Commentary by Jay Gaskill

Are you infected by “postmodern” thinking? Maybe you missed the indoctrination – or you acquired immunity by being raised in a solid moral environment – thinking especially of my home town, Idaho Falls.

Postmodern thinking infected universities long ago. We now detect its influence everywhere –in education, media, our conversations. Postmodernism is moral relativism dressed up in academic prose. When you cut through the fog, the game is obvious. For postmoderns, no society is morally “better” than another – even when one allows slavery, child abuse, the subordination of women and the repression of peaceful religious communities, and another forbids these.

You may have noticed that politics is fully infected. Spin is the preferred weapon of postmodern political operators – honesty is just one standard of conduct among many. Falsehoods in a “good cause” are trivial compared to the three really big questions: Who leaked? Who snitched? Who found out? The agenda is to sell a favored candidate’s narrative. Period. Facts are like actors in a movie where the all the unfavorable facts fail the screen test. Truth is an inconvenience. When something true discredits a candidate’s narrative, its source must be discredited. In my lexicon, postmoderns are the “slicks” among us.

Communities like ours are full of good people, uninfected by the postmodern mindset. They can be kind and forgiving about individual moral failures, but for them the underlying moral principles are rock solid. In my lexicon, the uninfected ones are the “solids.”

In a postmodern America, great moral truths are myths. The founding principles of Judeo-Christian civilization, the very history of Western civilization – including the USA, are demoted to stories – narratives in academic speak.

But history matters. The postmodern movement was a misguided attempt to “move past” the 18th century Enlightenment…because Western Civilization’s “narrative” was written by the “winners” – thus “devaluing” the other narratives. But the Enlightenment honored universal reason and freedom over regents and royals, and set the stage for an age, free of tribalism and oppression, and the end of colonialism.

Philosophy matters. Our country’s foundation was a spiritually informed version of the Enlightenment. Unlike the bloody French revolutionaries, our founders neither rejected God nor denied the moral law. Our Declaration of Independence asserts our right “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,” and proclaims that we “are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Rights as a divine gift – are not for sale at any price, even for a generous political contribution.

Idaho history teachers take note: The US was founded by the solid Enlightenment thinkers.

The Oxford Don, C. S. Lewis, began his successful journey from atheist to believer, because he recognized the Natural Moral Law as a gift from a loving Creator. {Check out CS Lewis – “The Abolition of Man”.} Lewis, an admirer of the USA, would become one the foremost academic defender of Christianity. He and his friend JRR Tolkien served in WW I. Both were solids. Lewis died on the day JFK was killed.

Take heart, Idaho solids. History and the nation need us more than ever.


Jay Gaskill is recovering criminal defense trial lawyer who graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law after receiving a solid Idaho Falls education (thanks to legendary teachers like Mae Neuber, Gladys Buckley and Afton Bitton). He lives in Idaho Falls.

See Gaskill’s classic essay on the urgently necessary project to restore of our civilization’s ethical underpinnings, “Project Lamb.” at

This piece was first published on January 12, 2017 by The Post Register ( )

Copyright © 2017 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Leave a Reply