Community and Political Thought Today

By Peter Augustine Lawler; Dale McConkey | Go to book overview

a choice or commitment could not lightly be cast aside. I cannot find this kind of depth in much of postmodernism and, as a practical matter, I worry that the casual approach it encourages will ultimately rob us of genuine citizens. The shallow and thoughtless progeny of postmodernism will indeed get going when the going gets tough. But they will go their own way.


NOTES
1
Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 3.
2
The quotation comes from Jean-François Lyotard The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), xxiii. In general, I follow Catherine Zuckert usage in Postmodern Platos ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 1-2, and Peter A. Lawler , "Political Correctness and the End of History", College Teaching 44 (Winter 1996): 21.
3
Rorty, Contingency, xiii.
4
See Richard Rorty, "Cosmopolitanism Without Emancipation: A Reply to JeanFrancois Lyotard", in Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 213.
5
This happy view of the postmodern condition can be found in Walter Truett Anderson , ed., The Truth About the Truth: De-confusing and Re-constructing the Postmodern World ( New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1995), 8.
6
Ronald Beiner, "Introduction: Why Citizenship Constitutes a Theoretical Problem in the Last Decade of the Twentieth Century", in Beiner, ed., Theorizing Citizenship ( Al+00AD bany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 9.
7
Anderson, The Truth About the Truth, 11. A somewhat different view, which emphasizes the importance of rootedness within a cultural horizon, is described in Thomas L. Pangle's The Ennobling of Democracy ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 34-47.
8
See Richard Rorty "Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism", reprinted in his Objectivity, 197-202. Since the 1980s, John Rawls has adopted a similar stance, which is especially evident in his Political Liberalism ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). I disagree with Lawler's contention in "Political Correctness" that Rorty "emphatically" rejects the "postmodern" label for himself. On the contrary, Rorty explicitly includes himself among the "postmodernist bourgeois liberals" (see his Objectivity, 199).
9
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, in Adrienne Koch and William Peden , The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson ( New York: Random House, 1994), 278 (Query XVIII). For Rorty attempt to appropriate Jefferson on behalf of his "postmetaphysical" liberalism, see The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy," in his Objectivity, 175-196.
10
For a concise rehearsal of the argument, see Michael W. McConnell, "Accommodation of Religion", in Supreme Court Review, 1985 ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 16-18.
11
This phrase comes from Alexander Hamilton draft of George Washington "Farewell Address", in Morton J. Frisch, ed., Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton ( Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 1985), 444.

-142-

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