Let me tell a story.
Once upon a time there were two warriors. They knew each other in passing and were distantly related. The first warrior was strong and bold. He was cocky, brash, and beloved. The second warrior was cunning and crafty. He was agile, thoughtful, and inspiring.
One day another warrior who was cousin to the first and brother to the second rose up to make himself a kingdom. He was blood thirsty and covetous. He slew some of his neighbors and enslaved others. His kinsman tried to reason with him, but this tyrant knew no restraint. He would not rest until all bent the knee to him. And so the bold warrior and the crafty warrior took up arms and faced the tyrant in battle.
It was a bloody war that was waged all across the land. In the end the bold warrior and the crafty warrior overthrew the tyrant and cast him down. The land was scared and wrecked. The crafty warrior saw his chance to finally fulfill his desire to rule. He began to scheme and extend his influence and his lands. The bold warrior only wanted to retire to his own lands and return to the plow. Instead he stayed at arms and sought to protect the land from the machinations of the crafty warrior.
Their struggle was epic and lasted ages. It was fought mostly with subterfuge and sometimes with sword and flame. The land returned to prosperity in the shadow of this conflict. The warriors ebbed and flowed in strength and power. One would have the upper hand and then the other, and the struggled continued. All the while there was nightmare that haunted the people that eventually the two warriors would wage war with all that they had at their disposal.
Then the day came when the two warriors faced each other and the bold warrior saw his chance. He saw an advantageous opening in his enemies armor. He thrust his trusted ever sharp sword into his enemy. It struck true. The crafty warrior fell. The bold warrior felt elation that this long and exhausting fight was now over. It was then that he noticed the dagger in the hand of his foe. When the bold warrior was dealing the death blow the crafty warrior had struck with a poisoned blade. The bold warrior then descended into madness as the poison spread through his body.
Did the bold warrior recover and return home or did he succumb to the poison? Here our story ends.
The story ends here because we are in the midst of living it. The United States won the Cold War and ended the Soviet Union. It may turn out to be a pyrrhic victory. During the course of that conflict we’ve become poisoned with what some are calling ‘postmodern neo Marxism’. A daunting term so let’s break it down. First “neo Marxism” and then “postmodernism”.
Classical Marxism was an all encompassing economic theory that focused on the imbalance of power between economic classes. Neo Marxism expands this class struggle to encompass almost every social group that one may belong to: sex, race, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, gender identity, and so on and so on. Unlike the traditional Western concept that one’s primary identity is that of being an individual in neo Marxist thought identity is primarily that of the social groups to which one belongs. And amongst the subdivisions of these groups there is an imbalance of power perpetrated by those who hold greater power. This imbalance must be redressed. Hence identity politics.
Postmodernism is a twin brother, excuse me, a twin non self-identified gendered sibling to neo Marxism. It posits that there is no objective truth, no objective morals, nor any objective reality. Instead these are products of society and have been imposed by those who hold power. Everything is relative to the individual. What is true for you may or may not also be true for me. In the words of Justice Kennedy, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life….” We no longer think, we ‘feel’. Hence relativism.
Our society, and even we ourselves, have been infected with this mind virus. It can be very subtle. While it is easy enough to see it in society at large you will be surprised to reflect upon your own views and opinions and see where it was crept in. What is the antidote? I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. The only advice I can give is to come to the Cross. There meet the One who will bind your wounds and show you what is true and right. Then you can begin the process of sacrificing yourself. And when we, as St. Paul wrote in Ephesians, have “…taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.” Then go forth and bind others’ wounds, speak truth, and do right.
Larry Pryor is a native Nashvillian who was raised Southern Baptist. Discovering he was a material heretic he then entered into full communion with the Catholic Church and is now a Lay Dominican. He resides just outside of Nashville with a wife who is much too good for him. He can be followed on Twitter @PryorOP.