The Washington post discovers right-wing postmodernism

by John Quiggin on May 28, 2005

EJ Dionne at the Washington Post discovers right-wing postmodernism, something Australian bloggers have been banging on about for years.

The more this point gets hammered, the better, particularly as there are still some conservatives out there who actually care about old-fashioned things like objective truth.

Via Tim Dunlop and Pandagon. See also Mark Bahnisch

{ 41 comments }

1

SomeCallMeTim 05.28.05 at 3:33 pm

FWIW,also Josh Marshall’s The Post-Modern President.

2

Joe Welsh 05.28.05 at 3:56 pm

” there are still some conservatives out there who actually care about old-fashioned things like objective truth.”

Yep. That is why when a media outler reports something as fact, riots ensue, and it turns out that it isn’t, we get a bit upset about that.

3

Uncle Kvetch 05.28.05 at 4:25 pm

That is why when a media outler reports something as fact, riots ensue, and it turns out that it isn’t, we get a bit upset about that.

Yes, Joe. Never mind that Gen. Myers himself said very clearly that the Newsweek article didn’t provoke the riots. Never mind that stories of desecration of the Koran have been corroborated by any number of sources, including those haters at the Red Cross. Never mind that the desecration of the Koran is only looking like the tip of a most unholy iceberg, with a range of horrors that runs up to and includes beating innocent people to death. Just put all that aside and repeat after me: Newsweek lied, people died, and American “conservatives” are simply people who love Truth.

On a lighter note, the Washington Post tells us that two Army analysts who played a central role in the thoroughly debunked, 100% counterfactual BS about Iraqi “aluminum tubes” have actually been given “performance awards” in each of the past three years. Such is the passion for Truth in the Bush administration.

4

abb1 05.28.05 at 4:31 pm

Aka pseudoconservatism.

…With his ponderous heaving and groaning about thesis and antithesis, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel did no more than express a commonplace observation in the maximum number of words: just when a movement – be it political, intellectual, artistic, or religious – is at the stage of its greatest worldly success, the seeds of decay are already germinating. The decay springs from having no serious opposition, which in turn leads to complacency, stagnation, and a streak of self-righteousness. When opposition is heretical by definition, there is no need for rigorous intellectual justification of one’s own viewpoint.

5

Barry 05.28.05 at 4:32 pm

And never mind that Newsweek discussed the story with the Pentagon before printing it.

But about those analysts – I’m sure that Joe will be right on their case, as soon as he can. After all, he’s got a long line of liars to publicly trash, starting with Dubya.

Go to it, Joe.

6

monkyboy 05.28.05 at 6:05 pm

I think the solution is a good ol’ follow the money story.

Iraq, Homeland Security, ANWR, etc. all generate money for lobbyists, pundits, “advisers” and countless other types of leeches that get rich pushing all these nonsensical policies. These guys would push cannibalism if there was a buck in it.

How does Rush sit in his $30 million Florida mansion and trip out on hillbilly heroin and maintain his status as a “voice of the common man?” Ditto Bill O’Reilly, whose latest victim of over-enthusiastic loafahing fantasies just bought a NY townhome from his settlement to keep her quiet.

Ralph Reed just got fired by Microsoft after pocketing $2,000,000 in “consulting fees” over the last decade…who knew? Richard Perle is slithering out into the sunlight again after looting a public company and Jack A. pocketed $70 million from selling tribes phony influence.

It’s a legitimte story to ask who is getting rich from all these crazy policies. A top 20 list of the the biggest political money winners under Bush would be enlightening and probably be picked up by the news outlets that most people get their news from these days…

7

Horatio 05.28.05 at 9:16 pm

I just saw a Fox special where the odds of war with Iran were said to be in a range of from 50 per cent to 70 per cent. The war gaming has already been done. No boots on the ground this time.

8

bi 05.28.05 at 10:59 pm

Argh, you enemies of academic freedom! Look, horrible things are happening at Gitmo, and you’re whining about postmodernism!

9

Dan Simon 05.29.05 at 2:43 am

There seems to be a basic misunderstanding here about what conservatives complain about when they speak of “liberal postmodernism”. First of all, it has nothing to do with the perfectly normal disagreements between conservatives and liberals about facts. As often as not, conservatives and liberals trust different sources, and thus come to different conclusions about the truth. Nor does the “postmodernism” charge have anything to do with the frequent disagreements between conservatives and liberals over the significance of particular facts. Given that liberals and conservatives have different priorities, after all, they will naturally emphasize different sets of facts when making their arguments and constructing their worldviews.

The conservative charges of “liberal postmodernism” are quite a different matter. Some liberals, claim conservatives, simply don’t care about whether certain facts are true are not–to the point of excusing the knowing propagation of falsehoods, for example, on the grounds that the falsehoods in question serve a “larger truth”. The classic example of this phenomenon was the academic left’s rallying to the defense of Rigoberta Menchu, when it was revealed that her Nobel Prize-winning memoir was in fact largely fiction. Many of Menchu’s leftist defenders actually argued that her book told “important truths” irrespective of whether they were factual.

In both the Newsweek case and the Dan Rather “memogate” case that came before it, conservatives have made a very similar accusation: that liberal defenders of the reporters in question declared the reporters’ evidence “fake but accurate”–that is, reliable irrespective of its authenticity. Now, this charge may be false–perhaps most liberals are not in fact defending the reporters in question, or perhaps they are simply claiming that the falsehoods in question are relatively minor, or that there is in any event ample additional evidence to buttress the claims that the falsehoods failed to support. But I’ve yet to hear conservative critics of these reports question the relevance of their truth or falsity. Overwhelmingly, they claim (a) that these reports are substantially false, and (b) that their falsity is an important, relevant fact. Howevermuch one might disagree with these claims–and one very well might–they’re still nothing like what conservatives have come to call “postmodernism”.

10

bad Jim 05.29.05 at 3:22 am

Prisoners have been tortured at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and Bagram, in some cases until death, and George Bush did fail to complete his military service obligation, notwithstanding any deficiencies in the reporting of these facts.

11

bibi 05.29.05 at 4:05 am

Hmm, so when’s Dan Simon going to face these hard truths, I wonder?

12

Ros Marsh 05.29.05 at 4:53 am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Guantanamo detainee who told an
FBI agent in 2002 that U.S. personnel there had flushed a Koran in a toilet retracted his allegation when questioned this month by military investigators, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Original FBI memo
The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet,” the FBI agent wrote

Source Roger Simon

13

bi 05.29.05 at 6:36 am

Updated 2005-05-29 09:31:

_Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians held sit-ins across Lebanon after Washington admitted some US guards at Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba had mishandled the Muslim holy book, the Koran._

_… the US commander at Guantanamo, Brigadier General Jay Hood, said on Thursday that investigators had found at least five instances in which guards and interrogators at the base Cuba mishandled the Koran, although there was no “credible evidence” it was flushed in a toilet._

Now let’s hear our truth-loving conservatives talk.

14

derrida derider 05.29.05 at 8:18 am

dan simon has constructed straw men. There are some who say that there’s evidence that the Newsweek report was correct, some who say that Newsweek made a mistake based on previous unchecked reports, but I’ve yet to see any “liberals” say that Newsweek should deliberately report Korans being flushed away when they weren’t.

Provide links, dan, or else withdraw this slander.

15

Dan Simon 05.29.05 at 12:33 pm

Derrida derider: I made it clear in my comment that I was not assuming the accuracy of the conservative charges of “liberal postmodernism”. And indeed, such blanket charges are bound to be overgeneralizations in any event.

In the particular case in question, I happen to agree with you that the general liberal response to the Newsweek story’s retraction has been, “yes, the particular claim in question may have been inaccurate, but there are sufficiently many credible reports of a similar nature that Newsweek’s specific error hardly affects the left’s overall point.”

With respect to the “memogate” case, I think the conservative criticism applies fairly to what some of the accused CBS news people said in response to the accusations against them, although perhaps not to the overall liberal response to the affair (which was for the most part, quite muted).

In general, “liberal postmodernism”, as a rhetorical strategy, was only ever used rarely, and even then primarily for reassuring the faithful in the face of facts which challenged the validity of core liberal beliefs. (The Rigoberta Menchu case was one, as were several racial incidents of the early nineties–the Crown Heights and Los Angeles riots, and the O.J. Simpson trial.) As a strategy for winning a debate with opponents, the “truth depends on perspective” tactic is a complete loser, and liberals have no trouble recognizing that. The rise of loud conservative voices in the American public square has thus rendered “liberal postmodernism” untenable.

That’s also why “conservative postmodernism” simply doesn’t exist (yet). Conservative points of view are routinely sharply challenged by loud, articulate voices on the left, and have been for decades. The “conservatives out there who actually care about old-fashioned things like objective truth” hear those challenges, and will not stand for the “truth is independent of facts” argument.

But perhaps you (or John) have links to substantiated instances of conservatives claiming that the accuracy of specific facts is simply not relevant to their “greater truth”, or some such formulation? Certainly, the Newsweek case is no example–the argument is about whether specific claims are true or false, and whether those claims are significant or insignificant. I have yet to hear a single soul, conservative or liberal, claim, for example, that whether Americans desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo depends on one’s point of view.

16

Robin Green 05.29.05 at 1:53 pm

Dan Simon – I think JQ’s point is more along the lines that some conservatives have stolen the postmodernist’s epistemological clothes, rather than their ontological clothes.

That is to say, where a postmodernist Science Studies professor might criticize a male scientist’s utterances on the basis that he is trapped in a “logocentric” of “phallocentric” way of thinking and therefore his points are suspect – similarly, some conservatives like to build up a picture of a sinister, almost conspiratorial “liberal media”, who cannot be trusted because of their perspective or their “liberal agenda”.

And, continuing the analogy, where a “postmodernist feminist” might argue by assertion and repetition and circularity to “prove” that there is no such thing as objective truth, a “postmodernist conservative” might use argument by assertion and repetition and circularity to “prove” their points. Evidence be damned, logic be damned – and of course, your opponents are by definition unworthy of basic respect and human decency, so it’s quite OK to say misleading things about them.

So, it’s not so much “the facts aren’t relevant”, I agree. It’s more a case of “These are the facts – it is clearly the case that our troops did not abuse the Koran, if our government tells us that it did not happen – and ignore that supposed ‘evidence’ over there – it comes from the liberocentric media!”

17

Steve LaBonne 05.29.05 at 3:23 pm

Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

18

John Quiggin 05.29.05 at 3:26 pm

I think the embrace of postmodernism on the right is more clearly in evidence in relation to science-based issues: climate change, evolution, stem cells and so on, and also on economics. In all these cases, there’s a clear view that truth is relative, and that what matters is what you want to believe.

The attitude on Iraq and related issues is superficially different: obsessive fact-checking in relation to trivial erroneous claims by the liberal media, combined with a complete lack of concern about far more significant falsehoods coming from the Administration, most obviously about WMDs.

In most cases, this is just old-fashioned intellectual dishonesty, but it’s reinforced by more systematic disregard for truth of the kind seen in science policy.

19

Jack 05.29.05 at 3:40 pm

I think the claim that darwinism is just a theory and the faith based/reality based line are examples of post-modernism from the right.

20

Seth Finkelstein 05.29.05 at 4:09 pm

I don’t have cites on-hand, but I suggest that those who keep better political references than I do, would have no trouble finding many right-wing opinion-pieces along the lines of “In the service of the War On [Communism | Drugs | Terrorism | Eastasia …], if lies have to be told to serve the greater cause of good, then that is simply the price of winning the war …”.

As has been pointed out above, it’s an old “intellectual” position.

21

Uncle Kvetch 05.29.05 at 4:42 pm

I just saw a Fox special where the odds of war with Iran were said to be in a range of from 50 per cent to 70 per cent. The war gaming has already been done. No boots on the ground this time.

For those of you keeping score at home, “No boots on the ground this time” is this year’s “We will be welcomed as liberators.”

You’ll want to remember that about a year from now, when Rumsfeld is saying “I don’t recall anyone saying anything about no boots on the ground….”

22

derrida derider 05.29.05 at 7:45 pm

I’ve no doubt at all that the war-gaming has been done, uncle – indeed that’s exactly why I don’t think there’ll be war with Iran.

The results of any halfway realistic war game would not be good, and I don’t think the generals will so docilely let the Bushistas play “lets fabricate a new reality” again.

23

Dan Simon 05.29.05 at 10:48 pm

I think the embrace of postmodernism on the right is more clearly in evidence in relation to science-based issues: climate change, evolution, stem cells and so on, and also on economics. In all these cases, there’s a clear view that truth is relative, and that what matters is what you want to believe.

Surely you don’t mean that statements of the form, “so-and-so’s political bias is causing them to get their science all wrong” are proof of postmodernism–heck, I see claims like that all the time on Crooked Timber. Or have you actually seen a conservative assert that science can’t hope to shed light on the truth or falsity of, say, global warming claims, or the predicted effects of specific economic policies, through objective research?

Now, the various species of creationists do say something a little bit like that. But if taking the side of religion against science constitutes “postmodernism”–well, then, the inquisitors who tried Galileo for heresy were remarkably ahead of their time.

Again, I’m not denying that there are lots of conservative positions that deserve plenty of criticism from liberals. But those criticisms should be based on carefully thought-out specifics, not blithe invocations of vague labels like “postmodernism”.

24

bi 05.29.05 at 11:00 pm

Dan Simon, stop “summarizing” other people’s positions, a.k.a. writing fiction.

25

Seth Finkelstein 05.29.05 at 11:26 pm

The most blatant recent “postmodernist” quote in wide debate might be the infamous:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality … we’ll act again, creating other new realities … We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Some people have taken that as some sort of religious statement. But it’s always seemed to me to be a proclamation of raw power, that the world is as they say it is, because they will enforce their view of it. It’s postmodernism established by the contrapositive!

26

John Quiggin 05.30.05 at 12:42 am

Dan S,

Climate change sceptics run a lot of stuff about “social construction of reality” and treat mainstream science as a belief system based on internal rewards for compliance, and therefore not to be regarded as superior to, for example, lobbying funded by fossil fuel companies.

And you can see the same sort of thing among “supply-side” economists.

27

bi 05.30.05 at 2:13 am

Well, now for some actual quotes that show just how greatly The(tm) Right(tm) loves the truth. Here‘s one:

_Both sides of this argument are well-trod, and I’ve got better ways to spend my time than in an incessant pissing match with such empathetic paragons of the universe as yourselves …_

In other words, when your arguments are found to be bogus, just accuse the other side of being too closed-minded to accept your bogus arguments!

And this (visit the first link):

_It is often argued that a student would not develop fully if faculty were grossly lopsided by race or gender. … Doesn’t this apply to political orientation?_

Yeah, a student wouldn’t develop fully if faculty were grossly biased towards objective truth. But wait! “Objective truth” is an oppressive concept! Everything is an opinion! Diversity! Diversity! Diversity!

And, last but not least, this:

_Think this will render all the palaver about fillibusters, Iraq, red-blue divide, social security and so on irrelevant: Reports coming out of Qinghai suggest H5N1 infections in humans and birds are out of control …_

Oh, OK. Bush lied, people died… but that’s all just palaver!

28

Dan Simon 05.30.05 at 3:10 am

Climate change sceptics run a lot of stuff about “social construction of reality” and treat mainstream science as a belief system based on internal rewards for compliance, and therefore not to be regarded as superior to, for example, lobbying funded by fossil fuel companies.

Well, that certainly does sound like postmodernism. Are you saying that such arguments are standard among global warming skeptics? Could you point out some specific examples of people actually saying something like that? I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anything of the kind–although that isn’t saying much, given how far I am from being well-read on the topic.

And you can see the same sort of thing among “supply-side” economists.

Again, I’d appreciate seing some examples. Which supply-side economists do this, what economic realities do they consider “socially constructed”, and how much of economics do they regard as irretrievably subjective?

29

bi 05.30.05 at 3:32 am

Dan Simon, look right here:

_Complete concensus in the scientific community??_

_Wasn’t the last time that happened was when Galileo was almost excommunicated for suggesting that the Sun does not go around the Earth?_

…and later, by the same goon:

_It seems completely intellectually vapid to attribute any opposition to the anthropogenic climate change theory to being “employed by oil companies”. It is not like those pushing the “global warming” theory don’t have anything to gain from it. There are billions of dollars going into this research. Clearly there is an incentive to make it seem as bad as possible in order to keep getting grants for more research, etc._

Yeah, it’s all about agendas! Who cares about the raw data?

30

Clever Leftist 05.30.05 at 6:23 am

I think it’s an outrage that right-wingers are adopting left-wing schools of thought like post-modernism.

31

Dan Simon 05.30.05 at 11:21 am

Bi: The first part of that excerpt does, I agree, carry a whiff of the postmodernist critique of the scientific method. The rest, though, is merely a claim that a particular set of scientists is politically biased in a way that causes it to do bad science. As I pointed out previously, That’s a charge that non-postmodernist leftists make all the time–including here at Crooked Timber–on a different set of subjects (gender differences, for instance, or the evolutionary roots of human behaviors). It’s not a critique of science itself, or of the notion of scientific objectivity–just a particular claim about a particular group of scientists.

In any event, I’m sure you don’t want the left’s opinions judged on the basis of some anonymous left-wing commenter’s response to a posting on a conservative blog somewhere. If “right-wing postmodernism” is a real phenomenon, it’s surely left a more convincing paper trail than that.

32

bm 05.30.05 at 11:29 am

i regularly had arguments in graduate school (a decade and more ago, now) in which my leftist comrades argued against postmodernism precisely because (so they claimed) it was an excuse for disregarding important facts like genocide and other forms of state-sponsored terrorism, mainly by insisting that there are no facts to begin with.

last semester in class, i had a true-believer student who would regularly argue that there is no more or less solid case for evolution or creation, so really, you should just pick one and acknowledge that it is a faith-claim rather than pretending that it is “science”. that is bogus, of course, but it illustrates that *a certain form of* postmodernism is working its way through right-wing, particularly conservative christian circles. i think sivan, appleby, and almond’s _strong religion_ is very good on explaining fundamentalisms as postmodern phenomena and in particular the importance of their adopting certain principles from the postmodern, despite their general rejection of both postmodernity as a concept and postmodernism as an ideology or school of thought.

of course, how can we not agree that the form of postmodernism deployed by my student and deplored by my grad school comrades is absurd, no matter who uses it? the idea that we require some absolute Truth or some absolute notion of fact(s) in order to distinguish brutal repression of dissent from the preservation of freedom (aka, mere fiction), or the superiority of one account of cosmogony over another, or even the status of a cosmogony as science or as religion, seems to me . . . antiquated, even disingenuous.

clever leftist: that “left-wing school of thought”, post-modernism, was already the bastard child of right-wing modernists (hegel, kant) before it was adopted back into the right-wing family. cf. deleuze . . . :)

33

bm 05.30.05 at 11:34 am

dan simon: see the creationism debates, and gilkey’s _creationism on trial_ is still good for this, despite its age. many creation-oriented scientists want mainly to argue that evolution (they focus on darwin, but afaict, their target is really evolution and the big bang, not natural selection) is at best a theory, not a “fact”, and a poor theory, at that, because all the science we have is unreliable (e.g., carbon dating only works if you assume the conclusion, namely, that everything is old; a massive flood could have so folded everything over and around as to create the fossil “record” we have now, even if it were only a few thousand years old, etc.). again, gilkey is brilliant on this, and that book is eminently readable.

34

bi 05.30.05 at 12:51 pm

_The rest, though, is merely a claim that a particular set of scientists is politically biased in a way that causes it to do bad science. That’s a charge that non-postmodernist leftists make all the time …_

This is total bull. First, that’s not the claim; rather the claim is, _your_ particular set of scientists _may be_ (N.B.) politically biased and therefore should be ignored, while for some mysterious reason _my_ particular set of scientists is obviously infallible and any criticism of them is “intellectually vapid”!

Second, regarding your claim that “non-postmodernist leftists” do this sort of thing “all the time”… just look at Aaron Swartz’s blog entry on Lawrence Summers. Nowhere do I see Swartz casting aspersions on Summers _just because_ he’s a rightist. In fact, he actually bothers to directly debunk his claims by citing actual experiments:

_In the present context, a study by Claude Steele brings some of the problems into sharp relief. … Steele … took some of the best and most dedicated math students they could find and gave them an extremely difficult math test. The men performed more than three and a half times as well as the women — an enormous gap. Then they gave students the same test, but told them this was a special test in which women always did as well as men. The gap closed almost entirely, with women’s scores increasing dramatically._

“All the time”? So, Dan Simon, which fictional world are you now living in?

_If “right-wing postmodernism” is a real phenomenon, it’s surely left a more convincing paper trail than that._

Well, at the very least I do have a paper trail. _You_ don’t even have any paper trail. You’re just a ritualized troll who makes unsubstantiated claims.

35

Dan Simon 05.30.05 at 1:53 pm

BM: Creationists come in two flavors. There are the ones who openly admit that they trust the Bible, as they understand it, over the scientific evidence. As I pointed out before, calling them “postmodernists”, when they are in fact religious literalists–a tradition that goes back many centuries–empties the term “postmodernism” of all meaning.

Then there are the ones (such as the “intelligent design” supporters) who jump up and down and scream that they are right because their science is better than that of the Darwinians. They’re obviously wrong, of course–and ridiculously easy to refute–but their crappy pseudoscience bears no trace of the postmodernist’s arched brow at the mere mention of scientific objectivity. On the contrary, they themselves claim the mantle of scientific objectivity–even if falsely–and hence openly and firmly oppose the postmodern position of doubt as to its existence.

Bi: You’re perfectly entitled to believe that liberal scientists who embrace the theory of evolution and reject claims of gender differences in mathematical ability are completely justified in doing so, whereas conservative scientists who embrace some flavor of creationism or lend credence to claims of gender differences in mathematical ability are blinded by political bias or stupidity. After all, your belief–right or wrong–implicitly accepts the legitimacy of the scientific method, the possibility of scientific objectivity (even if only some achieve it), and the ability of objective scientific research to arrive at objectively correct conclusions.

The same applies to conservatives–whether they’re right or wrong–who lend credence to “creation science” or gender differences in mathematical abilities, and dismiss Darwinians and believers in gender equality as politically biased. Being wrong, or even stupid, doesn’t make you a postmodernist. The careless slinging of such dismissive labels as “postmodernist” simply detracts from the important arguments about how to do good science, and what the results tell us.

36

bm 05.30.05 at 2:14 pm

dan: maybe you actually need to read some of this stuff or argue with some of these people. if you think the student i refer to is not dismissing objectivity, then we understand different things by “objectivity”. the strategy in that case is to throw everything into question and say that since no one can “prove” they’re right “scientifically”, then “believing” in evolution is a faith-claim and no more rational or scientific or “objective” than believing a biblical account of creation. if they don’t arch their brows, it is probably because they are too earnest for that, but if lacking irony is all it takes, then (a) that’s not much, and (b) that’s different from taking issue with the idea of scientific objectivity.

again, i recommend gilkey and appleby to you for help with expanding your categories. but since you seem to understand everything already, then i guess we’re done. personally, i think you’re just winging it. good luck with that.

37

bm 05.30.05 at 2:17 pm

incidentally, dan, i agree with you almost entirely on this: “Being wrong, or even stupid, doesn’t make you a postmodernist. The careless slinging of such dismissive labels as ‘postmodernist’ simply detracts from the important arguments about how to do good science, and what the results tell us.”

i just don’t think the label “postmodernist” (or postmodern, which is, of course, different) has to be dismissive. it can actually be a helpful descriptive term, imho.

peace

38

bi 05.30.05 at 2:39 pm

Dan Simon, have you even _read_ Gilkey’s _Creationism on Trial_ cited by bm because scrambling for your keyboard?

Anyway, you’ll be surprised to find that some rightists do suggest ditching the scientific method in favour of, um, whatever. Ludwig von Mises reportedly wrote this in _Epistemological Problems of Economics_:

_In matters of human action no experiments can be performed. History needs to be interpreted by theoretical insight gained previously from other sources._

(As zompist remarks, “The ‘other sources’ turn out to be armchair ruminations on how things must be.” And, Aaron Swartz’s comments already point out that experiments _can_ be performed in matters of human action.)

Then there are those who don’t even bother with the concepts of “science” or “objective truth”. If your claim is that these people are implicitly accepting the validity of the scientific method — well, you aren’t kidding anyone.

39

bi 05.30.05 at 2:44 pm

Dan Simon: by the way, you’re still a ritualized troll.

40

John Quiggin 05.30.05 at 5:08 pm

Dan, here’s a fairly typical reference, beginning with stuff about social construction of reality, then citing a bunch of bogus science
Kellow is a member of the Lavoisier Group, a leading climate science denialist organisation in Australia.

41

Donald Johnson 05.31.05 at 2:50 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong Dan, but my impression concerning the Rigoberta Menchu debate was that what most people were really arguing about whether there had been a genocide in Guatemala committed by a government that Reagan had defended. The answer, of course, is yes. It’s true, I gather, that many lefties were fooled by Rigoberta Menchu and might have been reluctant to believe she was a liar. It’s also true that many conservatives were fooled by Ronald Reagan and reluctant to believe he was a liar. There was a little bit of postmodernism on both sides of that debate. In the end, I think the lefties who were right about the genocide and wrong about Rigoberta were closer to the truth than people who believed Reagan when he defended Guatemala’s human rights record.

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