Modernity and Post-Modernity: A Retrospective on the Death of Liberal Education

At the outset of 2017, I determined myself upon a hard-line analysis of the zeitgeists, the philo-artistic movements known to the West as modernism and post-modernism; in an attempt to expound how such movements of the popular culture completely rooted out the Victorian conservatism that preceded it. It is my own opinion that in a certain way I was successful – however, the almost pathological nature of post-modernity managed to encapsulate me even more-so. I refer to this group, that perverted the original intentions of the ‘modern deconstructionists’ as self-rationalists. It is of my own inclination that post-modernity in this way is nothing more than exactly that, a self-rationalization – beset upon shaky pillars of natural order reversions that it deems to be ‘progressive’ and ‘constructionist’. The following serves as a retrospective of my sometimes gall observations of such analysis.

In what Hegel, if alive today, may consider to be that of the grandest historical ironies; modernity, a philosophy in which purports both subjectivity and liberality, has fallen victim to its foremost proponents – who have decided certain institutions are void of the latter profession. The very same institutions that modernists once critiqued for being too exclusive, now find themselves in an oddly familiar situation with a reverted face. One may even think of the dilemma as a certain type of perverse horsehoe theory. Some have attempted to explain this institutional change as a natural evolution, building upon the ruin of meaning deconstructionist moderns left behind. For many conservatives it has became abundantly clear that this is factitious. A much better characterization would be that of an authoritarian silencing mechanism masquerading as a ‘complex’ philosophy. Post-modernism is its name, but ironically there is little that transcends modernism. Rather, it has decided to deconstruct itself to a prior age. A society based on ever-growing divergent identities, has been a defining characteristic of recent decades. It is no wonder that in response to this dark cloud domineering all ideas, that the “intellectual dark web”  as coined by Dr. Eric Weinstein of Harvard University, has arisen from seemingly nowhere, encapsulating millions of individuals by challenging this aforementioned philosophy-in-name-only. As this new era of intellectuals arises, criticized fairly or unfairly as they may, it has become abundantly clear that there ideas do not bode favorably for those that label themselves post-modernists. On the contrary, for many conservatives, in which post-modernity pushed aside, this movement appears it will lead to a positive cleansing of institutional bias in universities. What has grown apparent, to my personal disdain, is that in reaction to post-modernists, this intellectual movement has begun to incorporate the entirety of modernity. This is not necessarily a good thing for society in regards to education. Liberalism of education and the university, when actually existent before post-modernity, lead to the birth of some of the greatest discourse and political engagement seen in history. Debate reigned free. It is with this in mind, conservatives should push for not the replacing of modern, liberal education with a sort of reactionary anti-pluralism. Rather, for perseverance of liberal education a higher virtue of honesty is required, possible only by a morally convicted people.

Institutions dedicated to the idea of liberal education must once again begin initiating coherent conversations on topics such as diversity, race, and hierarchies – as many discussions or research regarding such are seen as regressive if not subscribing to a form of ‘crypto-intersectionality’. This phenomena is most apparent in the oddly vicious post- modern disdain for scientific studies. This rejection of hard science in favor of strange neo-marxist fantasy is purely a defense mechanism for ideological, or referencing Carl Schmitt’s ‘Political theology’, even pseudo-theological thinking. Post-modernism with these characteristics has became the scope of thinking that is at a total roadblock refusing to be evolved upon; following into the familiar trap enlightenment philosophy plunged toward after the German idealists. One such example of a revealing study modernists have roadblocked off from their consciousness, is the ‘Gender Equality Paradox’ studied by Leeds Beckett University and the University of Missouri – who Jordan Peterson, understandably, loves to cite. The results of the universities findings, which conclude that in equal societies gender divergence increases, serve no gain to education in being suppressed – yet do if your primary concern, rather than education, is a strange neo-marxist fantasy. This post-modern rejection of addressing new developments is precisely why we find ourselves in such a divided society, that of the truth and that of the fantastical. It seems so distant in the past when the promulgation of discourse was such an esteemed concept, we judged universities by their ability to provide it. Modern liberal education, if it maintains any intention of persisting influence, must begin to seriously engage science, the public, and most importantly, its joint opposition from both the radicals and the reactionaries.

The question of where this bias re-construction from modernity to post-modernity, perpetuated by these ‘self-rationalists’ began, comes full circle to the very beginning establishment of modernism in America. A major misconception for the rise of post-modernism, is that it is an existential reaction to the evils of imperialism. This fundamentally cannot be true, because the palatability of post-modernism delves much farther than the complexities of imperialism. What better explains post-modernism’s successes, is that, even to this day, it is imposed on the youth in an unknowing manor, governed by the high ideals of leftist cosmopolitans. These leftists, controlling through entertainment the application of modern ideas, with grand ignorance omitted there own worldview. Thus the only deconstruction shown to young generations into modernism was the deconstruction of Victorian conservatism. It is through this that many of the youth interpreted the deconstruction of Victorian conservative bias in institutions as a reflection of the innate backwardness in all of conservatism. Clearly it is possible to change minds, or Reagan would not have swept the Boomer generation in his conservative crusade, and the intellectual dark web would not have garnered the adulation of Generation Y and Z persistent today. Nonetheless, conservatives are, from the very nature of modernism’s bungled application, not operating on an equal cultural playing field.

Intellectual development of conservatism prematurely descended proportional to when modernism gained prominence. Rather than strengthening the Burkean roots, conservatives opted for politically expedient compromises such as fusionism to stay even remotely relevant. This stunted growth created the neoliberal ruling class, which has unsurprisingly been an utter failure at conserving much of anything. With the rise of the ‘New, New Right’, in authors like Sohrab Ahmari and Patrick Deneen – hope persists that a re-evaluation of conservatism to accommodate for its stunted development is possible. Yet, lingering in the background, ever-present, are the ancient ideas, the old consensus born of defeatism and compromise which have failed to suffice. What has not is conservatism.