Postmodernism of the Right?

Calvin and Hobbes - Postmodernism

This is the first I’m hearing of it and a little attracted by the idea.

Google searches have turned out these basic points of definition of the rehashed philosophy:

  • distrust of experts as preserving the status quo in their interests (ex: the economists who didn’t trust the budget projections, the generals who didn’t buy the troop estimates, intelligence analysts who questioned the existence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iraq) and providing counter-evidence and critique upon these points (often harkening back to influences such as Hayek, the Austrian school, and modern libertarianism as part of their political analysis)
  • uncovering “spin” in the influence of these experts (bureaucrats and technocrats included) utilizing the “deconstructive” methods of discursive practices promoted by French postmodernists (ex: questioning climate change, population control, sustainable development)
  • claiming that patriarchy, racism, and homophobia aren’t the real problems (ex: Bush administration) so much as establishmentarianism, big-government liberalism or the nanny state, and pervasive foreign policy namby-pambyism
  • picking apart mainstream economics and anthropology (see Hayek)
  • ideology creates reality and is the only reality (anti-foundational in this sense) since new sets of facts can always be found to favour one side or another for the experts
  • dislike of the emptying of the meaning of words through ideology (ex: Hayek’s critique that any word put after the word “social” has rendered it meaningless due to the careless use of the world social in socialist ideology)
  • a revival of metatheories as follows: It’s not that gender and identity and culture are unimportant. But to study the micro-politics of identity is to ignore the prime causal factor – the deep structures of history and the contestation over society embodied in the world of politics.
  • a rejection of the current liberal order as perpetuated by flawed and ineffective institution such as the United Nations and various NGOs and IOs
  • breaking away from American hegemony on political thinking and reviving European enlightenment glory

I have found two prominent names so far: John Quiggin and Marshall McLuhan. The first appears to be a still-living Australian economic professor. The other seems to be Canadian media theorist. Interesting mix.

There is also a third in Michael O’Meara who published a book in 2004 called “New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe” who speaks of the rise of the European New Right. O’Meara deconstructs the prevailing liberal notions of equality, rationality, universalism, economism, and developmentalism, but goes further in emphasizing what he claims are its anti-White, anti-European, and anti-cultural impetus.

A fourth appears in the work of Croatian Dr. Tomaslav Sunic in his book “Against Democracy and Equality: The European Right” published in 1990 and which appears to have influenced O’Meara’s work.  The most original part of his book was his account of the New Right’s critique of equality, ‘economism,’ and Judeo-Christianity, which, rather than the secularism of the Enlightenment, are seen as the root of egalitarianism and universalism.

Some see the work of these authors as a continuation of what is called the Conservative Revolution: a German anti-liberal intellectual movement of the Weimar era that included some of the foremost minds of the 20th century (Heidegger, Spengler, Schmitt, Sombart, Freyer, Moeller van den Bruck, Niekisch, Jünger, etc.). Right wing postmodernism as promoted by the ENR’s continued subscription conservative revolution of the 1920s contributed to ENR’s effort to reformulate revolutionary anti-liberal ideas for the 21st century, especially as posed by the massive global migratory trends, rising multiculturalism, and economic globalization, but above all as something that does not tidily fit into the conventional Right-Left categories.

As I have mentioned before, the essential problem with postmodernist philosophy is its inability to be transmuted into concrete public policy, as well as failing to offer solutions to their problematization of certain aspects of political practices or ideologies. Nevertheless, it offers a critique that cannot be ignored and can be used to reinforce or add to the current philosophical debates between right and left, facts and values, objectivism and subjectivism, etc.  I plan to read more into this to see exactly what I’m dealing with, but I’m not sure yet if this is something I can subscribe to or would like to implement into IR theories, since it again only focuses on problematizing without solutions and I don’t see how you could begin to rectify this “specialization in facticity” utilizing only the critique of right-wing postmodernism.

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