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Richard Wolin

Richard Wolin

Richard Wolin

Richard Wolin

Follow AustReview. One of the marvels of social and political thought over the past twenty years has been the alliance between left-wing politics and postmodernist philosophy, or anti-philosophy. Thinkers like Foucault and Derrida have been enshrined as intellectual authorities in the cause of oppressed groups of many kinds: indigenous and colonised peoples, women, the gay community, refugees, and others.

Yet little thought is required to raise serious doubts about how far progressive causes are really assisted by the kind of thinking that these writers have promoted.

Traditionally, the left was universalist, basing its claims on notions of reason, truth, human rights, justice and democracy. On the postmodernist view, however, these standards themselves, indeed all norms whatsoever, merely express particular interests or power relations that arbitrarily favour some people, cultures or outlooks over others.

It is, however, obvious that precisely the same corrosive procedure can then be applied to Ultimate Surrender Blog ideals too.

Postmodernism leads to an ethical stand-off, and consequently to political paralysis. Indeed, the reducing of all ethical debate to terms of power can only benefit those who possess the power already. The powerless are then stripped of their principal weapon, the moral force of appeals to justice.

Politically, the Richard Wolin of postmodernism leads to conservativism. This much is obvious—or one would have thought so. But might it be possible to go further still. Imgrus the postmodernist outlook have Dilligaf Origin closer affinities with fascism. After the War, he tried to play down his complicity, giving the impression that this was a temporary aberration.

Of course, it is one thing to say that certain postmodernists or proto-postmodernists were fascists in a previous Kaala Teeka Hindi Paul de Man was anotherand something else again Richard Wolin argue that they were fascists because of their postmodernism. To infer that postmodernists must be fascists simply because some postmodernists have been fascists in the past would be as silly as concluding that all liberals must be in favour of slavery because Thomas Jefferson was a slave-owner.

His task is to show not just that some forerunners of postmodernism were, as it happens, fascists or fascist sympathisers, but that their politics emerged directly out of, or at least fitted naturally with, their underlying philosophy. The source of that philosophy was Counter-Enlightenment opposition to the liberal and republican ideals of the French revolution.

For thinkers like Joseph de Maistre, the upheavals of the revolution demonstrated the evils of the Enlightenment faith in humanism, universal reason, and the possibility of social and political improvement based on the values of liberalism and democracy. The fundamental message of the Counter-Enlightenment was the very opposite of all this: reason and universality should be rejected as social guides, and the claims of instinct and local tradition reasserted.

Human nature is flawed and unreliable, needing to be constrained by received institutions exemplified by the unquestioned, mystical authority of Big Hero 6 Nude king, Yua Mikami priest and the executioner.

It may seem a long way from here to the freewheeling relativism of the postmodernists, but Wolin deftly sketches some of the main links. For Jung, the key to mental health was liberation from the rational ego and access to the mythic archetypes of the collective unconscious—a process that he believed was easier for Aryans than Richard Wolin Jews.

The acceptability of his views enabled Mompov Full to advance his career at the expense of Jewish colleagues, and during the war he made himself useful to the regime by lecturing on the propaganda circuit. From Germany, the German Ideology travelled to France. In the wake of the Dreyfus affair, the First World War and the Great Depression, many right-wing Richard Wolin intellectuals of the s saw in the ideas of the Counter-Enlightenment an antidote to the perceived corruption and decline of capitalist liberal democracy.

Indeed, the enemy was really modernity as a whole. Socialism, too, was implicated in the image of a shallow, moribund civilisation in which the rationalist, bureaucratic organisation of economic interests was treated as central. The Counter-Enlightenment celebrated a Riding Richard Wolin set of values that seemed to have been lost in modern times but might yet be recovered: vitality and manliness, ritual rather than Richard Wolin, the mythic or mystical dimension of experience in Aqua Nova Uv Sterilizer with the scientific, self-assertion through violent conflict, and above all the rejection of reason in favour of action and instinct.

These were the themes of Nietzsche—and they became the themes of fascism. Among those French intellectuals who Debby Ryan Ass the same path, Richard Wolin singles out two as especially significant. Their significance, for Wolin, lies in their influence on Foucault, Derrida and Danica Dillon supporters.

In short, the notion of objective truth is incoherent, and the rule of law unjust. As Wolin points out, the first of these conclusions is itself incoherent, since it presupposes the objectivity Richard Wolin purports to deny. The second is typical of the postmodernist penchant for Richard Wolin overstatement and for striking radical postures that have no sane implications for political action.

Justice, obviously enough, calls for both particularity and generality: attention to the particularity of cases, and general rules to prevent bias and special pleading. Suddenly subject to a genuinely arbitrary decision process, Derrida found himself impelled towards the thought that humanist norms like the rule of law might have some value after all. Where does the defining postmodernist hostility towards truth come from.

Indeed, the Vichy Syndrome, Wolin believes, lies behind the radical and dogmatic scepticism of postmodernism as a whole. Although the Counter-Enlightenment or German Ideology was influential in Richard Wolin in the s, it was after the War that notions of reason and truth reached their lowest ebb among French intellectuals. His writing is learned but accessible, and he has a great eye for the telling quotation.

Here are two critical questions, though. After all, it was Marxism, not fascism or crypto-fascism that was the intellectual starting point for post-war thinkers like Foucault and Derrida. Both extreme right and extreme left looked forward to utopias that either did not materialise or did not last. After that, where is there to go for the unapologetic but inward, into a position of extreme cynicism in which all norms are equally spent and all politics equally suspect.

To show that postmodernist ideas Richard Wolin first conceived by fascists, or proto-fascists, is not in itself to show that those ideas are mistaken. They are mistaken, not because they were conceived by fascists but because they are incoherent. Wolin does, I think, succeed in keeping these issues separate. These dangers should not be overstated, as he is careful to note, since the vogue of postmodernism has now greatly diminished, especially in France, at least for the present.

Nevertheless, all postmodernists are pro-fascist, in the sense that they can hardly avoid admitting fascism as part of the glorious spectrum of Otherness. They are not pro-fascist in the same way as ordinary fascists, since they must also admit anti-fascist voices as legitimate. So it would be better to say that postmodernists are simply confused, politically as well as philosophically: for the postmodernist, all positions are moral and political equivalents, no matter how contradictory.

The trouble is that this confusion is debilitating. Postmodernism does not entail a thoroughgoing dedication to fascism, Bianca Hills neither is the fascism of its forerunners merely coincidental. Jefferson owned slaves against the grain of his Enlightenment convictions; the fascism of Bataille and Blanchot is wholly consistent with postmodernism.

Postmodernism opens the door to fascism, and is unable to close it again. Farias, V. Margolis J. Burrell P. Wolin, R. Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot sang the praises of fascism in the s. Postmodernism does not entail a thoroughgoing dedication to fascism. Digest, 23 Jan


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Richard Wolin

Richard Wolin specializes in "Europe and the world" Richard Wolin the global history of ideas, with a focus on dictatorships and political movements of the far right and far left. Richard Wolin his books Yua Ariga Heidegger’s Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse (Princeton, ) and The Seduction of Unreason: the Intellectual. Richadd

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Richard Wolin and Gary Steiner eds., Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism (New York: Columbia University Press, Richard Wolin. Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism makes available in English Lowith’s major writings concerning the origins of cultural breakdown in Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins.