We often hear that postmodernism is portrayed to students as an intellectual demon that is out to rip up truth by the roots and destroy all things that we value and hold dear. Actually, it’s a thinking system that stems from the work of some French thinkers that were around some 50 years ago. It’s derived from lots of ideas but is often referred to as a rejection of long accepted narratives or global visions of the world around us. All of this has resulted in several claims about postmodernism being “anti” all things that we love and treasure.
Radical Ideas Promulgated on College Campuses
The intellectual battles that are taking place today are on our college campuses, where the deep passions and convictions about gender, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation exist within young students. In addition, they have a strong sense of social justice antipathy on things like capitalism, racism, imperialism, white privilege, and misogyny. There is also the reality of opposing views and contradictory facts that has led to chaos on those campuses and even violence. We have seen students from the University of California, Berkeley, along with agitators from the outside that have resorted to riots whenever conservative firebrands like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos have been invited to speak on campus.
In light of all this, we hear several postmodernists argue that everyone ought to be very skeptical whenever we hear claims of objectivity, that others had direct access to the real truth, or any overarching narratives. They point out that science, which seeks to uncover objective facts in ways that is impartial, could be doomed from the start. This is because science is a juicy target for postmodern critique questioning, as postmodernists will desire to know what science does and how it is done. These kinds of criticisms, which typically range from the somewhat reasonable to the completely absurd, is the very things that causes people to refer to postmodernism as “anti-science.”