In this engrossing work, the author traces the history of the betrayal of the Enlightenment from which Modernism arose to give us tolerance, democracy, human rights, individualism and free enterprise. This is the legacy of, amongst others, Bacon, Locke, Descartes, Smith, Hobbes, Spinoza and Galileo. For all its faults - like the idea that pure reason could replace religion - it still succeeded in providing the West with a blueprint for a humane and decent society.
The assault on truth and reason in the latter half of the 20th century was led by people like Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard and Rorty. The author chronicles the long march of this mindset from Jean Jacques Rousseau who launched the counter-enlightenment, through Kant (although it might not have been his intention), Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and above all the charlatan Heidegger.
Postmodernism is anti-reason, subjective and nihilistic, denying the possibility of truth, reality and meaning. Hicks views postmodernism as a smorgasbord of reactions to Kant's division of the world into phenomena and noumena. Although Kant was trying to shield religion from scientific skepticism, this divide opened the door to the demons of nihilism.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this mindset has taken an even more disturbing turn. Its adherents had to either give up the utopian collectivist dream or deny reality. They chose the latter. In other words, postmodernism is the result of using a skeptical epistemology to justify the leap of faith that is required to continue believing in the failed god of socialism. The unhinged hatred of the West in general, and the USA, Israel and traditional religion in particular, is the latest manifestation of the malignancy.
Collectivism was a disastrous failure both empirically and theoretically, but because the idea makes the tenured termites feel good, it can now only be justified by denying reality. Hicks poses the quesion, If there is no right or wrong, then why are all the postmodernists committed leftists? It is because they hate Western values and use their meaningless slogans as a means to pursue power.
And it has gotten worse in its irrationality, incoherence and contradictions. As a fusion of leftist politics and selective skepticism, postmodernism now boldly proclaims falsehood without even trying to hide it. If logic and objective fact do not exist, why the slavish adherence to political correctness? Ultimately, it is all about the preferences of power to these intellectual traitors.
One can also ask why Europe, infested with relativism and the multiculti cult, prides itself on its Anti-Americanism and criticism of Israel, but is too cowardly to protect its own artists from the onslaught of radical Islamism. This continent had better wake up because its current false religion of postmodernist secularism will be no match for what it harbours in its midst.
Explaining Postmodernism is a lucid examination of the pathologies of leftist thought and its roots. For an illuminating look at leftist hate, I recommend Unhinged by Michelle Malkin. Other informative books on postmodernism include Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont and The Illusion Of Postmodernism by Terry Eagleton. A cure for this intellectual cancer may be found, inter alia, in the work of the great Michael Polanyi, in a book like Science, Faith and Society.