Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Postmodernism Sucks

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/06/25


… informed reasoning right out of the Leftists’ minds. Ravi Zacharias hits the nail on the head in this video.

I have repeatedly railed against the Leftists for their absolute refusal to examine context and for their continuous historical revisionism, their refusal to examine histo-facts. I had not even considered the anti-intellectual postmodern movement and its ramifications, but that’s really where the problem lies.

Watch the whole video. Ravi tells a hilarious tale at the end, but it nails the postmodern Leftists (redundancy) squarely between the eyes. Thanks to aotc for the video.

Sidenote: Unfortunately, all of aotc’s comments will start out in moderation due to her moniker fighting my moderation filter. But anyone who types out my name will also run into the moderation filter, so there’s that.

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5 Responses to “Postmodernism Sucks”

  1. AOTC said

    it is astonishing how many little children can spot relativism and debunk it as a worldview in simple everyday life situations. they can see it as a duplicitous position and expose their elders deceit. hmmm, i think i recall old text mentioning this phenomenon.

    children are not stupid, yet they get that accusation more often than adults. they don’t yet know how to spin extravagant sophistries to assert their own autonomy. they are not spoiled in the world yet.

    at 50 i find it hard to be like a child, as a dummy, i find it easier. there are blessings in disguise in this life folks. life is hard, but good. 🙂

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  2. DNW said

    AOTC said
    2011/06/26 at 10:01 e

    it is astonishing how many little children can spot relativism and debunk it as a worldview in simple everyday life situations. they can see it as a duplicitous position and expose their elders deceit. hmmm, i think i recall old text mentioning this phenomenon.

    children are not stupid, yet they get that accusation more often than adults. they don’t yet know how to spin extravagant sophistries to assert their own autonomy. they are not spoiled in the world yet. …”

    The question of how a leftist reasons from a state of intrinsic universal meaninglessness to a state of assumed interpersonal obligation, and to a demand that others inhabiting the same polity engage in self-sacrificial behaviors which will benefit the leftist, is not a new one.

    Is it a simple and very cynical scam in which they are engaged?

    Are they aware in all cases of what they are doing when they cut the logical rug out from under their own feet?

    Can they really be completely oblivious to the logical problem their position entails?

    I think that pretty plainly the answers are : “sometimes”, “not all” , and “sometimes not”.

    To take the last question first, and to reformulate: Are progressives oblivious to the redounding consequences of their own moral relativism?

    And the answer is pretty clearly that some are not oblivious to the consequences.

    In fact it is problem enough for someone like Sam Harris, to encourage him to take a stab at trying to establishing (what he likes to think of) as an objective moral framework which is not based on the usual progressive’s resort to convention or to arbitrary verbal stipulation.

    Harris fails of course, by resorting to just that. But, his failure is dramatic enough to show that some progressives at least, do feel sufficiently enough threatened by the apparent logical implications of their own moral premises to try and figure a way around the problems which a consistent application of those premises presents.

    They do this lest intellectual honesty, or at least the public glare, force them to grant that their very own lives have no intrinsic value (or better in my view, a claim to rights) when viewed under their own scheme of interpretation.

    Anyone who is familiar with this debate over the implications of relativism for the philosophizing relativist himself, will recognize that it goes back (placing aside the Greeks and early moderns) in modern times to the appearance of the positivists; with their evolutionary paradigm and its emphasis on the deconstruction or blurring of the idea of natural kinds, and their war on the concept of teleology as a valid interpretive principle.

    The issue reappeared (if it ever disappeared) 80 years later in 1945, in a big slap-upside-the-head attention getting way after the Second World War. This period is when secular humanists and logical positivist minded philosophers were seen trying to figure out what went wrong: why, when some people were given intellectual encouragement to view the world as being without natural values and a morally binding order, they would be bold enough to joyously act on it.

    Now, the fact there are unpleasant consequences to some doctrine does not prove the doctrine false. But, it’s nonetheless instructive to witness how some of the relativist responses to the problem do highlight the curiously flexible commitment progressives have had to their deconstructive principles – once, that is, their own skins were shown to be at risk.

    Many seem curiously reluctant to feel the back edge of the swords they’ve just been brandishing.

    Some progressives do of course just double down and apply themselves to retrenching instead: boldly and defiantly proclaiming postmodernist values and all they imply. Basically, admitting that their moral preferences are a matter, ultimately, of no more than the will.

    As an example of this latter approach, and because it is so gloriously blatant and unapologetic, I’ve quoted the following passage from Rorty (taken from Wiki) several times before:

    “You have to be educated in order to be … a participant in our conversation … So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours … I don’t see anything herrschaftsfrei [domination free] about my handling of my fundamentalist students. Rather, I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents … I am just as provincial and contextualist as the Nazi teachers who made their students read Der Stürmer; the only difference is that I serve a better cause.”

    The question for Rorty here, is not whether an agenda is really right or wrong in some objective sense, but merely, who will successfully be doing what to whom through the managerial agency of politics. Rorty serves a better cause, he says. And how does he know? Because it is inclusivist. But it’s not too inclusivist. And the inclusivism is of a kind he likes, and what he likes, is better.

    Why then Rorty should not be reciprocally conceived of by his constitutional polity preferring antagonists, or by any other antagonists for that matter, as an actual moral enemy, and why they should, from a moral standpoint, refrain from acting on it radically, is less clear.

    If I had to guess, I would guess Rorty’s shrugging response would be that he had already succeeded in so subverting the old system by injecting his memes into it, that others now had no choice but to abide him, or suffer the political consequences. “It’s a fait accompli, you religionists. The system is mine now. Deal with it.”

    Daniel Lazare, whose interview I put up the other day, would however be case I think of someone who is not quite so fully aware of what he is doing as Rorty is.

    Lazare’s comments during that interview, admittedly much more forthright and personal than the more careful justifications he gives in his book, make it clear that he too aims to wage an unapologetic cultural war in the name of a progressive (i.e., Marxist) vision of directed social evolution.

    But his awareness of the implications of his own reasoning becomes suspect however, when he is seen arguing on behalf of the unlimited sovereignty of the general will; going so far as to assert that the sovereign general will may legitimately decree anything at all, up to and including what clothing people must wear, and when.

    Such an admission on his part leads one to ask whether, if anything at all may be decreed by the general will as expressed through a majority vote, might not then the expulsion of the losers of a voting contest from the polity itself be considered as a legitimate and morally binding expression of the general will?

    If not, wouldn’t such a hesitation be tantamount to a constitutional restraint? And if it were, say, not unconstitutional to expel election losers from the state, is there any morally binding reason to think that it would be prudentially unthinkable or even objectively “wrong” in the progressivist sense of right and wrong?

    If Lazare sees an unlimited shaping of human society through the sovereign will of the majority as proper, what could in principle be wrong with that majority shaping the potential pool of social participants more to its liking (and likely continued authority) by proactively pruning out uncongenial members as often as seemed advisable?

    If anything goes as legitimate under the progressivist view, then how about the results of a vote which abolishes political and economic rights for political progressives? Or on the other and progressive-minded hand, how about an election abolishing elections as necessarily representative of the general will at all; and substituting say, an executive committee of the progressive-vanguard class?

    Alternatively, would a vote on the disarmament of all leftists and a confiscation of their property be legitimate?

    It’s hard to see Lazare agreeing with that. So my feeling is that Daniel Lazare instead suspects that once his progressive party in enthroned, then no subsequent return to power of the “reactionary elements” would really be possible. That, or he just imagines that it is liberals who are better when it comes to handling firearms.

    Oh and lastly, to deal with the first question regarding the progressives’ intentions in spouting their moral views, and whether their doing so is “… a simple and very cynical scam?”

    My answer to that was: ” sometimes”.

    I have cited Sam Harris as aware of the “rebound” problem and concerned about it, and Richard Rorty as aware of the problem but unconcerned, and Daniel Lazare as possibly unaware of the problem as it might impinge on himself.

    To support my final contention that for some progressives, their moral talk is neither sincere and recognized as problematic, nor sincere but unrecognized as problematic, but rather merely cynical and manipulative instead, I will cite another progressive political example: “Ted Kennedy.”

    And with that example, no further argument as to the nature of progressive kinds and minds is necessary.

    [NOTE: This comment, at least as I recall, was placed up in accidental haste some years ago, possibly before I had editorial privileges. In re-reading it recently, I found it so rough as to be almost unintelligible. It’s not much better now, but is at least less slap-dash. As with one or two of my other comments, I didn’t think it would be honest to take it down. Trying to make it make better sense seemed a more proper approach. 1/30/14]

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  3. AOTC said

    this reminded me of a peculiar cowardly leftist who makes moral arguments but always adds his signature qualifier to the argument.

    “in my view” -you. know. who

    there is no intent to really just mean “his view” as only one view among many possibilities as the qualifier states. we know he does not really mean he considers contrary views on par with his view, as far as having a chance to make it into “viewdom” (heh). but saying “in my view’ gives him cover and a pretense of the position he has already tried neatly to place his opponents. ie, you are not allowed to claim absolutes because he doesnt, (yet he actually does).

    if i understand correctly, this would be an example of a simpleton leftist using the types of manipulative tactics you outline above.

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  4. Heh, AOTC, “there’s no ‘Truth,’ there’s only ‘your truth’ and ‘my truth’, now start telling ‘the truth’.” Yeah, he’s a bit of a tool.

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  5. DNW said

    AOTC said
    2011/06/28 at 20:22

    this reminded me of a peculiar cowardly leftist who makes moral arguments but always adds his signature qualifier to the argument.

    “in my view” -you. know. who

    there is no intent to really just mean “his view” as only one view among many possibilities as the qualifier states. we know he does not really mean he considers contrary views on par with his view, as far as having a chance to make it into “viewdom” (heh). but saying “in my view’ gives him cover and a pretense of the position he has already tried neatly to place his opponents. ie, you are not allowed to claim absolutes because he doesnt, (yet he actually does).

    if i understand correctly, this would be an example of a simpleton leftist using the types of manipulative tactics you outline above.”

    The Perry type, the center of the herd type, seems to believe that we should all be together because we are all together; and that it takes no more reasoning about anything than that. Until such time that is, that some “dictator” governor allows the legislature to lessen the flow from the publicly funded spigot to which he or his political kin have their lips clamped.

    Of course dictators are only bad when they are lessening public burdens through adherence to their constitutional roles.

    In a case where say, Obama, might be forced to become a Federal dictator for our own good, then a dictator is not such an unthinkable solution: “… if the Repubs continue their hostage game with the debt ceiling issue, and follow it to the logical conclusion having not had every one of their demands met, they will then have to place Obama in a box where he might well have to play dictator to save the country from a catastrophic default generated by Republicans.”

    http://commonsensepoliticalthought.com/?p=16011#comment-637933

    No wonder I don’t comment, and seldom read there, anymore.

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