Challenging Postmodernism by David Detmer
Barry Seidman enjoys David Detmer’s provocative book about Postmodernism, Humanism and the Left.
To many, the antithesis of modern humanism, which was founded on Enlightenment principals, would be the philosophy of postmodernism. Postmodernism, born in France and acclaimed widely in academia in the United States, can be most simply described as relativism; according to which everyone’s perception of reality – of truth – has an equal opportunity of being legitimate due to either personal or cultural circumstances. Therefore the existence of God, if ‘true’ for you, is no less legitimate than the non-existence of that same God for me. Likewise, if certain behavior is deemed ‘torture’ by one society, but an acceptable means of military interrogation by another, cultural relativism may condemn it in the former society but not in the latter.
The political Left in America, over the past 45 years or so, has been marred by postmodernism, and the Right has taken advantage of that fact.