Obama’s poststructuralist buddies
September 1, 2012
Exclusive: Ellis Washington examines anti-historical worldview that deconstructs truth
To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and [post]structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.
~ Barack Obama, from “Dreams from my Father” (1995)
Did you ever wonder what philosophy underlies popular political phrases of President Obama like the following?
- We are the ones we’ve been waiting for;
- Five days from now we will fundamentally change America;
- I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody;
- It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
David Barton’s revelatory new book , “The Jefferson Lies: Exploring the Myths You’ve Always Known About Thomas Jefferson,” eloquently answers these questions and presents a substantial effort “to reverse the effect of the five malpractices of modern history that have distorted not only the presentation of Jefferson in particular but of American history in general.”
Barton calls these five malpractices of modern history: Deconstructionism, Poststructuralism, Modernism, Minimalism and Academic Collectivism. Last week I wrote about Deconstructionism, and today we will discuss the second malpractice of modern history – Poststructuralism – a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of prominent mid-20th-century French and continental intellectuals, philosophers and theorists who came to international prominence in the 1960s and ’70s. I will explain the extent this tragic philosophy has corrupted contemporary society.