Faux Po-mo

One of the supposed effects of post-modernity was the deconstruction of all sure foundations for thought, un-writing of all “metanarratives.”  All interpretation and reason is theory-laden; all stances are contextual. Acknowledging this was supposed to lead to epistemic humility and that, to tolerance. To a certain extent it has.

But a casual glance at the rhetoric of most public political and moral debate reveals that apparently most people didn’t get the memo on the provisionality of their conclusions. As the following quote from Alasdair MacIntyre captures, there is no shortage of certainty in these uncertain times.

“For the modern radical is as confident in the moral expression of his stances and consequently in the assertive uses of the rhetoric of morality as any conservative has ever been. Whatever else he denounces in our culture he is certain that it still possesses the moral resources which he requires in order to denounce it. Everything else may be, in his eyes, in disorder; but the language of morality is in order, just as it is.”

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, 4.