Republicans have become their own caricature of postmodernism
(The Week) For decades, suspicion of pointy-headed elites in the academy has been a staple of conservative rhetoric, and none more so than postmodernist philosophers and literary critics. By conservative lights, inscrutable scribblers, usually French, were undermining American society by putting out incomprehensible treatises arguing there is no such thing as truth, no opinion is any better than any other, and so on. "The end result is that there can be no more truth or goodness and no need or even ability to make tough choices," wrote Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind.
The conservative view was always about three-fourths caricature — while postmodern writers did have valuable insights in many areas, and were not entirely the gleeful anti-moralists conservatives made them out to be, it is fair to say that Derrida, Foucault, Adorno, and so on were more concerned with pointing out ever more elaborate ways that contemporary society is bad than doing anything about it.
But if there is any political faction that behaves like the most hysterically exaggerated caricature of postmodernism, it is the current Republican Party. If you want an example of a political party whose worldview has become almost entirely socially constructed — divorced from any empirical referent whatsoever — and whose political argumentation is a load of cynical gobbledygook, look no further.
The actual contents of postmodern ideas are a matter of dispute, as they must be for any movement whose members spend half their time blasting salvos of $10 words at each other. Nevertheless, there is a reasonably clear through-line: Postmodernism is a movement that undermined traditional notions of Enlightenment rationality, the idea of absolute truth or morality as things that can stand outside of human discourses and history, the metaphysical "I" of Descartes, and so on; arguing instead for a more contingent version of these concepts as inherently produced and shaped by human society.
Now, as Richard Rorty would say, all that does not mean one cannot demonstrate the falsity of empirical claims (his beef was with metaphysics, not science).