Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

Bombs Awry

In his column Bomb's (sic) Away, not a million pages away from mine in Craccum #16, Martyn Bradbury announces that we all live in a "post modern" world "where every mode of thinking that claims absolute truth has been deconstructed." He includes Lenin, the Catholic Church & myself (such august company I keep!) in the category of those who claim absolute truth, and dismisses us all as "fanatics."

Now why am I writing about this when Jenny & Winston are choking on each other's entrails? Because Bradbury is right up to a point, & the thing he is right about is what explains Jenny & Winston. It is a post modern world we inhabit, & one of its characteristics is a disdain, such as Bradbury expresses, for abstract thought of the kind that Communists, Catholics & Objectivists are wont to engage in. The post-modern world is a range-of-the-moment one — there is no point in pursuing truth, because there is no such thing as truth & to believe otherwise is the hallmark of a fanatic; therefore, go with the flow, respond to the first stimulus you experience, swim with the squirtings of your glands & the ejaculations of your fellow-zombies, and above all, do it NOW, without thinking about it — without thinking, period. If you think, there is a danger that you will form a conclusion; if you form a conclusion, there is a danger that you will believe it to be true; if you believe it to be true, there is a danger that you will believe differing conclusions to be false ... and, hey man, in this post modern world true & false are not cool!

Politics in this post modern world is thus not a contest of differing ideas as to how society should be structured (or if it should be structured at all); politics is about who is gratifying his power-lust by what manoeuvres at whose expense & with whose support. Hence Winston & Jenny. Journalism in this post modern world faithfully & gleefully reports on these goings on & is dutifully bereft of any semblance of integration of the gland-squirtings into some kind of conceptual coherence. Hence TV News & the Pg 2 columnists in the NZ Herald.

The problem with this post modernism is that it's riddled with what Ayn Rand called stolen concepts. "There is no truth" — stated as a truth. "Certainty is impossible" — stated with certainty. "Anyone who thinks he's right is a fanatic" — stated by someone who thinks he's right. Etc..

In truth, we cannot avoid forming conclusions about the world we inhabit; we cannot avoid philosophy, in other words, in spite of the best efforts of the post moderns (& the moderns & a host of others) to disintegrate it. Creating a better world is not a matter of avoiding or evading philosophy — it is a matter of getting it right.

Even Mr Bradbury, having pretended to eschew philosophy for a couple of post-modernly-mangled paragraphs, repairs to it, albeit a grotesque (Marxist) type of it, in his remaining mangled paragraphs, railing against consumer products, the Bussiness (sic) Roundtable, Libertarianz, work, profit, and whatever/whoever else causes his glands to squirt. In the case of the Business Roundtable, as it happens, there is good reason to criticise them, as I have criticised them in this column: they have landed us, contrary to their rhetoric, with more taxes & regulations & restrictions on individual freedom than we've ever seen, & preached the same sort of subordination of the individual to "society" that Mr Bradbury jerks off over. For him to attack the Roundtable is to attack one of his own collectivist allies. But to identify that fact requires precisely the kind of conceptual integration that Mr Bradbury disdains. It requires effort, & why bother with effort when you can just respond to your glands ("That's the way I see it, that's the way I'm gonna call it").

There's a great future for you in television, Martyn.

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