Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hegel got it wrong.

I have been trying to understand the terms "dialectic", "postmodern" and "poststructualist" for at least twenty years now so I thought I could think on paper for a bit. G.W.F. Hegel was THE philosopher who saw everything in terms of two opposing forces, thus dialectic. The dialogue between two opposng forces such as good and evil, sane and insane, war and peace, crime and legitimate activity, labor and capital is rarely simple. in any of the above pairs of opposing forces (dialectics)the conflict is never clear cut. To use a favorite topic of Michel Foucault mental illness (sane/insane dialectic) is culturally determined. Homosexual sex has been considered at differnt points in history the norm (ancient Greece), a sign of mental illness (The United States up to the publication of DSM IV), or a lifestyle choice. But do any of these classifications accurately descibe gay sex? Can it simply be good, bad, evil, normal, abnormal etc.? This we run squarely into the fundamental problem of dialectical reasoning.

The opposite of the Hegelian dialectic is postmodernism. For the purpose of simplicity I will use postmodernism interchangeably with poststructuralism. The "posts" are an attack the idea that the world can be neatly organized into opposing froces. It is thus an attack on Hegel, Marx. Freud, organized religion, the notion of progress. Hegel, Marx and Freud all divided the world into opposing forces. For Marx it was labor and capital, for Freud it was the Id (deep dark animalistric desires) and the superego (your ability to keep those desires in check). Good and bad, good and evil, progress and backwardness, right and wrong, these are notions rejected by postmodernism. Postmodernism is largely an outgrowth of Hitler and the Nazis. The postmodernist philosophers (Sartre, Camu ...) saw the rise of the Third Reich as the ultimate expression of dialectical thinking. Stalin's purges, Hitler's Holocaust, Mao's extermination campaigns, Japanese internment, slavery, the Crusades, the Red Scare (McCarthyism), dropping napalm on civilians in Vietnam, these things have as their fundamental underpinning a dialectic of good and evil. For the Nazi war man=chine to function the Jews ghad to be evil, for the cold war machine to function the communists (or capitalists if you were Russian) had to be evil, for slvery to function blacks and/or "barbarians" had to be evil (or cursed in the Bible).

Every system which would perpetrate a massive crime against humanity must first classify its enemy as evil and itself as good. Postmodernism/poststructuralism rejects this notion.

Does Sean Hannity know when he says "good and evil exist" that he is following Hegel and Marx? Sean Hannity does not believe in postmodernism which in my mind is the antithesis of dialectical materialism. If Sean Hannity rejects it that is my cue to take a good loing look.

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