Dear Keith Windschuttle

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at virgin.net
Mon Sep 8 14:16:54 MDT 2003


Tom O'Lincoln wrote: < Sections of the right -- in Australia I'm thinking of
Paddy McGuiness and Quadrant -- found the idiocies of post-modernism a very
useful stick to beat the left with. Maybe that was what flipped him over to
the Dark Side. >

Right-wing historians are as hostile to post-modernism as left-wingers are
(or should be). I remember a meeting at my old college when I was
congratulated by a right-wing historian for excoriating post-modernism, with
his adding: 'I'm a Tory, you're a Marxist, but we both agree on the need for
facts and figures.' And it's not only right-wing historians. Parts of the
college where I now work are overrun by post-modernists, including the
Business Management and Education departments, rabbiting on about 'discourse
theory' in completely impenetrable phrases. A trainee vicar recently told me
how the tutors on her Youth Ministry and Religious Education course were
subjecting her and her fellow students to post-modernist mumbo-jumbo -- a
Bible basher complaining about obscurantism! Pals of mine who have studied
philosophy properly were howling with laughter when I told them that one
Management lecturer's main study interests were 'Critical Theory and
Accountancy'.

To return to the subject in hand, if, as Lou Proyect says, 'a lot of this
hostility to postmodernism shades off into hostility to Marxism as well',
then that's because we have not sufficiently dissociated ourselves from it.
It is remarkable that some left-wingers dabbled with post-modernism, and
that others have not strongly condemned it as having nothing to do with any
sort of materialist philosophy, or with anything radical or even
intelligible. To their credit, some have, and I'm thinking here of István
Mészáros in particular.

Paul F



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