Postmodernism and the Fundamentalist Revival

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Postmodernism and the Fundamentalist Revival For contemporary Western—particularly American—thought, there have been two prevailing theories, at polar ends of the spectrum. There is the belief that there are absolute ethical forces, and there is the belief that there are no set standards of judgment. Both of these views seem extreme, attacking our sense of modernity and our sense of personal values. Consequently, most people find their place somewhere moderately between the two. As between belief and unbelief there is agnosticism, or between moralism and immoralism there is amoralism, between the belief in standards and the belief in no standards there is postmodernism. Postmodernism places at its core that there is no unified theory or objective standard by which to judge every thing that is and that “there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations […] is the right one” (Fish). Postmodernists thus assign the label “opinion” to most qualitative concepts: a belief in an afterlife, bagels, and international politics cannot be judged on the same scale. This is very egalitarian, allowing people to have personal beliefs while not necessarily bothering others with them. Even in light of the fundamentalist wave that crashed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, postmodernism, the central philosophy of contemporary America, has withstood the test of time. As a form of thinking, postmodernism has had an easy existence in the latter half of the 20th century. After World War II, the only conflicts we have had either involved bloodless politics (the Watergate scandal), isolated events (the Cuban missile crisis), or ideological disputes (Korean and Vietnam... ... middle of paper ... theories, was strong enough (or possibly flimsy enough) to withstand a new fundamentalist revival. The belief in polar rights and wrongs is stronger now, after the attacks, but postmodernism’s invulnerability does not mean that it is incorruptible to these polar beliefs. A new philosophy that incorporates both of these ideas may soon emerge, seeking to pacify opponents of each, and, even if it succeeds, such a ideological fusion would be born in postmodernism, in the belief that this idea of standards and measurements cannot be completely disproven. Sources Cited Fish, Stanley. “Condemnation Without Absolutes.” New York Times. A19. 15 Oct. 2001 Halliday, Fred. Two Hours that Shook the World. London: Saqi Books, 2002 Rothstein, Edward. “Attacks on U.S. Challenge the Perspectives of Postmodern True Believers.” New York Times. A17. 22 Sep. 2001.

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