Fixation on universal timeless principles necessarily has a tendency to produce catastrophe, because people become desensitized to exceptions, problems, flaws and change.
Take the current plight of the left in the US, for example, full of outrage against alleged Russian ties to Trump – but out of power. Conor Friedersdorf recalled Richard Rorty’s 1998 book on what was wrong with the left in the Atlantic the other day: According to Rorty (who himself was a very leftish postmodern philosopher, of course,)
The contemporary academic Left seems to think that the higher your level of abstraction, the more subversive of the established order you can be. The more sweeping and novel your conceptual apparatus, the more radical your critique…
Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by problematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. They have also produced many thousands of books which represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. The authors of these purportedly “subversive” books honestly believe that they are serving human liberty. But it is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction on which one might discuss the merits of a law, a treaty, a candidate, or a political strategy.
This is a style of thinking you can watch for, and it doesn’t just afflict the left. It also helps explain the excessive faith in markets and deregulation that helped produce the 2008 collapse.
One cure is to ask the question “how would you test that assumption?”, followed by “what are the limits, boundary conditions or exceptions?” A deeper cure is you need an entirely different mindset.