The Challenge of Postmodernism

Guest Editorial

By Jeanette Hernandez

            Culture is unified only in so far as most citizens see a common thread of values and mores. Just prior to World War II, cialis America had a shared culture. Science was equated with progress, thumb the family (defined heterosexually) was the central unit of social order, politicians were expected to protect individualism, Darwinism explained biology, social order, and even the new field of advertising and mass media, along with the upswing of the middle class. Common culture was known as the Modern era.

Now our country has entered the Postmodern phase with a new set of standard beliefs and narratives. No one can actually put a date to the end of Modernism and exact rise of Postmodernism, but the dependency on the Web as “centerless” moves the culture away from a common ideology and toward the rejection of any one cultural normality. Postmodernism is skeptical of progress, religion, family values, even the heterosexual family unit. Postmodernism is a loss of central beliefs, central controls, and central cultural mores.

Reality on television trumps real reality in Postmodernism. Art is audience and a validation of subcultures, networks, and distributed knowledge. Without a center or even a leader, the postmodern world is nebulous and indistinct. We, as conservatives, are finding it difficult to pin down the postmodern value system with its confusing language and shifting loyalties. Now what is determined to be right or wrong is not based on a cultural gauge, but on the statistical facts of what goes for most people. Homosexuality is becoming more acceptable including gay marriage and alternative family structures. Marijuana is considered by increasing numbers of citizens as harmless or medicinal, and the majority of citizens now feel municipalities should not use limited city resources to close “pot shops.”

Not only do we find ourselves in the midst of a lost and confused generation, but also many conservatives feel the cultural shift and wonder if people remember traditional values that many of us set the course of our lives upon. What is evident is that the way of the culture is getting wider and the way of a moral code is much narrower; “narrow is the road” as it were. Conservatives may feel that their fellow Americans have a conspicuously short memory concerning what made our country great. The ideals of nuclear families and civic responsibility have been replaced with alternative families and popular entitlements. Our countrymen and women seem to have disengaged from what makes this country unique and powerful and resorted to becoming one more socialist experiment.

Perhaps conservatism has gone the way of Napoleon-ism or Federalism; perhaps it was for a particular time and a specific culture, whereas entitlement culture gains a wider and wider audience. Once the cry of “a chicken in every pot” has now become “universal healthcare” and “Robin Hood tax scales.” And, there is no end in sight to the “rights” that citizens can claim without the responsibilities.

Conservatives need to re-popularize “vintage” values. The terms to use are not American protectionism, but “pride in American-made.” We do not need to say end entitlements, but we do need to declare “community rebuilding” with locally inspired agri-industry or craft-to-market strategies. Conservative political parties need to see themselves as rebuilding America from the ground up, literally. We need a platform of supporting urban vegetable gardens, new housing concepts, techno-niches, banking alternatives (think Simple Bank with its non-fee checking account), and decentralized market support with venturists and neighborhood-group investors.

So how do conservatives win in a Postmodern world? We need to use the decentralization of the Web to the advantage of local rebuilding. Let’s educate each community to develop what they have and use ingenuity to get what they need without government handouts. By rebuilding America in every realm of activity with a can-do attitude that would never rely on the government for lifestyle changes we can find American  possibilities again.

          Jeanette  Hernandez, a middle  school teacher, has also homeschooled. 


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