Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Poverty and Postmodernity of PoMoCons

I have read a little bit of the blog Postmodern Conservative by Peter Lawler, and have been finding it wanting. He deplores cultural liberalism, but embraces things which enable it. He has tried to create a conservatism which embraces the Postmodern world and accepts many of the revolutions of the 1960's, but at the same time tries to embrace traditional values. He rejects out of hand the many common and simple explanations for our societies degeneracy, in favor of airy fairy stories which ultimately cannot do any good. Peter Lawler has been excessively eager to embrace modern theories of government and the social and material arrangements of postmodern society.

My first objection to Lawler comes from the very foundation of his blog. He embraces what he calls a "Postmodern Conservatism" which he attempts to distinguish from academic post-modernism as it is usually known. He describes it as simply being a belief that the world has both declined and advanced over the course of the 20th century, and that a certain amount of liberalism is fundamental to the United States and must be tolerated by conservatives. My question is, how is this a Conservative position? In practice the United States Government has come to give financial support to abortion and sexual perversion. I think there is clear decline, and I believe that it is ultimately founded upon liberal conceptions of the human individual and postmodern ways of life. Much of traditional culture is founded upon material factors, and it cannot be preserved without dealing with present day material conditions.

Postmodernity is to blame for much of the social degeneracy in our culture, and cannot be counteracted by any merely cultural or spiritual attempts at preserving tradition. How ever much our society supports it's comforts, those comforts have directly correlated to great evils. It can be plainly seen that GDP increases correlate to reduced fertility in every ordinary country. The few exceptions are places like Israel or the Faroe Islands, or Saudi Arabia, where a variety of factors have prevented a postmodern society from developing fully, and Consumerism is limited or curtailed by geographic and economic factors. Nevertheless, Peter Lawler continues to argue for a Postmodern Conservatism, a conservatism that embraces the very things that undermined it and continue to do so. This is not a recipe for success. This is self orchestrated sabotage.

It is also notable that he opposes what he calls academic postmodernism, but in the end argues for the same things they do: consumerism as a part of American life. He dismisses agrarianism and suggests the decline of culture has nothing to do with postmodern consumer culture. He thinks it's problems can be tempered by embracing traditional culture, but the postmodern academics are a bit more clever: they understand that consumerism will help undermine tradition, and replace it with there degraded vision of self selecting identities. Freedom to choose an abortion today, or a divorce tomorrow, and maybe a little bit of cheap live action pornography on the side. This kind of academic postmodernism is far more common, and far more accepted, than the Marxist kind. It is certainly more well accepted amongst the general public than any traditional conservatism. Embracing chain stores and suburbs does nothing to help protect us against these things.

He defends the suburb. He defends consumerism. He defends Postmodernity. Lawler never sees the writing on the wall. Postmodernity is part of the problem, not the solution.