Constructivist politics

Postmodernists, who believe that truth is relative, reject such retro concepts as logic, evidence, and reason, all of which assume that truth is objective.  Instead, postmodernists practice what they call “constructivism.”  Truth is not something we discover; rather, truth is something we “construct.”  Thus, argumentation involves “de-constructing” other people’s truth claims (showing them to be nothing more than impositions of power) and constructing “plausibility paradigms” to advance your own power-agenda.  And, since truth is inherently personal, another way to argue is to attack the person who holds to that truth.

We all need to understand this, especially in today’s political climate.  Both sides do it.  The very notion of “spin”–which is openly recognized to the point that TV networks set up “spin rooms” and both sides openly acknowledge having “spin doctors”–is an open acknowledgement of postmodernist techniques.  What matters is not overall truth but cherry-picking facts and then giving them an interpretation favorable to the power agenda of one side or another.  For postmodernists, interpretation is more important than information.  A successful argument is a construction of reality that wins over–indeed, that imposes itself on–other people

Here is a particularly blatant example of political constructivism, from the Washington Post in an article on President Obama’s post-debate campaign speech:

Obama said that when he reached the debate stage “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney,” Obama said, adding that the “real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”

The Mitt Romney everyone saw onstage giving his views from his own mouth is not the real Romney.  The real Romney is the one we have been constructing in our campaign ads.

And notice how the fact cited here comes from an elaborately spinning interpretation:  It is claimed, perhaps accurately (a matter for old-school analysis), that Romney’s economic plan doesn’t add up and is off by $5 trillion.  The Democrats then use this number in different ways.  Here Obama calls it $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy.  In the debate and in campaign ads he takes it as a $5 trillion tax increase on the middle class.  This is because for his numbers to add up, he would have to get the $5 trillion from somewhere, so he would have to raise taxes on the middle tax.  Notice the movement  from “would have to” to “will.”  Romney will raise your taxes.

Never mind the Republican belief in supply-side economics and that Republicans from the time of Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush never raise taxes to this magnitude, preferring instead to just let shortages add to the deficit.

Never mind that Romney said in the debate that he would not raise taxes by $5 trillion.  Furthermore, that he would not cut what the wealthy are paying now.

No, this is not his real position.  His real position is what we say it is, the way we have constructed it.

 

via Obama challenges Romney’s candor morning after 1st debate, says rival owes people ‘the truth’ – The Washington Post.

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.

  • fws

    The problem is not as you identify it.
    Romney has said alot of conflicting things.

    Someone who values honestly would simply say “I changed my mind on that”.

    He is not doing that.
    I don´t see the need to overlay a post-modernist metanarrative over this.

    Do this: Call up the Mormons and have them send out a couple of missionaries to your home.
    Listen to their presentation.
    See what they do with the truth.
    Ask them , directly, if they believe that they will become God and create their own planet some day. Listen to them spin on that.
    This is where Romney learned to present the “facts” the way he did that in the debates.

  • fws

    The problem is not as you identify it.
    Romney has said alot of conflicting things.

    Someone who values honestly would simply say “I changed my mind on that”.

    He is not doing that.
    I don´t see the need to overlay a post-modernist metanarrative over this.

    Do this: Call up the Mormons and have them send out a couple of missionaries to your home.
    Listen to their presentation.
    See what they do with the truth.
    Ask them , directly, if they believe that they will become God and create their own planet some day. Listen to them spin on that.
    This is where Romney learned to present the “facts” the way he did that in the debates.

  • Tom Hering

    How can anyone talk about the real Romney, when he’s a different animal every time you blink? Is it even possible to misrepresent a therianthrope?

  • Tom Hering

    How can anyone talk about the real Romney, when he’s a different animal every time you blink? Is it even possible to misrepresent a therianthrope?

  • Booklover

    Tom, I just tripped over myself running to get the dictionary for “therianthrope.” It is now your responsibility to get me a whiskey for the pain. Hurry. I leave for work soon.

  • Booklover

    Tom, I just tripped over myself running to get the dictionary for “therianthrope.” It is now your responsibility to get me a whiskey for the pain. Hurry. I leave for work soon.

  • Joe

    It is interesting that the economist that Obama cites to prove that Mitt will raise taxes by 5 trillion on the middle class or cut 5 trillion in taxes for the wealthy (he has been saying both) has publicly disputed that his work leads to this conclusion:

    “I can’t tell exactly how the Obama campaign reached that characterization of my work. It might be that they assume that Governor Romney wants to keep the taxes from the Affordable Care Act in place, despite the fact that the Governor has called for its complete repeal. The main conclusion of my study is that under plausible assumptions, a proposal along the lines suggested by Governor Romney can both be revenue neutral and keep the net tax burden on taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 about the same. That is, an increase in the tax burden on lower and middle income individuals is not required in order to make the overall plan revenue neutral.”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/princeton-economist-obama-campaign-misrepresenting-my-study-romneys-tax-plan_653917.html

  • Joe

    It is interesting that the economist that Obama cites to prove that Mitt will raise taxes by 5 trillion on the middle class or cut 5 trillion in taxes for the wealthy (he has been saying both) has publicly disputed that his work leads to this conclusion:

    “I can’t tell exactly how the Obama campaign reached that characterization of my work. It might be that they assume that Governor Romney wants to keep the taxes from the Affordable Care Act in place, despite the fact that the Governor has called for its complete repeal. The main conclusion of my study is that under plausible assumptions, a proposal along the lines suggested by Governor Romney can both be revenue neutral and keep the net tax burden on taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 about the same. That is, an increase in the tax burden on lower and middle income individuals is not required in order to make the overall plan revenue neutral.”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/princeton-economist-obama-campaign-misrepresenting-my-study-romneys-tax-plan_653917.html

  • Tom Hering

    Sorry, I don’t have a transporter to “beam” it to you immediately.

  • Tom Hering

    Sorry, I don’t have a transporter to “beam” it to you immediately.

  • Tom Hering

    Talking to Booklover @ 3, of course.

  • Tom Hering

    Talking to Booklover @ 3, of course.

  • The Jones

    I thought that Mitt Romney always said that you lower rates and eliminate deductions. Can somebody show me where he did not have that position? And please don’t show me a place where he says lower rates but does not also say eliminate deductions. The absence of making a position is not the same thing a denying a position.

    Very good point, Dr. Veith. I thought of it as the lack of the principle of charity in debate (putting your opponent’s position in the best possible light when arguing against it). The principle of charity is often sacrificed to fit in a 30 second campaign ad, but I was shocked when it seemed that not only did Obama not argue against Mitt Romney’s position in its best possible light, but that he didn’t even know what it was. That was why the attempted “I’m just kidding” jab hurt him so bad in the debate.

  • The Jones

    I thought that Mitt Romney always said that you lower rates and eliminate deductions. Can somebody show me where he did not have that position? And please don’t show me a place where he says lower rates but does not also say eliminate deductions. The absence of making a position is not the same thing a denying a position.

    Very good point, Dr. Veith. I thought of it as the lack of the principle of charity in debate (putting your opponent’s position in the best possible light when arguing against it). The principle of charity is often sacrificed to fit in a 30 second campaign ad, but I was shocked when it seemed that not only did Obama not argue against Mitt Romney’s position in its best possible light, but that he didn’t even know what it was. That was why the attempted “I’m just kidding” jab hurt him so bad in the debate.

  • MHB

    This constructivism (aka spin) employs the old concepts of logic, reason, and evidence — but only in opportunistic ways. Jones is right: there is no charity in debate on the national stage.

    There’s a little charity in conversation over coffee, however. A little. And beer. In the White House garden.

    You just can’t win that way.

  • MHB

    This constructivism (aka spin) employs the old concepts of logic, reason, and evidence — but only in opportunistic ways. Jones is right: there is no charity in debate on the national stage.

    There’s a little charity in conversation over coffee, however. A little. And beer. In the White House garden.

    You just can’t win that way.

  • fws

    George Will issued an opinion piece saying there is nothing wrong with accentuating certain opinions and deaccentuating others to …. make a sale.

    He is wrong. He is wrong in spite of the fact that Obama and other politicians do this as well. Honesty demands less varnish and more directness. the truth. the FULL truth, and nothing but the truth is the standard.

    Romney positioned himself as a moderate, which is what he was as governor of Mass to get elected. He will say or do whatever , depending on the audience he is selling to, to get elected.

    Yes. All politicians do this. He is showing though that he is quite a master at this once he hits his stride.

    This is not a virtue.

  • fws

    George Will issued an opinion piece saying there is nothing wrong with accentuating certain opinions and deaccentuating others to …. make a sale.

    He is wrong. He is wrong in spite of the fact that Obama and other politicians do this as well. Honesty demands less varnish and more directness. the truth. the FULL truth, and nothing but the truth is the standard.

    Romney positioned himself as a moderate, which is what he was as governor of Mass to get elected. He will say or do whatever , depending on the audience he is selling to, to get elected.

    Yes. All politicians do this. He is showing though that he is quite a master at this once he hits his stride.

    This is not a virtue.

  • Other Gary

    Acknowledging you’ve studied and authored on the subject of post-modernism, Dr. Veith, nevertheless, I take issue with how you’ve implied post-modernists reject the concepts of “logic, evidence and reason.”

    So far as I can tell, they don’t reject them, they use logic, evidence and reason just fine. Where the rub comes in is with your very next phrase: “all of which assume truth is objective.”

    This is false. Not all truths are objective, unless you care to claim we only _speak_ of “subjective truth,” and such a thing doesn’t actually exist. Post-modernism’s skepticism is epistemological.

    The self-identifying post-moderns I know DO, in fact, believe some things are true in a way that people with normal rational faculties can agree upon. They do believe some truth statements are objective, describing “how things really are;” some truth statements simply concern FACTS which are undisputed.

    But many, many truth statements aren’t really about facts, they are about MEANING. And as you well know, as soon as we begin considering meaning, we have engaged in INTERPRETATION. Interpretations are inherently perspectival. And while the relative values of differing interpretations can be analyzed and compared, especially in academic settings, in everyday life what often shapes and drives interpretation is power and privilege, and I buy into an interpretation more often than not because I have a similar power-agenda. I completely agree with this particular post-modern insight.

    As regards to this election, what the two campaigns are doing is trading barbs and quips and jabs (and sometimes lying about the facts) to present an _interpretation_ of the other’s position. In the specific example you cited you can see how this works: the President claims that Mr. Romney’s statements made in the debate about what he would do (and not do) concerning taxes were disingenuous. Why? The President is claiming that if you review other statements Romney’s made during his campaign, and look at those against the backdrop of what he did at Bain Capital, there’s a coherent way to interpret the whole: he is going to take care of wealthier Americans if elected, and the statements made during the debate are intended to fool the voters. That seems to me be the interpretation the President and his campaign team have applied to his opponent. Is this interpretation TRUE? From Mr. Romney’s perspective, it is not, but from the President’s (and most likely Democratic voters) it is a plausible interpretation.

  • Other Gary

    Acknowledging you’ve studied and authored on the subject of post-modernism, Dr. Veith, nevertheless, I take issue with how you’ve implied post-modernists reject the concepts of “logic, evidence and reason.”

    So far as I can tell, they don’t reject them, they use logic, evidence and reason just fine. Where the rub comes in is with your very next phrase: “all of which assume truth is objective.”

    This is false. Not all truths are objective, unless you care to claim we only _speak_ of “subjective truth,” and such a thing doesn’t actually exist. Post-modernism’s skepticism is epistemological.

    The self-identifying post-moderns I know DO, in fact, believe some things are true in a way that people with normal rational faculties can agree upon. They do believe some truth statements are objective, describing “how things really are;” some truth statements simply concern FACTS which are undisputed.

    But many, many truth statements aren’t really about facts, they are about MEANING. And as you well know, as soon as we begin considering meaning, we have engaged in INTERPRETATION. Interpretations are inherently perspectival. And while the relative values of differing interpretations can be analyzed and compared, especially in academic settings, in everyday life what often shapes and drives interpretation is power and privilege, and I buy into an interpretation more often than not because I have a similar power-agenda. I completely agree with this particular post-modern insight.

    As regards to this election, what the two campaigns are doing is trading barbs and quips and jabs (and sometimes lying about the facts) to present an _interpretation_ of the other’s position. In the specific example you cited you can see how this works: the President claims that Mr. Romney’s statements made in the debate about what he would do (and not do) concerning taxes were disingenuous. Why? The President is claiming that if you review other statements Romney’s made during his campaign, and look at those against the backdrop of what he did at Bain Capital, there’s a coherent way to interpret the whole: he is going to take care of wealthier Americans if elected, and the statements made during the debate are intended to fool the voters. That seems to me be the interpretation the President and his campaign team have applied to his opponent. Is this interpretation TRUE? From Mr. Romney’s perspective, it is not, but from the President’s (and most likely Democratic voters) it is a plausible interpretation.

  • Lou G.

    Dr. Veith, Excellent points! I fully agree that this constructivist methodology, which by the way is taught in most universities as key for political and historical study, is one of the Obama’s administration’s key ploys. Of course, Karl Rove and some of the Republican strategists have also employ such tactics. However, I was certain after that debate that we would see it coming from the Obama camp and especially from his seragates and supporters. Although I was not surprised to see Obama doing it, I still felt extremely dismayed, because I know too many people would buy the story and carry it forward regardless of the facts.

    Perhaps most interestingly (and ironically), the SNL cold open skit of the debates gave a fairly decent and accurate depiction. Check it out:
    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/debate-cold-open/1419927/

  • Lou G.

    Dr. Veith, Excellent points! I fully agree that this constructivist methodology, which by the way is taught in most universities as key for political and historical study, is one of the Obama’s administration’s key ploys. Of course, Karl Rove and some of the Republican strategists have also employ such tactics. However, I was certain after that debate that we would see it coming from the Obama camp and especially from his seragates and supporters. Although I was not surprised to see Obama doing it, I still felt extremely dismayed, because I know too many people would buy the story and carry it forward regardless of the facts.

    Perhaps most interestingly (and ironically), the SNL cold open skit of the debates gave a fairly decent and accurate depiction. Check it out:
    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/debate-cold-open/1419927/

  • Lou G.

    One more thing, Obama’s constructivist reaction also warrants a requote from Romney during the debate: “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own house and to your own plane, but not your own facts!” Awesome.

  • Lou G.

    One more thing, Obama’s constructivist reaction also warrants a requote from Romney during the debate: “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own house and to your own plane, but not your own facts!” Awesome.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 9, to make the charge of “opportunist” stick, you need one of two things. Either an electorate that carefully follows every statement of position a candidate makes along the way. (We don’t have that.) Or a statement by the candidate that opponents can seize on. A statement that admits – or seems to admit – he’s an opportunistic flip-flopper, like Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it.” (We don’t have that either.)

    Maybe Romney’s opportunism is actually an advantage in an election like this one, where it’s so close that a few undecideds will make all the difference. They may find it easiest to decide for someone just like them – someone who lacks core beliefs.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank @ 9, to make the charge of “opportunist” stick, you need one of two things. Either an electorate that carefully follows every statement of position a candidate makes along the way. (We don’t have that.) Or a statement by the candidate that opponents can seize on. A statement that admits – or seems to admit – he’s an opportunistic flip-flopper, like Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it.” (We don’t have that either.)

    Maybe Romney’s opportunism is actually an advantage in an election like this one, where it’s so close that a few undecideds will make all the difference. They may find it easiest to decide for someone just like them – someone who lacks core beliefs.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    This is an excellent post. I really like how you explained this.

    At the same time, I think “Other Gary” raises some good issues – things that we need to take into account.

    Here is where I think we can take it from here:

    Even as the nobles/elites of our age talk about how one may seek the truth but cannot be sure we know the truth, their actions betray them, because they are constantly trying to organize and define and state what is true – and even ultimately True (with a big T) – even as they admit to doubts. Even if some nobles/elites think it may not always be good for the “masses” to know the truth, it is good for them, at least, to do so.

    But even if the world strives for a Truth (big T) – which inevitably ties in with how they live their life – we know they don’t have it. (this brings us to this Biblical truth found in Romans 1… We actually suppress the truth. And without the power of God to turn us from our sin, we suppress the Truth Himself).

    Is this true though? : ) Really, how many persons are really looking to organize, define, and state what is True? Don’t some say that the only truth is that there is no all-encompassing Truth (with a big T)? Is not this alone True?

    ***I think the point here is that even persons who want to say things like this also ultimately find themselves saying that we can have enough real knowledge about the cosmos we live in to believe that some ways of living are preferable and more responsible than other ways of living. If they refuse to even admit this, it seems to me they are simply not being honest with themselves.***

    Therefore ultimate meaning for our earthly lives (speaking of the Kingdom of the Left here):

    even if we insist that others should be able to live the way they want to, what happens when push comes to shove, and reality seems to insist that different viewpoints actually can’t coexist? Or what happens if the consequences of allowing a view to exist seem too great – how “tolerant” and “accepting” will we really be at that point?

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    This is an excellent post. I really like how you explained this.

    At the same time, I think “Other Gary” raises some good issues – things that we need to take into account.

    Here is where I think we can take it from here:

    Even as the nobles/elites of our age talk about how one may seek the truth but cannot be sure we know the truth, their actions betray them, because they are constantly trying to organize and define and state what is true – and even ultimately True (with a big T) – even as they admit to doubts. Even if some nobles/elites think it may not always be good for the “masses” to know the truth, it is good for them, at least, to do so.

    But even if the world strives for a Truth (big T) – which inevitably ties in with how they live their life – we know they don’t have it. (this brings us to this Biblical truth found in Romans 1… We actually suppress the truth. And without the power of God to turn us from our sin, we suppress the Truth Himself).

    Is this true though? : ) Really, how many persons are really looking to organize, define, and state what is True? Don’t some say that the only truth is that there is no all-encompassing Truth (with a big T)? Is not this alone True?

    ***I think the point here is that even persons who want to say things like this also ultimately find themselves saying that we can have enough real knowledge about the cosmos we live in to believe that some ways of living are preferable and more responsible than other ways of living. If they refuse to even admit this, it seems to me they are simply not being honest with themselves.***

    Therefore ultimate meaning for our earthly lives (speaking of the Kingdom of the Left here):

    even if we insist that others should be able to live the way they want to, what happens when push comes to shove, and reality seems to insist that different viewpoints actually can’t coexist? Or what happens if the consequences of allowing a view to exist seem too great – how “tolerant” and “accepting” will we really be at that point?

  • Other Gary

    Lou (@12) : See my comment above. While he may not be entitled to his own “facts,” he is entitled to offer his interpretation of those “facts” as part of his campaign. And then, in good post-modernist fashion, the Republicans can have their turn at deconstructing the President’s interpretation. (And frankly, that should be easy.)

  • Other Gary

    Lou (@12) : See my comment above. While he may not be entitled to his own “facts,” he is entitled to offer his interpretation of those “facts” as part of his campaign. And then, in good post-modernist fashion, the Republicans can have their turn at deconstructing the President’s interpretation. (And frankly, that should be easy.)

  • Tom Hering

    … but not your own facts!” (@ 12)

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D).

  • Tom Hering

    … but not your own facts!” (@ 12)

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D).

  • Lou G.

    Other Gary, true in a sense. Except an interpretation of the facts must not actually contradict the facts. And yet, I think Dr. Veith has highlighted the historical constructivism that has become all too prevalent in our modern political system.
    Directly after the debate, every commentator, liberal or conservative acknowledged that Obama lost miserably. SNL’s skit that I linked to made light of that fact as well. And yet the next day, it didn’t take long for local media to start re-writing the narrative — deconstrucing and constructing the story into something that would benefit and redeem Obama, while vilifying Romney.

    From what I saw, Romney was in perfect form. Assertive, but friendly and warm. And he didn’t miss a queque. Had excellent responses to everything from the federal government’s role to how he will work with others in Congress. Point is, I think Dr. Veith has a great point about constructivism in national politics (not just limited to Dems, but certainly more pronounced at this juncture in the campaign).

  • Lou G.

    Other Gary, true in a sense. Except an interpretation of the facts must not actually contradict the facts. And yet, I think Dr. Veith has highlighted the historical constructivism that has become all too prevalent in our modern political system.
    Directly after the debate, every commentator, liberal or conservative acknowledged that Obama lost miserably. SNL’s skit that I linked to made light of that fact as well. And yet the next day, it didn’t take long for local media to start re-writing the narrative — deconstrucing and constructing the story into something that would benefit and redeem Obama, while vilifying Romney.

    From what I saw, Romney was in perfect form. Assertive, but friendly and warm. And he didn’t miss a queque. Had excellent responses to everything from the federal government’s role to how he will work with others in Congress. Point is, I think Dr. Veith has a great point about constructivism in national politics (not just limited to Dems, but certainly more pronounced at this juncture in the campaign).

  • Lou G.

    Tom, what is your point? Someone else used a phrase that appeared in someone else’s full sentence is important, why?

  • Lou G.

    Tom, what is your point? Someone else used a phrase that appeared in someone else’s full sentence is important, why?

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary is right. With all due respect, I think your characterization of postmodernism–insofar as there actually is a thing called postmodernism–is uncharitable and superficial.

    The thing, though, is that “postmodernism,” however defined, is not what’s happenings here. As I see it, this is just old-fashioned partisan politicking. What is Robomney doing that candidates in previous decades/ages didn’t do? Nothing I can think of, except that the classic tactics of mischaracterization, personalism, uncharitableness, and outright deception are merely exacerbated by modern techniques of mass communication.

    Otherwise this is par for the course in mass democracy.

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary is right. With all due respect, I think your characterization of postmodernism–insofar as there actually is a thing called postmodernism–is uncharitable and superficial.

    The thing, though, is that “postmodernism,” however defined, is not what’s happenings here. As I see it, this is just old-fashioned partisan politicking. What is Robomney doing that candidates in previous decades/ages didn’t do? Nothing I can think of, except that the classic tactics of mischaracterization, personalism, uncharitableness, and outright deception are merely exacerbated by modern techniques of mass communication.

    Otherwise this is par for the course in mass democracy.

  • Cincinnatus

    To be fair, though, I think Obama’s “Romney will raise your taxes by this amount!” narrative is particularly brazen.

    But not necessarily more brazen than LBJ’s claim that Barry Goldwater would cause a nuclear apocalypse.

  • Cincinnatus

    To be fair, though, I think Obama’s “Romney will raise your taxes by this amount!” narrative is particularly brazen.

    But not necessarily more brazen than LBJ’s claim that Barry Goldwater would cause a nuclear apocalypse.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    What Cincinnatus & Other Gary said. The reality is that this is absolutely no different than any other political contest, going back as far as political contexts go.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    What Cincinnatus & Other Gary said. The reality is that this is absolutely no different than any other political contest, going back as far as political contexts go.

  • The Jones

    FWS @9

    I agree with your diagnosis, but I disagree that it is a bad thing.

    Politicians are limited by time, and the attention of their audience. To be effective, they must select and carefully word what they say. They should not LIE when they do this, but merely being selective is not wrong. It’s just what politicians do to make their message relevant to their audience.

    I would agree that it could still be a bad thing if they not only are selective in what they say but neglect to EVER say the bad part or the unseemly part of the message. But I don’t think that Mitt Romney fits that mold in this case. He’s always said “lower rates, close deductions, broaden the base.” The lack of specificity on the deductions is not hiding anything, it’s leaving it all on the table.

  • The Jones

    FWS @9

    I agree with your diagnosis, but I disagree that it is a bad thing.

    Politicians are limited by time, and the attention of their audience. To be effective, they must select and carefully word what they say. They should not LIE when they do this, but merely being selective is not wrong. It’s just what politicians do to make their message relevant to their audience.

    I would agree that it could still be a bad thing if they not only are selective in what they say but neglect to EVER say the bad part or the unseemly part of the message. But I don’t think that Mitt Romney fits that mold in this case. He’s always said “lower rates, close deductions, broaden the base.” The lack of specificity on the deductions is not hiding anything, it’s leaving it all on the table.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    To add to what I said (going along with what others have said about how things have always been like this in politics): I would venture that there are no new legitimate insights into human nature and epistemology that the postmodernists made that had not been previously made before (although not weaved into a whole philosophy of postmodernism).

    But I could be wrong about that.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    To add to what I said (going along with what others have said about how things have always been like this in politics): I would venture that there are no new legitimate insights into human nature and epistemology that the postmodernists made that had not been previously made before (although not weaved into a whole philosophy of postmodernism).

    But I could be wrong about that.

  • SKPeterson

    KK and Cincinnatus are wrong. This election is historic, unprecedented even. To simply shrug off the deep and fundamental differences between the candidates on two or three issues as indicators of political posturing is to limit the historical and unprecedented nature of this election. Look around you. This election is historic. Moreover, it is unprecedented. Political posturing has nothing to do with it! It is History. Unprecedented History unfolding right before your very eyes.

  • SKPeterson

    KK and Cincinnatus are wrong. This election is historic, unprecedented even. To simply shrug off the deep and fundamental differences between the candidates on two or three issues as indicators of political posturing is to limit the historical and unprecedented nature of this election. Look around you. This election is historic. Moreover, it is unprecedented. Political posturing has nothing to do with it! It is History. Unprecedented History unfolding right before your very eyes.

  • DonS

    The Mitt Romney everyone saw onstage giving his views from his own mouth is not the real Romney. The real Romney is the one we have been constructing in our campaign ads.

    This is classic, Dr. Veith! Well said.

    The first time I really noticed this tendency to charge a politician with lying for their perceived errors was with respect to Iraq. “Bush lied, people died”, concerning Bush’s assertion that intelligence analysis indicated that Iraq had WMD. It’s gotten worse, since, and of course has now afflicted both sides. Obama doesn’t believe Romney’s tax plan can work the way Romney says it can work, and instead of arguing the merits of the plan, he accuses Romney of lying. But not to his face. He waits until after the debate, in a rally and in ads.

    If you objectively believe something you assert to be true, but are mistaken, you are not lying. You are simply mistaken. Our comity and bipartisanship would increase greatly if we all would recognize that.

    Note: I am not saying that Romney is mistaken about his plan. And Obama’s claim that he has not been specific about reducing tax deductions and credits is not accurate. Romney, during the debate, said that his preferred mode is to put a hard cap on deductions for all taxpayers, regardless of income, and that they can pick and choose the deductions to take to reach that cap. He didn’t commit to an actual number, but he used the number of $17,000 as an example. The actual number would, of course, change substantially during negotiations. But, my back of the envelope calculations indicate that a hard cap of that magnitude would easily compensate for the lower tax rates he is proposing, and the economist Joe linked @ 4 agrees.

    If anyone is lying about Romney’s plan, it’s Obama.

  • DonS

    The Mitt Romney everyone saw onstage giving his views from his own mouth is not the real Romney. The real Romney is the one we have been constructing in our campaign ads.

    This is classic, Dr. Veith! Well said.

    The first time I really noticed this tendency to charge a politician with lying for their perceived errors was with respect to Iraq. “Bush lied, people died”, concerning Bush’s assertion that intelligence analysis indicated that Iraq had WMD. It’s gotten worse, since, and of course has now afflicted both sides. Obama doesn’t believe Romney’s tax plan can work the way Romney says it can work, and instead of arguing the merits of the plan, he accuses Romney of lying. But not to his face. He waits until after the debate, in a rally and in ads.

    If you objectively believe something you assert to be true, but are mistaken, you are not lying. You are simply mistaken. Our comity and bipartisanship would increase greatly if we all would recognize that.

    Note: I am not saying that Romney is mistaken about his plan. And Obama’s claim that he has not been specific about reducing tax deductions and credits is not accurate. Romney, during the debate, said that his preferred mode is to put a hard cap on deductions for all taxpayers, regardless of income, and that they can pick and choose the deductions to take to reach that cap. He didn’t commit to an actual number, but he used the number of $17,000 as an example. The actual number would, of course, change substantially during negotiations. But, my back of the envelope calculations indicate that a hard cap of that magnitude would easily compensate for the lower tax rates he is proposing, and the economist Joe linked @ 4 agrees.

    If anyone is lying about Romney’s plan, it’s Obama.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How do you know when you are employing tact vs. spin?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How do you know when you are employing tact vs. spin?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How is spin different from polemic?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How is spin different from polemic?

  • Lou G.

    Klasie Kraalogies, Cincinnatus & Other Gary – I disagree with your statement that this is exactly like any other polictical contest.
    Do a google search on Obama defying gravity and you will find numerous articles from all types of sources and leanings that continue to document the President’s ability to redefine each setback, to allude the force of the issues and questions posed, and to change the subject — all to suit his campaign.
    If was something that everyone just does, then why would The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Slate, The National Journal, U.S. News, The Washington Examiner, and just about every other publication has taken notice of this trend in Obama. So, there is something unique happening. And of course, I’m going to side with the guy who wrote the book on postmodernism and knows of that which he speaks.

    oh and.. Amen, SKPeterson-24!!

  • Lou G.

    Klasie Kraalogies, Cincinnatus & Other Gary – I disagree with your statement that this is exactly like any other polictical contest.
    Do a google search on Obama defying gravity and you will find numerous articles from all types of sources and leanings that continue to document the President’s ability to redefine each setback, to allude the force of the issues and questions posed, and to change the subject — all to suit his campaign.
    If was something that everyone just does, then why would The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Slate, The National Journal, U.S. News, The Washington Examiner, and just about every other publication has taken notice of this trend in Obama. So, there is something unique happening. And of course, I’m going to side with the guy who wrote the book on postmodernism and knows of that which he speaks.

    oh and.. Amen, SKPeterson-24!!

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@28:

    1) SKPeterson was joking, bub. Might want to recalibrate your sarcasm detector, there.

    2) Come on. What exactly is Obama doing in his campaign that has never been done before? Which tactic, exactly, is revolutionary? Because the “ability to redefine each setback, to [elude] the force of the issues and questions posed, and to change the subject — all to suit his campaign”–seems pretty standard for most successful politicians. Fill in the blank with Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, etc., and you could say all the same things.

    Maybe all those illustrious publications you note (and, since you provide no citations, I’ll just have to take your word that they are, in fact, waxing hysterical about this) are “taking notice of this trend in Obama” because a) they always obsess over horse-race politics (even though studies show that campaigns are fairly irrelevant to electoral outcomes) and b) Obama’s really good at campaigning in this manner. It’s something to talk about.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@28:

    1) SKPeterson was joking, bub. Might want to recalibrate your sarcasm detector, there.

    2) Come on. What exactly is Obama doing in his campaign that has never been done before? Which tactic, exactly, is revolutionary? Because the “ability to redefine each setback, to [elude] the force of the issues and questions posed, and to change the subject — all to suit his campaign”–seems pretty standard for most successful politicians. Fill in the blank with Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, etc., and you could say all the same things.

    Maybe all those illustrious publications you note (and, since you provide no citations, I’ll just have to take your word that they are, in fact, waxing hysterical about this) are “taking notice of this trend in Obama” because a) they always obsess over horse-race politics (even though studies show that campaigns are fairly irrelevant to electoral outcomes) and b) Obama’s really good at campaigning in this manner. It’s something to talk about.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    even though studies show that campaigns are fairly irrelevant to electoral outcomes

    You, know, I have wondered that myself. Got a link for that?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    even though studies show that campaigns are fairly irrelevant to electoral outcomes

    You, know, I have wondered that myself. Got a link for that?

  • Lou G.

    Spin is generally considered a Public Relations activity which results in a form of propaganda or damage control, achieved through providing a specific interpretation of an event to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization, point of view, or public figure. Traditionally, public relations may also rely on a omission or “creative” (not altogether truthful) presentation of the facts. “Spin” often implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.

    A polemic ( /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is an argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific premise and the falsity of the contrary belief. The art or practice of argumentation is typically derived from a factual basis. A person who often writes polemics or speaks polemically is primarily presenting a well-constructed case for the validity and superiority of a particular position or view.

  • Lou G.

    Spin is generally considered a Public Relations activity which results in a form of propaganda or damage control, achieved through providing a specific interpretation of an event to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization, point of view, or public figure. Traditionally, public relations may also rely on a omission or “creative” (not altogether truthful) presentation of the facts. “Spin” often implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.

    A polemic ( /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is an argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific premise and the falsity of the contrary belief. The art or practice of argumentation is typically derived from a factual basis. A person who often writes polemics or speaks polemically is primarily presenting a well-constructed case for the validity and superiority of a particular position or view.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus 1) SKPeterson was joking, bub. Might want to recalibrate your sarcasm detector, there.
    LOL. Totally missed the sarcasm. Got it.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus 1) SKPeterson was joking, bub. Might want to recalibrate your sarcasm detector, there.
    LOL. Totally missed the sarcasm. Got it.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@30:

    No, actually, I don’t. This may provide an introduction: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/10/presidential-election

    The debate I’m referencing is primarily academic, so its results and conclusions are unfortunately locked up in JSTOR and college libraries. But the general idea is this: political scientists have, broadly speaking, reached a consensus on the fact that, if campaigns are not entirely irrelevant in electoral outcomes, they don’t matter much except at the margins.

    Electoral outcomes, it seems, are far more definitively determined by structural factors beyond the control of a politician: economic conditions, exogenous shocks (or their absence), incumbency, enduring party identification blocs, etc. Not even campaign spending mitigates the influence of these factors.

    In short, the only time campaign spending and activity seems to matter in any demonstrable sense is in elections that are really close where a few strategically placed ads might convince a few folks to get to the polls or where an untimely gaffe at the last minute might disgust a few voters.

    But if Obama wins, most political science shows that he can cough up his victory to a few structural factors, most notably the perception/fact that a) the economy is improving and b) he’s an incumbent.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@30:

    No, actually, I don’t. This may provide an introduction: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/10/presidential-election

    The debate I’m referencing is primarily academic, so its results and conclusions are unfortunately locked up in JSTOR and college libraries. But the general idea is this: political scientists have, broadly speaking, reached a consensus on the fact that, if campaigns are not entirely irrelevant in electoral outcomes, they don’t matter much except at the margins.

    Electoral outcomes, it seems, are far more definitively determined by structural factors beyond the control of a politician: economic conditions, exogenous shocks (or their absence), incumbency, enduring party identification blocs, etc. Not even campaign spending mitigates the influence of these factors.

    In short, the only time campaign spending and activity seems to matter in any demonstrable sense is in elections that are really close where a few strategically placed ads might convince a few folks to get to the polls or where an untimely gaffe at the last minute might disgust a few voters.

    But if Obama wins, most political science shows that he can cough up his victory to a few structural factors, most notably the perception/fact that a) the economy is improving and b) he’s an incumbent.

  • Cincinnatus

    Conversely, if Romney loses, it won’t be because of the 47% gaffe. If he wins, it won’t be because he aced his debate.

  • Cincinnatus

    Conversely, if Romney loses, it won’t be because of the 47% gaffe. If he wins, it won’t be because he aced his debate.

  • Lou G.

    Cincy: “Since you provide no citations, I’ll just have to take your word that they are, in fact, waxing hysterical about this”

    Now, now. You know as well as I do that if you put more than two links in a comment, Dr. Veith’s filter sends it to lala land. All you have to do is Google “Obama defying gravity”. You’ll get the same results I got. Do a little homework.

    The gist of the articles is about how there is really no reason for Obama to be winning right now, except because of his ability (his campaign’s ability) to react literally every day to any misstep, accusation, bad news, poor performance, etc. By literally re-writing the narrative on a moment by moment basis, they stay ahead of the facts. The reason why they can do this is because of the postmodern mind which is so malleable that reality can so easily be manipulated into distorted perception, simply because a couple of talking heads say so.

  • Lou G.

    Cincy: “Since you provide no citations, I’ll just have to take your word that they are, in fact, waxing hysterical about this”

    Now, now. You know as well as I do that if you put more than two links in a comment, Dr. Veith’s filter sends it to lala land. All you have to do is Google “Obama defying gravity”. You’ll get the same results I got. Do a little homework.

    The gist of the articles is about how there is really no reason for Obama to be winning right now, except because of his ability (his campaign’s ability) to react literally every day to any misstep, accusation, bad news, poor performance, etc. By literally re-writing the narrative on a moment by moment basis, they stay ahead of the facts. The reason why they can do this is because of the postmodern mind which is so malleable that reality can so easily be manipulated into distorted perception, simply because a couple of talking heads say so.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@35:

    As I’ve just been pointing out, political science shows that these “articles” and journalists are, characteristically, wrong. At the very least, they’re overreacting to sell copy. If Obama is winning–which is an odd formulation; it’s all sound and fury until you’ve won in politics–it’s not because of his campaign’s ability to do anything. It’s because he carries the tremendous advantage of incumbency, and because the economy is (apparently) improving, etc.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@35:

    As I’ve just been pointing out, political science shows that these “articles” and journalists are, characteristically, wrong. At the very least, they’re overreacting to sell copy. If Obama is winning–which is an odd formulation; it’s all sound and fury until you’ve won in politics–it’s not because of his campaign’s ability to do anything. It’s because he carries the tremendous advantage of incumbency, and because the economy is (apparently) improving, etc.

  • Lou G.

    #36, okay. I do agree that the journalists are typically wrong and that the formulation that always keeps Obama on top is at a minimum “odd”. I guess the one thing that I’m pretty sure about is that Romney will make a far better president than Obama. I’m sticking to that!

  • Lou G.

    #36, okay. I do agree that the journalists are typically wrong and that the formulation that always keeps Obama on top is at a minimum “odd”. I guess the one thing that I’m pretty sure about is that Romney will make a far better president than Obama. I’m sticking to that!

  • SKPeterson

    Lou G – Obama is unprecedentedly using “unprecedented” a lot in his political campaign. That is his unique contribution to this election cycle. As to the fundamental non-difference of the candidates (another absolutely unprecedented, never-see-before-in-the-annals-of-21st-Century-American-politics development) I refer you to the “America won the debate” meme, perhaps best exemplified by this commentary bu Ben Stein.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7424666n

  • SKPeterson

    Lou G – Obama is unprecedentedly using “unprecedented” a lot in his political campaign. That is his unique contribution to this election cycle. As to the fundamental non-difference of the candidates (another absolutely unprecedented, never-see-before-in-the-annals-of-21st-Century-American-politics development) I refer you to the “America won the debate” meme, perhaps best exemplified by this commentary bu Ben Stein.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7424666n

  • SKPeterson

    Typing really goes downhill when you’re trying to eat at the same time.

  • SKPeterson

    Typing really goes downhill when you’re trying to eat at the same time.

  • SKPeterson

    George Carlin provides his own inimitable stylings (and you know what that is a euphemism for ;) )to the post modern manipulation of language here.

  • SKPeterson

    George Carlin provides his own inimitable stylings (and you know what that is a euphemism for ;) )to the post modern manipulation of language here.

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s another article on the essential sameness. This could be a simple tactic of “Romney’s just like Obama, so keep Obama” rationalizing, or it could be a “Romney’s just like Obama, so a Romney Administration wouldn’t be so bad” rationalization. Anyhow, here it is:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/mitt-romney-barack-obama-economy.html?_r=0

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s another article on the essential sameness. This could be a simple tactic of “Romney’s just like Obama, so keep Obama” rationalizing, or it could be a “Romney’s just like Obama, so a Romney Administration wouldn’t be so bad” rationalization. Anyhow, here it is:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/mitt-romney-barack-obama-economy.html?_r=0

  • dust

    don’t you all think a lot of “constructivist” theology goes on on this blog as well?

    am sure everyone would agree at least the “other side”does it :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    don’t you all think a lot of “constructivist” theology goes on on this blog as well?

    am sure everyone would agree at least the “other side”does it :)

    cheers!

  • DonS

    Here’s an article claiming that Obama actually thought he won the debate, and explaining the campaign’s decision to “deconstruct” Romney as its only option to try to salvage something out of the disaster.

    Obama is such an enabled narcissist that he’s lost touch with reality, it seems.

  • DonS

    Here’s an article claiming that Obama actually thought he won the debate, and explaining the campaign’s decision to “deconstruct” Romney as its only option to try to salvage something out of the disaster.

    Obama is such an enabled narcissist that he’s lost touch with reality, it seems.

  • DonS
  • DonS
  • SKPeterson

    DonS – There may be a lot of constructivism or deconstructivism in the theologizing here. Much of that has to do with interpretation (as was noted above) and also with definition. Much of our debates about theology may come down to what is meant by certain terms, phrases or practices and the Biblical justifications for those positions.

    In relation to politics and political language, those sorts of debates are not ones that we actually have. We don’t debate “democracy” or “republic” or what constitutes the “rule of law” or a “constitution” or how those ideas and concepts manifest themselves. Where I see postmodernism coming into play is the subtle redefining of these terms – to take remove their original, objective meanings and to then pour in to the word another meaning that is desired by the person(s) doing the redefining. Then, the new group can say, “We believe in ‘X’, knowing full well that ‘X’ has a particular connotation and meaning for other people, and that these other people would say that the redefined ‘X’ is ‘Not X’, but this confusion of terms and using the same word for different ideas creates a false sense of agreement. The falsity is the more perverse because one side, the redefiners, knows that it is being disingenuous with the language, but are using this slight of hand to gain political power. The effort is then to make the redefinition the definition by using political means, and through a process of “reeducation” such that the old definition of ‘X’ becomes the ‘Not X’ – often even undertaking a new meaning that is pejorative in context – and the originally ‘Not X’ concept becomes ‘X’.

  • SKPeterson

    DonS – There may be a lot of constructivism or deconstructivism in the theologizing here. Much of that has to do with interpretation (as was noted above) and also with definition. Much of our debates about theology may come down to what is meant by certain terms, phrases or practices and the Biblical justifications for those positions.

    In relation to politics and political language, those sorts of debates are not ones that we actually have. We don’t debate “democracy” or “republic” or what constitutes the “rule of law” or a “constitution” or how those ideas and concepts manifest themselves. Where I see postmodernism coming into play is the subtle redefining of these terms – to take remove their original, objective meanings and to then pour in to the word another meaning that is desired by the person(s) doing the redefining. Then, the new group can say, “We believe in ‘X’, knowing full well that ‘X’ has a particular connotation and meaning for other people, and that these other people would say that the redefined ‘X’ is ‘Not X’, but this confusion of terms and using the same word for different ideas creates a false sense of agreement. The falsity is the more perverse because one side, the redefiners, knows that it is being disingenuous with the language, but are using this slight of hand to gain political power. The effort is then to make the redefinition the definition by using political means, and through a process of “reeducation” such that the old definition of ‘X’ becomes the ‘Not X’ – often even undertaking a new meaning that is pejorative in context – and the originally ‘Not X’ concept becomes ‘X’.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Cincinnatus, are you telling me that you have not encountered “constructivism” in your graduate studies? Perhaps it’s not heard so much in your field, but visit the literature, education, and social science departments. I am hardly being uncharitable. I am describing a worldview in terms that most of those who hold it would agree to.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Cincinnatus, are you telling me that you have not encountered “constructivism” in your graduate studies? Perhaps it’s not heard so much in your field, but visit the literature, education, and social science departments. I am hardly being uncharitable. I am describing a worldview in terms that most of those who hold it would agree to.

  • Other Gary

    Dr. Veith, although you were addressing Cincinnatus, I am aware of constructivism’s contribution in both the areas of education theory and social science. (Not so much in literature, although I should do something about that.) I’m not sure why you need to be charitable.

    I don’t think constructivism predisposes any person (politicians included) to be liars or asses. There were bald liars and asses in the Modern period and also before it. Nor does constructivism confirm delusional people in their delusions. In fact, I’d say it is modernism’s naive belief in objective certainty (whether scientific or dogmatic, based on empiricism or revelation) that sets the stage for people to be confirmed in their delusions. A post-modernist is generally too skeptical.

    We do, in a sense, construct our own realities. That doesn’t mean the rules of logic or evidence are abandoned.

  • Other Gary

    Dr. Veith, although you were addressing Cincinnatus, I am aware of constructivism’s contribution in both the areas of education theory and social science. (Not so much in literature, although I should do something about that.) I’m not sure why you need to be charitable.

    I don’t think constructivism predisposes any person (politicians included) to be liars or asses. There were bald liars and asses in the Modern period and also before it. Nor does constructivism confirm delusional people in their delusions. In fact, I’d say it is modernism’s naive belief in objective certainty (whether scientific or dogmatic, based on empiricism or revelation) that sets the stage for people to be confirmed in their delusions. A post-modernist is generally too skeptical.

    We do, in a sense, construct our own realities. That doesn’t mean the rules of logic or evidence are abandoned.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Veith,

    No, I encounter constructivism regularly. In fact, I just graded a student essay that presented a (very convincing) argument in favor of a kind of constructivism. Moreover, my research interests dictate that I’m reading various postmodern(ist) works most of the time.

    My problem is this:

    1) Again, with all due respect, I think your characterization of constructivism is a wee bit uncharitable. At its best, constructivism merely seeks to investigate the way in which we come to accept (or construct) “facts” as factual. This is a valuable endeavor. At its worst, it’s another academic excess that doesn’t really filter down to our average everyday political lives. Either way, though, constructivism is not founded on a rejection of “logic, evidence, and reason.”

    2) Whatever constructivism may be and however you might assess it, I simply haven’t seen any convincing evidence that Obama and Romney are being sophisticated constructivists rather than crass–and utterly ordinary–politicians. The question I’ve posed to Lou G. still stands: what, exactly, is Obama doing that candidates haven’t been doing for decades and longer? What’s specifically postmodern about campaign “spin”? For that matter, what’s postmodern about outright lying–and repeating that lie in the hopes that eventually folks will believe it? To me, this is simple mass politics. I don’t see how Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, Kuhn, et al., have changed the game of politics.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Veith,

    No, I encounter constructivism regularly. In fact, I just graded a student essay that presented a (very convincing) argument in favor of a kind of constructivism. Moreover, my research interests dictate that I’m reading various postmodern(ist) works most of the time.

    My problem is this:

    1) Again, with all due respect, I think your characterization of constructivism is a wee bit uncharitable. At its best, constructivism merely seeks to investigate the way in which we come to accept (or construct) “facts” as factual. This is a valuable endeavor. At its worst, it’s another academic excess that doesn’t really filter down to our average everyday political lives. Either way, though, constructivism is not founded on a rejection of “logic, evidence, and reason.”

    2) Whatever constructivism may be and however you might assess it, I simply haven’t seen any convincing evidence that Obama and Romney are being sophisticated constructivists rather than crass–and utterly ordinary–politicians. The question I’ve posed to Lou G. still stands: what, exactly, is Obama doing that candidates haven’t been doing for decades and longer? What’s specifically postmodern about campaign “spin”? For that matter, what’s postmodern about outright lying–and repeating that lie in the hopes that eventually folks will believe it? To me, this is simple mass politics. I don’t see how Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, Kuhn, et al., have changed the game of politics.

  • Lou G.

    SKPeterson: I’m not sure why you think Obama and Romney as so close. When I watched the debate (along with my other family and friends), we saw a very clearly elaborated difference between the two and two very different Americas that are stake. It was the classic liberal vs. conservative argument in full view by discourse . I know we want actions, not words only, but judging strictly by what is said (ie, the election process), most of us feel that the distinction is much clearer between Romney and Obama than it was with Bush.

  • Lou G.

    SKPeterson: I’m not sure why you think Obama and Romney as so close. When I watched the debate (along with my other family and friends), we saw a very clearly elaborated difference between the two and two very different Americas that are stake. It was the classic liberal vs. conservative argument in full view by discourse . I know we want actions, not words only, but judging strictly by what is said (ie, the election process), most of us feel that the distinction is much clearer between Romney and Obama than it was with Bush.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.

    I guess you’re proof that vacuous sloganeering, vague generalities, and amorphous abstractions really work.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.

    I guess you’re proof that vacuous sloganeering, vague generalities, and amorphous abstractions really work.

  • Lou G.

    I will never forget the most ridiculous spin to emerge from Obama in order to explain “Why Republicans Massacred Us” in 2010. Obama said that somehow failed to communicate his accomplishments. That, among many other examples, seems to point directly to the Obama camp’s insistence on reconstructing the narrative as his main objective. As others have said, in a sense, every politician does this. I guess in Obama’s case, the problem is the lack of real substance, with this being his primary ploy.

  • Lou G.

    I will never forget the most ridiculous spin to emerge from Obama in order to explain “Why Republicans Massacred Us” in 2010. Obama said that somehow failed to communicate his accomplishments. That, among many other examples, seems to point directly to the Obama camp’s insistence on reconstructing the narrative as his main objective. As others have said, in a sense, every politician does this. I guess in Obama’s case, the problem is the lack of real substance, with this being his primary ploy.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: Or perhaps you were not paying attention to the subtle genius presented in nearly every answer given, including Big Bird.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: Or perhaps you were not paying attention to the subtle genius presented in nearly every answer given, including Big Bird.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “We do, in a sense, construct our own realities.”

    Do we deny this? If I say this is true am I a postmodernist? Even if I assert there is an objective reality “out there” that we share?

    It seems to me that “Other Gary” and Cincinnatus

    When we eat food, we have different “tastes”, and sometimes, certain tastes can be developed. I don’t see how it would be so different from what we see around us. This does not mean that the food does not objective exist, or that it is not of a particular nature. I realize that illustration is terribly simplistic, but it gets to the point, I think.

    Now, what else is true besides the reality out there that we share? That fact some interpretations are more correct than others (hence, perhaps Obama is “reading” the environment in a way such that he is really missing a lot – all kinds of data points are being ignored and left unaccounted for) Some are in fact plain wrong. The way I understand it, some kinds of postmodernists might deny this, even though they deny it in practice (again, see my posts above).

    In other words, in one sense, we are all idealogues. The question is simply what kind of idealogues are we?

    If anyone has time to help me see something crucial I am missing, I’d appreciate that.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “We do, in a sense, construct our own realities.”

    Do we deny this? If I say this is true am I a postmodernist? Even if I assert there is an objective reality “out there” that we share?

    It seems to me that “Other Gary” and Cincinnatus

    When we eat food, we have different “tastes”, and sometimes, certain tastes can be developed. I don’t see how it would be so different from what we see around us. This does not mean that the food does not objective exist, or that it is not of a particular nature. I realize that illustration is terribly simplistic, but it gets to the point, I think.

    Now, what else is true besides the reality out there that we share? That fact some interpretations are more correct than others (hence, perhaps Obama is “reading” the environment in a way such that he is really missing a lot – all kinds of data points are being ignored and left unaccounted for) Some are in fact plain wrong. The way I understand it, some kinds of postmodernists might deny this, even though they deny it in practice (again, see my posts above).

    In other words, in one sense, we are all idealogues. The question is simply what kind of idealogues are we?

    If anyone has time to help me see something crucial I am missing, I’d appreciate that.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    It seems to me that “Other Gary” and Cincinnatus [are correct in what they are saying here]

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    It seems to me that “Other Gary” and Cincinnatus [are correct in what they are saying here]

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus:
    I know you feel that I haven’t answered your question sufficiently as to how Obama is different for other politicians in the way he continually reconstructs the narrative in order to keep the negative light off of him and the positive spotlight on him. Generally, my answer is that he is different because he actually believes that this is WHAT being a politician IS. Unlike other political campaigners who employ spin and PR, Obama is convinced that this the only thing that he does. (See quote in #52 above about his response to why the Republicans won big in 2010 – to Obama it was a failed PR effort, not a lack of substance on his part). And he is different because he seems to have tapped into and effectively harnessed the collective postmodern psyche in a way that traditional politicians have yet to understand.

    More directly though to your statement in #49, here’s a quote from the introduction to ‘Derrida, Deconstruction and the Politics of Pedagogy (Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education)’, which:
    “shows once more that education is not simply a field to which Derrida’s ideas might be applied, but that the question of education is at the very heart of what we perhaps might best summarize as Derrida’s ‘political humanism.’ Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other. As we show in the chapters tha follow, this is at the very same time the question of politics and the question of pedagogy after deconstruction.”
    —————————-

    AND the above quote, I believe, explains at the very same time exactly how a university professor got elected as president of the United States. Hope. Change. .. etc….

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus:
    I know you feel that I haven’t answered your question sufficiently as to how Obama is different for other politicians in the way he continually reconstructs the narrative in order to keep the negative light off of him and the positive spotlight on him. Generally, my answer is that he is different because he actually believes that this is WHAT being a politician IS. Unlike other political campaigners who employ spin and PR, Obama is convinced that this the only thing that he does. (See quote in #52 above about his response to why the Republicans won big in 2010 – to Obama it was a failed PR effort, not a lack of substance on his part). And he is different because he seems to have tapped into and effectively harnessed the collective postmodern psyche in a way that traditional politicians have yet to understand.

    More directly though to your statement in #49, here’s a quote from the introduction to ‘Derrida, Deconstruction and the Politics of Pedagogy (Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education)’, which:
    “shows once more that education is not simply a field to which Derrida’s ideas might be applied, but that the question of education is at the very heart of what we perhaps might best summarize as Derrida’s ‘political humanism.’ Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other. As we show in the chapters tha follow, this is at the very same time the question of politics and the question of pedagogy after deconstruction.”
    —————————-

    AND the above quote, I believe, explains at the very same time exactly how a university professor got elected as president of the United States. Hope. Change. .. etc….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G, quoting intro to book about Derrida:

    “Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other.”

    I wonder if that second question specifies what we ought to be. : )

    No. Clothes. On.

    We are all modernists and postmodernists the same. It can’t be avoided, only denied.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G, quoting intro to book about Derrida:

    “Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other.”

    I wonder if that second question specifies what we ought to be. : )

    No. Clothes. On.

    We are all modernists and postmodernists the same. It can’t be avoided, only denied.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “I wonder if that second question specifies what we ought to be. : ) ”

    Sorry again – second *sentence*

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “I wonder if that second question specifies what we ought to be. : ) ”

    Sorry again – second *sentence*

  • Lou G.

    For Derrida it does, but obviously, I’m not a fan.

    But you’d have to understand postmodernism to understand why. Clearly they’re not the same, or else they would be.
    When Post Moderns talk about “the other”, it’s not what you assume it to be.

    Personally, I consider myself pre-modern. There’s a huge difference.

  • Lou G.

    For Derrida it does, but obviously, I’m not a fan.

    But you’d have to understand postmodernism to understand why. Clearly they’re not the same, or else they would be.
    When Post Moderns talk about “the other”, it’s not what you assume it to be.

    Personally, I consider myself pre-modern. There’s a huge difference.

  • Lou G.

    Nathan: I think I left out a sentence or two about modernists and postmodernists not being the same. Postmodernity contains aspects of modernism. But clearly they’re not the same, or else they would be.

    Also, I should have probably quoted more of the intro to this book to be helpful to you, but what I put there was specifically meant to answer Cincy’s question.

    Concerning your response in #57, political humanism has had a gut level issue, in that any one policy position will appeal to some humanists and leave other humanists out. So a system of unifying policy positions that is inclusive of a majority of people is unlikely to form and any attempt to do so will likely to annoy most humanists in one way or another. Therefore, what Obama and his campaigners have done is rather than take specific unifying campaign positions, instead they rewrite the narrative —- as it goes along.
    For instance, one of my reformed friends and I were speaking about the debate and he made a statement that Obama’s presuppositions lost him the debate (taking a very traditional/classical view of debating) I answered him — no that is not true at all. Obama did not have a set of presuppositions going into that debate — THAT was the problem. Obama has learned that it is better politically to not have specific positions, but to just to tout unifying (humanistic)
    principles and assuming that if he just keeps point people forward, to the future, to the next phase or change, that will be enough. In juxtaposition to Romney is was a total flop. Obama just spouted out “ideas” and “principles” like ‘investing’ in education and teachers, ‘investing’ in energy, creating jobs ‘for tomorrow’… etc.. In the backdrop of today, when Obama is no longer seen as “The Coming Other” that would bring a prosperous future and change as he was in 2008. It just sounded like more spending and empty promises.
    So, all of that to say, that as a political humanist, it has been imperative for Obama to stay in front of the narrative and to erase any criticism like the embassy bombing in Libya (rather than to answer it). This is the crucial way that he has been able to keep supporters in light of many dems who don’t agree or like the policies and initiatives that have been practiced by the Obama administration.

  • Lou G.

    Nathan: I think I left out a sentence or two about modernists and postmodernists not being the same. Postmodernity contains aspects of modernism. But clearly they’re not the same, or else they would be.

    Also, I should have probably quoted more of the intro to this book to be helpful to you, but what I put there was specifically meant to answer Cincy’s question.

    Concerning your response in #57, political humanism has had a gut level issue, in that any one policy position will appeal to some humanists and leave other humanists out. So a system of unifying policy positions that is inclusive of a majority of people is unlikely to form and any attempt to do so will likely to annoy most humanists in one way or another. Therefore, what Obama and his campaigners have done is rather than take specific unifying campaign positions, instead they rewrite the narrative —- as it goes along.
    For instance, one of my reformed friends and I were speaking about the debate and he made a statement that Obama’s presuppositions lost him the debate (taking a very traditional/classical view of debating) I answered him — no that is not true at all. Obama did not have a set of presuppositions going into that debate — THAT was the problem. Obama has learned that it is better politically to not have specific positions, but to just to tout unifying (humanistic)
    principles and assuming that if he just keeps point people forward, to the future, to the next phase or change, that will be enough. In juxtaposition to Romney is was a total flop. Obama just spouted out “ideas” and “principles” like ‘investing’ in education and teachers, ‘investing’ in energy, creating jobs ‘for tomorrow’… etc.. In the backdrop of today, when Obama is no longer seen as “The Coming Other” that would bring a prosperous future and change as he was in 2008. It just sounded like more spending and empty promises.
    So, all of that to say, that as a political humanist, it has been imperative for Obama to stay in front of the narrative and to erase any criticism like the embassy bombing in Libya (rather than to answer it). This is the crucial way that he has been able to keep supporters in light of many dems who don’t agree or like the policies and initiatives that have been practiced by the Obama administration.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    My point is that the second sentence contradicts the first sentence, i.e. that there is no “humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be” – but then, lo and behold, there is!

    And it always shall be.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The concept that the self requires the Other to define itself.”

    for others: read more @: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Other

    Well, of course this is true in the sense that without the Other who sustains all things and holds them all together, we would not be able to talk about anything. And of course, we can’t talk about things to the extent that we *should* be able to without knowing (in an eternal life kind of way – John 17:3) this Other.

    “Personally, I consider myself pre-modern. There’s a huge difference.”

    I’d say that we are all pre-modern because we can’t not be. The pre-modern encompasses the modern and the post-modern as well, because as I said above: “I would venture that there are no new legitimate insights into human nature and epistemology that the postmodernists made that had not been previously made before (although not weaved into a whole philosophy of postmodernism).”

    The same would hold true for the modernists. No new insights.

    Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    My point is that the second sentence contradicts the first sentence, i.e. that there is no “humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be” – but then, lo and behold, there is!

    And it always shall be.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The concept that the self requires the Other to define itself.”

    for others: read more @: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Other

    Well, of course this is true in the sense that without the Other who sustains all things and holds them all together, we would not be able to talk about anything. And of course, we can’t talk about things to the extent that we *should* be able to without knowing (in an eternal life kind of way – John 17:3) this Other.

    “Personally, I consider myself pre-modern. There’s a huge difference.”

    I’d say that we are all pre-modern because we can’t not be. The pre-modern encompasses the modern and the post-modern as well, because as I said above: “I would venture that there are no new legitimate insights into human nature and epistemology that the postmodernists made that had not been previously made before (although not weaved into a whole philosophy of postmodernism).”

    The same would hold true for the modernists. No new insights.

    Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G:

    “Concerning your response in #57, political humanism has had a gut level issue, in that any one policy position will appeal to some humanists and leave other humanists out.”

    Right – and they all think they are right – have the best ideas about what Truth is, based on the knowledge of the world they have and are confident about (even amidst doubts)

    “So a system of unifying policy positions that is inclusive of a majority of people is unlikely to form and any attempt to do so will likely to annoy most humanists in one way or another.”

    Right – but someone will try to do it, saying that it is True that the best way to solve our problem is to unify people in this (or that) way… (why? because I have enough *real knowledge* about how things really are in the cosmos to pull it off).

    “Therefore, what Obama and his campaigners have done is rather than take specific unifying campaign positions, instead they rewrite the narrative —- as it goes along.”

    He thinks that this is the way things can be brought together and will work in harmony. He assesses the situation as he sees it (paying attention to this or that fact, interestingly, not these others that others want to emphasize….), and acts in accordance with his views of what is real and true, based on his worldview, which can’t be separated from his view of Truth.

    “For instance, one of my reformed friends and I were speaking about the debate and he made a statement that Obama’s presuppositions lost him the debate (taking a very traditional/classical view of debating) I answered him — no that is not true at all. Obama did not have a set of presuppositions going into that debate — THAT was the problem. Obama has learned that it is better politically to not have specific positions, but to just to tout unifying (humanistic) principles and assuming that if he just keeps point people forward, to the future, to the next phase or change, that will be enough.”

    unifying (humanistic) principles go hand in hand with presuppositions though

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G:

    “Concerning your response in #57, political humanism has had a gut level issue, in that any one policy position will appeal to some humanists and leave other humanists out.”

    Right – and they all think they are right – have the best ideas about what Truth is, based on the knowledge of the world they have and are confident about (even amidst doubts)

    “So a system of unifying policy positions that is inclusive of a majority of people is unlikely to form and any attempt to do so will likely to annoy most humanists in one way or another.”

    Right – but someone will try to do it, saying that it is True that the best way to solve our problem is to unify people in this (or that) way… (why? because I have enough *real knowledge* about how things really are in the cosmos to pull it off).

    “Therefore, what Obama and his campaigners have done is rather than take specific unifying campaign positions, instead they rewrite the narrative —- as it goes along.”

    He thinks that this is the way things can be brought together and will work in harmony. He assesses the situation as he sees it (paying attention to this or that fact, interestingly, not these others that others want to emphasize….), and acts in accordance with his views of what is real and true, based on his worldview, which can’t be separated from his view of Truth.

    “For instance, one of my reformed friends and I were speaking about the debate and he made a statement that Obama’s presuppositions lost him the debate (taking a very traditional/classical view of debating) I answered him — no that is not true at all. Obama did not have a set of presuppositions going into that debate — THAT was the problem. Obama has learned that it is better politically to not have specific positions, but to just to tout unifying (humanistic) principles and assuming that if he just keeps point people forward, to the future, to the next phase or change, that will be enough.”

    unifying (humanistic) principles go hand in hand with presuppositions though

  • Lou G.

    Nathan: “Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.”
    Oh, you are. :) LOL.

    I think you’ve confused quite a few things in what you’re trying to do here and that’s where you’ve gone astray.

    Let’s take it bit by bit.

    “Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other.”

    To specify “WHAT THE HUMAN BEING IS or ought to be” in no way is the same as a definition of humanism that is characterized by… such and such… You made that assertion, but the words do not match your statement. Read the words, Nathan. Derrida’s theory (humanism) does not define what a human being is, but it is rather a theory that directs us to do… thus and thus.
    BE vs. DO in essential philosophical terms. Zing.

    Okay next:
    Other (not others).
    The Other refers, or attempts to refer, to that which is other than the initial concept being considered. The Constitutive Other denotes a person identified as “different”; thus the spelling is often capitalized.
    De Beauvoir calls the Other the minority, the least favored one and often a woman, when compared to a man, but not always, such as in racial relations.
    Scholars such as Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School and other postmodernists have argued that the process of othering has everything to do with knowledge, and power acting through knowledge to achieve a particular political agenda in its goal of domination. Derrida recognized in a sense to mean deconstructing a current hierarchy, so as to exert the Other.

    Finally, Nathan, Nathan. Seriously?? We’re all PreModern and Modern and PostModern – simultaneously? What form of logic exactly did you use to come to that conclusion? And please explain to me how we can’t not be pre-modern? I assure you there are thousands of students at my local university who will prove you wrong.

    You might want to read some of Dr. Veith’s work. Pre-modern is typically considered the classical view and IS decidedly NOT Modern! Plus, I haven’t seen anywhere on this blog where someone has argued that post-modernists have given us new legitmate insights into human nature or epistemology. Lots of the same old fallacies to be sure, only those fallacies have been systemized into more of a totalizing worldview that we can identify as being essentially postmodern.

  • Lou G.

    Nathan: “Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.”
    Oh, you are. :) LOL.

    I think you’ve confused quite a few things in what you’re trying to do here and that’s where you’ve gone astray.

    Let’s take it bit by bit.

    “Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other.”

    To specify “WHAT THE HUMAN BEING IS or ought to be” in no way is the same as a definition of humanism that is characterized by… such and such… You made that assertion, but the words do not match your statement. Read the words, Nathan. Derrida’s theory (humanism) does not define what a human being is, but it is rather a theory that directs us to do… thus and thus.
    BE vs. DO in essential philosophical terms. Zing.

    Okay next:
    Other (not others).
    The Other refers, or attempts to refer, to that which is other than the initial concept being considered. The Constitutive Other denotes a person identified as “different”; thus the spelling is often capitalized.
    De Beauvoir calls the Other the minority, the least favored one and often a woman, when compared to a man, but not always, such as in racial relations.
    Scholars such as Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School and other postmodernists have argued that the process of othering has everything to do with knowledge, and power acting through knowledge to achieve a particular political agenda in its goal of domination. Derrida recognized in a sense to mean deconstructing a current hierarchy, so as to exert the Other.

    Finally, Nathan, Nathan. Seriously?? We’re all PreModern and Modern and PostModern – simultaneously? What form of logic exactly did you use to come to that conclusion? And please explain to me how we can’t not be pre-modern? I assure you there are thousands of students at my local university who will prove you wrong.

    You might want to read some of Dr. Veith’s work. Pre-modern is typically considered the classical view and IS decidedly NOT Modern! Plus, I haven’t seen anywhere on this blog where someone has argued that post-modernists have given us new legitmate insights into human nature or epistemology. Lots of the same old fallacies to be sure, only those fallacies have been systemized into more of a totalizing worldview that we can identify as being essentially postmodern.

  • Lou G.

    #62 – I would agree with this if it were true:
    “unifying (humanistic) principles go hand in hand with presuppositions though”
    Unfortunately, it is not true that those were Obama’s presuppositions going into the debate. The unifying humanistic principles that are used are manipulation tools. A presupposition is a starting point from which an argument can be made. Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.

    Some people may not see a difference between the two.
    I do. But on this point, I am willng to agree. Most of my friends would say the same thing.

  • Lou G.

    #62 – I would agree with this if it were true:
    “unifying (humanistic) principles go hand in hand with presuppositions though”
    Unfortunately, it is not true that those were Obama’s presuppositions going into the debate. The unifying humanistic principles that are used are manipulation tools. A presupposition is a starting point from which an argument can be made. Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.

    Some people may not see a difference between the two.
    I do. But on this point, I am willng to agree. Most of my friends would say the same thing.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G.

    “BE vs. DO in essential philosophical terms.”

    Sure – philosophically we can make this distinction. Valid categorization – helpful for getting a handle on the world. But practical impact? Are you going to tell me that what we do is not related to what we are, and vice-versa? Good tree and good fruit anyone?

    “Scholars such as Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School and other postmodernists have argued that the process of othering has everything to do with knowledge, and power acting through knowledge to achieve a particular political agenda in its goal of domination. Derrida recognized in a sense to mean deconstructing a current hierarchy, so as to exert the Other.”

    Yes, for some everything is about power. That is the Truth, they think. That does not mean that they can actually act as if essential categories do not exist – that the world is full of things are changing *and* static, things mutable *and* immutable.

    “Finally, Nathan, Nathan. Seriously?? We’re all PreModern and Modern and PostModern – simultaneously? What form of logic exactly did you use to come to that conclusion? And please explain to me how we can’t not be pre-modern?”

    No – we are all PreModern. I think that modernism and postmodernism as concepts/systems (speaking generally here) both emphasize particular things that many premoderns knew as well (although they did not give these observations the primacy of place that these later thinkers did).

    “I assure you there are thousands of students at my local university who will prove you wrong.”

    Not really – because when pressed, they will have to admit that they live the way they do because they think that it is most in alignment with the Truth, i.e. what they know to be true about reality, about what is.

    “You might want to read some of Dr. Veith’s work. Pre-modern is typically considered the classical view and IS decidedly NOT Modern!”

    I have read it.

    “Plus, I haven’t seen anywhere on this blog where someone has argued that post-modernists have given us new legitmate insights into human nature or epistemology. Lots of the same old fallacies to be sure, only those fallacies have been systemized into more of a totalizing worldview that we can identify as being essentially postmodern.”

    Good – I agree (and the modernists didn’t give us new stuff either), with the caveat that they don’t really live what they say they believe, and so might claim to be postmodern but really aren’t. They are just as premodern as anyone else.

    “Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.”

    Right – because he believes that what he believes, teaches and confesses is True.

    Some “Uber-maps” (our “Truth maps” which correspond with our worldviews) strongly imply that there is nothing intrinsic about beauty, justice, and meaning, for example – i.e. beauty, justice, and meaning are only something that I/we (and those we choose to associate with) create / make / determine.

    Some believe that is True – even as they can’t not do without the belief that there are some essential categories (the concept of essence) that persist (i.e. that all of us can say are true about the world/cosmos out there that we share) – which means they are premodern.

    By the way, I don’t know if Obama believes that “beauty, justice, and meaning are only something that I/we (and those we choose to associate with) create / make / determine” or not.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G.

    “BE vs. DO in essential philosophical terms.”

    Sure – philosophically we can make this distinction. Valid categorization – helpful for getting a handle on the world. But practical impact? Are you going to tell me that what we do is not related to what we are, and vice-versa? Good tree and good fruit anyone?

    “Scholars such as Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School and other postmodernists have argued that the process of othering has everything to do with knowledge, and power acting through knowledge to achieve a particular political agenda in its goal of domination. Derrida recognized in a sense to mean deconstructing a current hierarchy, so as to exert the Other.”

    Yes, for some everything is about power. That is the Truth, they think. That does not mean that they can actually act as if essential categories do not exist – that the world is full of things are changing *and* static, things mutable *and* immutable.

    “Finally, Nathan, Nathan. Seriously?? We’re all PreModern and Modern and PostModern – simultaneously? What form of logic exactly did you use to come to that conclusion? And please explain to me how we can’t not be pre-modern?”

    No – we are all PreModern. I think that modernism and postmodernism as concepts/systems (speaking generally here) both emphasize particular things that many premoderns knew as well (although they did not give these observations the primacy of place that these later thinkers did).

    “I assure you there are thousands of students at my local university who will prove you wrong.”

    Not really – because when pressed, they will have to admit that they live the way they do because they think that it is most in alignment with the Truth, i.e. what they know to be true about reality, about what is.

    “You might want to read some of Dr. Veith’s work. Pre-modern is typically considered the classical view and IS decidedly NOT Modern!”

    I have read it.

    “Plus, I haven’t seen anywhere on this blog where someone has argued that post-modernists have given us new legitmate insights into human nature or epistemology. Lots of the same old fallacies to be sure, only those fallacies have been systemized into more of a totalizing worldview that we can identify as being essentially postmodern.”

    Good – I agree (and the modernists didn’t give us new stuff either), with the caveat that they don’t really live what they say they believe, and so might claim to be postmodern but really aren’t. They are just as premodern as anyone else.

    “Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.”

    Right – because he believes that what he believes, teaches and confesses is True.

    Some “Uber-maps” (our “Truth maps” which correspond with our worldviews) strongly imply that there is nothing intrinsic about beauty, justice, and meaning, for example – i.e. beauty, justice, and meaning are only something that I/we (and those we choose to associate with) create / make / determine.

    Some believe that is True – even as they can’t not do without the belief that there are some essential categories (the concept of essence) that persist (i.e. that all of us can say are true about the world/cosmos out there that we share) – which means they are premodern.

    By the way, I don’t know if Obama believes that “beauty, justice, and meaning are only something that I/we (and those we choose to associate with) create / make / determine” or not.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be”

    ought to be implies change, becoming, action, doing….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be”

    ought to be implies change, becoming, action, doing….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    In sum: nothing new under the sun here….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    In sum: nothing new under the sun here….

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan
  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan
  • Lou G.

    Nathan, sorry, you’re enmeshing everything into wierd circles and making bizarre connections that aren’t there. I’ll go one more time, but I’m afraid that no progress will result.

    #1 – The point of the book quote about Derrida’s theory is to depict the postmodern view to you and Cincy and show how it describes and mirrors Obama’s campaign efforts. Spare me the fruit and tree analogies. Please stick to the subject.
    #2 “Yes for some everything is about power”… yada yada
    Why are you trying to change the subject again?
    This about postmodernist ideology and how it is used by the president. Can we stick to that??
    #3 “No – we are all PreModern” First of all, when you make a blanket claim like that, you have the burden of proof to make it so. You’ve not done that. Second in #57 you also said that “we are all post-modern” and “we are all modern”. You aren’t making sense here. And I’m telling you that the 19 year old college students who go to school in my town DO NOT have a premodern world view unless they went to classical school. There is no basis in our society today that teaches them anything but relativistic, secular humanism. Just because they ” live the way they do because they think that it is most in alignment with … what they know to be true about reality, about what is” does not in any sense make them postmodern. Again, because for them what is true is whatever they want it to be (kind of like your views on philosophy). “They are just as premodern as anyone else.” Everyone else is not premodern, Nathan. Just because they have inconsistent worldviews and does not make them premodern (especially when they’ve never even heard most of the tenets.
    ***We are in 100% disgreement here. You’ve made bold assertions without any support at all. And you’ve changed your assertions as the conversation has gone on.

    4- “I have read it”. Because of the confusion you’ve had, you may need to go back and read it again.

    5- “Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.”
    NO, I believe that he thinks these tools will gain him what he needs to capture the narrative, gain, and retain power. Whether he completely buys into all the humanistic principles he touts matters not one iota in the context of this conversation.

    Finally: Irrelevant ramble at the end about truth and beauty, …. Does this have anything at all to do with the conversation? Not at all.

    Again, I don’t think this dialog has any chance of progressing in the direction of the topic at hand, so perhaps it’s best to end it now. Thanks.

  • Lou G.

    Nathan, sorry, you’re enmeshing everything into wierd circles and making bizarre connections that aren’t there. I’ll go one more time, but I’m afraid that no progress will result.

    #1 – The point of the book quote about Derrida’s theory is to depict the postmodern view to you and Cincy and show how it describes and mirrors Obama’s campaign efforts. Spare me the fruit and tree analogies. Please stick to the subject.
    #2 “Yes for some everything is about power”… yada yada
    Why are you trying to change the subject again?
    This about postmodernist ideology and how it is used by the president. Can we stick to that??
    #3 “No – we are all PreModern” First of all, when you make a blanket claim like that, you have the burden of proof to make it so. You’ve not done that. Second in #57 you also said that “we are all post-modern” and “we are all modern”. You aren’t making sense here. And I’m telling you that the 19 year old college students who go to school in my town DO NOT have a premodern world view unless they went to classical school. There is no basis in our society today that teaches them anything but relativistic, secular humanism. Just because they ” live the way they do because they think that it is most in alignment with … what they know to be true about reality, about what is” does not in any sense make them postmodern. Again, because for them what is true is whatever they want it to be (kind of like your views on philosophy). “They are just as premodern as anyone else.” Everyone else is not premodern, Nathan. Just because they have inconsistent worldviews and does not make them premodern (especially when they’ve never even heard most of the tenets.
    ***We are in 100% disgreement here. You’ve made bold assertions without any support at all. And you’ve changed your assertions as the conversation has gone on.

    4- “I have read it”. Because of the confusion you’ve had, you may need to go back and read it again.

    5- “Obama’s humanistic principles are trump cards meant to silence opposition and to herd all the humanists together under one tent.”
    NO, I believe that he thinks these tools will gain him what he needs to capture the narrative, gain, and retain power. Whether he completely buys into all the humanistic principles he touts matters not one iota in the context of this conversation.

    Finally: Irrelevant ramble at the end about truth and beauty, …. Does this have anything at all to do with the conversation? Not at all.

    Again, I don’t think this dialog has any chance of progressing in the direction of the topic at hand, so perhaps it’s best to end it now. Thanks.

  • Lou G.

    In sum:
    Just because there’s nothing new doesn’t mean everything’s the same!!!

  • Lou G.

    In sum:
    Just because there’s nothing new doesn’t mean everything’s the same!!!

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.

    If this dialogue (or trialogue or whatever) is not “progressing,” it’s probably primarily because it’s clear that you’ve read no postmodern theory or philosophy beyond that brief secondary-source quote on Derrida you keep citing.

    For starters, the question of power is relevant because Foucault–whom you referenced first–urges that the world in which we find ourselves is framed and interlaced by “power-relations.” Knowledge, for Foucault, is power, and so discourses of knowledge establish certain power-relationships that subjugate some to maintain the privileged of others. And so on.

    The point is that this notion of power-knowledge is exceedingly important to much of postmodern theory.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.

    If this dialogue (or trialogue or whatever) is not “progressing,” it’s probably primarily because it’s clear that you’ve read no postmodern theory or philosophy beyond that brief secondary-source quote on Derrida you keep citing.

    For starters, the question of power is relevant because Foucault–whom you referenced first–urges that the world in which we find ourselves is framed and interlaced by “power-relations.” Knowledge, for Foucault, is power, and so discourses of knowledge establish certain power-relationships that subjugate some to maintain the privileged of others. And so on.

    The point is that this notion of power-knowledge is exceedingly important to much of postmodern theory.

  • Lou G.

    #66 Nathan. Read it again. The whole thing. And remember the context. Scroll up, if you’ve forgotten.

    Here’s a quote from the introduction to ‘Derrida, Deconstruction and the Politics of Pedagogy (Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education)’, which:
    “shows once more that education is not simply a field to which Derrida’s ideas might be applied, but that the question of education is at the very heart of what we perhaps might best summarize as Derrida’s ‘political humanism.’ Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other. As we show in the chapters tha follow, this is at the very same time the question of politics and the question of pedagogy after deconstruction.”

  • Lou G.

    #66 Nathan. Read it again. The whole thing. And remember the context. Scroll up, if you’ve forgotten.

    Here’s a quote from the introduction to ‘Derrida, Deconstruction and the Politics of Pedagogy (Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education)’, which:
    “shows once more that education is not simply a field to which Derrida’s ideas might be applied, but that the question of education is at the very heart of what we perhaps might best summarize as Derrida’s ‘political humanism.’ Derrida’s humanism is not a humanism that aims to specify what the human being is or ought to be. It rather is a humanism that is characterized by an openness towards the future, towards the incalcuable, and the unforeseeable and most importantly, towards the promise of the incoming of the other. As we show in the chapters tha follow, this is at the very same time the question of politics and the question of pedagogy after deconstruction.”

  • Lou G.

    Cincy, #71 is a slanderous statement on your part and I think you need to apologize. I’ve got a master’s degree in literary and management theory(2005,2007)nteracted quite a bit with postmodernism.

    In addtition, you didn’t say anything in #71 that I didn’t already say in #63. You’ve either misread me, or have decided to take the side of contempt prior to investigation. Either way, it is highly uncharitable.

  • Lou G.

    Cincy, #71 is a slanderous statement on your part and I think you need to apologize. I’ve got a master’s degree in literary and management theory(2005,2007)nteracted quite a bit with postmodernism.

    In addtition, you didn’t say anything in #71 that I didn’t already say in #63. You’ve either misread me, or have decided to take the side of contempt prior to investigation. Either way, it is highly uncharitable.

  • Cincinnatus

    No need to go waving degrees around and taking personal offense. Nothing I said was slanderous. But you’re building an entire critique of postmodernism on the basis of a rather pedestrian secondary source on Derrida. And you excluded the question of “power” as irrelevant to the discussion–even though you’re the one who cited Foucault, who is indeed very much concerned with the way power structures our perceptions and “truths.”

  • Cincinnatus

    No need to go waving degrees around and taking personal offense. Nothing I said was slanderous. But you’re building an entire critique of postmodernism on the basis of a rather pedestrian secondary source on Derrida. And you excluded the question of “power” as irrelevant to the discussion–even though you’re the one who cited Foucault, who is indeed very much concerned with the way power structures our perceptions and “truths.”

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: #56 was an answer to your original question and meant for your response. If you want to interact with that, by all means please do. But to jump in at the end of my discourse with Nathan and launch an ad hominem attack is unwarranted.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: #56 was an answer to your original question and meant for your response. If you want to interact with that, by all means please do. But to jump in at the end of my discourse with Nathan and launch an ad hominem attack is unwarranted.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: 1- YES. There is a need to take personal offense, because offense was given and you should apologize for it.
    2- I haven’t given an “entire” critique, because I only gave ONE critique. You have not responded to it, therefore, an entire critique is not appropriate. I simply selected ONE representative point to make to see where you wanted to go with it.
    3- And no, I did not exclude the question of power as irrelevant to the discussion, as I stated. I was the one who brought it up in #63 — as relevant. However, I was interacting with Nathan then, so if that is where you would like to go next, I’m fine with that. No problem.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus: 1- YES. There is a need to take personal offense, because offense was given and you should apologize for it.
    2- I haven’t given an “entire” critique, because I only gave ONE critique. You have not responded to it, therefore, an entire critique is not appropriate. I simply selected ONE representative point to make to see where you wanted to go with it.
    3- And no, I did not exclude the question of power as irrelevant to the discussion, as I stated. I was the one who brought it up in #63 — as relevant. However, I was interacting with Nathan then, so if that is where you would like to go next, I’m fine with that. No problem.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@76:

    1) No, I will not apologize. It’s not my problem if you’re going to take “personal offense” when I point out that your argument reflects a poor, shallow understanding of postmodernism. It is what it is; it’s not an indictment of your character, just your argument.

    2) You sure are inventing a lot of imaginary rules for online debate–”NO! I won’t respond to you until you respond to my comment dozens miles up the thread!”–but I’ll indulge you anyway by responding to your two paragraphs @56 in turn:

    a) I still don’t understand the distinction you’re making between Obama and all other modern politicians. Every tactic you identify–reframing narratives, employing elaborate “spin,” minimizing his substantive platform–has been par for the course in mass politics for decades. Even if you show that Obama uses these tactics “more” than other politicians–which is highly debatable–you’ve only proven a different in degree, not that Obama is somehow uniquely postmodern.

    And, for the record, Clinton is generally acknowledged as the “first” postmodern president, if there is such a thing. In fact, an academic treatise on the Clinton Administration exists bearing the title The Postmodern Presidency. It deals with the Clinton’s administration’s/campaign’s use of mass media in image-making, etc. It’s unconvincing, again, because how was Clinton fundamentally different from his predecessors?

    b) Having read far too much Derrida (and been required to write far too much about him), I read your quote and wonder, “So what?” It’s a fairly concise, banal summary of a couple of “key” Derridean ideas. And? How do they apply? What does Derrida’s concern with the “Other” have to do with Obama’s campaign? Heck, what does Derrida in general have to do with American electoral politics? You just sort of throw that quote out there without explaining why anyone should care.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@76:

    1) No, I will not apologize. It’s not my problem if you’re going to take “personal offense” when I point out that your argument reflects a poor, shallow understanding of postmodernism. It is what it is; it’s not an indictment of your character, just your argument.

    2) You sure are inventing a lot of imaginary rules for online debate–”NO! I won’t respond to you until you respond to my comment dozens miles up the thread!”–but I’ll indulge you anyway by responding to your two paragraphs @56 in turn:

    a) I still don’t understand the distinction you’re making between Obama and all other modern politicians. Every tactic you identify–reframing narratives, employing elaborate “spin,” minimizing his substantive platform–has been par for the course in mass politics for decades. Even if you show that Obama uses these tactics “more” than other politicians–which is highly debatable–you’ve only proven a different in degree, not that Obama is somehow uniquely postmodern.

    And, for the record, Clinton is generally acknowledged as the “first” postmodern president, if there is such a thing. In fact, an academic treatise on the Clinton Administration exists bearing the title The Postmodern Presidency. It deals with the Clinton’s administration’s/campaign’s use of mass media in image-making, etc. It’s unconvincing, again, because how was Clinton fundamentally different from his predecessors?

    b) Having read far too much Derrida (and been required to write far too much about him), I read your quote and wonder, “So what?” It’s a fairly concise, banal summary of a couple of “key” Derridean ideas. And? How do they apply? What does Derrida’s concern with the “Other” have to do with Obama’s campaign? Heck, what does Derrida in general have to do with American electoral politics? You just sort of throw that quote out there without explaining why anyone should care.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the definition of “deconstruction” being deployed through this thread–and in the original post–is distinctly lacking. Deconstruction refers not simply to exposing certain truths as “constructed,” but to a method of interpreting texts whereby one seeks to expose the points at which an argument contradicts or undermines itself (even against the author’s will), providing unique entry points to alternatives modes of thinking of interpretation.

    I’m not sure Obama has read enough Derrida to be applying his literary methodology to campaign strategy in a way that departs from run-of-the-mill politicking.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the definition of “deconstruction” being deployed through this thread–and in the original post–is distinctly lacking. Deconstruction refers not simply to exposing certain truths as “constructed,” but to a method of interpreting texts whereby one seeks to expose the points at which an argument contradicts or undermines itself (even against the author’s will), providing unique entry points to alternatives modes of thinking of interpretation.

    I’m not sure Obama has read enough Derrida to be applying his literary methodology to campaign strategy in a way that departs from run-of-the-mill politicking.

  • Lou G.

    #77 Okay. 2. a) The difference in degree is important, but it’s more than that. Obama not only uses these same tactics, but as I said before, sees this as his primary job. When criticized for losing to the Republicans in 2010, he didn’t see any of it as a failure of policy or governance, but rather a failure of PR. That is significant difference from presidents past.

    b) The general idea of that quote and that I got from reading that book and doing a paper on it was the Derrida’s theory, which is largely described as primarily educational/pedadogical theory works its way out into political activism if followed through. When the quote refers to Other, I saw the hope and change messianic candidate of 2008 sitting squarely on the mantle of an ideology that took root during his tenure as university professor turned presidential candidate. I chose that small quote from the whole book, because it capture so many of the themes that I’ve seen over the past 4+ years. I guess other people won’t see as straight forwardedly. (I’m not gonna even get into electoral politics. ) I’ll come back later and elaborate further. Gotta run.

  • Lou G.

    #77 Okay. 2. a) The difference in degree is important, but it’s more than that. Obama not only uses these same tactics, but as I said before, sees this as his primary job. When criticized for losing to the Republicans in 2010, he didn’t see any of it as a failure of policy or governance, but rather a failure of PR. That is significant difference from presidents past.

    b) The general idea of that quote and that I got from reading that book and doing a paper on it was the Derrida’s theory, which is largely described as primarily educational/pedadogical theory works its way out into political activism if followed through. When the quote refers to Other, I saw the hope and change messianic candidate of 2008 sitting squarely on the mantle of an ideology that took root during his tenure as university professor turned presidential candidate. I chose that small quote from the whole book, because it capture so many of the themes that I’ve seen over the past 4+ years. I guess other people won’t see as straight forwardedly. (I’m not gonna even get into electoral politics. ) I’ll come back later and elaborate further. Gotta run.

  • Lou G.

    #78 Obama was a university professor at the top liberal university in the US. He knows Derrida. And Marx, et al.

  • Lou G.

    #78 Obama was a university professor at the top liberal university in the US. He knows Derrida. And Marx, et al.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@80:

    I’ll respond more fully to your longer comment later, but as a clarification–and reality check–Obama was a law professor. I know few, if any, lawyers who have read, much less understood, much Derrida. And even if he did, that doesn’t mean he’s a Derridean (whatever that may mean). I’ve read lots of Nietzsche and Hobbes, but I’m not Nietzschean or Hobbesian.

    Moreover, Derrida is almost never read at the undergraduate level–and for good reason–nor is he perused much in law schools except among a few “critical legal studies” folks. So, again, I’m not sure that citing Derrida and then insinuating that Obama has “knows” Derrida–with no proof–demonstrates…anything, really.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.@80:

    I’ll respond more fully to your longer comment later, but as a clarification–and reality check–Obama was a law professor. I know few, if any, lawyers who have read, much less understood, much Derrida. And even if he did, that doesn’t mean he’s a Derridean (whatever that may mean). I’ve read lots of Nietzsche and Hobbes, but I’m not Nietzschean or Hobbesian.

    Moreover, Derrida is almost never read at the undergraduate level–and for good reason–nor is he perused much in law schools except among a few “critical legal studies” folks. So, again, I’m not sure that citing Derrida and then insinuating that Obama has “knows” Derrida–with no proof–demonstrates…anything, really.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G,

    “Spare me the fruit and tree analogies.”

    The subject had become about how the distinction between doing and being was critical. I think it is important, just using reason in a ministerial way. : )

    “Why are you trying to change the subject again?”

    I’m not. As Cincinnatus says, power and knowledge are intertwined in postmodernist theory.

    “’No – we are all PreModern’ First of all, when you make a blanket claim like that, you have the burden of proof to make it so. You’ve not done that.”

    I agree I am making assertions. It would take a book to back them up. But to many who have explored this topics in a lot of depth, the assertions I make might make a lot of sense to them, and they might appreciate the stark way I put things.

    “Again, because for them what is true is whatever they want it to be (kind of like your views on philosophy).”

    Not sure what you mean here. I certainly don’t think this! I think the LC-MS and those in fellowship with it are the true visible church on earth, for example! I think you have misunderstood my position.

    “Just because they have inconsistent worldviews and does not make them premodern”

    My point is that in truth, we are all the same. Whatever we call persons, we all organize, define and state what is True (our “Uber-Map”), and act accordingly. Some of us have more doubts than others. I don’t think I’ve changed any of my assertions either. If necessary, I could show how I have not been logically inconsistent.

    “I believe that he thinks these tools will gain him what he needs to capture the narrative, gain, and retain power…

    Irrelevant ramble at the end about truth and beauty …. Does this have anything at all to do with the conversation? Not at all.”

    Depending on what Obama really believes, teaches and confesses about what is True (including power and everything else), it may very well have everything to do with the conversation. If he himself doesn’t believe beauty, meaning and justice are among those things that are not objective, others certainly do.

    “Again, I don’t think this dialog has any chance of progressing in the direction of the topic at hand, so perhaps it’s best to end it now. Thanks.”

    I’d prefer that – not because I don’t want to continue talking, but because I am busy.

    Christ’s blessings to you Lou.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Lou G,

    “Spare me the fruit and tree analogies.”

    The subject had become about how the distinction between doing and being was critical. I think it is important, just using reason in a ministerial way. : )

    “Why are you trying to change the subject again?”

    I’m not. As Cincinnatus says, power and knowledge are intertwined in postmodernist theory.

    “’No – we are all PreModern’ First of all, when you make a blanket claim like that, you have the burden of proof to make it so. You’ve not done that.”

    I agree I am making assertions. It would take a book to back them up. But to many who have explored this topics in a lot of depth, the assertions I make might make a lot of sense to them, and they might appreciate the stark way I put things.

    “Again, because for them what is true is whatever they want it to be (kind of like your views on philosophy).”

    Not sure what you mean here. I certainly don’t think this! I think the LC-MS and those in fellowship with it are the true visible church on earth, for example! I think you have misunderstood my position.

    “Just because they have inconsistent worldviews and does not make them premodern”

    My point is that in truth, we are all the same. Whatever we call persons, we all organize, define and state what is True (our “Uber-Map”), and act accordingly. Some of us have more doubts than others. I don’t think I’ve changed any of my assertions either. If necessary, I could show how I have not been logically inconsistent.

    “I believe that he thinks these tools will gain him what he needs to capture the narrative, gain, and retain power…

    Irrelevant ramble at the end about truth and beauty …. Does this have anything at all to do with the conversation? Not at all.”

    Depending on what Obama really believes, teaches and confesses about what is True (including power and everything else), it may very well have everything to do with the conversation. If he himself doesn’t believe beauty, meaning and justice are among those things that are not objective, others certainly do.

    “Again, I don’t think this dialog has any chance of progressing in the direction of the topic at hand, so perhaps it’s best to end it now. Thanks.”

    I’d prefer that – not because I don’t want to continue talking, but because I am busy.

    Christ’s blessings to you Lou.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Again, stated most simply, my position can be found here: http://www.geneveith.com/2012/10/09/constructivist-politics/#comment-166515

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Again, stated most simply, my position can be found here: http://www.geneveith.com/2012/10/09/constructivist-politics/#comment-166515

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