Revolt against the modern world

How Postmodernism pitted Western Academia against the Patriarchy

Guido Preparata's eloquent critique of postmodern ideology in "The Ideology of Tyranny" is well worth reading.

“For lack of a better creed, and presumably disappointed by the utter failure of their country’s short-lived and scattered Socialist and hippie experiments in the recent past, waves of American intellectuals, educators, and publicists presently seem to have found sanctuary in the “rebel” construction of [the] late French, postmodernist school.

From philosophy to literary criticism, via sociology and governmentality, the contagion has recently reached economics. The picture that emerges from this scramble is an odd one: among the lettered multitudes, we no longer see the “Left”: no coherent movement of dissent exists anymore — it is literally finished. Instead, the spectacle is one of affluent middle-class intellectuals, nearly all white males of European descent, that are divided into two factions: the Liberals (modernists) on one side, and the prankishly antagonizing postmodernists on the other. […] Postmodernist professors invite their classes to apply relativistic exercises and “deconstructivist” techniques, whereby the students are made to take apart a narrative and identify the social prejudices informing the text; but after the deconstruction has crushed all the idols, the class has in fact no option but to fall back upon whatever is the current system of belief, that is, the creed of self-interest and faith in the “free-market” with which every Anglo-Saxon is raised.

Ten times out of ten the pupils are trained to take aim and fire at the privileged pet-peeves of postmodernism. These are: patriarchy, phallocracy, paternalism, racism, sexism, machismo, racist industrial pollution (that is, only that pollution that is putatively caused by the white elites and discharged on “minorities”), Europe, Eurocentricism, the White European male, the male in general, Columbus and the Catholics, religion, God, transcendence, metaphysics, the spirit, colonization and early imperialism, and sometimes, *EVER MORE INFREQUENTLY*, “capitalism,” preferably singled out as a vague synonym for economic oppression. *NEVER*, though, are the students made to visit the polemic upon the concrete working of the hierarchies of *REAL POWER*: say, to investigate the effective composition, functioning, and history of the political and financial establishment of the West.

[…]

In the end, even though in the classroom “God” and patriarchy have come to be arraigned, tried, and sentenced a million times, our system, as a whole […] is never questioned. Moreover, it is widely remarked that the postmodern attitude, in its craving for differentiation, erasure of boundaries, and permissiveness, is indeed highly compatible with the defining traits of our corporate, market-oriented age. This basic realization reveals that the apparent antagonism between modernists and postmodernists is somewhat feigned, if not imaginary.”

Guido Giacomo Preparata ; “The Ideology of Tyranny: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent”

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