In a well-written, but somewhat flawed article a YU student named Daniel Goldmintz makes the cogent observation that Barack Obama will become the first Post-Modern President. There is much that is post-modern in what little we know of Obama. He is a creation of the media. He is short on substance and brilliantly long in the use and the manipulation of words. Despite his best efforts to hide his tracks, he was raised and bred in bosom of the American New Left. He blithely denies that the West has enemies (other than its 'corrupt self', as he really appears to believe that America's economic woes will be solved by a resort to socialism. (My political response to Goldmintz was posted on site.)
I was much taken by this insight, because over the challenge of post-modernism has been much on my mind the past few days.
1) Caroline Glick, in a real tour de force, highlighted the Orwellian abuse of language that the Israeli elites use to direct public discourse and deflect serious public discussion of vital issues, in order to advance the ideology of the Left. (Along the way, he confirms my assertion that our seriously deluded Minister of Education, Yuli Tamir, is such an orthodox multi-culturalist, that she defends the practice of Female Circumcision in deference to those who practice it.)
2) In the introductory lecture to my course on Judaism and Other Religions, I had occasion to note that proper historico-anthropological method requires one to respect the stated beliefs of historical actors (unless otherwise proven). To reduce a person's beliefs to underlying interests is both patronizing and deceptive. In that context, I mentioned that such an approach was eminently NOT Post-Modern. The students did not know the difference. So, I spent most of the time explaining what differentiates Modern from Post-Modern discourse, the impact of Deconstruction upon the contemporary use (and abuse) of language, the impact of PM on historiography (admitting, en passant, that I am a neo-positivist), and so on. The students, with one exception, were totally unaware of any of this, nor had they any clue as to the unseen forces and assumptions that direct and control their actions and thoughts. PM really is insidious. I would say that Baudrillard knew that, but he was preceded by Socrates (who I should have cited) that 'that the life which is unexamined is not worth living .'
3) In a similar vein, I am preparing a long Hebrew (and a shorter English) version of my talk on Srugim. Increasingly, I've come to the conclusion that here too, the issue is Post-Modernism.
4) Finally, I am taking comfort in the always insightful, exquisitely written and stunningly argued critique of Post Modern Secularism by Elie Schweid.
We will, I fear, pay a terrible price for our self-serving, self-worshipping delusions.