Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 29, 2005

Dogmatic Inconsistency

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:06 pm

Dr. Sanity quotes Stephen Hicks in Explaining Postmodernism on one of my favorite subjects — which I call syllogistic hypocrisy:

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!

UPDATE (1/1/06):

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.

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