but tells us we should question all claims of "absolute anything." "Truth" is subjective personal opinion claiming authority it must not be given.
Instead of readjusting our confidence in the power of reason, science, and universally agreed-upon ethics to truly alter man's nature, the despondence of the cultural thought-changers encouraged the abandonment of the entire foundations. Intellectual history must now embrace Nietzsche, existentialism (reality means what value we give it), despair, self-centered convenience, and pleasure. Hedonism, with a measure of commitment to the value of community, has married political correctness and her sister, limitless narcissistic self-expression. Are you seriously asking us to proceed on this foundation?
SO What Do All These Big Words Mean?
Here is what they mean. The current political elections in the United States, along with a host of other political-economic activities globally, are perfectly reflecting the consequences of postmodern thinkers demanding their turn to manage the world-if not now, as soon as they can properly discredit any others standing in their way. Cut to the core, postmodern thought rejects what I call "results-based reality" thinking. Postmodern thought says, "I can make reality mean whatever I want it to mean. My only limitations must be solved by using sufficient force and intimidation to silence our critics and socially marginalize with contempt and group-think any who would dare to stand with them."
Results-based reality simply means that reality is best revealed by the measurable consequences of what particular thoughts or belief-systems actually produce when applied to any given situation. Ideas, when applied, produce observable results. Welcome to the historic foundations of Judeo-Christian thought, Socratic thought, scientific thought, and all learning-based systems of evaluating by the results their applications produced. Postmodern thought is a step back into medieval ignorance since "results" as well are simply viewed as subjective evaluations. Modern absolutism needed biblical humility not abandonment.
So where can we see this medieval thinking in the current situation? Here is a short list:
1) It is revealed by anyone advocating socialism as a serious economic system. Are the abject economic failures of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else insufficient reality-indicators of their failure? God help us from the blind ignorance of the current generation of youth who believe in socialism as a viable economic system. Welcome to the product of postmodern university professors, or Marxist ideologists, still convinced that "true socialism has not yet had a fair chance to be applied." Once again, these trapped and troubled souls don't understand that capitalism, just like modernity, needs re-engineering not destruction.
2) It is revealed by everyone promising national budget-increase investments without major taxation reform, budget reforms, and hard commitments to reduce and eliminate debt above percentages of GDP levels. Results-based reality now looms over our global economy as a pending eternal history lesson of reality and the insanity of the idea that we can meet human need without concern for budgetary control.
3) It is revealed by anyone advocating foreign policy based on the assumption that we can change a nation and their policy towards us without aligning their self-interest with ours or changing their national worldview to align with ours. Economic policy and foreign policy are precisely the points where results-based reality must be our foundational starting points rather than any other idealistic or ignorance-based theory.
4) It is revealed by anyone advocating ownership of children ultimately belonging to the state and its social agencies rather than the parents (except in cases of criminal physical abuse or parental desertion). Parental control and the strengthening of the family unit is always best proven by results-based reality on every level in regard to the social success of the children and their self-governing levels of productivity.
5) It is revealed by anyone diminishing the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, religion, and the right to assemble free from unlawful disruption.
Results-based history has always demonstrated that the creation of authoritarian police states follows the elimination of these core freedoms.
Of course, the list could go on. When results-based reality is socially diminished as a cultural worldview, social and economic collapse soon follows. If reality as a concept means anything, it means that consequences and discernible feedback to the intelligent observer is the best method to determining what is truly real. Medieval thought will lead us back to medieval results. That is a frightening notion given the current level of destructive weapons, dependent technology, lawlessness rather than self-government in large segments of our citizenry, entitlement unrealities at an all-time high, and the abundance of ignorant leaders who want authority singing, "We will save you," to the graduates of failed educational institutions.
Results-based reality must become a mantra to those spiritually and intellectually positioned to lead and influence the nations now facing a plethora of significant challenges. As the European Union shakes, the US political parties splinter, the Middle East spins further out of control, and the global economy weakens, now is the time for results-based leaders to lead. Though the consequences of where we now stand will undoubtedly be severe, reformation awaits us, and that is... THE BOTTOM LINE.
© 2016 Dennis Peacocke / http://www.strategiclifetraining.com/