TW Viewpoint | Post-Modernism: Marxism in DisguiseSeptember 2, 2022 | Javid Khan
In our previous viewpoint, 'The History of the Marxist Theory', we discussed the ideologies of Karl Marx that eventually gave rise to the theory of communism, a flawed theory that supposes society as an economic class struggle. We concluded that communism and by extension Marxism is an extreme form of governmental control that, according to historical examples, never ends well for society. We also established that Marxism and Neo-Marxism live on today, but how so? How is it still prevalent today? Let's take a close look at one of these Neo-Marxist philosophies, post-modernism, and reveal the Marxist narrative in disguise.
To understand how post-modernism originated, it is important to do a quick recap on the premise of Marxism. Karl Marx purported that all history was an economic struggle between different social classes. On one side there is the working class – the poor, the proletariat. On the other side, the capitalist class – the rich, the bourgeoisie. There was no middle class, as the economic circumstances would inevitably create such a divide, that they would fall into the working class and become poor. As such, the prediction of Marx would see the group of working-class increase as they are continually oppressed while the capitalist class decreases. The wealth would then be controlled by an elite few by controlling the means of production. Communism was therefore the solution to a supposed problem. However, to the dismay of the Marxist intellectuals, the opposite was true. Capitalist nations were thriving, the working class was decreasing while the middle and capitalist classes were increasing – even after World War I and the great depression. Over a hundred years after the Communist Manifesto was published, around the 1950s, the damming truth came to light after the crimes of Stalin were admitted by Nikita Khrushchev and the public display of brutality in Hungary in 1956. Marxism was an utter failure. So, the Marxist intellectuals at the time had the option to accept their failure and give up on their theory, or to modify it, and modify it they did! Bringing about the new left and the birth of post-modernism.
Post-modernism, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is defined as:
"…a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power… In the 1980s and '90s, academic advocates on behalf of various ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious groups embraced postmodern critiques of contemporary western society, and postmodernism became the unofficial philosophy of the new movement of 'identity politics.'" (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Let's break that down into simpler terms. Society was run by the generally accepted principle that reason, truth and knowledge were fundamental. The post-modernists, however, cast doubt on this and viewed these principles with skepticism. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but you see this in action when Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked what a woman is and "she", being effectively asked to describe herself, retorted with "I can't… I'm not a biologist".
In addition to their skepticism, it is believed that your identity is group fostered rather than individually developed. As such, these groups are categorized as either the oppressed or the oppressors – a transformation of the terms Marx coined as the proletariat (the oppressed) and the bourgeoisie (the oppressor). This idea is typified by the post-modernist disdain for traditional western culture and civilization. In fact, Jacque Derrida, a French philosopher known for his work on deconstruction and an intellectual of the post-modern world, admits it as a transformation of Marxism. He also describes the West as phallogocentric – the privileging of males in the creation of meaning – where the male dominant structure in society was deemed as an oppressor.
It is interesting, however, that when the term phallogocentric is broken down to individual terms it is axiomatic of society today. Phallogocentric is a combination of three terms; phallo, logos and centric. Phallo describes the masculine aspect of the term and it is where we derive the word phallic, referring to the male genitalia. Logos, although it refers to God (or 'the Word') in the bible, it is also the root word for logic and dialogue and centric simply implies these terms are the focus. In keeping with the notion of post-modernism, we see that reason, logic and by extension the male dialogue are meaningless. This is self-evident in western society today, as it has unknowingly embraced the post-modernist view.
We see Canada issuing bill C-6 which proposes conversion therapy as a criminal offence. Conversion therapy is defined as:
"…any practice, service or treatment designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to cisgender, or gender expression to match the sex assigned at birth…" (Proposed changes to Canada's Criminal Code relating to conversion therapy, justice.gc.ca)
A therapist, therefore, should practice affirmation therapy, confirming the confused individual's idea of their sexual identity, perhaps even affirming a fantasy. How can a therapist, who probably met someone for the first time affirm anything without truly knowing the confusion of the individual? As Jordan Peterson once tweeted:
"It is not the task of the therapist to affirm or to deny but to explore in the service of the truth. Or [else] it's something radically other than therapy." (Jordan Peterson Tweet)
Over in the United States, the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion access, in July 2022, saw Berkeley's Law Professor, Khiara Bridges immediately dismiss dialogue from Senator Josh Hawley as transphobic, resisting to give the biological definition of a woman, as he sought an answer to whether abortion was specific to women or not. This type of rhetoric is commonplace as the divide between the oppressed and oppressor is the first stance taken to reject any claim, even potentially, against your own.
There are many other examples to illustrate post-modernist thinking today; however, the evidence shows the ideologies of Marx still permeate our society, although disguised in different terms, the fundamental aspects are still present. The oppressed versus the oppressor and the need to change the hierarchical structure of society to facilitate the so-called oppressed are all around us. Despite numerous pieces of evidence to show western culture and civilization before post-modernism was flourishing, society seems to be drawn to support the perceived underdog regardless of logic and without concern for the consequences. Don't be fooled by the post-modernist argument, it will only bring about the same result as Marxism, misery, pain, and suffering, along with the loss of individual freedom of action, expression and even thought.