Newt Gingrich gave the following sober assessment of Barack Obama:
“It’s a nice fantasy. It sounds good. It would be wonderful. It just doesn’t fit this particular planet. And, over here you have North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Al-Qaeda and a whole host of potential enemies…
I think if you were to say, “He’s potentially the most dangerous because he completely misunderstands reality.” …You get an embrace if you are Hugo Chavez. You get acceptance if you’re Ahmadinejad in Iran. But, if you’re an American ally, somehow you’re not acceptable. He can bully you.
And, I think this is a typical pattern on the left. Jimmy Carter did it to some extent. The other thing that Obama does on a scale that Carter never dreamed of, is he believes, maybe because he believes in his own rhetoric… He believes that words are a substitute for reality.
I wrote a 3-part series on postmodernism and the danger it poses to Western civilization:
That final assessment by Gingrich – “He believes that words are a substitute for reality” – couldn’t be more spot-on. And it literally is the quintessence of postmodernism.
Postmodernists base their relativism and the view that all meaning is socially constructed on a particular view of language taken from a literary technique known as “deconstruction.” As such, they begin with the assumption that language cannot render truths about the world in any kind of objective way. On their view, language, by its very nature, shapes what we think. And since language is a cultural creation, meaning must be nothing more than a social construction. Thus, for postmodern linguists, the very meaning of words constitutes a self-contained system. Words merely refer to other words. And as human beings, we are unable to step outside of the boundaries, limits, or demands of language. And since language is bound up within culture, it is therefore largely beyond our control, and we can’t even think for ourselves.
Postmodernists believe there is no objective meaning, no realm of absolute truth, that exist beyond the bounds of human language. As a postmodern slogan puts it, “We are incarcerated in a prison house of language.” And our language thinks for us.
Thus you understand how a Barack Obama believes that words are a substitute for reality. On his view, what else is there but words?
Postmodernists along with deconstructionists view meaning as a social construct, which is to say that societies construct meaning through language. But they also view societies as inherently oppressive. They draw upon Frederich Nietzsche, who contended that human life and culture are only expressions of an innate will to power. They draw upon Karl Marx, who reduced culture to economic class conflict and exploitation. And they draw upon Sigmund Freud, who interpreted culture in terms of sexual and gender repression. Postmodernists assume that the true significance of culture lies beneath the surface, and that institutions are really simply “masks” for a sinister conspiracy.
Modern liberalism is every bit an offshoot of postmodernism. Take one of the most powerful tools of liberalism, “political correctness.” Being politically correct is not simply an attempt to make people feel better. It’s a large, coordinated effort to change Western culture as we know it by redefining it. Early Marxists and fascists designed their postmodern takeover long ago and continue to execute that plan to this day: to control the argument by controlling the “acceptable” language. Those with radical agendas have been taking advantage of an oversensitive and frankly overly gullible public for decades.
This is where the fundamental elitism of postmodernism rears its ugly head. They believe that all of the above is true for everyone else. But they alone have the intellect, the courage, the foresight, and the academic tools to decipher the codes and understand language and culture. They are the priests who can get beyond the limits they ascribe to all other human beings.
And so they alone have the right to rule the world.
It should be obvious why this point of view has been so dangerous every single time it has been imposed in history.
My response to all this is agreement with George Orwell, who once said that some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them, for no ordinary man could be such a fool.
Obama believes that he can “fundamentally transform” reality with his words. And yes, in agreement with Newt Gingrich, that makes him a profoundly naive and ultimately incredibly dangerous fool.