We once thought these stories lay at the fringes. Passing fads that could never take hold. Amusements to be mocked and passed over.
But we were wrong.
We now find ourselves in a position where we must engage and understand.
As I wrote last week, The Australian reported that the University of Sydney Union, one of Australia’s most prestigious debating clubs, will field teams in 2018 that are comprised mostly of “non-cis-males, wom*n, and persons marginalised by white supremacy.”
They will no longer merely field teams comprising of the best debaters they can find.
Such seeming insanity is becoming more and more common. These stories no longer lie at the fringe, but at the centre of major institutions. They are not passing fads – this is an ideology that has gripped a generation. If we pass over it, we will never be able to understand how serious it is or how to combat it.
As I wrote last week, the ideology that drives what we often call “political correctness gone mad” or “cultural Marxism” is postmodernism.
For years, quietly postmodern school curricula have planted and watered the seeds of this thinking in young minds. It has seeped into institutions and governments. Now it is everywhere.
A chief among postmodern philosophers is Jacques Derrida.
You will see from what follows how that his thinking fits with the University of Sydney Union’s ideology.
The foundations of what he taught are expressed in a single word which he coined to describe western culture: phallogocentric.
The first part of the word is derived from “phallus.” Meaning that western culture is dominated by men who are necessarily powerful, self-serving and oppressive. They are the enemy.
It also hints at the rejection of the individual. This is a philosophy that does not define people by reference to their personhood, but by reference to their tribal identity. Whites, blacks, cis, non-cis, straight, gay, trans. It seems to grow daily. Your tribe is either a tribe of victims, oppressed by other tribes, or it is a powerful tribe, responsible for that oppression.
The second part of the word phallogocentric is derived from “logos” – the root word of logic and dialogue, and a word of immediate note to Christians.
Neither logic nor dialogue are valid tools to understand the world or reach consensus in the postmodern universe. They are instead seen as tools of oppression – a ruse used by the powerful to cling onto their power and keep others in subjugation.
We often throw our hands up in despair at how little sense there is in political correctness and the postmodernism that fuels it. We shouldn’t. Sense is not part of the philosophy. It simply doesn’t need to make sense according to the usual standards of truth and logic, and the fact you are attacking it on that basis shows you that you, too, are using truth claims to cling to power.
This of course is not to be talked about. Dialogue is mere power play. It’s invalid.
The result of all this is a society composed of a mish-mash of various tribes who are at war for power. They don’t talk about it because they can’t. There is no escape, because every person’s identity is fixed by reference to their tribe.
Small wonder then that the societies who go all the way down this road descend into a pit of conflict, oppression, war and terror. Some humans become more equal than others. Speech and dialogue are suppressed by the state. Anger, resentment and arrogance are the order of the day.
This is why debate in Australia is becoming less civil and more polarised. This is why activists are shutting down opposing voices. This is why political correctness is out of control. This is why stories as ludicrous as one of Australia’s most prestigious debating clubs embracing a philosophy that rejects the validity of debate are becoming more outrageous and more common.
Only a few years ago this would be unthinkable but now the University of Sydney Debating Union is treating debate itself as trauma, sending “equity officers” to tournaments to help people who feel victimised or stressed.
Left unchecked, this does not end well.
Flag-wavers from the various movements that spring from a postmodern base claim that their end goal is equality.
If only they knew that the greatest equality in the world is found in Christ, who is Himself the Logos who they reject.
All are made in the image and likeness of God, born into one human family (Gen 1:27). That is equality.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). That is equality.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom 1:16). That is equality.
For those believers, all are one in Christ (Gal 3:28). That is equality.
The utopia the postmodernists seek is found in the Logos, not outside of it. John saw a vision of His coming kingdom and it was a mish-mash of minorities “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).