What really struck me is that postmodernism, which in this case clearly has become dishonest and unscholarly in its apparently deliberate misrepresentation of the past to fit its preconcieved notions of what must have happened, rather than what actually, empirically, happened, is the cause of much of the culture of deception that we see today (search on my blog for what I mean by that...).
You see, this is, for me, the telling quote:
I'll start with the postmodernist view of historical truth and quote one of its advocates, the Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University, Anne Curthoys, who has written:
This is from the first link ut supra.
Many academics in the humanities and social sciences … now reject … the notion that one can objectively know the facts. The processes of knowing, and the production of an object that is known, are seen as intertwined. Many take this even further, and argue that knowledge is entirely an effect of power, that we can no longer have any concept of truth at all.
This boils post-modernism down to its fundamentals: that there is no longer any truth. I learned in my first semester of philosophy how fallacious this is, that the statement itself, if true, contradicts what it states, making it false. It is the result, at best, of wanting to avoid making students actually learn how to think, and, at worst (and it usually is at worst), it is a deliberate relativism out of intellectual dishonesty.
Now let's step away for a moment, and understand what at least one of the effects is. If we say, collectively as the West, that there are no truths, that everything is relative, then we are also saying that we have no beliefs, that our beliefs are not per se any better than any one else's. That is all very noble and high-minded, but it is also an intellectual attempt at dodging the bullet of doing the hard work and making judgements about others, be it societies, economic systems or belief structures. This is the sort of relativism, relativism perversely in the name of academic objectivity, that led during the cold war many to believe, truly believe, that the economic system of Communism was just as good as that of the West in meeting the needs of the population and that if it wasn't working, then it was because of external factors.
It is the same kind of thinking that sets the West up for being targeted by terrorists.
In one perverse sense, the West is responsible for the kind of terrorism that we have seen over the last years: we invite it, as it were, by failing to make it clear that we are not even capable of judging between right and wrong, and that if someone attacks us, it is because of something we did.
Which, when you place yourself, as Gedankenexperiment, in the mind of someone who fervently believes in what he or she does, then for someone to say that what they believe is no better or worse than what others believe is an invitation to force those to change their beliefs. After all, under the conditions of post-modernism, being a Muslim is no different, fundamentally, than being an Anglican or being a Catholic. Hence a radical Islamicist cannot be blamed for thinking that Europe, for instance, is a overly ripe fruit, there for the plucking, and that since the Europeans don't "believe" in anything, that they can damn well better become Muslims. All it should take is a little bit of violence, much like the tenet of Islam that if a wife becomes uppity, the husband is perfectly justified in slapping or beating her to bring her back to her place in society: I think that this is a decent metaphor for how the Islamicists view the West, as something that properly belongs to them, that shows no beliefs of its own, that should serve their interests and subjugate its own to those of the Islamicists.
Now do you see the absurdity of post-modernist thought, its fundamental dishonesty and its effects?
Post-modernist thought should be thoroughly debunked and disgraced. Post-modernist history, at least in Australia, has been shown to be fundamentally dishonest, falsifying the historical record or simply making it up. It can only be hoped that this can be changed and that the discipline can regain its objectivity, its historical accuracy.
Were that the effects could be so simply changed as well.