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Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained.

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Helen Pluckrose outlines some of the arguments later explored in depth in her bestselling 2020 book, Cynical Theories (co-authored with James Lindsay). The essay charts the pernicious influence of postmodernist thinking on two generations of academics and activists. If you want to understand how we got to a place where microaggressions are denounced as violence but the brutal terrorism of an intifada is considered righteous, this is an important primer.

Iona Italia reads Helen Pluckrose’s essay published in Quillette: https://quillette.com/2024/05/07/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-west-foucault-lyotard-derrida/

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Quillette is an Australian-based online magazine that focuses on long-form analysis and cultural commentary. It is politically non-partisan, but relies on reason, science, and humanism as its guiding values.

Quillette was founded in 2015 by Australian writer Claire Lehmann. It is a platform for free thought and a space for open discussion and debate on a wide range of topics, including politics, culture, science, and technology.

Quillette has gained attention for publishing articles and essays that challenge modern heterodoxy on a variety of topics, including gender and sexuality, race and identity politics, and free speech and censorship.

Quillette’s revenue comes from our readers. We are a grassroots organisation that relies on voluntary subscriptions and community membership as our primary revenue stream.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. @deepfocusinside4685

    June 20, 2024 at 10:40 am

    I recently stumbled upon Charles Taylour, a canadian philosopher, whose work is about the incompleteness of modernity which is focused mainly around a world view that tries to be merely objective without any reference about ethics concerning what it means to aim towards a good life. This is a huge problem now, which needs to be faced in talking about what are important human values which should be promoted and respected. Otherwise we rather see a destruction of our democracies and the rise of political and economical leaders who thrive in this vacuum of confusion. He rather promotes a kind of middle way to improve the situation. There are truths to be found in the way the modern age brought more freedom and the promotion of human rights but the way science is understood as a way of objective and unbiased reasoning is rather an ideal than a fact. There is still a censoration of experiences and events that are part of the world but not explainable in a materialistic framework that are taboo to discuss or writing about. Like the paradigm Thomas Kuhn is talking about in his work which dominate the discourse about what is regarded as truth or not. Charles Taylor is making the point, that we often are not aware of the foundations of our ethical standards and how they are our truth so that is possible, that we now find ourselves in a post-truth society where important achievements of western culture are thrown out with the bathwater and helping totalitarian political movements.

  2. @dakrontu

    June 20, 2024 at 10:55 am

    If these French nutters were right, there can be no right or wrong, all punishments and rewards would be arbitrary, everything discovered by science would be seen as useless.

    However these same people implicitly trust the society that they dismiss as a random pile of garbage, as proven by the fact that they eat and drink, they use its money, they stop their cars at red lights, they own radios and TVs, they read the news, they check the weather forecast, they use their mobile phones, wifi, and broadband.

    All of which they expect to BE there, and to WORK, despite their derision and hatred for it, and their attempts to destroy it all. They take for granted, in effect, the inevitable evidence that their views are BS. You can't buck reality.

    It's not that all values are relative, or that all values are absolute, that's binary nonsense from people without the wit to see that, inevitably, we live in a combination of the two, hence we trust that most of our technology works, and rely on it, while tolerating people believing religious crap, ideological crap, and so on.

  3. @dakrontu

    June 20, 2024 at 11:21 am

    If beliefs and truths are relative, then it becomes a free-for-all for those pursuing their pet beliefs and truths, because their is no criterion for debunking them.

    The idea of everything being relative has been pushed on us by opportunists who can take advantage of that idea if it takes hold, as they can push anything they want.

    Hence Alternative Facts, MAGA and QAnon conspiracy crap, and so on, and the channels that make money out of pushing it all, as they have no standards that they need to adhere to, having jumped at the opportunity to accept the relativeness idea.

    Anyone who insists there is a reality relative to which things can be measured and the rubbish discarded, are an inconvenience to the opportunists unleashed by the relativeness propaganda. Once this has started, it is hard to see how it will be brought to an end. Except…

    Everyone knows deep down that there is a reality. Their car and mobile phone are not relative constructs, they exist, and abide by the laws of physics.

    Science is not an arbitrary construct. But pseudo-science is, and it has been unleashed by relativism.

    Deepak Chopra. Matthias Rath. Dr Mercola. Greg Locke. Kenneth Copeland. Kent Hovind. Trump, Bannon, Stone, Johnson, Jordan. Fox 'News'. Tucker Carlson. MAGA. QAnon. US Evangelicalism. Political Islam. All beneficiaries of an environment soaked in relativeness. All pushing Alternative Facts.

    What will bring it to an end? Well, for society to function, things have to work. When no one knows how anything works because they have been taught that every belief is a social construct, they will find out the hard way what works and what does not.

    It's going to be a hard landing. Nothing to worry about. Just mass suffering. Hell, we had a million deaths in the US from Covid and no one could terribly upset.

    When folks have burned their boats and sit on hill-sides awaiting the Rapture while in the distance nukes are blowing up their world, and the Rapture does not come, this too will be part of reality setting in.

    What are Alternative Facts? They are lies that people want to believe, want to be true. And absolute relativism is just one of those alternative facts. Like anything in the real world, there are no absolutes, not even absolute relativism, nor absolute absoluteness. One has to settle for the messy bit in between, as that is what is there.

  4. @dakrontu

    June 20, 2024 at 11:26 am

    The French revolution: Hungry shrews in a bucket, food already consumed, now eating each other to death.

  5. @octopusjjsnook

    June 20, 2024 at 11:36 am

    The background noise is an annoying distraction.

  6. @matthewstroud4294

    June 20, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    A good look at Post Modernism, but to say at the end that "the Left" has to rediscover values that it never held in the first place is laughable. The postmoderns are collectivist, tribal, anti-objectivity and anti-Capitalist – I don't see much different in any flavour of Leftist thought. I understand that Helen would like to hold onto her lefty credentials, but the bad stuff on both sides of today's political divide irrational collectivism of some kind, and you simply have to let go of the foundational principles of Altruism in order for society to find it's way again. There is rescue package for the Left or the Right.

  7. @bobf9749

    June 21, 2024 at 12:20 am

    There is a rigidity to modern rationalist thought. But the answer isn’t to try to convince oneself that ants are bigger than giraffes. There are a lot of things that can’t be known empirically. In fact, it could be argued that the most important things in life can’t be known empirically. What’s needed is a place for, not irrationality, but intuitive sense and belief.

  8. @sergesiweck1825

    June 21, 2024 at 7:53 am

    Post modernisem is a fokus strategie on the lidel shisma. The key is richard matieux. My favorit metastory is the nebra disk. Every dot exists in scienc, ass anouced by cesar. Deconstruktion, onthologie, konotation, kompetition.

  9. @michellaboureur7651

    June 21, 2024 at 9:33 am

    There should be no problem with analysing, criticising or even deconstructing, provided you do not sap the ground to a point where it becomes impossible to assemble things back again even in a different way. In this regard the postmodernist heritage has acted more as a corrodent or a dissolvent, all the more so as postmodernist theorists grew so infatuated even intoxicated with their own ideas that they paradoxically built them into an absolutely self confident theory of absolute suspicion. Down that road the more is understood (or believed to be understood) the less is performed until we are left as now with a field of ruins. Welcome to postmodernity !

  10. @ANDDIRECTLLC

    June 21, 2024 at 9:54 am

    The fundamental problem with postmodernism is that they left (pun intended) Marx & his analysis & critique of capitalism & forgot that capital is power & it is what oppresses all individuals with the identity of the capitalists determining who the in & out groups are. So the solution to the power of capital & capitalists is socialism, communism or my preference, a mixed socialist-capitalist system with a basic income so no one can be coerced economically or politically.

  11. @peterhall6656

    June 21, 2024 at 12:03 pm

    The French have a lot to answer for. The Bourbaki school of abstraction in mathematics ruined a generation of mathematicians. The late Russian mathematician Vladimir Arnold would remorselessly take the piss out of French abstractionist mathematicians. The France that brought us Laplace, Fourier, Lagrange, Poisson etc also produced some truly gargantuan fuckwits in the form of Foucault, Derrida etc.

  12. @user-lc4sq6xp7z

    June 21, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    I suggest that Othello was a muslim not an African. Shakespeare sought for universals in the splintered Christianity of his day. He naturally extended his search to Judaism in the Merchant of Venice and to Islam in Othello.

  13. @DavidGrush

    June 21, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    Frenchies talk too much

  14. @JamesDean-bv2ho

    June 21, 2024 at 3:51 pm

    Postmodernism: Find a unique Hypothese, (necessary for academic recognition) then move heaven and earth to fit every possible fact into that theory.

  15. @mcawesomest1

    June 21, 2024 at 8:38 pm

    A bunch of rich people who have too much time on their hands and think they can solve everyone else’s problems while ignoring there own

  16. @gnarfgnarf4004

    June 21, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    They have obviously forgotten Boileau:
    "Ce qui se conçoit bien s'énonce clairement"
    "Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément"

  17. @saimedi2100

    June 21, 2024 at 8:51 pm

    Deconstructed and inversion is dangerous, it leads to the adultification of kids and infantilization of adults. Drag queen story hour comes to mind.

  18. @jackgriffin117

    June 21, 2024 at 9:26 pm

    MAGA! Seriously. Vote Trump.

  19. @paulanderson2033

    June 22, 2024 at 12:01 am

    Postmoderism is the "ultimate foregone conclusion" or "get out of gaol free card" for studying anything on its own merits. It wants to look at everything as just a mirror. Every topic is approached with a formula, and its inherent and rabid reductionism is its facile trump card. Notice the main thing: it is not interested in 'the good' and is fatalistic and is determined to read into everything base motives neatly defined as power. Of course history is a story of winners and losers, of course those with authority can wield it for just or unjust cause; but to reduce all human affairs, all production and interaction to a hidden agenda (even they hold, unconscious) is a travesty. It has thereby led to the undoing of social bonds and, in general, notions of self-belief in the context of a civilised self-doubt. It is, in essence, totalitarian because it denies free agency and questions the legitimacy of social organizations and rational thought structures. It is a fraud because it turns the trivial and obvious into the profound.

  20. @Video2Webb

    June 22, 2024 at 12:49 am

    Unfortunately, the horrible style of never taking a single pause and pushing the listener relentlessly to keep on galloping along has put me off. The points are all lost on me due to the pacing which prevents any kind of natural speech, meaning and drama. I wanted to get the whole thing done by Prager U rather than endure the barrage all the way through, so have quit at 19:03 to go find more sympathetically produced videos.

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African History

Where Do African Americans Come From

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African History

AFRICANS VISITED AMERICA 2000 YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS , 11 UNDENIABLE PROOFS ; Black History.

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11 Reasons Tp Prove That Africans Were in America 2000 years Before Colombus.
Let me take you on a journey through some of these fascinating pieces of evidence of African presence in America 2000 years before Columbus. Take them with a grain of salt if you have to, but I think they are worth some consideration.
1. Olmec Heads: The colossal stone heads created by the Olmec civilization in present-day Mexico, which date back to 1500 BCE to 400 BCE, feature distinctly African facial features. These heads feature facial features such as broad noses, full lips, and round faces that clearly resemble those of Africans more than the indigenous populations of the Americas. Tell me this is not a black man right there. The detailed and realistic nature of the Olmec heads suggests they were based on real individuals. It is no wonder not surprising that some researchers contend that these features indicate an African presence in pre-Columbian America.

2. African Artifacts in the Americas: Artifacts such as cotton from Africa and tobacco pipes found in pre-Columbian sites in South America have led some to speculate about transatlantic contact. In addition, metal artefacts with similar metallurgical techniques to those used in West Africa have been found in pre-Columbian American sites.

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3. Botanical Evidence: Certain plants like the bottle gourd and the sweet potato are thought to have originated in Africa and Asia but were present in pre-Columbian America, suggesting possible ancient transoceanic contact.

4. Linguistic Evidence: Some linguists claim to have found similarities between certain Native American languages and African languages. Some proponents argue that there are similarities between ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and symbols found in Mesoamerican writing systems, such as those of the Maya. The Mandinka word “makala,” meaning “rice,” is compared to the similar-sounding words in some Native American languages.

Dr. Clyde Winters points to shared vocabulary and phonetic similarities, such as the word “yu” in Mandinka meaning “to give” and a similar-sounding word in the Olmec language with the same meaning.
Leo Wiener, in his early 20th-century work “Africa and the Discovery of America,” cited examples such as the Wolof word “tem” (to cut) and its similarity to the Algonquian word “temagun” (an axe).

5. THOR HEYERDAHL’S RAFT EXPERIMENTS: The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated with his expeditions (Kon-Tiki and Ra) that it was possible to travel across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans using ancient boat-building techniques, suggesting that such voyages could have occurred in ancient times.

6. Ancient Maps: Some historical maps, such as the Piri Reis map, allegedly show parts of the American continent with a level of detail suggesting pre-Columbian exploration, potentially by African or other non-European civilizations.

7. Skull Analysis: Studies of certain skeletal remains, such as the Luzia Woman found in Brazil, have shown features that some anthropologists argue resemble those of African or Australoid populations rather than Native American populations.

8. Accounts from Early European Explorers: Some early European explorers, such as Vasco Núñez de Balboa, reported encountering dark-skinned peoples in the Americas upon their arrival.

9. Cultural Similarities: Some researchers point to cultural parallels between African and American civilizations, such as pyramid building, similar religious practices, and iconography, as potential evidence of contact.

10. Presence of Black peoples in Asia, Australia and the Pacific. If Black people can be found in as far as the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia many Islands in the Pacific, why can’t they be found in the Americas? I mean it makes no sense for the Americas to be the exception right?

11. Genetic Studies: While controversial and not universally accepted, some genetic studies have indicated the presence of haplogroups in Native American populations that are also found in African populations, suggesting ancient intermingling.

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African History

Black history stories you never heard

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