Since its unholy convergence with neoliberal corporate-statism in the latter decades of the 20th-century, academic postmodernist thinking has spread from the universities and colonised the credentialed institutions to the point of almost total cultural dominance over civil society. Most of the traditional engines of right and wrong are in thrall to a median dollars-and-cents orthodoxy modelled on the same postmodernist verities. To achieve this corporatisation of the expert class it has been necessary to professionalise the pursuit of knowledge itself, to legitimise centralised consensus as the exclusive arbiters of truth, as if the modus operandi of the monolith is objective learning by independent merit rather than vocational networking by interdependent monopoly. It could have been otherwise. Society didn’t need to become a lanyard oligopoly. But as the complete extirpation of outliers and non-conformists gets closer, so too does a coda of permanent cultural bankruptcy.
From innocuous roots in late 1940s postmodernism has spread like a steady but relentless virus. For its practitioners it has become a kind of consensus of absolution from having to measure personal (or peer group) standards against the achievements of genuine pioneers past and present. It has changed the essential currents of self-expression from outbound character-individualism to inbound caricature-identity. Postmodern culture has calcified an implicit lack of higher ambition (and talent) into a consensus assault on individual merit, patiently but systematically building a citation-legitimised exclusion of all forms of creative non-conformity; a paradise for patient, banal credentialism. The postmodern networks of weaponised influence are both cynical and smart, directing the most merciless attacks on the most dangerous of targets: original genius in art, disruptive uncompromising creativity in science. If these trends continue unchecked – and there’s no sign of organized resistance – the culture war will soon reach a catastrophic and possibly irreparable coda.