Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Death of Common Sense Will Spell the End of Free Societies

Viruses of the human mind: more dangerous than all pathogens combined.

I have written about the ensuing personal anecdote elsewhere (Saad, 2004) but it is worth repeating here. Several years ago, my wife and I had gone out for a celebratory dinner with one of my doctoral students and one of his female friends. The friend in question was a committed postmodernist and a staunch academic feminist. At one point during our dinner, I gently asked her whether she genuinely believed the postmodernist foundational tenet that there are no universal truths. The astute reader might notice the logical problem here, as the latter tenet is itself construed as a universal truth! Setting aside this embarrassing conundrum, she retorted with complete assuredness that indeed all knowledge is relative. Surely, I replied there must be some universals otherwise the pursuit of scientific truths is an utter illusion. In the hope of being more concrete, I suggested that I provide her with examples of universals and then she could explain to me how I might be misguided.

I began with a rather trivial truth or so I thought. I asked her whether it was a universal truth that within the human species it is only women who bear children. Surely this is an absolute fact, no? After rolling her eyes in utter disgust and taking a few huffs and puffs, she replied that she was amazed at how sexist my example had been. At this point, my doctoral student, my wife, and I were truly baffled. The feminist explained that in the spiritual narrative of a particular group of Japanese people, it is the men who bear the children! Hence, by purposely restricting childbearing to the physical/biological realm, I was being sexist. Sure, in the biological realm, it is the women who give birth but in the spiritual arena, it is wholly conceivable for men to be the child bearers. Whereas I was well aware of the nonsensical babble of postmodernists, I must admit that this was a new height of delusional thinking. I composed myself and decided to provide one additional and final example.

I started off by stating that perhaps my first example was too "controversial" as it dealt with sex differences. Accordingly, I would next provide a more "innocuous" example that was perhaps easier for her to digest. I asked her whether it was indeed a universal truth that from any vantage point on Earth, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Surely, since time immemorial sailors have relied on this cosmological fact. Take a minute to think about how she might have retorted in this case. Here is a hint: she used the tools of deconstructionism to "tease apart" my latest universal. Deconstructionism argues that reality is a linguistic creation. Hence, there is no objective truth to speak of, as all information is constrained within subjective linguistic bounds. She proposed that I was putting labels on things, and she refused to play such games. She did not know what I meant by "East" or "West." These were arbitrary labels. What did I mean by "sun"? That which I called the sun, she might refer to as "dancing hyena" (her actual words!), to which I wryly replied: OK, the dancing hyena rises in the East and sets in the West. Better yet, the dancing hyena gives me a dancing hyena burn on my fat stomach if I lay out too long without any dancing hyena protection!

If you think that this is an isolated incident that is otherwise unrepresentative of postmodernists, academic feminists, or deconstructionists, you'd be wrong. These anti-science movements have spent the greater part of the past four decades polluting the minds not only of bright academics but also of generations of students who were otherwise impressed by the obscurantism and fake profundity of these intellectual charlatans. The concerted efforts of several exemplary scientists have managed to slowly eviscerate the influence of anti-science movements on university campuses. For example, the physicist Alan Sokal purposely submitted a nonsensical postmodernist paper containing pseudo-randomly generated passages to Social Text, one of the elite journals in the field. After it being accepted, Sokal confessed his ruse albeit this did not seem to embarrass the editors. After all, since all meaning is relative, the editors construed his randomly generated nonsensical paper as meaningful!

These anti-science movements coupled with cultural relativism, political correctness, and an ethos of self-guilt regarding all geopolitical realities will prove the demise of Western civilization. It is such babble that caused nearly all of the American news media to offer hallucinatory explanations regarding the recent Times Square incident including that the alleged terrorist did this because he had defaulted on his mortgage payment, and hence was facing great financial strain. Both the media and Obama officials are under a strict edict to avoid uttering the most obvious of geopolitical facts. These nonsensical pseudo-intellectual movements will spell the end of liberal democracies if they are not eradicated from public discourse.

More from Gad Saad Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today