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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Totalitarianism depends on the enforcement of false beliefs. Postmodernism admittedly and purposively leaves us no way to adjudicate beliefs. Likewise, postmodernism lends itself to totalitarianism.”

Michael Rectenwald

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    It is interesting J.P.

    Classical Marxism makes various truth claims – it makes statements which it claims to be objectively true.

    But French Post Modernism, and Frankfurt School Marxism, deny there is any such thing as objective truth. In this they are like old American “Pragmatism” (the philosophical movement partly behind the American Progressive movement in politics).

    “Joseph Stalin” (not a real name – but I can not remember how to spell his Georgian name) pointed out that Frankfurt School Marxism (like French Post Modernism later) undermines the basic philosophical foundations of Marxism – in return for some short term tactical foundations.

    The modern Western left, in denouncing (for example) West Virginia coal miners as evil (because they are white, male and heterosexual) has made Marxism a nonsense.

    The only conclusion I can draw is that the modern left (the “Post Modernists” included) do not give a toss about being philosophically consistent – they care only for POWER.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course if there is no objective truth one can say anything – and enforce it with violence.

    That is indeed perfect for a totalitarian state.

    People like “Stalin” were being old fashioned when they wanted their doctrines to be philosophically consistent.

    Whether it is NASA changing historic temperature figures (see Tony Heller on that), or the media implying that black people are being slaughtered by white people (the actual violent deaths of both groups tell a rather different story), or the establishment chanting TINET (There Is No Early Treatment) – if there is no objective truth, then they say (and do) anything.

    I recently watched the Director of the FBI deny there were any Antifa people involved in the Capitol on January 6th – he knew that there were (he had seen the same film I had – indeed he most likely knows vastly more about these events), but he could just lie with a straight face – because he has been taught that “truth” is whatever serves the interests of the Progressive cause.

    The Progressive intellectual elite (Richard Ely and co) believed that more than a century ago – but now the Director of the FBI believes it.

    No wonder Andy Ngo, and others, are leaving the United States.

    But where can they really go? Is it not just a matter of jumping from the frying pan to the fire?

  • LeeMoore

    The denial of objective truth (philosophically plausible) is not the same thing as the denial of objective falsity (postmodern sleight of hand.) The fact that we may not be able, objectively, to adjudicate between a number of different plausible claims about the truth, does not prevent us from rejecting vastly more claims that are obviously and demonstrably false.

    The totalitarian utility of the denial of objective truth is rather small. The real contribution of postmodernists to totalitarianism is that extra step of denying objective falsity. That is what enables the totalitarians to insist that we believe in, and act out, fairy tales.

  • Lee Moore

    And lowering the tone, if I may, it has always seemed to me that Michel Foucault was a dead ringer for Uncle Fester.

  • And lowering the tone, if I may, it has always seemed to me that Michel Foucault was a dead ringer for Uncle Fester. (Lee Moore, April 6, 2021 at 11:13 pm)

    It seems to me that Foucault was a ringer for the guy who died “Suddenly, Last Summer”.

  • Paul Marks

    Logic shows contradictions between Frankfurt School Marxism and Classical Marxism.

    Logically the square can not be circled. For example a black female billionaire is, according to Frankfurt School Marxism, exploited and oppressed by a white male factory worker – but Classical Marxism would argue the exact opposite, as it is obsessed with economic class NOT with race-sex-gender-orientation……

    Yet the left manage to dodge such contradictions – by discarding logical thought.

    It is interesting to remember that the entire Frankfurt School elite, from the education system to the government bureaucracy to the “Woke” Corporations, is based on being irrational – on discarding rational thought.

    After all, as the Frankfurt School of Marxism (now being taught to the American Armed Forces) teaches – rational thought and hard work (and on and on) is “whiteness” and, therefore, evil.

    A black person can be guilty of “whiteness” – for example Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams, and therefore be evil. And a white person can be utterly devoid of rational thought, for example Mr Joseph Biden, and therefore be noble and to be obeyed – in this sense it is Joseph Biden who is truly “black” and any black skinned person who shows rational thought is “you ain’t black” as Mr Biden (who is truly black – by this definition) says to black skinned people who are not black.

    Useful doctrines for the United States military to be taught – from the Collectivist point of view.