What shall we call it?

If, as I suggest in the previous post and elsewhere, that the relativism of postmodernism is ending and that a new cultural and intellectual movement is emerging, what shall we call it? We have had modernism and postmodernism, so what would be a good term for post-postmodernism?

If we get in on the ground floor here, maybe we here at the Cranach blog can claim credit for a word that will define a whole era.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    The Age of Cranach?

  • http://www.lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/ Erich Heidenreich, DDS

    The End.

  • Mary

    I’m pretty sure it isn’t “the apocalypse” but not so sure the term’d be in English either.

  • Paul

    Reconstructionism

  • Paul

    Foundationalism – not just reconstruction, but resetting the foundation.

  • Paul

    One of my favorite words: antidisestablishmentarianism. Something done in this way would be done antidisestablishmentarianistically.

  • CRB

    Borrowing from a later 60′s song by the 5th Dimension,
    and loosely from the latin term for those who subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions “insofar as…” how about,
    “The Age of Quatenus”?! :)

  • Anon

    Dr. Veith, you wrote a book about it over 10 years ago.

  • FW

    Rule of Law.

    small-r republicanism. as opposed to small-r democracy.

    but for christians this means evey where that God moves society towards structure. rules of etiquette, industrial standardization of nuts and bolts. the holy liturgy. Especially rules that order chaos without attempting to outlaw it: divorce laws, alcohol laws, etc…

  • Bruce

    FW: whew. You want to call the new age, realistically, the Age of the Rule of Law?

    I understand and sympathize with your desires. But it isn’t a clear reading of the departing age or the one to come to think we’re headed toward more orderliness, not less. How would an age of the rule of law logically progress out of a postmodern age? Or out of an education system that trumps self-esteem over either logic or law? Or is the new age going to be defined by a different people than Americans and Europeans? I’m confused, again. Or maybe just a lot less pessimistic about the world we live in.

  • Bruce

    Sorry, I meant more pessimistic in the last post.

    I know! We could call it the Millenium!

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    Peter Jones would call it the New Paganism.

  • Matt C.

    Sharia.

    I suppose there might be a short round of Neo Paganism first depending on how things go.

  • Clayfoot

    annihilationism

  • Bryan Lindemood

    How about – The Age of Endarkenment.

    Or how’s this – Antiutopianisticdenialism.

    Or what about – Idioantirationalism.

    Or try this – spastisticantifundamentalism.

    Or what about this one – sporadicmonarchicopinionism.

    This is fun!

  • J

    With any luck, we’ll see the decline and fall of the American Empire and, with a bit more luck, the restoration of the American Republic.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Borrowing from Al Franken, it’s the Age of Me. And of all the other Me’s out there. All of us Me’s are getting our own Age.
    Though it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s the Age of Us. Nor the Age of You, nor even of You, Too.
    Just the Age of Me.

  • Greg DeVore

    folks, its communism risen from the grave.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    Post-Modern Pre-Renaissance is what we tried to call our art movement back at Hillsdale ;-P

  • Paul

    Now wait a minute. Am I missing something? Didn’t the original post offer at least a glimmer of hope saying: “that the relativism of postmodernism is ending and that a new cultural and intellectual movement is emerging.” I would see that as a positive change not a negative one. And being out here on the front lines in a State University community I do she a change beginning where young people in their early 20′s – some single, some married, some with children – are indeed looking for substantive, intellectual, non-relativistic answers. I’m talking nearly 3-dozen 20-somethings coming to our congregation from relativistic, emotion-based, humanistic churches. They want rational, “what does this mean”, intellectually honest and consistent answers. They SEE the nihilism and the relativism and are rejecting it. What do we call this “movement”? Is it a coming “age” or “era”? I don’t know whether it will be short lived or not, but I would say it is going to persist beyond the end of post-modernism. It may take 2 more generations to come to the fore, but from my perspective post modernism is on its way out. What’s next? A dialectic-opposite? Something transitional before a return to a different sort of authoritarianism? I do think we have a chance to catch hold of something here and help direct it. Forget those over 40 (of which generation I am at the end). What about those under 30? Are there not those who are rejecting postmodernism? Who are we that read this post, after all?

  • Paul

    Oh, and it’s not for a lack of passion – it’s a desire for something worth feeling passionate about.

  • Kirk

    Narcissism?

  • Paul

    “Nihilists generally assert that objective morality does not exist, and that no action is logically preferable to any other in regard to the moral value of one action over another.” – Yes. That’s what I meant. They are looking for objective morality and logically preferable action. Ergo, they have rejected nihilism.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Much as I want to believe that a rejection of post-modernism’s relativism, with a return to common and traditional absolutes, is gaining steam and will become the dominant attitude of our society, I’m not quite so optimistic. Rather, I see two streams diverging: that one, which embraces, even seeks shared and transcendent absolutes; and another which will be dominant and eventually marginalize the first.

    This second stream or movement I’ll call “The Self-Enlightenment”, and it grows out of the me-generation, existentialism, and relativism. It’s similar to what existed during the periods of apostasy during the era of the Judges: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Rather than claiming that there are no standards, as relativism does, people will instead set themselves up as the arbiters in all things. They will accept the idea of absolutes, but only in a personal and self-centered way: “This thing is true; it is absolutely true because it agrees with what I absolutely think and feel.”

    This way of thinking will conveniently still allow for “absolutes” to change to suit one’s circumstances, because the standard is tied to one’s thoughts and feelings, rather than anything objective. But as long as lots of other people think the same way, the illusion of a true absolute can exist can comfort all who share that point of view. For instance, “I absolutely think that murder is wrong” will be shared by many and have the appearance, to them, of a universal truth; but so could, “I absolutely feel that animals are people, too, and should have all the rights that humans do.”

    A real negative to this “Self-enlightened” movement will be the decline of substantive discourse and debate. Without any true and universal standards to appeal to, it will become almost impossible to bring two opposing points of view to agreement or peace. “I know what I know and feel what I feel — and I’ve been taught from little on that I’m special no matter what, and that I should have a very high opinion of myself and my thoughts and my feelings have always been validated — and I think I’ve thought this through enough. So my position is correct, and yours therefore cannot be.”

    So, anyway, that’s my suggestion: “Self-Enlightenment”.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Exactly what it is going to consist of remains rather unclear, but it seems to me that the emerging new world view is not going to be something good. Whereas postmodernism allowed for different beliefs, being relativists, today we are seeing what the Jones below calls “aggressive certainty,” a new dogmatic version.

    There are lots of good terms here, but “Reconstructionism” from Paul hits what I am seeing. It isn’t “foundationalism,” which implies an external truth, but another “construction” that is made solely by the will to power. This, Anon, ties to my thesis that postmodernism is the foundation, if you will, of fascism.

  • CRB

    #16 J,
    There is no such thing as, “luck”!

  • allen

    The Age of Discovery

    China and India will be mining the asteroid belt and we’ll still be mooning over the celebredrunks.

  • CRB

    I recall a book I read several years ago in which the author, Fred Baue referred to something he termed,
    as the sensate. I don’t remember the specifics of the term, but if anyone is interested the title is:
    “The Spiritual Society: What Lurks Beyond Postmodernism?”

  • Manxman

    We’re heading for ideological feudalism where competing systems circle the wagons and go to war with each other for survival and dominance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01763924682909630509 Orianna Laun

    CRB (#28), wasn’t that a fantastic book? I believe the sensate dealt with that which looked to worldly, tangible stuff, and the ideational was that which looked the ideal, non-materialistic. He called the age the “Therian Age” in which society concerned itself with non-material things, but is hostile to Christianity. I’d say we’re getting there.

  • CRB

    Orianna Laun,
    Yes, I believe we may be well on our way. Perhaps it will be accelerated under an Obama administration, but even if McCain wins, I still think it’s coming upon us!

  • Anon

    Reconstructionism is already used for a particular form of post-millennial Reformed Theology associated with Rousas John Rushdooney and Gary North.

    I suspect that what is arising is some flavor of fascism.

    Allen, let’s hope that Space X can give them a run for the money. Some of Pournelle’s old works that are applicable have been republished as a collection in an ebook from Baen.

  • JPW

    How about imaginationism?

    It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it would fit with the postmodern conservatism of Russell Kirk. It could also describe the Left. To borrow Irving Babbitt’s terms the “Idyllic Imagination” of Rousseau would describe the Left and the “Moral Imagination” of Burke would define the Right. Both stand in opposition to the rationalism of the Enlightenment.


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