Monday, May 06, 2024

A Conservative knows what he does not know

Quillette used to have some interesting articles, but it has goesne downhill.

Currently it has a paywalled copy of this 2017 essay:

Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself.
But not the accompanying rebuttal by a postmodernist:
Anti-postmodern commentaries are certainly in vogue these days. ... Jordan Peterson has insisted that transgender activists who demand he use their preferred pronouns represent a “a post-modern, radical leftist ideology” that is “frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.”
This latter esasay reveals post-modernism to be as nutty as thee critics claim. It goes on to say that science is not objective because: (1) some scientists collected data on racial differences; (2) some psychiatrists developed theories for treating patients who report sexual anxieties; and (3) some Canadian physicians opposed assisting suicides.

It goes on to try to persuade conservatives:

Postmodernism and conservatism share similar values, since both doctrines are founded on scepticism. Andrew Sullivan points out in The Conservative Soul that the defining characteristic of the conservative is that “he knows what he doesn’t know.” As the “guardians of doubt,” conservatives remain humble. Unlike the religious fundamentalist who believes that truth is settled, conservatives admit that knowledge is imperfect. Sullivan reminds us that the pursuit of absolute values cannot be fully reconciled with the government of mortals, who are limited by custom, feeling, habit, history and prejudice. Like postmodernists, conservatives accept that truth is not perfectly objective. Perspective always comes into play.
No. The real problem with post-modernists is that they do not make any sense. A conservative who knows what he doesn't know is not the same as a skeptic, and certainly not the same as rejecting objective truth.

This is a typical post-modernist argument. No facts, no logic, no sense.

The French think that Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida were great geniuses. No. They were incoherent charlatans. They make no sense.

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