Monty Cantsin wrote:
Through challenging traditional notions of the subject and society, post-modernists have been associated with left-wing politics. Though their philosophical systems do nothing but create a problematic foundation for the engagement in critique.
Dear Monty Cantsin,
Postmodernism is associated with “left wing politics” because its anti-bureaucratic, radically subjective tendencies are considered left wing (since this intellectual genealogy grew out of anti-fascist “left wing” elements in European politics.) Whether you think this is left wing or right wing, postmodernism as a trend in intellectual thinking is really just converging with a radically subjective, anarchist mentality — which is neither left or right, but subjective. Many anarchists take postmodernists to be saying essentially the same things they are saying. Deleuze is one of many.
But radical subjectivity as a “philosophical system” is nothing. It is not a system, and therefore difficult to critique, as you say, because there is no foundation. It is anti-foundation. Your critique is merely pitting their desires against your radically subjective desires. This is because the world (and the psyche) is more like an ocean of different desires and drives, as illustrated by Nietzsche and Deleuze. Each of those drives is radically pushing the “subject” to desire different things, to create rationalizations for why those desires exist, and to believe in the reasons it chooses, etc. This is not a system, not a manifold.
Of course that is a problematic foundation for any standard type of intellectual “critique” you could come up with in an analytic philosophy class. Any intellectual critique is just one will pitted against another. “The will to overcome an emotion is ultimately one will over another,” Nietzsche illustrates. Postmodernism took this in a confusing direction because most of it is, in my opinion, not subjective enough, trapped somewhere between radical subjectivity and the desire for totalizing answers.
It merely comes down to proving the valor of your ideas against theirs. Your ideas are stronger, your ideas are more attractive. Their ideas are for idiots. Their ideas are for small people who don’t understand you or what your community is doing. Perhaps you don’t want to give them your ideas, seeing how unworthy they are, seeing how much they need to think in such totalizing terms. Get it?
This all sounds ridiculous to the standard philosophy professor, or student. It really makes it difficult to categorize what you are hearing into something familiar like utilitarianism, empiricism, or anything out of the 18th Century. But maybe doing philosophy in that way is really just some bizarre kind of mental masturbation, which only people in stratified societies like ours participate in.
Utopia Or Bust