Steph Umbert’s vision of America’s political future. Philosophical Apprentice comments

Steph Umbert is a new name in the Neo-Conservative coterie , at least to me, presents his  ‘vision of the future’ garishly decorated, with the most bizarre iteration about the Post-Modern, since the American Intellectual Provincials ,George F. Will and David Brooks, attacked Richard Rorty in 1998. Not since then, has there been such a clear demonstration of American Intellectual Know-Nothingism.

Writing in Newsweek, George Will commented last week that the book “radiates contempt for the country.” (Perhaps more to the point, it radiates.) And in the most recent issue of the Weekly Standard, David Brooks contends that the book’s criticism of the left is merely the latest in a succession of moves designed to advance the author’s academic career. Brooks accuses Rorty of being a “pseudo-deviant” who poses as a critic of academic radicals while really congratulating them.

Mr. Umbert’s concept of ‘Post-Modern warpath’ is pure agitprop . The following paragraph is a History Made To Measure of ‘Post-Modernism’. Yet Umbert’s attempt at political rehabilitation doesn’t just fail , it takes its place beside the political hysterics of Jordan Peterson, and his shtick. The Prophets of this intellectual vogue, Jacques Derrida died in 2004 and Richard Rorty in 2007, have passed from the intellectual/political scene. But they remain, in the political present, the touch-stones of political hysterics.     

Postmodernism, the Hydra in question, is a school of thought whose essence is captured in its rejection of absolute truth—ironically itself an absolute position—and whose directive is regime change. Unlike Postmodernism, neither Enlightenment Liberalism nor Marxism rejected absolute truth, though they did differ on what “the truth” was. As a result, Postmodernism is thoroughly anti-logos in the senses of language, logic, and divinity. Postmodernism was born in the 1960s as an evolution of Marxist philosophy to disillusioned, largely French, Marxist philosophers—Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, et cetera—and for this reason is considered a post-Marxist or neo-Marxist school of thought. Key to understanding the Hydra and its heads, which assail America at present, are two developments which arose within the Marxist school of thought in the 1920s: the concept of Cultural Hegemony, developed by former General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party Antonio Gramsci, and the tool of Critical Theory, developed as part of the Frankfurt School of thought associated with the Institute for Social Research. This pair of concept and tool were retained and developed by Postmodernism into an approach of deconstruction which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò identified, in a recent letter to President Donald Trump, as the untruth of Alchemy, the adage of Freemasonry, the motto of Baphomet: “Solve et Coagula,” meaning “dissolve and coagulate.” Solvent is to be applied totally in order to bring about total regime change. Nothing is exempt, including the “hard sciences,” as evidenced by the experiences of biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying.

The last two paragraphs of his essay are awash in political necromancy, that is the sine qua non of Neo-Conservatism’s endemic mendacity, tinctured in nihilism. By way of  Strauss and Schmitt. To frame it in Pop Culture terms, Mr. Umbert reads from ‘Scroll of Thoth’, an incantation to bring the Hydra of Post-Modernism back to vivid, self-serving political life.          

Even if the Democratic nominee for president—presumably Joe Biden, though that’s a whole discussion in itself—wins, civil violence would still have a purpose after Inauguration Day: to keep the Democratic Party on a Postmodern warpath. Although the Hydra does ultimately intend to destroy the Democratic Party, the institution remains useful for now and its establishment has chosen appeasement. If President Trump were to win reelection, it goes without saying—and I put the chances of reelection at 80 percent or greater. Compounding the volatility in either eventuality, the election results will be called into question. Both sides are already positioning themselves to cry “mail-in ballot fraud” or “foreign interference.”

Stipulating that the population-wide fear of job loss dissipates at the end of spring—I expect that the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic will sufficiently lift around then—civil violence will carry on into the summer before ultimately being quashed before autumn, regardless of who occupies the White House.

Philosophical Apprentice 



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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