Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Why Conservatism IS Postmodern

...according to me.

Discussions - 13 Comments

The wordplay on 'rightly' understood must be tiresome after 10 years, but maybe you continue to wink and grin when you still use it, and your students winking and grinning, too. Everyone winking and grinning, but no one thinking. I look at this post and do not really feel very motivated to go and read your book. You describe postmodernism as what we can 'know' after experiencing the modern world. Wasn't part of the thrust of postmodernism a critique of the 'knowing subject' as some epistemological center from which to begin in the first place? So who is the 'we' to whom you un-reconstructedly refer? And what do you mean by 'know'? I can pretty much guess you do not even raise those questions in your book. You certainly won't be able to do so with your horizons of tocqueville and aquinas, hardly resources for an evaluation of modern subjectivity. Almost all of late- modern serious thought is a movement away from realism, and one cannot reaffirm it just by repeating christian cliches and capitalizing your words in a snarky blog. I guess snark begets snark. Your a postmodernist the way a Mennonite would be using velcro in her bonnet.

Well, perhaps you would prefer Postmodern Platos. Why isn't it possible for a return to an old way of looking at things (in the light of the modern impasse) to be "postmodern"? One of the inspirations of the postmodernism you seem to favor is Martin Heidegger, who certainly wasn't averse to looking backward, in his case to the pre-Socratics.

In addition, I guess I'm not impressed by the so-called postmodern critique of subjectivity, which strikes me as more hypermodern than postmodern.

So Ren objects to snarky argument free blogging with a snarky argument free post. As Joe rightly points out, those ARE in fact thinkers card-carrying postmodernists read and discuss frequently, though we can fruitfully discuss whether they do so with any depth of understanding. So instead of dismissively projecting what you think is in Peter's book (which is truly a fine work) actually read it and you will be surprised to see that he does in fact raise some of those questions. And there are few things which close the mind to serious discussion more effectively than self satisfied indignation--is it really worth haunting this blog for the sake of proclaiming your intellectual superiority over and over again? Peter is probably one of the least dogmatic (and most conversationally generous) folks I've ever met--don't you think it would speak well of you if you could disagree with him with some measure of civility and respect?

I really like the answer given by Poulos...But if Wittgenstein said that "the important thing is to be able to stop doing philosophy when one wants to," he also said: "A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes." So perhaps the important thing is to be able to stop telling jokes when one wants to...unfortunately I have very little control over what other people find funny.


And there are few things which close the mind to serious discussion more effectively than self satisfied indignation. Probably one of the least dogmatic folks I've ever met.

Gee, coming from an NLT blogger, those words strike a profound chord. Did you even look at this site in the run-up to the election? Ok I promise never to capitalize the word 'ME' again. When it comes to following up on book recommendations on this site, I did that with Malkin, Coulter, and Beck; the last time I tried that I read Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, a truly monstrously distorted and comically wrongheaded book. Is Lawler's book like Goldberg's? Goldberg defines everything he does not like as fascist, then equates fascism with liberalism, while ignoring the real fascists on the right. Maybe Lawler also pulls postmodernism through the tiny eye-hole of the right-wing needle, and conflates everything he does not like to 'postmodernism' and equates everything postmodern with everything liberal? OK, I'll read his book, but something tells me I will draw some different conclusions. I laugh when Glenn Beck cries.

Why Peter Lawler's "Post-modernism" is not conservative:

While I second Rens critique (minus some harshness) that Lawler's version of post-modernism isn't true post-modernism, the more important point is that Lawler's view isn't truly conservative.

I know that Lawler is claims constantly to be trying to reconcile reason and revelation, Christianity and philosophy. However, his answers consistently discredit Christianity/revelation, and empower humanistic philosophy and self-determination. Look at the words Lawler highlights in his post: realism, virtue, soul, person, relational, logos, eros. None of these words approach orthodox Christianity, and reveal the his view of society is built on human interpretations rather than a universal will.

If the natural law is subjected to the tortured application of human reason, it is inevitable that it will be far less than divine. In fact, this virtue becomes a handmaid to the realism, person, logos and all the other postmodern words that Lawler uses.

Now definitionally, we haven't really defined terms, and are really just talking past one another to a large extent. Conservatism to me is rooted in a belief that life should be lived with a love of God and God's will rather than a love of man and man's logos/eros (which is my definition of post-modern humanism.) Thus, post-modernism and conservatism are rightly at odds. No clever analysis can join them, and one must always choose. Your blog reads more like a post-modern than a conservative.

The real interesting book would be: The Mondern Right Leftly understood.

Well, Ren, that effectively answers my questions

ren, I'm going to repeat one more time: Pretty much all you've displayed here is self-satisfied indignation--I hope for our amusement. If there's some therapeutic benefit to you letting off steam, I'm fine with it. Clint, your concern is serious. But there is such a thing as Christian humanism, I hope.

Peter: Puh-leaze return to CAPITALIZING your "ME". You self-diminution disorients *me*.

Gary, ME thinks you protest too much.

Can you try to co-op post-structualism too? Or at least try to implement it into your new postmodernism "right understood"? Or is post-structuralism all we leftist intellectual folks have left now that you've shown us what postmodernism is "really" all about?

Ren, Lawler's book actually is not bad. It is not a snarky political blog or anything like Coulter. But I loved your 'velcro' line.

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