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What exactly is postmodernism? An explanation of the difference between the original French postmodernism and modern, leftist identity politics postmodernism, and analysis of the ramifications of that difference.

Andrewwho 6 July 24
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Krunoslav provided a lot of historical and philosophical reference but not all social ills can be placed on any particular ideology. Societies have always waxed and waned. The reasons are complex and varied. Common factors are environmental changes such as drought and other natural disasters, population pressures such as the baby boom, immigration, war, disease, and even genetic deterioration. Often an elite class arises that divert to many resources away from productivity. Too many chiefs and too few workers to put it bluntly. Often the elites take up religious or secular religious practices that are narcissist and nihilistic further alienating the under classes. While Marxism and postmodernism has certainly been a destabilizing influence the rot preceded them.

Luxus seems to be a common factor in cultural decline. As it relates to our current problems the possibility of Luxus taking hold has never been greater than the opportunity that the individual revolution provided. Many of our problems from the widespread prevalence of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are directly tied to excess. The excess that makes civilization possible can be it's undoing. Without excess their would be no luxury to tolerate people like Marx or the postmodernists. Of course there would be few scientists, artists and philosophers of any sort.

The real problem with ideologues is they put up barriers to pragmatic examination of societal ills. They offer simple often counter productive solutions that are emotionally appealing. The pragmatic get pushed aside because reality is often unpleasant and overwhelming. People use to luxury are particularly reluctant to adopt practical ideas. Luxus has the psychological side effect of living in the moment.

wolfhnd Level 8 July 25, 2021
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Modern day American postmodernists be like.....

How Does the Women's March Define What a Woman Is?
Published on Jan 22, 2020 by What would you say? YouTube Channel.

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By exclaiming that “there are no absolute truths” the postmodern stance is also claiming that the statement it just made is an absolute truth—trying to have it both ways, rejecting absolutism with absolutism.

We attend a postmodern meeting, and everyone leaves happy because everyone at the meeting was able to express himself or herself, even if no decisions were made. We give equal awards to our kids so nobody feels left out. Our news media is more concerned with the question, “How did that make you feel?” than any other.”

“It is almost impossible to get anyone with a postmodern slant to say “I think” and stand by what follows, without making sure that the person listening understands, “Of course, there are other things to consider.”

“Prior to postmodernism, it was rare to claim that one was a cultural Christian, Jew, or Muslim. There was no such thing. Now, being culturally religious is a widely accepted stance.”

“Saying, “I don’t agree with you,” or going so far as to say, “I think your belief structure is childish,” does not amount to persecution. Insensitivity is not the same as harassment or oppression. But postmodernist do not get the joke, for they have no sense of humor.

Instead public shaming is rampant and sometimes appropriate, but unfortunately, in recent years, shaming has morphed into coordinated assassinations of reputation, and anyone who is slightly insensitive or not PC enough can be led to a public character lynching without due process.”

― Gudjon Bergmann, More Likely to Quote Star Wars than the Bible: Generation X and Our Frustrating Search for Rational Spirituality

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“Like the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, postmodernism seeks to institutionalize dishonesty as a legitimate school of thought. The idea of truth as the ultimate goal of the intellectual is discarded. In its place, scholars are asked to pursue political objectives--so long as those political objectives are the 'correct' ones.

Postmodernism is not fringe within the community of scholars. It is central. This tells us a great deal about the life of the mind today. Peruse any university course catalogue, and you find names like Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes. Scour the footnotes of scholarly books and journals and a similar story unfolds. With the primacy of philosophies--postmodernism, Critical Theory, and even the right-leaning Straussianism--that exalt dishonesty in the service of supposedly noble causes, is it at all surprising that liars like Alfred Kinsey, Rigoberta Menchu, Alger Hiss, and Margaret Sanger have achieved a venerated status among the intellectuals?

What never fails inside the mind of an intellectual never works outside the confines of his head. The world’s stubborn refusal to vindicate the intellectual’s theories serves as proof of humanity’s irrationality, not his own. Thus, the true believer retrenches rather than rethinks; he launches a war on the world, denying reality because it fails to conform to his theories. If intellectuals are not prepared to reconcile theory and practice, then why do they bother to venture outside the ivory tower or the coffeehouse? Why not stay in the world of abstractions and fantasy?”

― Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas

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Modern Times: Camille Paglia & Jordan B Peterson via YouTube

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“What this reveals about our universities is the operation of a pathological element. One need not ban the American flag from most of our campuses. It is more useful to deceive the world by allowing that flag to fly in a place where, all things being equal, its meaning and spirit has been abolished. In the Humanities and Social Science departments, where freedom of thought is of central importance, the American flag is more hated than loved by the faculty and the graduate students. I know this from firsthand because I was a graduate student at UC Irvine from 1986-1989. Professors there promoted Marxism, engaged in active recruitment of students amenable to Marxist ideas, and damaged the careers of those who were anti-Marxist. In those days it was done very quietly, administratively. If you dared speak up for America or economic freedom, you were persecuted. Your reputation was ruined. It is preferable to avert one’s eyes from such a situation, and very unpleasant to experience it directly; that is why those singled out for persecution were never defended. They were hung out to dry, and nobody dared interfere. Who, after all, wants trouble? This is the beauty of a quiet and selective intimidation.”

― J.R.Nyquist

“But it would be a mistake to assume that the liberal class was simply seduced by the Utopian promises of globalism. It was also seduced by careerism. Those who mouthed the right words, who did not challenge the structures being cemented into place by the corporate state, who assured the working class that the suffering was temporary and would be rectified in the new world order, were rewarded. They were given public platforms on television and in the political arena. They were held up to the wider society as experts, sages, and specialists. They became the class of wise men and women who were permitted to explain in public forums what was happening to us at home and abroad. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a cheer leader for the Iraq war and globalization, became the poster child for the new class of corporate mandarins. And although Friedman was disastrously wrong about the outcome of the occupation, as he was about the effects of globalization, he continues, with a handful of other apologists, to dominate the airwaves.”

― Chris Hedges, The Death of the Liberal Class

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Which Is Worse: Postmodernism or Anti-Intellectualism?

By Alex Berezow — March 23, 2017

Every discussion about postmodernism quickly devolves into accusations that the writer doesn't know what postermodernism is. Of course, that's true, because nobody knows what postmodernism is. Even the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy agrees. As the ultimate manifestation of intellectual and cultural relativism, postmodernism means whatever its adherents want it to mean.

Yet, this nebulous concept poses an existential threat to science and technology. How so? Because postmodernism is largely characterized by a rejection of objective truth. This is antithetical to scientific inquiry.

Marcel Kuntz, Director of Research at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), has made it part of his life's work to fight against the corrosive effects of postmodernism. He's back again in the pages of Trends in Biotechnology. He perceptively writes:

Postmodernism is a product of the romanticist rejection of reason and of the 'Western guilt' regarding tragedies such as slavery, colonialism, the Holocaust, and so on, many of which are viewed as consequences of Enlightenment 'imperialistic' thought. A typical expression of this guilt is to display one's repentance regarding these historical events (even if one is not personally responsible for them) with political correctness being one of its social coercive tools.

The March for Science Postmodernism

Postmodernism also explains the "March for Science." Contrary to their claim that the march is about promoting evidence-based policies, the organizers are pushing a thinly veiled postmodernist agenda. That's why they have partnered with groups that endorse vehemently anti-science positions, such as Center for Biological Diversity, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Francis Bacon likely would be surprised to learn that a movement claiming the mantle of science is primarily preoccupied with politics, diversity, and harassment. As a general rule, those aren't considered pillars of the scientific method.

The "Democratization of Science"

Such buffoonery is perhaps the inevitable result of "democratizing" science. True, science should be taught to all people, but it is absurd to believe that the average person has something useful to say about it. Yet, that's precisely what the organizers of the March for Science believe. Their website says:

If scientists hope to discuss their work with the public, they must also listen to the public's thoughts and opinions on science and research. Progress can only be made by mutual respect.

No, no, no. That is pure, unadulterated postmodernist drivel. Scientific progress is not made by holding hands and singing Kumbaya with the local yoga instructor. Instead, it is made when scientists are allowed to investigate tough questions by rigorously applying the scientific method. From this discipline springs revolutionary technologies that change the world. While public outreach by scientists is important, asking for public input is often a complete waste of time.

Actually, it can be worse. Dr. Kuntz explains:

People willing to 'engage' usually have a political agenda: they are often activists, relabeled as 'stakeholders,' who view technology as a problem rather than as a possible solution.

Unfortunately, fostering mutual respect while singing campfire songs won't change their minds.

Postmodernism vs. Anti-Intellectualism

Last year, we published an article that claimed anti-intellectualism is the biggest threat to modern society. This article, as well as Dr. Kuntz, would seem to argue that postmodernism is the actual threat.

So, which is worse: Postmodernism or Anti-Intellectualism? Trick question! They're the same thing.

Notes
(1) For proof, read the comments section in the article, "Scientists Should Fight Postmodern Public Values."
(2) The very first sentence of its entry on postmodernism reads, "That postmodernism is indefinable is a truism."

Source: Marcel Kuntz. "Science and Postmodernism: From Right-Thinking to Soft-Despotism." Trends Biotechnol 35 (4): 283-2859. Published: April 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.02.006

"In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all. “It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you're going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have good reasons.”

Adopt responsibility for your own well-being, try to put your family together, try to serve your community, try to seek for eternal truth... That's the sort of thing that can ground you in your life, enough so that you can withstand the difficulty of life.

― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos"

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An Excellent Observation about Postmodernism by Jay L. Wile

I was first exposed to postmodernism when I went to university. If you don’t recognize the term, it is rather hard to define, mostly because there are so many variants of it. However, it generally refers to the idea that there are very few (if any) objective truths. Most of the things we hold to be “true” are only true for our experiences. Someone with a completely different set of experiences might come up with a completely different sent of “truths,” and those “truths” are just as valid as the “truths” that we come up with.

Consider, for example, the insightful cartoon above. The first panel shows an artist who has apparently come up with something he thinks is amazing. Because he sees that it is good, he considers himself to be a genius. The second panel shows a postmodern artist, who says that there is no such thing as a genius, because that category is dependent on culture. Of course, he thinks he is a genius for recognizing this fact!

Now, when it comes to art there is a measure of truth here. What is beautiful to one person might be quite unpleasant to someone else. As the old maxim states, beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. However, I think it is possible to recognize the genius of an artist, even if you don’t find his or her art appealing. A postmodernist would not agree. Moreover, a strict postmodernist would apply this idea of “truth” everywhere, even in science. According to the postmodernist, a “scientific fact” isn’t a fact at all. It is a social construct, and it might be quite different in another culture or society.

Obviously, I think postmodernism is mostly nonsense. Apparently, so does Andrew Klavan. In chapter 8, he discusses the “mad scene” in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In that scene, the title character (Hamlet) is pretending to be insane. Klavan writes:

When he’s asked what he’s reading, he answers weirdly, “Words, words, word.” He talks about how his internal moods seem to transform outer reality so that he can never be sure what the world is really like. Morality especially has come to seem to him completely dependent on his own opinions. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” he says.

How wild was this? Shakespeare had predicted postmodernism and moral relativism hundreds of years before they came into being! Like Hamlet, the postmodernists were declaring that language did not describe the world around us…Like Hamlet, the postmodernists announced that what we thought was reality was just a construct of our minds…And like Hamlet, the postmodernists had dismissed the notion of absolute morality…

But there was one big difference. Hamlet said these things when he was pretending to be mad. My professors said them and pretended to be sane.

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“Racial stereotyping. For Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders, the sin of white racism was stereotyping all black people as inferior. It was a prejudice to be sure, but it was predicated on the assumption that all blacks were the same. King objected to stereotyping because he wanted blacks to be treated as individuals and not reduced exclusively to their racial identity (hence the meaning of his famous statement about the content of one's character taking precedence over the color of one's skin).

The postmodern left turns the civil rights model on its head. It embraces racial stereotyping - racial identity by any other name - and reverses it, transforming it into something positive, provided the pecking order of power is kept in place. In the new moral scheme of racial identities, black inferiority is replaced by white culpability, rendering the entire white race, with few exceptions, collectively guilty of racial oppression. The switch is justified through the logic of racial justice, but that does not change the fact that people are being defined by their racial characteristic. Racism is viewed as structural, so it is permissible to use overtly positive discrimination (i.e., affirmative action) to reorder society." ― Kim R. Holmes, The Closing of the Liberal Mind: The New Illiberalism's Assault on Freedom

In the collages of the United States in the 1960's, Postmodernism provided an attitude of cynicism and rejection of Enlightenment rationality, effectively allowing the "oppressed" to assume as well as invent any new identity they wished over the upcoming decades. After all, as postmodernist would see it, there is no reality anymore and science does not count. Therefore, identierians could identify themselvse as any minority they wanted and even invent new categories.

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Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry criticised Postmodernism for reducing the complexity of the modern world to an expression of power and for undermining truth and reason: "If the modern era begins with the European Enlightenment, the postmodern era that captivates the radical multiculturalists begins with its rejection. According to the new radicals, the Enlightenment-inspired ideas that have previously structured our world, especially the legal and academic parts of it, are a fraud perpetrated and perpetuated by white males to consolidate their own power. Those who disagree are not only blind but bigoted. The Enlightenment's goal of an objective and reasoned basis for knowledge, merit, truth, justice, and the like is an impossibility: "objectivity," in the sense of standards of judgment that transcend individual perspectives, does not exist. Reason is just another code word for the views of the privileged. The Enlightenment itself merely replaced one socially constructed view of reality with another, mistaking power for knowledge. There is naught but power."

H. Sidky pointed out what he sees as several "inherent flaws" of a postmodern antiscience perspective, including the confusion of the authority of science (evidence) with the scientist conveying the knowledge; its self-contradictory claim that all truths are relative; and its strategic ambiguity. He sees 21st-century anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific approaches to knowledge, particularly in the United States, as rooted in a postmodernist " decades-long academic assault on science:" "Many of those indoctrinated in postmodern anti-science went on to become political and religious leaders, policymakers, journalists, journal editors, judges, lawyers, and members of city councils and school boards. Sadly, they forgot the lofty ideals of their teachers, except that science is bogus."

“Postmodernity is said to be a culture of fragmentary sensations, eclectic nostalgia, disposable simulacra, and promiscuous superficiality, in which the traditionally valued qualities of depth, coherence, meaning, originality, and authenticity are evacuated or dissolved amid the random swirl of empty signals.” ― Jean Baudrillard

“In our postmodern culture which is TV dominated, image sensitive, and morally vacuous, personality is everything and character is increasingly irrelevant.” ― David F. Wells

“Postmodernity means the exhilarating freedom to pursue anything, yet mind-boggling uncertainty as to what is worth pursuing and in the name of what one should pursue it.” ― Zygmunt Bauman

“Whereas modern cynicism brought despair about the ability of the human species to realize laudable ideals, postmodern cynicism doesn't — not because it's optimistic, but because it can't take ideals seriously in the first place. The prevailing attitude is Absurdism. ― Robert Wright, The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology

“Postmodernism, the school of "thought" that proclaimed "There are no truths, only interpretations" has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for "conversations" in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.” ― Daniel Dennett

Postmodernism today tries to reject biological differences between sexes, rejects history and psychology and tries to argue that everything is subjected to construct of language, best express in "I identify as...."

...in other words you can have any kind of neurotic personal experience, and define your reality by using language and than turn the whole insanity in a political issue. If someone disagrees you attack them with language, accusing them of any number of phobias. That devastating use of language is the contribution of postmodernism.

In other words, reality is whatever one can express with language according to postmodernists, but unless its them expressing it than its used for power.

All truths are relevant, except this one, they say. I say, book them season tickets to rubber room, so they don't hurt themselves.

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In part in reference to post-modernism, conservative English philosopher Roger Scruton wrote, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.”

Roger Scruton on Moral Relativism - A conversation with Roger Scruton at Café Gerbeaud in Budapest, Hungary, on the topic of moral relativism. Hosted by the Common Sense Society on January 25, 2012.

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Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism | Jordan B Peterson

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"Why is it that after a century of socialist disasters, and an intellectual legacy that has been time and again exploded, the left-wing position remains, as it were, the default position to which thinking people automatically gravitate when called upon for a comprehensive philosophy? Why are ‘right-wingers’ marginalized in the educational system, denounced in the media and regarded by our political class as untouchables, fit only to clean up after the orgies of luxurious nonsense indulged in by their moral superiors? Is it as the evolutionary psychologists say, that egalitarian attitudes result from an adaptation, one that sustained those hunter-gatherer bands when sharing the quarry was the primary social bond? … Or is it, as Nietzsche tells us, that resentment is the real default condition of social beings, who know only that the other has what they want, and must be made to suffer for it?

Whatever the explanation, we have seen, in every writer considered in this book, the assumption of an a priori correctness. It does not matter that equality cannot be defined or concretely situated. It is just obvious that it is the answer, so obvious that we have no need to define the question. At the same time there exists on the left a remarkable fear of heresy, a desire to safeguard orthodoxy and hound the dissident…

Clearly we are dealing with the religious need, a need planted deep in our ‘species being.’ There is a longing for membership that no amount of rational thought, no proof of absolute loneliness of humanity or of the unredeemed nature of our sufferings, can ever eradicate. And that longing is more easily recruited by the abstract god of equality than by any concrete form of social compromise.

To defend what is merely real becomes impossible, once faith appears on the horizon with its enticing gift of absolutes."

-- Roger Scruton, from Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands (2015)

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Marxian criticisms: Alex Callinicos attacks notable postmodern thinkers such as Baudrillard and Lyotard, arguing postmodernism "reflects the disappointed revolutionary generation of 1968, (particularly those of May 1968 in France) and the incorporation of many of its members into the professional and managerial 'new middle class'. It is best read as a symptom of political frustration and social mobility rather than as a significant intellectual or cultural phenomenon in its own right.

Mumbo Jumbo

Francis Wheen's book How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World broadly critiques a variety of non-critical paradigms with a significant critique of cultural relativism and the use of postmodern tropes to explain all modern geo-political phenomena. According to Wheen, postmodern scholars tend to critique unfair power structures in the west including issues of race, class, patriarchy, the effect of radical capitalism and political oppression. Where he finds fault in these tropes is when the theories go beyond evidence-based critical thinking and use vague terminology to support obscurantist theories.

An example is Luce Irigaray's assertion, cited by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont in their book Fashionable Nonsense, that the equation "E=mc2" is a "sexed equation", because "it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us". Relativism, according to Wheen becomes a sort of wall which shields non western cultures from the same sustained critiques. While inherent sexism in North America is open to hostile critique (as it should be according to Wheen), according to postmodern thought it is taboo to critique honour killings and female genital mutilation in North Africa and the Middle East.

Relativism will defend such taboos by claiming such cultures are out of the sphere of shared Western values and that we cannot judge other cultures by our own standards or it is defended through diminishing the severity of sexism by either denying its prominence (as Western propaganda/misunderstanding) or blaming it on menacing western factors (imperialism, globalization, western hegemony, resource exploitation and Western interference in general). Wheen admits that, while some of this may have merit, its case is highly exaggerated by relativism. Wheen reserves his strongest critique for those who defend even the most appalling systemic mistreatment of women, even in countries where Western contact and influence is minimal.

Example of one of the postmodernist French philosophers...

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Characteristics of Postmodernism

When listing the chracteristics of postmodernism, it is important to remember that postmodernists do not place their philosophy in a defined box or category. Their beliefs and practices are personal rather than being identifiable with a particular establishment or special interest group.

The following principles appear elemental to postmodernists allthough like in many religions they overlap, contradict and are not part of all fundementalists who bealive in them:

  • There is no absolute truth - Postmodernists believe that the notion of truth is a contrived illusion, misused by people and special interest groups to gain power over others.

  • Truth and error are synonymous - Facts, postmodernists claim, are too limiting to determine anything. Changing erratically, what is fact today can be false tomorrow.

  • Self-conceptualization and rationalization - Traditional logic and objectivity are spurned by postmodernists. Preferring to rely on opinions rather than embrace facts, postmodernist spurn the scientific method.

  • Traditional authority is false and corrupt - Postmodernists speak out against the constraints of religious morals and secular authority. They wage intellectual revolution to voice their concerns about traditional establishment.

  • Ownership - They claim that collective ownership would most fairly administrate goods and services.

  • Disillusionment with modernism - Postmodernists rue the unfulfilled promises of science, technology, government, and religion.

  • Morality is personal - Believing ethics to be relative, postmodernists subject morality to personal opinion. They define morality as each person’s private code of ethics without the need to follow traditional values and rules.

  • Globalization – Many postmodernists claim that national boundaries are a hindrance to human communication. Nationalism, they believe, causes wars. Therefore, postmodernists often propose internationalism and uniting separate countries.

  • All religions are valid - Valuing inclusive faiths, postmodernists gravitate towards New Age religion. They denounce the exclusive claims of God.

  • Liberal ethics - Postmodernists defend the cause of feminists and homosexuals.

  • Pro-environmentalism - Defending “Mother Earth,” postmodernists blame Western society for its destruction.

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"What was new, then, in the American controversy over political correctness in the early 1990s? A few things, certainly. The name was new. “Politically correct” was originally an approving phrase on the Leninist left to denote someone who steadfastly toed the party line.

“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”
(The Rise of Political Correctness)”
― Angelo Codevilla

Then it evolved into “P.C.,” an ironic phrase among wised-up leftists to denote someone whose line-toeing fervor was too much to bear. Only in conjunction with the P C. debate itself did the phrase get picked up by people who had no fidelity to radicalism at all, but who relished the nasty syllables for their twist of irony. Apart from this phrase, some of the particulars had a fresh aspect: the focus on campus speech codes, and the amusing experience of watching people on the right argue for the First Amendment and people on the left against it. The way that certain liberals and old-school leftists joined the neoconservatives in making several of the arguments was also new, and perhaps quite significant, since previous debates tended to observe a chaste division of left and right.

Yet at bottom, the P C. debate was just a continuation of an argument that is more than a decade old. And the longevity of this argument, the way it keeps reappearing in different forms, growing instead of shrinking, producing best-selling books about university education every couple of years, its international dimension, the heat and fury—all this should tell us that something big and important is under discussion. How to specify that big and important thing is not so easy, though. The closer you examine the argument over political correctness, the more it begins to look like one of Paul de Man’s literary interpretations, where everything is a puzzle without a solution. No three people agree about the meaning of central terms like “deconstruction,” “difference,” “multiculturalism,” or “poststructuralism.” Every participant carries around his own definitions, the way that on certain American streets every person packs his own gun. And when you take these numberless definitions into consideration, the entire argument begins to look like ... what?

I would say it looks like the Battle of Waterloo as described by Stendhal. A murky fog hangs over the field. Now and then a line of soldiers marches past. Who are they? Which army do they represent? They may be Belgian deconstructionists from Yale, or perhaps the followers of Lionel Trilling in exile from Columbia. Perhaps they are French mercenaries. It is impossible to tell.

The fog thickens. Shots go off. The debate is unintelligible. But it is noisy!

What explains the confusion? One explanation—there are others—lies in the peculiar history of certain very radical ideas that came out of the sixties’ left, both in this country (USA) and in France. The left-wing uprisings of circa 1968 had two phases, which were in perfect discord, like two piano strings vibrating against each other. The first phase was an uprising on behalf of the ideals of liberal humanism—an uprising on behalf of the freedom of the individual against a soulless system. The second phase was the opposite, as least philosophically. It was a revolt against liberal humanism. It said, in effect: Liberal humanism is a deception. Western-style democracy, rationalism, objectivity, and the autonomy of the individual are slogans designed to convince the downtrodden that subordination is justice.

This second phase, the phase of ultra-radicalism, received a supremely sophisticated expression at the hands of various Paris philosophers, in the theories that can be called postmodern or poststructuralist. Or maybe it’s better (since everyone argues over what is the correct label) to call these theories “ '68 Philosophy,” as suggested by two of the younger Paris thinkers, Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut. The theories were, in any case, something other than mild doctrines of social reform. They were extravaganzas of cynicism. They were angry theories (though coolly expressed), hard to read, tangled, more poetic than logical. They were by no means internally consistent, one theory with the next. But if they had a single gist, it was this: Despite the claims of humanist thought, the individual is not free to make his own decisions, nor is the world what it appears to be. Instead, we and the world are permeated by giant, hidden, impersonal structures, the way that human forms in Invasion of the Body Snatchers are inhabited by extraterrestrial beings.

What are these permeating structures? They can be described every which way, mix- and-match style, according to the different versions of’68 Philosophy. There was, thus, the version of the Paris Heideggerians, for instance Jacques Derrida (we are permeated by the entire unfortunate tradition of Western thought). Or the Paris Nietzscheans, for instance Michel Foucault (we are permeated by the will to power). Or the Paris Freudians, for instance Jacques Lacan (we are permeated by the structures of the unconscious). Or the Paris Marxists, for instance Pierre Bourdieu (we are permeated by economic structures). Or the Paris anthropologists who were influenced by Claude Lévi-Strauss (we are permeated by unchanging cultural structures).

Mostly there was the idea that regardless of how the permeating structures are labeled. One Big Structure underlies all the others—and if this deepest of all structures can be described, it is by means of the linguistic theories that derive from Ferdinand de Saussure. That is: We are permeated by the structures of language. We imagine that language is our tool, but it is we who are the tool and language is our master. Therefore we should stop deluding ourselves with foolish humanist ideas about the autonomy of the individual and the hope of making sense of the world.

Or maybe—this is an implicit alternative possibility in several of the ’68 theories—by recognizing the existence and power of the permeating stmctures, we will bring on a grand revolution, Marxist-style, or even grander. The theories rarely said anything specific about such a possibility, though a writer like Foucault might speak of “an Apocalyptic dream ." But even without a direct invocation of the Apocalypse, there was an urgent tone in how these ideas were written, and the tone sometimes conveyed a touch of millenarian expectation.

Now, whatever else could be said about these theories, they were wonderfully expressive. The whole period from World War I through the end of the Cold War was (maybe still is) an era of ever-recurring catastrophe and mass death, with still greater catastrophes lurking in the future in the form of nuclear war or God knows what; and in such an era, to cast a cold eye on rationality and humanism seemed entirely sensible. It was a way of saying that a) things are out of control, and b) the effort to get them under control by looking to logical analysis or proposing a lofty view of mankind is like summoning a criminal to stop a crime. The theories evoked something about middle-class life in noncatastrophic conditions too—the emptiness of middle-class existence, the feeling of drift and purposelessness that seems to afflict the middle class everywhere and that makes some people susceptible to the idea of an impending catastrophe.

The theories were modern art's extension into philosophy. They were the equivalent of Finnegan’s Wake or canvases by Rothko, and in that respect they were artistically faithful to the bleak twentieth-century spirit. But there was no point in asking whether these theories were faithful to truth and reality in the ordinary sense of social science or conventional philosophy. Super-brilliance was their panache, and the more super the brilliance became, the murkier became the ideas. The prose was characteristically mud, as befitted a philosophy that regarded clarity and lucidity as engines of Western oppression. Sometimes the theories were put-ons or jokes. Or the theories were fictions that claimed to be nonfictions. They elevated puns into a literary genre. The truest class struggle in the ’68 sense was always the struggle between the hip and the unhip, and these theories were, in short, the Das Kapilal of hip. They were illegal thoughts, so to speak—“provocations, not programs,” in Allan Megi Il’s phrase. Of course that will always be the subversive appeal of ’68 Philosophy.

Still, sooner or later the irritating flatfooted question about ordinary truth and reality and its relation to these ideas is bound to intrude. For what if, by unlucky chance, it turns out that everything in the world is not a language structure? In the field of politics, for instance, what if the difference between democratic societies and nondemocratic societies turns out to be real, not just rhetorical?

The many dazzlements of '68 Philosophy were never any use in addressing mundane questions like these. The great god of the Paris thinkers was Martin Heidegger, who was second to none in holding Western rationalism and humanism responsible for all the unhappiness of modern life and for hinting at millenarian alternatives. But the alternative he ended up embracing was the Nazism of Adolf Hitler. Of course, the Paris ultra-radicals who imbibed the theories of '68 Philosophy were anything but right wing. Yet there was nothing in their leftism to prevent a substantial number of them from tilting to an opposite extreme and celebrating dictators like Mao Zedong, so long as the horrors of liberal civilization were being opposed. For the whole point of postmodern theorizing was, after all, to adopt positions that were so far out, so wild, as to blow your mind.

In Paris, the '68 theories had their day, which lasted well into the late seventies and beyond. Then a new generation of writers came along, the people who were students in ’68 but came into adulthood only in the calmer years that followed—writers like Ferry, Renaut, Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut (and writing in English, the late J. G. Merquior), who worried about the mind-blowing ultra-radicalism of the older generation. These younger writers began to suspect that '68 Philosophy, in turning so ferociously against liberalism, sometimes bore a closer relation to the old German romantic philosophies of the far right (the cult of irrationalism, the eagerness to disparage universal ideas of rights, etc.) than anyone seemed to imagine when the theories were in vogue. They worried that by carrying skepticism to extremes, the '68 Philosophers were turning into a species of idiot, the sort of people who can no longer make sensible judgments because they stumble around wondering: Is that a door? Is that a window? The younger writers raised an eyebrow at the muddy prose style, too, and suspected, as Merquior commented (citing Pope), that..

Much was believed, but little understood, and to be dull was construed to be good.

The younger writers set out to resurrect the very notions that '68 Philosophy was designed to debunk—an admiration for Enlightenment reason, clarity, lucidity, and Western-style freedoms. Their resurrections have sometimes leaned in a more leftish direction, sometimes in a more conservative direction (whatever those terms might mean in today’s world). Either way, the drift toward humanism was unmistakable. Even a few of the elders of the sixties, disturbed by the implications of their own doctrines, pulled back over the course of the later seventies and the eighties. There were writers like Tzvetan Todorov, the Paris literary theorist, who shifted camp altogether. And in the realm of ideas a new liberal age, the era of human rights, was at hand—in Paris."

....

The history of leftism’s ultra-radical phase in America was very different. The sixties’ revolt against liberalism in America was a matter more of action than of theory. Political liberalism seemed to have pushed America into Vietnam. Liberalism seemed incapable of redressing the grievances of black America. It seemed to have failed—and radicals responded simply by going outside the liberal way of doing things.

They turned away from the liberal civil rights movement, away from the liberal Democrats and the unions and the social democratic intellectuals, and they took actions and built organizations of their own. And among these ultraradical efforts, the most important, the ones that made a permanent change in American life, were the sundry campaigns that arose at the end of the sixties and eventually came to be known as “identity politics”—the movements for women’s rights, for gay and lesbian liberation, for various ethnic revivals, and for black nationalism (which had different origins but was related nonetheless).

The secret of these movements, their genius, was simply to invent alternative personalities and encourage people to adopt them. The radical left fell apart after a few years in America just as in France, mostly because it became too extreme for its own good. But the identity-politics movements remained. They were useful, even indispensable, to their own adherents. And they were adaptable. They didn’t stay forever locked in a war with political liberalism; they pushed their way into the Democratic party and the general culture, and they became permanent features of American life.

Radical leftism in the American sixties naturally made all kinds of efforts to work up some ambitious theories, too, and part of those efforts, no small part either, was to import ideas from France. But that was slow going, possibly because the original works in French were translated only gradually, and in several cases made it into print only after the radical spark from the sixties was gone. Or it was because the French ideas were too baroque for American tastes, and too cynical; or because writers like Herbert Marcuse and others from a German tradition of philosophy, who were already established in the United States, seemed to make it unnecessary to turn in French directions.

Herbert Marcuse (1898 – 1979) was a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Born in Berlin, Marcuse studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then at Freiburg, where he received his PhD. He was a prominent figure in the Frankfurt-based Institute for Social Research – what later became known as the Frankfurt School. In his written works, he criticized capitalism, modern technology, historical materialism and entertainment culture, arguing that they represent new forms of social control.

Between 1943 and 1950, Marcuse worked in US government service for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) where he criticized the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the book Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958). After his studies, in the 1960s and the 1970s he became known as the preeminent theorist of the New Left and the student movements of West Germany, France, and the United States; some consider him the "father of the New Left". His best known works are Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964). His Marxist scholarship inspired many radical intellectuals and political activists in the 1960s and 1970s, both in the United States and internationally.

Still, the sixties Paris ideas did establish some footholds in the United States, in the art world, for instance, where radical posturing has a certain virtue—the more radical, the more virtuous, if you do it well. But the biggest and most important of the footholds, the foothold that has mattered most in the current debate, was in the humanities departments of a handful of universities. French ideas established themselves in waves of fashion in these departments during the course of the seventies and into the eighties. There was an early vogue for the anthropological/Marxist/linguistic ideas of Roland Barthes.

Next came a wave for the Heideggerian/linguistic ideas of Derrida, in the form of “deconstruction" (meaning, interpreting literature in order to show the impossibility of a definite interpretation). Then came a feminist wave for the Freudian/linguistic ideas of Lacan, and after that a wave for Foucault.

But of all these waves, the one that finally sparked the P C. debate of today didn’t begin in Paris at all It was an authentically American mutation of’68 Philosophy, something different, a New World spin on the Paris ideas—a novel variation to add to the already-established mix-and-match versions that drew from Heidegger, Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, linguistics, and anthropology.

The new variation drew from American identity politics. Its fundamental unit was the identity-politics idea that in cultural affairs, the single most important way to classify people is by race, ethnicity, and gender—the kind of thinking that leads us to define one person as a white male, someone else as an Asian female, a third person as a Latina lesbian, and so forth. With this idea firmly in place, the new American thinkers picked up the freshly translated volumes from Paris plus a few that were written over here and went rummaging through the already-existing varieties of’ 68 Philosophy, picking and choosing selected components, sometimes finding ideas that were already suited for the new version and bringing them into stronger American focus, other times making a few alterations.

From Derrida and ’68 Philosophy as a whole came the idea that language and literature are the vast impersonal structures that, more than government or economics or politics, determine the nature of society. Likewise from Derrida and the linguists, who defined the meaning of words by their difference from one another, came the idea of defining people in the same way, thus offering the crucial analogy between identity politics and linguistic analysis. From Foucault and the Nietzschean theorists of culture (and from Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist) came the idea of looking at culture as a field of struggle for achieving political power. Also from Foucault came a focus on marginal social groups. From Marxism came the idea of an impending beneficial social change. From Lacan and the Freudians came a focus on the erotic and on male domination. From the Third Worldist writers came an anti-imperialist variation on Heidegger’s view of the regrettable intellectual tradition of Western civilization.

And voilà: the great new mélange, ’68 Philosophy in its American mutation. Its name is, or ought to be, “race/class/gender-ism,” since “race, class, and gender" is the phrase that dominates its analyses. There is no single author who has succeeded in giving the idea an authoritative definition, no one book or article that you can point to. But I will draw a caricature.

Race/class/gender-ism, in my caricature, pictures culture and language as the giant hidden structure that permeates life. But culture and language are themselves only reflections of various social groups, which are defined by race, gender, and sexual orientation. (The word “class” is invoked only for the purpose of conjuring a slight aura of Marxism.) Groups, not individuals, produce culture. Every group has its own culture, or would, if oppressors didn’t get in the way. Thus we have the cultures of white men, of black men, of women, of black women, of homosexuals, of Hispanic women, and so forth. Categories that go beyond race, gender, and sexual orientation might also play a role—especially any trait that could put a person at a disadvantage, such as being handicapped.

The different cultures are engaged in a struggle for power. The culture of white males (specified sometimes as European males, other times as “whitemales,” most popularly as Dead White European Males or DWEMs) has pretty much won this struggle, and thus has achieved domination over the rest of the world. The domination has succeeded by using terms like rationalism, humanism, universality, and literary merit to persuade other people of their own inferiority. But by shining the light of race/class/gender analysis upon it, this success can be revealed as the power play that it is.

Race/class/gender analysis will show the culture of white males to be a culture of domination and destruction, more or less the way Heidegger pictured Western philosophy, or the way anti-imperialists picture imperialism. By teaching everyone to appreciate the culture of all groups in equal measure and by discouraging the use of certain common phrases that convey racial and gender hierarchies, in short by altering the literature and the language, we will bring to an end the domination of this one small group.

The name of this domination, “Eurocentrism,” evokes the “ethnocentrism” that is criticized by the French followers of Lévi-Strauss as well as the "logocentrism” that is analyzed by the French Heidegerrians. (Logocentrism in this context means the intellectual tradition of Western civilization that has led to the errors of rationalism and humanism—and can be conflated with still another centrism, phallocentrism, to become phallogocentrism, meaning, more or less, the regrettable tradition of imposed masculine logic.) And in eliminating these various centrisms, in abandoning the idea of any kind of cultural “center" at all, a new and more egalitarian society will emerge, giving full rein to diverse cultures of every kind.

Race/class/gender-ism is, in short, a bit of the old ultra-radicalism.

It is ’68 Philosophy, American style, with certain virtues of the French original too—the impiety carried to eye-opening extremes, sometimes the wit, though the American version tends to be more earnest and less clever than the French. The American idea even offers something of the old Apocalyptic spirit, not openly but by implication—in the excitement that these ideas have aroused, the feeling that a new intellectual revolution is at hand, something monumental like the invention of modern physics at the beginning of the century. This is, by the way, an intriguing notion. For even if the theory that I've just described is utter nonsense, it is true that due to the social reforms in the Western countries during the last few decades, and due to the democratic revolutions around the world, the social basis for a global culture is far huger than it ever was before, and who can say what this will produce a hundred years hence?

Still, if the American doctrine has some of the appeal of ’68 Philosophy, it is also vulnerable to all the criticisms and questions that were posed several years ago in Paris. For instance: Does race/class/gender-ism, in putting primary emphasis on a category like race as a factor in culture, offer a refreshingly candid view of influences that have always existed but are normally concealed? Or does the emphasis on race bring us back to the dubious theories of the European past, as Todorov has suggested? Is there a hint in these ideas of the old German romantic philosophies of the far right?

It pains the admirers of Yale deconstruction and of race/class/gender-ism when anyone mentions the early career of de Man, the Yale critic, on the grounds that a young person’s early mistakes should not be used to hound his later achievements. Yet the controversy over de Man and his youthful errors has had one merit at least, which is to give everyone the opportunity to read some Nazi-style literary criticism, for instance de Man’s collaborationist article from 1941, “The Jews in Contemporary Literature,” which has been brought back into print. Now, here was an example of cultural analysis in which writers were categorized on the basis of racial “difference," the Jews on one hand and the Europeans on the other.

Exactly what makes de Man’s early reactionary harping on race different from the postmodern, supposedly progressive harping on race today? It is argued that "race” in the postmodern, sociological, progressive usage has nothing to do with “race” in the old, reactionary, biological usage, and that only someone who is motivated by hostility or by a stubborn unwillingness to entertain new ideas would detect in these up-to-date progressive ideas a scent of old-fashioned reactionary rightism. Yet the distinction between the postmodern ideas and the reactionary ones is not necessarily so clear—if only because, among some of the deconstructionist masters of literary interpretation, there is a peculiar inability to detect any Nazism at all in de Man’s Nazi articles, which raises doubts about the reliability of the new techniques. And because, in the movement for multiculturalism that has emerged out of race/class/gender-ism, a touch of the young de Man’s Euro-style racial thinking does sometimes creep into the discussion, obviously not among the sophisticated thinkers, who are embarrassed by the problem, but on the margins of the movement. It was disturbing, for instance, but not terribly surprising, to discover a certain inappropriate fixation on the Jews in the thinking of a couple of the professors who helped draw up the proposed new multicultural public-school social-studies curriculum in New York State.

Of course someone might say about the several doubts and problems that hover over these new ideas: so what? Just because a doctrine is a bit dotty or has trouble fending off unattractive elements, valuable results might come of it anyway, in the right hands. “Saying absurd things,” as Richard Rorty observes, “is perfectly compatible with being a force for good.” Especially in America, I would add. In France, every educated person receives a pretty good schooling in philosophy, which has the evil effect of encouraging people to be logically consistent in their foolish ideas. But in America we tend to be suspicious of philosophy, unless it is something like John Dewey’s mixture of see-if-it-works pragmatism and social democratic reform. We like ideas—but we water them down.

The natural instinct for most American intellectuals, when it comes to doctrines from France, is silently to demote the philosophies into methods—into techniques that you apply, the way you might apply a carpentry technique, when the occasion requires, and not on other occasions. Some of the professors who promote race/class/gender-ism are happy to embrace the idea in all its radical grandeur. But a far larger number have no interest in way- out implications. Working up a philosophical opposition to humanism and rationalism was never their idea, except maybe for rhetorical effect. On the contrary, these professors are humanists, and always were. They seek the further flowering of liberal democracy.

When they argue for multiculturalism, they don’t mean to displace the culture of rationalism and humanism with a variety of nonrationalist and nonhumanist traditions. They merely wish to remind everyone not to allow the central culture that does exist to fall prey to habits of bigotry or smallmindedness. Fundamentally they wish us to be more rational, not less. Tolerance, that grandest of concepts from the Western Enlightenment, is the name blazoned across their jackets. They don’t mean to overthrow the Western literary canon the way Heidegger wanted to overthrow the Western philosophical canon. They want to expand it. They mean to remind us to look around to see if, because of discrimination in the past or its persistence today, certain authors and works of art have been overlooked. And sure enough, certain authors and works and perspectives have indeed been overlooked, and today some of them have been rediscovered, which is a testimony to the new ideas. And it is good to look for still more writers and more traditions and variety of every sort, not in order to undermine the general culture, but to strengthen it.

The liberal professors who play with these ideas are not revolutionaries against modernity. Mostly they mean to teach a good course—even if, here and there on the faculty, someone may like to keep the students and the state assembly on their toes by uttering a rattling enigmatic Paris slogan now and then or by railing against universal standards and the rule of white males.

To professors like these and their supporters, to the postmodern liberals who spice up their teaching and writing with a few sprinkles of race/class/gender-ism or a bit of world-weary deconstruction, something about the current debate is very chilling.

They see the Newsweek cover pointing a finger at the “Thought Police,” which means themselves, and they see President Bush denounce them, and they look around for their own allies, who turn out not to be many. And they have reason to feel a pinch of fear. It is because of the disproportion between their own power and that of the hostile institutions arrayed against them.

Article here: Thought Police - Newsweek December 24, 1990....it will also be covered in the note a bit later.

[bobjust.com]

They wonder: Isn’t something overblown about the outrage over P C. and the new theories and the curricular debate? There are silly panels at the MLA conventions, but do these merit a national crusade? The tales of P C. power make them rub their eyes. And these charges of McCarthyism! The real-life McCarthyism of the fifties was a hysterical movement against a relatively small number of American Communists, but its real target, according to one very sound interpretation, was the heritage of New Deal liberalism from the thirties. Mightn’t something similar be at work today, and mightn't the real target in the anti-PC. campaign, as some writers have conjectured, be the heritage of democratic openness and social reform that dates from the radical sixties?

The feminist transformation of American universities has the look of irreversibility, if strictly on demographic grounds. But in the age of AIDS, it’s hard to know what will be the eventual status of the freedoms that have lately attached to homosexuality—the freedom to speak about it openly, for instance. The future status of racial integretation in the universities is likewise hard to predict. Official segregation in American universities sounds like something out of the Middle Ages but was entirely common no more than thirty years ago. At a place like Duke University, today the home of some of the friskier literary theorists, black students were simply not admitted, as the literary critic Louis Menand has pointed out. The anti-P.C. argument leapfrogs sometimes from a criticism of P C. obnoxiousness and the daffiness of the new literary theories to a criticism of affirmative action, in fact to an argument that affirmative action has turned into a fiasco, not just in its details but as a whole. But that may not be the case.

At the time when schools like Duke were barred to black students, the university- educated African-American middle class was small. Today that class has multiplied severalfold, partly because of affirmative action pressure on the universities, which suggests success, and on a grand scale. Yet the success could easily enough be rolled partway back, given the wrong confluence of political forces. The statistics on African- American admissions to universities seem to bob up and down for mysterious reasons, even without any effort to push them down, and the statistics on keeping the students in school are not good, and the entire situation seems to wobble.

Does the vehemence and enthusiasm of the campaign against PC. threaten these shaky successes, possibly because of an extra anger that clings to the P C. debate, some last lingering resentment from the long struggle to achieve campus desegregation? It may sound insulting to the fair-minded academic crusaders against P C. even to ask that question. Yet the popular enthusiasm against P C., the way the issue has seemed to appeal to a public far wider than the academy, raises the question all by itself. Even on campus, where life is supposed to be a little rosier than in the rest of the world, incidents of racist meanness against black students and other minorities are not exactly unknown. For a while in the late eighties, those incidents grew more common, sometimes with the encouragement of right wing campus journalists, who in turn were backed by conservative foundations and powerful political figures. Isn’t that the biggest problem on the American campus?

The postmodern professors gaze at their accusers, and they see bad faith. They see conservatives who claim to be more liberal than the liberals, and cultural critics who talk about insulating culture from politics but who wield the literary canon like a club, knocking heads whenever their own political preferences come under attack. And the post-modern professors would laugh—if they weren’t ducking under a table.

Are their responses foolish? Mostly they are incomplete, I would say. For there still remains what is, finally, the central issue—the intellectual atmosphere on the campuses (and in a few other places). The anti-P.C. professors' organization, the National Association of Scholars, has its share of well-regarded members, not all of them operatives of the conservative movement, who are eager to recount unpleasant memories in gory detail: the hazing they have undergone at the hands of politically correct university colleagues, the need they feel to bite their tongues or to move to a different department merely to get on with their conventional work. The N.A.S. journal, Academic Questions, publishes new complaints all the time. A spirit of hyperbole animates some of these complaints, just as it animates the debate as a whole, and doubtless the entire accusation against P C. would sound more convincing stripped to essentials, without any of the entertaining references to Mao’s Red Guards. But exaggeration does not make a complaint untrue.

Todd Gitlin writes: “A bitter intolerance emanates from much of the academic left." The thing exists—even if not everywhere. And if the intolerance is bitter among some of the professors, how much worse it is in the world of their own students—among the hard-pressed student leftists especially. Merely to hold a reasonably well-attended left- wing meeting at a campus today can turn into a nightmare when the politically correct
requirements are insisted on, what with the demands for racial and gender balance and correct phrasing and the accusations about racism, sexism, homophobia, and Eurocentrism that fly at the drop of a hat. The leaders of the conventional adult left are always pulling their hair out over these things, looking for ways to offer a word of friendly advice to the self-persecuting student leftists. (Some of the friendly words appear in the following documents.) The very history of the term P C. testifies to the left-wing awareness of a left- wing syndrome. But the syndrome doesn’t disappear.

Here is the mystery in the debate over P C. For if the professors and their students are as devoted to every kind of tolerant and humane idea as they say, and if their radical instincts are closer to Michael Harrington than to Martin Heidegger, and if pluralism is their utopia, how can they work up, some of them, so much zeal for small-time inquisitions? All sorts of explanations can be proposed—for instance, the explanation that points to a heritage of Hawthornean puritanism that is every bit as nasty and unconscious among liberals as among conservatives. Or there is the argument that liberals, too, have their share of bad faith. You could point to old habits of left-wing intolerance that persist long after they have been discredited. Or you could observe that if most of the postmodern professors have a liberal heart, the anti-liberals of the left sometimes end up determing the atmosphere.

But without slighting any of these explanations here is an additional one suitably based on structures of language, which derive from Pierre Bourdieu's theory of academic jargon. In a polemic against Heidegger, Bourdieu observes that professors like to suppose that academic jargon can mean anything they want it to. If someone defines a word to denote ideas that are, say, strictly liberal and open-minded, the professors imagine that no other meanings will inhere. But Bourdieu (who was trying to show that Heidegger remained something of a Nazi even when he was merely an unpolitical academic) insists that words, even academic words, carry meanings of their own that can’t be wished away, even by professors.

Currently we have a lot of academic terms like “difference,” “diversity," “the Other," “logocentrism,” and “theory,” that are intended to be consonant with humanist traditions of the liberal left. But these words willy-nilly hark back to a cultural theory that has its roots in the anti-humanist intellectual currents of a generation ago, and buried within those terms may be certain definite ideas that are anything but liberal. There is the idea that we are living under a terrible oppression based on lies about liberal humanism, and that with proper analysis the hidden vast structure of domination can be revealed. There is the temptation to flirt with irrationalist and racial theories whose normal home is on the extreme right.

And there is the idea that, sparkling like jewels here and there, a millenarian alternative is somewhere lurking, that we can turn the world upside down—if we, the anti-bigot reformers, can only get hold of the dominating verbal structures. For if we can only command the school curriculum, or dictate the literary canon, or get everyone to abandon certain previously unanalyzed phrases that contain the entire structure of oppressive social domination, and replace these phrases with other phrases that contain a new, better society—if we can only do that, great results will occur, and the radiant new day will be at hand.

That is a wild notion, which consciously no one believes, at least not in full. Yet bits and pieces of that idea peek out from within the academic vocabulary. And wild or not, the bits and pieces have a popular appeal, if only because they promise that something can be done about the social inequalities and injustices in the United States that seem so intractable in a conservative age. Perhaps if America were experiencing right now a significant movement for radical social reform, the temptation to embark on verbal campaigns and to invest these campaigns with outlandish hopes would be less, and the students and younger professors would put their energy into real-life democratic movements instead, which might be a relief to their harassed colleagues. A peculiar sort of leftism is plainly an origin of the P.C. syndrome, but it’s easy to imagine that another kind of tum to the left—to a conventional movement for social reform—would also be the solution.

Meanwhile here is a phenomenon that is weirder and less productive than any conventional movement for democracy. Dwight Macdonald defined 1930s fellow-traveling as the fog that arose when the warm ocean currents of American liberalism encountered the Soviet iceberg. Political correctness in the 1990s is a related syndrome. It is the fog that arises from American liberalism’s encounter with the iceberg of French cynicism.

This book contains twenty-one of the most interesting statements that have been produced on the subject of political correctness—broadly defined to include not only the argument over speech habits and official codes but the related issues of the literary canon and the public school curriculum. There is even one comment on the art museums, by Hilton Kramer. I have selected writers and statements from every kind of journal—popular, academic, intellectual, and political—and even from a television show.

I have tried to balance the different views, so that here is Dinesh D’Souza, who writes for the conservative journals, but also, at the opposite end of the book, Cornel West and Barbara Ehrenreich, with perspectives from the democratic left. Here is Catharine R. Stimpson, 1990 president of the Modern Language Association, and here, too, is Roger Kimball, arch-critic of said association, and so on through the anthology. Diane Ravitch and Molefi Kete Asante debate the merits of Afrocentric public school curricula. And then one of the surprises in reading these pages is to discover writers who on political grounds ought to disagree (and with a grudge too), but who seem to harbor a secret point of agreement, out of mutual love for literature.

Some of the super-radical positions are without expression here, which is too bad—for instance, the position that views multiculturalism as itself a form of white male domination.

On the other hand, readers will find three documents from one of the sharpest local disputes over P C. and multiculturalism, the debate about curriculum at the University of Texas, Austin. I regret to say that too many academic people will stumble across their own names in one or another article, cited in an unfriendly polemical spirit by their severest critics.

And nowhere in the book will these criticized persons get the chance to rebut or reply. That is injust. I beg the forgiveness of every one of these people, the wronged leftists and the wronged rightists and the wronged in-betweenists, and I ask them to remember that injustice as well as incompleteness is always the outcome when large debates shrivel into small anthologies.

The literary critic Gerald Graff has argued for some time that the best possible response to the crisis in the universities is to “teach the conflict”—to make a study of the debate itself. This proposal strikes the most radical of the professors as a wishy-washy way to take a real debate and render it toothless, and it strikes other people as a misguided proposal to drag into the classroom arguments that should be conducted among the professors themselves, not in front of their students. But Graff s proposal seems to me the soul of sense. The debate over political correctness has managed to raise nearly every important question connected to culture and education—the proper relation of culture to a democratic society, the relation of literature to life, the purpose of higher education. Naturally to raise a question is not to settle it, which means the crisis in education goes on. But only in medicine are crises a sign of impending death. In intellectual matters, crises are signs of life.

― Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses (1995) by Paul Berman (Editor)

1

Great quote form Hannah Arendt. "The ideal subject of totalitarianism is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false no longer exist.

A good description of radical postmodernism and postmodernism itself..

2

The original postmodernist made some valid points about the inherent subjective or perhaps more precisely the relative nature of reality. They were philosophers and while their profundity was largely self promotion the rule of philosophy is to deal with abstractions. Often irreducible abstractions that can't be dealt with with closed analytical tools such as mathematics. A philosopher is never right in the objective sense.

The problem with postmodernism is it created it's own closed system imitating the abstract nature of mathematics and logic. It's failing is that it is impossible to incorporate into any pragmatic approach to the issues we face connected to survival or meaning. It certainly could never be the basis for activism and even to the extent was adopted by activist too abstract for most of them to process other than the nihilism.

The objective failure of communism, especially the French variety, needed to be explained by French philosophers. Communism was suppose to overcome the irrationality of competition. To replace the old morality based on revealed truth with objective reason. When communism failed to live up to it's promises it had to be that objective reason was impossible. Any other conclusion would make a mockery of centuries of French philosophy. In some ways postmodernism hasn't strayed that far from romanticism. Both try to plug the wholes in the enlightenment related to meaning. Meaning in postmodernism is entirely subjective but we have an objective set of instincts that postmodernism ignores or misunderstands.

wolfhnd Level 8 July 24, 2021

"The original postmodernist made some valid points about the inherent subjective or perhaps more precisely the relative nature of reality. "

True. But you know what psychologists would say to postmodernists; "you can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

I think what we saw with French and later other postmodernists is what we saw with Karl Marx as well. Personal pathologies and neurosis projected onto the society where the self styled intellectuals like Foucault and Karl Marx had huge egos and terribly low self esteem so they try to compensate, not by slaying theory own demons, but by inventing new ones in the society.

"The problem with postmodernism is it created it's own closed system imitating the abstract nature of mathematics and logic. It's failing is that it is impossible to incorporate into any pragmatic approach to the issues we face connected to survival or meaning. It certainly could never be the basis for activism and even to the extent was adopted by activist too abstract for most of them to process other than the nihilism."

Exactly. Well said.

Luckily for them it was Hegelian dialectic that provided the meaning for them, or rather the tools of deconstruction in pursuit of utopia.

Hegel’s Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis Model

A dialectic method of historical and philosophical progress that postulates

(1) a beginning proposition called a thesis, (current system is bad)
(2) a negation of that thesis called the antithesis, and (critiqe it by showing its contradictions)
(3) a synthesis whereby the two conflicting ideas are reconciled to form a new proposition. (end results, off cuorse socialism and finally communism, as the utopia of the left)

Although this method is commonly referred to as the Hegelian dialectic, Hegel actually attributed the terminology to Immanuel Kant. Moreover, many scholars argue that the dialectic is represented of German idealism as developed by Johann Gottlieb Fichte.

I keep posting this for those who need to understand where the origins of the leftist religion for the last 200 years are.

"The new philosophy. . . takes the place of religion and has the essence of religion within itself. In truth, it is itself religion." —Ludwig Feuerbach

"Our religion does not involve a church, because it is more than that. It is a religion unconfined; it is the substance of our very lives." —Moses

..........................

Hegel and the Dialectic | James Lindsay & Michael O'Fallon | Changing Tides Ep. 3

When most commentators refer to the ideological state that Western civilization finds itself in today, the name most commonly used as the genesis of the rot that has infected our society is Karl Marx. This isn’t wholly wrong, but when an examination of the gradualistic sense of the process which has been used to purposely evolve societal conceptions to the end goal of progressive operational success, the name and the methodologies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel should immediately come to the forefront of discussion.

Join Michael O’Fallon, of Sovereign Nations, and James Lindsay, of New Discourses, for an in-depth discussion of how the Hegelian dialectical process and metaphysics work and slowly drain the color out of life in Western Civilization.

The totalitarian systems that arose in the twentieth century presented themselves as secular. Yet, as A. James Gregor argues in his book, Totalitarianism and Political Religion An Intellectual History, 2001, they themselves functioned as religions. He presents an intellectual history of the rise of these political religions, tracing a set of ideas that include belief that a certain text contains impeccable truths; notions of infallible, charismatic leadership; and the promise of human redemption through strict obedience, selfless sacrifice, total dedication, and unremitting labor. Gregor provides unique insight into the variants of Marxism, Fascism, and National Socialism that dominated our immediate past. He explores the seeds of totalitarianism as secular faith in the nineteenth-century ideologies of Ludwig Feuerbach, Moses Hess, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Richard Wagner. He follows the growth of those seeds as the twentieth century became host to Leninism and Stalinism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism―each a totalitarian institution and a political religion.

Foucault was gay if I'm not mistaken, did not fit in, probably was a closet pedophile as well according to some reports.

Karl Marx was no better.

"A pleasant existence blinds us to the possibilities of drastic change. We cling to what we call our common sense, our practical point of view. Actually, these are but names for an all-absorbing familiarity with things as they are. The tangibility of a pleasant and secure existence is such that it makes other realities, however imminent, seem vague and visionary. Thus it happens that when the times become unhinged, it is the practical people who are caught unaware and are made to look like visionaries who cling to things that do not exist.

They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all.” They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society.

All mass movements deprecate the present by depicting it as a mean preliminary to a glorious future; a mere doormat on the threshold of the millennium. That the deprecating attitude of a mass movement toward the present seconds the inclinations of the frustrated is obvious. What surprises one, when listening to the frustrated as they decry the present and all its works, is the enormous joy they derive from doing so. Such delight cannot come from the mere venting of a grievance. There must be something more -- and there is. By expatiating upon the incurable baseness and vileness of the times, the frustrated soften their feeling of failure and isolation. It is as if they said: 'Not only our blemished selves, but the lives of all our contemporaries, even the most happy and successful, are worthless and wasted.' Thus by deprecating the present they acquire a vague sense of equality.

An active mass movement rejects the present and centers its interest on the future. It is from this attitude that it derives its strength, for it can proceed recklessly with the present—with the health, wealth and lives of its followers. It is a truism that many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions of life.

Freedom aggravates at least as much as it alleviates frustration. Freedom of choice places the whole blame of failure on the shoulders of the individual. And as freedom encourages a multiplicity of attempts, it unavoidably multiplies failure and frustration. Freedom alleviates frustration by making available the palliatives of action, movement, change and protest.

A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation. When a mass movement begins to attract people who are interested in their individual careers, it is a sign that it has passed its vigorous stage; that it is no longer engaged in molding a new world but in possessing and preserving the present. It ceases then to be a movement and becomes an enterprise. According to Hitler, the more “posts and offices a movement has to hand out, the more inferior stuff it will attract, and in the end these political hangers-on overwhelm a successful party in such number that the honest fighter of former days no longer recognizes the old movement…. When this happens, the ‘mission’ of such a movement is done for.

― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements"

In 2007, a retrodiagnosis of Marx's skin disease was made by dermatologist Sam Shuster of Newcastle University and for Shuster the most probable explanation was that Marx suffered not from liver problems, but from hidradenitis suppurativa, a recurring infective condition arising from blockage of apocrine ducts opening into hair follicles. This condition, which was not described in the English medical literature until 1933 (hence would not have been known to Marx's physicians), can produce joint pain (which could be misdiagnosed as rheumatic disorder) and painful eye conditions. To arrive at his retrodiagnosis, Shuster considered the primary material: the Marx correspondence published in the 50 volumes of the Marx/Engels Collected Works. There, "although the skin lesions were called 'furuncles', 'boils' and 'carbuncles' by Marx, his wife and his physicians, they were too persistent, recurrent, destructive and site-specific for that diagnosis". The sites of the persistent 'carbuncles' were noted repeatedly in the armpits, groins, perianal, genital (penis and scrotum) and suprapubic regions and inner thighs, "favoured sites of hidradenitis suppurativa". Professor Shuster claimed the diagnosis "can now be made definitively".Shuster went on to consider the potential psychosocial effects of the disease, noting that the skin is an organ of communication and that hidradenitis suppurativa produces much psychological distress, including loathing and disgust and depression of self-image, mood and well-being, feelings for which Shuster found "much evidence" in the Marx correspondence.

Professor Shuster went on to ask himself whether the mental effects of the disease affected Marx's work and even helped him to develop his theory of alienationMarx was jaded neurotic cynic who was pretty much a loser trough his life. He was a bad husband, bad father. He didn't take care of himself and quite possible loathed himself. He hated authority and projected his bad self image, tough politics onto the society as a whole. Like any cynic he critiques it and in his grand narrative that does not fit into reality, he casts himself as the great liberator of the oppressed people. But he did not build his fortune, he was born in wealth family. Engels supported him when he had no money, and he never actually worked in factory.

.........................

“Marx was concerned to change society or rather, if he adhered rigidly to his system, expected society to change in the way he wanted.” ― A.J.P. Taylor, The Communist Manifesto

“The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorise, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being.” ― Karl Marx

Basically, he saw capitalism as materialism and if everyone is chasing "things" than they are not happy. But this was off course partly reflection of his own ideas of himself, mixed with his cynicism, and the idea that in his story he is the savior of people, he is the hero. After all he failed in just about everything else. He was kicked out of several countries, he was bad husband and father and bad friend to himself in particular. He hated his skin disease and he probably hated himself. Mix that with alcohol and ideological echo chamber of pubs he was hanging out in Paris where he met all the other radicals and you have yourself dangerous radical political ideas, bust also seductive ones. Which explains how they endure.

"That Marxism is not a science is entirely clear to intelligent people in the Soviet Union. One would even feel awkward to refer to it as a science. Leaving aside the exact sciences, such as physics, mathematics, and the natural sciences, even the social sciences can predict an event—when, in what way and how an event might occur. Communism has never made any such forecasts. It has never said where, when, and precisely what is going to happen. Nothing but declamations. Rhetoric to the effect that the world proletariat will overthrow the world bourgeoisie and the most happy and radiant society will then arise.” ― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West

In his final years, Karl Marx was in poor health (which he described as ‘the wretchedness of existence&rsquo😉. He was distressed by the death of his wife in 1881. He died on March 14 1883 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery in London. Only 11 people attended the funeral.

“Increasing prosperity for the capitalists has everywhere brought with it increasing prosperity for the proletariat, instead of the increasing misery which Marx foretold. The most advanced capitalist countries are also those where the working class has the highest standard of life. Revolutions in short are made in the name of the proletariat, not by it, and usually in countries where the proletariat hardly exists. The revolutionaries might talk about socialism, those who actually revolted wanted 'the right to work'- more capitalism, not its abolition ― A.J.P. Taylor, The Communist Manifesto

“Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species”
― Edward O. Wilson, The Ants

Liberalism that came out of the Enlightenment age, peaked at some point in the 19th century, but what would all those intellectuals do if they become conservatives, they would be out of job, so they kept pushing forward , towards progress.... morphing liberalism ever more to the left.

“The conservative "thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature. In his march toward Utopia, the ideologue is merciless.” ― Russell Kirk

“In American popular usage today, 'liberalism' means left-liberalism – not to be confused with 'neoliberalism' ... and is expressly contrasted with 'conservatism'. In this usage a liberal is one who leans consciously towards the underprivileged, supports the interests of minorities and socially excluded groups, believes in the use of state power to achieve social justice, and in all probability shares the egalitarian and secular values of the nineteenth century socialists.

“In a moment of doubt about the socialist record Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) once wrote: ‘If the left have to think more seriously about the new society, that does not make it any the less desirable or necessary or the case against the present one any less compelling.’ There, in a nutshell, is the sum of the New Left’s commitment. We know nothing of the socialist future, save only that it is both necessary and desirable.

Our concern is with the ‘compelling’ case against the present, which leads us to destroy what we lack the knowledge to replace.

The two goals of liberation and social justice are not obviously compatible, any more than were the liberty and equality advocated at the French Revolution. If liberation involves the liberation of individual potential, how do we stop the ambitious, the energetic, the intelligent, the good-looking and the strong from getting ahead, and what should we allow ourselves by way of constraining them?”

― Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left

“To fret about political, social, or economic inequality in a free society is to fret about the problem of freedom itself, for in the presence of freedom there will always be inequality of some kind.” ― Jonah Goldberg, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy

.........................

Liberalism as a philosophy gets things correct when it comes to legal rights or private property, rule of law, tight to fair trial etc. But it deliberate tries to "liberate" itself from assigning shared moral code. it say that no institution should impose morals on the individuals. They must choose for themselves. Its not that liberalism say there is no such thing as right or wrong, but it insists there are no previous moral ties to any moral norms of the past and its up the individual to liberate himself from those moral ties and therefore come up with his own morality.

Unfortunately because liberalism require the power of the state to secure legal rights, it is at the same time saying that individual can exist on to its own in theory. free and liberated from previous moral ties and traditions, but than in practice it recognizes that we can't live with no legal protection so it grants the power of the state to force those rights. And so its big on legal rights but weak on moral responsibilities. This inherently leads it to empower either on the right or left side the enemies and as we are seeing today. Age of liberalism has been compromised by the very same people that represented it. It empowers its own enemies because out of selfish reasons it tries to avoid having shared moral code and no nation can survive without one.

Because liberalism came as response to the age of monarchy and church it is always skeptical and sometimes hostile to them, but it fails to recognize its own contradictions. The "Age of reason" liberals say, and everyone else looks and says the "cult of reason", why because liberalism argues we are all reasonable individuals and if only there is no religion to limit us we would be all free and reach our potential.

This might be true for individuals here and there, but certainly no evidence this is true for society at large. On the contrary. And because men are not reasonable animals but rationalizing animals, we need a constructive shred moral code, along side liberal understanding of legal rights, to have a chance of preserving what we might consider liberty.

Classical liberals, riding the wave of shared moral code they inherited from long Judeo Christian tradition has kept them in pretty good shape, but if the liberal philosophy does not have a build in way to preserve it, which it does not, it was only a matter of time when the old morals will fade and new generations will seek something else. More privileges and less responsibility. And so old classical liberals were replaced by new liberals.

“Modern liberalism suffers unresolved contradictions. It exalts individualism and freedom and, on its radical wing, condemns social orders as oppressive. On the other hand, it expects government to provide materially for all, a feat manageable only by an expansion of authority and a swollen bureaucracy. In other words, liberalism defines government as tyrant father but demands it behave as nurturant mother.

Liberalism, like second-wave feminism, seems to have become a new religion for those who profess contempt for religion. It has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power.

The problems on the American left were already manifest by the late 1960s, as college-educated liberals began to lose contact with the working class for whom they claimed to speak... For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent."

  • Camille Paglia

...................................

And this inevitably gave rise to really intolerant extreme lefties ideologies we see now. It was not a matter of will it happen, but when it will happen, and it is because liberalism by its very deign refused to engage in discussion of shared moral code. and with out that it compromises itself. its is Achilles heel.

And for many today, self identifying oneself as liberal has become a way to outsource moral responsibility to a liberal ideology itself. That is why many liberal intellectuals are so smug, they consider liberalism to be most moral ideology, but refuse to define share moral code. And that is why I consider liberalism as a religion, it considers itself dogmatically the best most moral ideology. To change ones opinion and see liberalism as flawed ideology, would mean one must now find something else, and that is so scary for many liberals, that they rather defend the indefensible than to say liberalism has a problem ... .and that is the characteristic of religions.

......................................

“Captured by the ideological animus, both socialist and liberal-democratic art abandoned the criterion of beauty - considered anachronistic and of dubious political value - and replaced it with the criterion of correctness. …egalitarianism and despotism do not exclude each other, but usually go hand in hand.

To a certain degree, equality invites despotism, because in order to make all members of a society equal, and then to maintain this equality for a long period of time, it is necessary to equip the controlling institutions with exceptional power so they can stamp out any potential threat to equality in every sector of the society and any aspect of human life: to paraphrase a well-known sentence by one of Dostoyevsky’s characters, ‘We start with absolute equality and we end up with absolute despotism.’ Some call it a paradox of equality: the more equality one wants to introduce, the more power one must have; the more power one has, the more one violates the principle of equality; the more one violates the principle of equality, the more one is in a position to make the world egalitarian.

Liberal democracy is a powerful unifying mechanism, blurring differences between people and imposing uniformity of views, behavior, and language. But it does not require much effort to see that the dialogue in liberal democracy is of a peculiar kind because its aim is to maintain the domination of the mainstream and not to undermine it. A deliberation is believed to make sense only if the mainstream orthodoxy is sure to win politically. Today's 'dialogue' politics are a pure form of the right-is-might politics, cleverly concealed by the ostentatiously vacuous rhetoric of all-inclusiveness.

The illusion they cherish of being a brave minority heroically facing the whole world, false as it is, gives them nevertheless a strange sense of comfort: they feel absolutely safe, being equipped with the most powerful political tools in today's world but at the same time priding themselves on their courage and decency, which are more formidable the more awesome the image of the enemy becomes.

The ideological man is thus both absolutely suspicious and absolutely enthusiastic. There seems to be no idea under the sun that he would not put into question and make an object of derision, skepticism, or contempt, no idea that he would not reduce to an offshoot of hidden instincts, mundane interests, biological drives, and psychological complexes. Hence he is likely to despise reason as an autonomous faculty, to downgrade lofty ideals, and to debunk the past, seeing everywhere the same ideological mystification.

But at the same time, he lives in a constant state of mobilization for a better world. His mouth is full of noble slogans about brotherhood, freedom, and justice, and with every word he makes it clear that he knows which side is right and that he is ready to sacrifice his entire existence for the sake of its victory. The peculiar combination of both attitudes--merciless distrust and unwavering affirmation--gives him an incomparable sense of moral self-confidence and intellectual self-righteousness.”

― Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies

...................................

As someone said: “The modern definition of a racist is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.”

“In the end, the actions of such liberals have the effect---again unwittingly---of continuing to cover for the goals of the extreme Left. Yet again, the soft Left is helping to conceal the hard Left, whether it realizes it or not.” ― Paul Kengor, Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century

“I would rather try to organize politics and political discourse in a way that encouraged engagement on moral and religious questions. …If we attempt to banish moral and religious discourse from politics and debates about law and rights, the danger is we’ll have a kind a vacant public square or a naked public square.

And the yearning for larger meanings in politics will find undesirable expression. Fundamentalists will rush in where liberals fear to tread. They will try to clothe the naked public square with the most narrow and intolerant moralisms.”

  • Michael Joseph Sandel is an American political philosopher.
1

Postmodernism loves to break down the nation-state.

sqeptiq Level 9 July 24, 2021
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