The Inescapable Concept
As Douglas Wilson has said, it is not whether, but which. The real question posed by post-modernism is not whether there will be meaning to the world, but which meaning will be given to the world. There is no philosophy or worldview that has no dogma or system of thought. The real statement that post-modernism makes is not “the center cannot hold,” but “your center cannot hold.” Or, nearer the mark, “only my center can hold.”
So the real accomplishment of post-modernism is not, as stated, the erasure of all dogmas, but the supplanting of traditional and tested dogmas for another dogma, one that is not tested. Or rather one that has been extensively tested, and has been shown to fail.
What’s the Problem?
There are many logical problems with post-modernism, but I will focus on one here in particular: inconsistency. The dogma of post-modernism is fundamentally inconsistent. It is the selective application of a supposedly universal erasure.
The goal is to tear down all pedagogues. Except the one teaching it.
The goal is to tear down all ideologies. Except itself.
The goal is to liberate rational Man from the shackles of faith. Except for faith in the rationality of man and the irrationality of faith.
I dearly hope that no-one who claims to believe in a philosophy fully and to the end (that is, someone who has put the whole of their life into its hands) would admit at the outset that their philosophy is fatally flawed, and contains the seed of its own destruction in itself. That would be truly building your house on the sands. But with postmodernism, how could it be otherwise?
If you do not consistently destroy all ideologies, including your own ideology of destruction, you are no post-modernist. But if you do consistently destroy your own ideology of destruction, then it is destroyed, and you cannot believe it in good intellectual conscience. I am truly not trying to reduce this to absurdity, but the whole thing seems like one big logical fallacy when you break it down into its essence.
If you dislike Christianity because of its claims of exclusive authority, at least respect it for its intellectual consistency. If you dislike Christ for saying “no-one comes to the Father except through me,” at least respect that he added “through me.” At least be glad that He did not say “there is no way” and leave us at that. At least He said “My Way says that there is no other way, except My Way,” and not “my way says that there are no ways, even my way.” That is a paradox, and not in the good way.
There are two kinds of paradoxes. One is a functional paradox. This might be defined as two things which, looking from a rational viewpoint, should never exist together, but, looking from a realistic viewpoint, do exist together, and more than that, function together. An example of this would be a humble man. If we look through almost all of recorded history, we would conclude that it is absurd to expect Man to be humble, or even to be anything but destructively proud. And yet this does not make it any less true that my pastor sweeps off the front mat before every Sabbath Day. (In this way, a functional paradox might be said to be a miracle, or accomplished by a miracle.)
The second kind of paradox is a dysfunctional paradox. This might be defined as two things which, looking from a rational viewpoint should never exist together, and do not. Or, if they do exist together, do not function together. Postmodernism is such a one, since its central teaching is a consistent inconsistency. And thus there is no true postmodernism or postmodernist. Or, if there ever was, he or she would be dysfunctional, in the sense that they would have, as their foundation, a dysfunctional paradox, and this will affect and infect everything they do.
I hope that you, if you consciously or unconsciously accept postmodernism as a system of life or thought, at least see and acknowledge this paradox. What you do with this knowledge is the subject of a different paper.