Postmodernism and activism instead of education

James Lindsay (@Goddoesnt on twitter) has raised the point that critical studies departments have replaced education with activism. This is just a quick note to point out that this is really the inevitable conclusion of the postmodernist belief system.

Postmodernist generally hold to the following points, even if they do not entirely phrase them this way:

  1. There are no objective facts. So narratives (theories) are neither true nor false.
  2. The only function a narrative performs is to confer power on one group or another.

Given these two assumptions, they cannot function academically in the traditional sense. Scholarly work is by definition impossible, according to postmodernism. But what remains possible is to craft narratives in an attempt to gain power.

In other words, critical studies is about convincing other people of pure fictions in order to gain power. Since no narrative is true or false, a critical theorist feels no constraint to make a narrative that fits reality, but is able to concoct any theory they want, with the goal of achieving power.

The most common of these, of course, is to claim that one is a member of a ‘marginalized’ group, which must therefore be ‘protected,’ or, to put it another way, to demand privileges over and above what other people receive. But however it is done, the fact remains that the connection between critical studies and activism is a completely natural one.

We should reject the notion that critical studies have anything to do with scholarly or academic work, and get such departments shut down in respectable universities. I would say they belong in the same category as astrology schools, but this is unfair to the astrologists, because the latter at least believe in objective reality.

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