Friday, June 08, 2007

Science: Waking Up to the Forces of Darkness

After the series on transnational progressivism - a futuristic, dystopian, totalitarian, world view that will eliminate wars, pestilence, revolutions, borders, plurality voting, democracy as we know it (we are entering the Post Democratic era!), autonomy and nationalities, a vista that has attracted proponents left, right and centre, among whom, if I am not gravely mistaken, quite a few royals - it is perhaps useful to add a few words on the other enemies of the nation-state, the postmoderns, be it that they hate the status quo for entirely different reasons. But the objectives coincide, perhaps fatally so.

Objectivist philosopher Stephen Hicks has written the book on postmodernism. He uses an insightful classification: not Left, and certainly not Right, but Counter-Enlightenment. In view of the Liberal moral bankruptcy and rampant degeneracy that - at particularly vulnerable times - makes radical Islam seem almost preferable, one can easily see that Liberalism has had its day and is over the hill. But putting 'paid' to all blessings of Reason altogether, is like throwing the baby away with the bath water.

I am working my way at present through the small tome written by Hicks. It is a thin booklet for the good reason there isn't that much to say on the subject, postmodernism being largely hot air produced by immature mad men with a bent for the surreal; still, on account of its deliberately confusing influence on the brain, reading it is also quite a tedious pastime.

Let me start by saying that - although the work I have been doing here for the last half year or so - has been done quite independently and without much reference work by others (there isn't much anyway), my findings are to a large extent borne out by the professional work carried out by Hicks, with the exception of the rather smart classification. Consequently, I will take nothing back of what I've written in these pages on the subject. If anything, the concept of postmodernism is even more politically driven, more intellectually and philosophically vacuous, and anything as pernicious as maintained.

This piece of drivel has been around since Hegel and the German Counter-Enlightenment movement of Schopenhauer, Fichte, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and after them Marx, Derrida, Rorty, Foucault and Lyotard; currently it has taken over the arts, the mainstream media, a number of segments of Leftist political parties, entire university faculties and other places and institutions of (higher) learning: but the first public evidence that science has woken up to the danger it finds itself in, is dated 28th May 2007 - that's right: a week ago!

In evidence is one A4 size article written by one of The Guardian's science commentators, James Randerson titled "Dawkins' Christmas card list". It is all the more a strain on credulity, as this particular newspaper is almost entirely dedicated to all things avant garde in ultra Left and postmodern thinking: a colleague Guardian pet columnist of said Messrs Dawkins and Randerson is multicultural prophet Timothy Garton Ash, one of the Three-fold Kings of the Borg ("... resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated ..."). Are we to understand the gentlemen never rub shoulders on Christmas parties, having a good tête-a-tête about the finer points of the latest rage in Leftist thought?

"Science, and the rationalist movement in general, face a 'sinister challenge' from leftwing thinkers who promote cultural relativism", evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is quoted to have said during an event organised by the newspaper. Dawkins has quite a few opinions and not always in reference to the subject of evolutionary biology exclusively. He is the author of "The God Delusion" and other virulently Christophobic literature.

Fellow panelist at the same event was geneticist Steve Jones of University College London and "The Guardian Science Experiment". Speaking to the event's tag line "Have we abandoned the enlightenment?", he reserved special venom for the animal rights movement, which he attacked as 'stridently anti-rational'. So much hurt are these radical atheists by the forces of darkness that they'd almost - almost - embrace traditional Christianity as somewhat 'enlightened'! Spare me the amateur operetics!

In the light of what we know about postmodernism, about said learned gentlemen and their relationship to ultra Left leaning Al-Guardian, the above is simply astonishing! I will of course return to Hicks' book on the subject in detail, but let me say that postmodernism is a reaction to and rejects all, the Enlightenment stands for: reason, science, technology, free market capitalism, you name it: if it has been beneficial to mankind, postmodernism rejects it. Ergo, science and the Left are opposing, mutually exclusive entities!

Postmodernism, according to Hicks "the end result of the Counter-Enlightenment attack on reason" offers no alternative philosophy to Liberalism, in which all the postmodern bogies have condensed. Instead it simply embraces all that is Liberalism's opposite: anti-rationalism, anti-knowledge, anti-technology, anti-capitalism, anti-free market economy, anti the empiric method (postmodernism is unfalsifiable and of course, as it doesn't recognize science anyway, it doesn't feel obliged to make any sense as long as the other objectives are met).

If you've ever wondered as I have, where today's leading role for emotions stems from, this might be your answer. Jung's findings that "sentimentality is a superstructure that covers brutality", in this respect sounds particularly apt. Let's say, postmodernism is a form of adolescent anti-intellectualism bordering psychosis.

Alternatively, if you are familiar with Marx' works, with a few minor updates, you get an idea what the boys and girls of postmodernity are up to: just read Power for Capitalism, Minority Group for Class, and Emotion for Reason. Or a short meditation on the works of Salvador Dali or M.C. Escher might also be sufficient for some insight.

Let me put it yet in another way: it is like somebody has concluded that The Enemy is a white, rich, male individual whose strength is the power of reason. The answer therefore is the mobilization against him of all other collective minorities - non-whites, women, the under-privileged - and attack the power base of reason. As the Enlightenment shaped the world, postmoderns strive to re-shape it through the Counter-Enlightenment movement.

While proponents cannot even claim having an answer to any of the big questions, or they'd commit their first oxymoron - the first of many, I might add - of all the adherents around it is apparently only Richard Rorty who has enough professional honour to care about the fact! The rest finds the whole thing of reason, fallacies and oxymora one huge joke in the light of their meaning of life, taking over where Marxism left off: the demolition of the blessings of The Enlightenment and Liberalism.

It explains Fjordman's and my own suspicion that postmoderns aren't remotely interested if their rants make any sense or not, or if their pseudo philosophy contains a hundred or three hundred oxymora. Apart from an apparent obsession with phallic symbols (of which a good many weapons, like missiles and arrows) and other objects with the power of penetration, the symbol i representing the square root of negative one seems a problem as well, as is the making of the speed of light the fastest phenomenon, thereby unfairly privileging it over other speeds! As they don't recognize science, they constantly confuse scientific fact with opinion.

Let me wrap this item up for the time being with a few quotes from postmodern intellectuals. As they themselves hardly believe a word they're saying, please note that the gems of Post-structuralism are using language merely 'ironically'. Enjoy the next quotes and note the chief characteristics: gross generalization coupled with dramatic exaggeration, put together in naive baby talk (mommy, why are people making war?):

"Postmodernism seeks not to find the foundation and the conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change. The task of postmodern professors is to help students spot, confront and work against the political horrors of one's time".
Frank Lentricchia, 1983

"All my analysis are against the idea of universal necessities in human existence. It is meaningless to speak in the name of - or against - Reason, Truth, Knowledge."
Michel Foucault, 1988

"Reason is the ultimate language of madness - there is nothing to guide or constrain our thoughts and feelings. So we can do or say what we feel like".
Michel Foucault, 1965

"Deconstruction relieves me of the obligation to be right ... and demands only that I be interesting."
Stanley Fish, 1982

"Reason and Power are one and the same. Both lead to and are synonymous with prisons, prohibitions, selection process, the public good."
Jean-François Lyotard, 1999

And let's not forget the comic feminist, Miss Dworkin who is unquotable in decent company, but who typifies the effect of male sexuality on women in military terms, with an invasion.

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