It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Musings on Postmodern Politics
Since I can find no orderly or systematic exposition of postmodern politics, even from those who say they are practicing it, I have been trying to define it by noting differences between current and past politics, hoping that, as in the method of music-minus-one, a melody may emerge. Assuming that the Marxist theory of thesis and antithesis, leading to synthesis, no longer applies, we are left with an open-ended society and politics. This predicament is not altogether reassuring as it may lead us to a state of "entropy," i.e., of randomness, chaos and disorder, with little basis for optimism as to what may result, beyond that which may be drawn from the finding of the computer genius who sought to create chaos in an advanced computer, only to be frustrated when, just as he thought he was to accomplish his goal, signs and patterns of order began to emerge.
Everything in the new logic is approached as a matter of degree. Key words are not absolutes, like black and white, or hot or cold, but gray, or cool, and the like.
Postmodern politics has several distinguishing marks. It is indifferent to tradition. Persons in the new politics are unlikely to have had the experience of participating in satisfying and sustaining history. They missed the days of high patriotism and sacrifice of World War II and came to political awareness during the years of the Vietnam War, many experiencing the distressing and difficult test of patriotism, as in the case of President Clinton.
Postmodern politics discounts loyalty and personal relationships. Appointment to office, and also elections, which used to reflect cultural and personal differences such as religion and nationality, are more likely to depend on physical or physiological or biological differences, such as race, sex, or accident of time of birth (a generation).
Postmodern politicians and persons are not lonely. They have not known community, many of them--not the community of family, not family loyalty, or loyalty to place,, to city or town, or to employers, or corporations, or even loyalty to baseball teams. They are isolated. There are more exiles and refugees than there are retirees. Many are like the child in the airport, smiling too readily, too soon or too long, bearing a name tag with both a return and a forwarding address.
Postmoderns are not greedy as charged. They are insecure, seeking security in making "more," and in using "more," rather than having "more." Their music is rap, instant in composition and in performance, impromptu, produced and consumed in one disposable presentation. Postmodern persons are more likely to say, "I represent," or "I am a client," than "I am." They spend a lot of time redefining themselves, and looking for new meaning.
Postmoderns believe that life and politics, both, can be reduced to "problems" and "solutions." They say things like, "If you do not know what the problem is, you are part of it." They are not only "problem solvers" but "problem finders." Political campaigns and offices have "issues persons." Meetings are advanced by the use of "facilitators," and proposals are challenged not by the traditional "devil's advocate" but by "contrarians."
And, as Leon Weiseltier wrote in The New Republic (July 1993), the postmodern politician, as demonstrated in President Clinton, is not marked by nonbelief but by belief in everything, a belief which eliminates the rule of contradiction and leaves one with only one working principle--belief in "Process."