Using contradictory discourses as a political strategy
In postmodern discourse, truth is rejected explicitly and consisteny can be a rare phenomenon. Consider the following pairs of claims.
- On the one hand, all truth is relative; on the other hand, postmodernism tells it like it really is.
- On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.
- Values are subjective–but sexism and racism are really evil.
- Technology is bad and destructive–and it is unfair that some people have more technology than others.
- Tolerance is good and dominance is bad–but when postmodernists come to power, political correctness follows.
There is a common pattern here: Subjectivism and relativism in one breath, dogmatic absolutism in the next.
And to be a right-thinking (which is to say, left-thinking) person in they eyes of NPR, the New York Times, or a typical university faculty, you have to believe all those pairs of things.
You also have to believe a lot of other odd things, like:
- Homosexuality is genetic, but gender is socially constucted.
- A woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body — unless she wants to get breast implants.
- A woman is capable of choosing whether to allow her child to be born or have an abortion, but can’t be trusted with deciding where to send that child to school.
- Christmas is religious, but Hannukah is merely cultural.
- Tolerance of diverse viewpoints is important — and everyone who doesn’t believe that should be silenced!
Please add more examples in the comments!
James R. Ament at Cave of the Curmudgeon links here and adds this example:
I remember listening to a comedian, some years ago, cracking a joke about how those hypocritical conservatives want to protect every fetus but then can’t wait to kill people by engaging the death penalty. He got the audience to laugh; which is to say, he knew his audience. I remember thinking at the time… Didn’t this joker see the corollary – The hypocricy of wanting to save some child rapist murderer while advocating the killing of 1.5 million innocents per year? Yea, funny.