Monday, April 13, 2009

Postmodernism as the Logical Completion and Collapse of the Enlightenment

David Bentley Hart, in The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth, writes:

". . . as much as it preserves the assumptions of modernity regarding the punctiliar individual, the inalienable power of will, and freedom as the lifting of constraint from the will, this school of the postmodern [i.e. the Deleuze - Foucault school] reveals itself as a completion of the project of the Enlightenment, but insofar as it has dispensed with Kant's uprepresentable but necessary moral analogy between the transcendental subject and God, it has also brought that project to its inevitable collapse. 'Nietzschean' moralism is a sad absurdity." (70)

"A philosophy whose concept of affirmation is merely the result of a reaction against dialectical negation (thus retaining the narrative of ontological violence that dialectic presumes) cannot ultimately make a morally credible distinction between hospices and death camps (Nietzsche's distaste for both would be virtually identical), between the hymenal bed and rape, or between peace and war, except through a willful and ever more hpyerbolic insistence on certain political preferences no longer susceptible of justification, nor even particularly compelling." (72)

My Comment:
Nietzsche could be sad about the Third Reich and he could be repulsed by its activities, but he could not say the Nazis were morally evil and call on all people who love the Good to resist them. This makes him complicit; whether he wants to be complicit or not is irrelevant. To realize this is to become conscious of the fact that the whole postmodern project flowing from Nietzsche, whatever it thinks about itself, is nevertheless objectively and irremedially evil.

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