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A Contemporary Dialogue

..."invented" by one James Ceaser is a deep and witty contribution to the cutting edge conversation that may or may not make possible postmodern conservatism.

Discussions - 17 Comments

I suggest you rethink the term pomocon....lest you hold a banquet someday and a bunch of guys show up hoping to get jenna jameson's autograph. If I understand the problem, you are trying to appear hip and cool, while maintaining tradional values? Come on...Who is cooler than the rugged individual. Are conservatives afraid of being forced into going goth because they are mocked on the playground for not conforming. Position yourself as the guy who ditches and smokes behind the janitors shed if you really want to be cool. Considering that you no longer stand up for individual freedom or federalism or capitalism mabye the rebel without a cause is you true postmodern identity.

A flippant and uninformed post. The guy did not even know how to post his own message. Looking forward to his analysis of "Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign" or his analysis of Negri. That whole blog is a joke, conservatives just using terms and language they seemingly just learned. It is the blogging equivalent of the apes in "2001" fingering tools for the first time.

Wow, now people are tech elitists. I think the whole blog is a joke is harsh considering you are reading it and comenting on it, what does that make you: a mockery of a sham? As for conservatives using words they just learned, shame on them for being a few years behind you. Its the internet, be kind to N00bs. I might argue with the messages and make jokes but come on.

Don't know that any of this is so new. Somebody did publish POSTMODERNISM RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD in 1999.

But the title of your book, Lawler, reeks of typical conservative objectivism and moral absolutism (or, at least, socio-cultural arrogance). I haven't read it, so I can't be too critical, but the title suggests that it is very much in line with regular conservative thinking.

This "postmodern conservatism", though, seems to imply that postmodernism as currently understood (perhaps not "rightly" so) can be compatible with conservatism. Or, at the very least, an exploration of the question "Can these two things be compatible?" (as Caesar asks). I think that's what's new and interesting. Well, that and seeing a conservative commentator even mention Zizek.

Didn't Ceaser already deal with the pomo writer Baudrillard in 1997--in the book Reconstructing America?

To continue the above, ren you need to look at Ceaser circa 1997 for his analysis of Baudrillard.

As for analysis of Negri--well the event hasn't happened yet!

Matt: I've read lawler's book and it does not say what you think it says. Rather "postmodernism" (rightly understood) involves a rejection (in part) of modern pol. philosophy's effort to induce man to subdue and reform nature (esp. human nature). Postmodernism rightly understood is a reflection on the inherent limits of the good human life--representated in various ways by the thought of Solzhenitsyn, Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Vaclav Havel, etc.

Lawler does make the point that "postmodernism" as it is typically understood is actually hypermodernism. It is an extension rather than a rejection of modernism. But Lawler is not really concerned with and does not analyze postmodernism in that sense except to distinguish it from postmodernism rightly understood.

Thanks to Ryan and John, of course. I should add, of course, that Ceaser dressed completely in black in the French existentialist/postmodernist/NOIR fashion during the entire Clinton administration. Given his unusual sense of color, many are hoping the Obama administration will signal the return of the man in black. I should also add the jwc goes to France a lot and likes it there, apparently. Matt and ren, you're a lot of fun, but real postmodernists have a lot more irony and a lot less indignation about reeking and all that.

Well, I haven't read the book, so I can't be too critical MIGHT have been an intentionally funny and self-deprecating line

I think Matt's apriori criticisms were supposed to be funny, and if not, sorry about that. I don't think Ren's hyperventilated criticisms were supposed to be but they genuinely were.I've actually read a good deal of Zizek and wish I hadn't.

Peter's Pomo book is the first book I ever read of his and still my favorite--Ryan's brief synopsis is pretty good. And it might be the case that modernity is, in some way, deeply hyperbolic in its iconoclastic pretentions--it unwittingly absorbs a good deal of the pre-modern tradition it purports to reject. Peter's last book, Homeless and at Home in America, and Brague's latert, The Law of God, are two terrific volumes that spend time on this issue.

I can't really say anything for fear of revealing my innate esoteric-ness. Reeking is a necessity in continental, postmodern thought. That, and dressing like Foucault.

In all seriousness - one of the reasons I still frequent this blog is joke around about this kind of stuff. I love continental, postmodern thought but I can't help making fun of some of its (unintended?) consequences. If you want a real scream, watch the movie Zizek! You can find it on Google Video for free. Talk about destroying your thought in one sweep. Or was that the point all along? It doesn't really matter. Watching Zizek deconstruct his son's positioning of legos will have you on the floor.

And your Baudrillard comments are all too soon . . . Let the guy have at least a few years in the grave before you rip his (un)writing of philosophy to theoretical pieces. Poor (non)guy.

Will Ceaser be "noir" for the next four years?

I don't know about deep and witty more like shallow and boring. Postmodern conservatism=oxymoron.

I'm getting more worried about all the "naming" in conservatism. Naming is the way we basket beliefs -- i.e., I think of a name like a brand in that it stands for some series of qualities/characteristics/policies. A lot of these names seem to focus on peripheral, tactical applications of some underlying philosophy or on personality traits without really digging into fundamental beliefs about reality. Obama could stand for "hope" and "change" because people are crying out for some sort of unification in the midst of fragmentation. We've "named" everything so specifically these days that people feel separate. When Obama made folks feel unified, he inspired them. What are the broad fundamental beliefs of conservatism? Why do they offer hope for the future? How do they match with reality? I have a feeling if we simply sought to answer a few simple questions we could find a way, quickly, to reform.

Names basket interests in a way that can be quantified in opinion polls such that one can shift with the tides of what is deemed to be popular opinion.

This is a problem. At the least it over generalizes. At the most it prevents any possibility for deliberation, in that one is simply a bundle of interests, and if one knows what they are, then one knows what is good--OR one knows how to manipulate them to one's own advantage.

Following the Federalist here, there are also opinions, which require some sort of defense in an argument which requires reason--AND there are passions, which may not have a reason other than their immediate evidence.

Names cannot be given to passions without destroying what it is that makes them in the first place. Names can be given to opinions, but that name can be challenged and qualified vis a vis speech.

I suppose interests are interests.

So there is a problem in the name of "postmodernism"? Doesn't postmodernism present itself as that which cannot be named? The presence of an absence?

As I wrote at PMC's site---"The problem I think is that although conservatism and post-modernism share a critique of modern rationality, how reductionist and inhumane it becomes, the difference is that the conservative is to hearken back to either the earlier classical or Christian tradition of rationality that the modern project sought to overturn, where as for the most part–most of the postmodernism either wishes to see rationality be replaced by thinking, or just be reduced to identity (or feelings)… something that allows no point of you that is not radically subjective."

I think its a mistake to go embracing postmodernism, as although Zizek and Foucault can be fun to watch, esp as they tear apart their own fellow leftists, the world they ultimately seek to create is far from humane. And Peter L is quite write about their urbanity and wit and irony, but again, that is the mask that moderates the horrific impact of what they are in fact speak about. With out the mask of irony and wit and humor, they would be little more than Nazi or Bolshevik thugs. Their mask allows them to parade in respectable society and be thought to be interesting and thoughtul. Without it the mask, they would be locked up in the lunatic bin.

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