Re: the arrogance of postmodern mumbo jumbo

CU Student (
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 07:09:40 -0600

In article <>, wrote:

> Philip Deitiker wrote:
> >
> > Stephen Barnard <> wrote:
> >
> [snip]
> >
> > But, I think there is still a legitimate argument to be made here,
> > disentigrating the overly verbose lingo, that not only should we
> > consider the impact of relativistic phenomena but also consider the
> > effect the devolpment of newtonian physics and the beliefs of those
> > incircled in these changing beliefs.
> [snip]
> Philip,
> If I understand you correctly you are taking Sokal's thesis seriously.
> Don't! It was outright parody. You have some interesting things to
> say, but please, please don't tie them to Sokal's paper. I'm sure that
> in due course we will be seeing earnest, jargon-laden postmodern papers
> that cite Sokal without the slightest sense of irony.
> Steve Barnard

Yet there is much much more to this...
MB Williams, Lenny and others fail to see the truth behind Bryant's
speculation that the AMERICAN wild embrace of PM has something to do with
the fall of Communism.

Yes--indeed it does.
How, you ask?
Because just as the 80's, the rise and fall of that great White Hope [pun
intended], Gorby's crusade to save socialism from itself, a new generation
of intellectuals, nurtured by the 60's Vietnam era of protest, and radical
idealism, suddenly founnd themselves without a viable activist agenda,
(ala Paul Hollander's Political Pilgrims), w/o an example to emulate, to
adulate, to succor, as so many many academics have (and quite
pathetically) Castro's Cuba -- well, then let's just toss out all pretense
at realism!

Let's be conclusive! That'll show 'em! That'll give the humanities PURPOSE, and
MEANING (yes -- in caps)!
As the late philosophical anthropologist Ernest Gellner wrote, "the Battle
cry of the [PM's]:"Sturm, und Drang, und Tenure!"the
It's, thus, the ultimate working out of the leftist academic's love of Kuhnian
understanding of science: it's ALL relative -- there is no Truth, no check
on our speculation, for all is specualtion -- complete epistemological
egalitarianism, as per Lenny -- OOH! except where my critique of Sokal's
critque is really a twisted MY OWM critique!!!

OOh, such rubish, such endemic intellectual prostitution!

Let us all bow down and prey before what LSE Government professor Kenneth
Minogue, and before him (in the anticapitalist mode, of couse) karl Marx
before him, called <Alien Powers>. Only Marx referred to capitalism;
Minogue to false ideologies such as communism.

Why? Because, as W. W. Bartley III argues (in various books of his),
knowledge, including knowledge products themselves (since -- yes! --
physical products contain knowledge, including especially ways of
economising on knowlede (e.g., todays toaster, dishwasher, etc. economizes
on the 19th century need for any advanced class to have servants), has
unintended consequences; knowledge will affect others who will use it and
understand in ways, and use it for purposes not knowable to it's
discoverer. It is the Hayekian truth of knowlege that once communicated --
like a genie, like the internet itself! -- is alienated, utterly and
irrefragably alienated from one's exclusive control! And therefore lost
from oneself even as others are said to "gain" it.

This is natural and innevitable, and geniuses form Marx to Freud, to Ayn
Rand have wretched from accepting the Truth that all of this is
unavoidably true!

PM is the last gasp of the last generation of epistemological relativists from
avoiding utter collapse -- from facing the failure of their own false
egalitarian ideology. ("We don't have to believe it's true if we don't
want to...")

Tom Wolf put it all much pithier than all the above remarks when he wrote about
the sheer dumb snobiness of artists -- just at the moment that modern art became
"post-modern" (i.e., mot modern at all, but modest, ANTIQUITARIAN,
decorative, and meaningless), when he wrote <The Painted Word>.

It's the same thing today in American humanities w/ PM-ism -- as with the
epistemological solipsim of Post-WWII French intellectualism -- only the
contexts are different. (And, one might add, the perspectives of the
non-relativist intellectuals of France are steadfastly witheld from
American shores, i.e., from English translations and U.S. publication, as
a reviewer in a recent issue of <The Public Interest> noted.)

---- Orson Olson, Univ. Of Colorado, Boulder