Thought for the Day: Rorty Making Sense

I’ve never been a fan of the late philosopher Richard Rorty, whose so-called “neo-pragmatism” seemed mostly an attempt to dress up or disguise his essential nihilism. But in some respects he resembles the other late left-leaning defector from current leftist orthodoxy, Christopher Lasch. Here’s Rorty from Achieving Our Country, which, though published in the 1990s, describes our current intellectual moment perfectly:

The cultural left is haunted by ubiquitous specters, the most frightening of which is called ‘power.’ This is the name of what Edmundson calls Foucault’s ‘haunting agency, which is everywhere and nowhere, as evanescent and insistent as a resourceful spook. In its Foucauldian usage, the term ‘power’ denotes an agency which has left an indelible stain on every word in our language and on every institution in our society. . .

The ubiquity of Foucauldian power is reminiscent of the ubiquity of Satan, and this of the ubiquity of original sin—the diabolical stain on every human soul. . . I now wish to say that, in committing itself to what it calls ‘theory,’ this Left has gotten something which is entirely too much like religion.

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