Virtue Gone Mad: Postmodernism’s Assault on Truth
“The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.” – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
If this assessment was true in Gilbert Keith’s day, how much more so today? What we consider Christian virtues have been pulled apart to the point of complete isolation. These virtues are meant to be grouped together as different facets of a complete individual, but as the deconstruction of our culture has progressed, they have been amputated and mutated as Chesterton describes.
The book of Philippians compiles a number of these virtues in one sublime verse. The Apostle Paul, speaking to the church in Philippi, advised them “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil 4:8, NKJV). Philippians is considered one of the high points of Pauline scripture for its portrayal of the mind of Christ, yet this is nearly rendered gibberish in a world which has dismissed the existence of Truth outside of a petri dish. A world in which Justice is interchangeable with social outrage.
Chesterton puts his finger on a deeper truth, however. Taken individually, these virtues lose their Virtue. Truth is divine…when combined with Love, Justice, et al, but Truth alone is a cruel master. To take the example which Chesterton himself used, most scientists claim to hold Truth as their lodestar (and the honest ones actually do), but often they use that banner of Truth as a weapon to bludgeon and punish those who do not accept their hypotheses, utterly devoid of charity or tolerance. Justice is essential in any functional society, yet justice without truth or purity is tyrannical. Take the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Plenty of justice, but little of it rooted in truth or purity. Loveliness attracts the eye and inspires the artist, yet loveliness divorced from purity and respectability is tawdriness. This occurs regularly in the entertainment industry where some of the most beautiful young women our country has to offer are systematically debased in order to feed an audience slavering for debauchery. How many young starlets are chewed up and spit out, mere gristle for an industry which idolizes loveliness sans purity?
How did this unified concept of Virtue become so fragmented? Postmodernists have been laboring for decades to dismantle the concept of Truth and as this cornerstone continues to crumble, the rest of the Christian virtues are becoming increasingly unmoored. For those unfamiliar, postmodernism is a movement which came into vogue during the end of the 20th century. Put simply, it questions everything. A postmodern worldview is one which holds itself outside of any societal or logical structure. Postmodernists don’t need to stay within the bounds of truth and logic because they disavow both as social constructs. When there is no requirement to be truthful or logical, anything goes. Honestly, it has been a wicked-smart demolition of that unified concept of Virtue which spawned Western civilization. They chose just the right Jenga piece to pull which would lead to the demolition of our entire moral and logical structure.
The result is that we have social activists like Michael Moore who drape themselves in the trappings of Nobility and Compassion, yet are allergic to Truth and Justice. He sees no shame in being one of the rich people that he attacks in his movies. His tiny, overworked brain cannot identify the illogic required to make the following statement, “Capitalism is an organized system to guarantee that greed becomes the primary force of our economic system and allows the few at the top to get very wealthy…” while sitting in one of his nine houses. Yes, nine houses. The result is that we have so-called journalists on MSLSD who cannot distinguish between the evil, terrorist organization Hamas and the benevolent (yet fierce!) nation of Israel. One uses rockets to defend its people and one uses its people to defend themselves from rockets.
The scariest thought of all is that most of the men and women teaching our children have studied at the knee of Postmodernism while gaining their college degrees. Outside of Hillsdale and a few other schools, there might not be a college in America which has not embraced postmodern/post-structuralist thought. The graduates of these schools are entering the workforce, some of them teaching our children and planting the seeds which relativist professors will be only too happy to water, years down the road. And as C.S. Lewis once quipped, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
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