Debates

Is Postmodernism Marxist or Libertarian? A Soho Forum Debate

Thaddeus Russell and Stephen Hicks debate human nature, moral relativism, and the nature of truth.

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Postmodernism is necessary for a politics of individual liberty.

That was the topic of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on June 17, 2019. It featured Stephen Hicks, a professor of philosophy at Rockford University, and author Thaddeus Russell. Soho Forum director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Hicks prevailed in the debate by convincing 34 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Arguing for the affirmative was Russell, whose 2011 book, A Renegade History of the United States, argues that cherished American freedoms come from the selfish desires of ordinary people. Renegade University, founded by Russell, offers courses on diverse subjects from postmodernism to the history of martial arts.

Hicks argued for the negative. He's the executive director at The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (2011) and Nietzsche and the Nazis (2010).

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Produced by Todd Krainin.

'Modum' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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  2. Post modernism is retarded.

  3. Is there a transcript?

  4. “Is Postmodernism Marxist or Libertarian?”

    So the affirmative is that postmodernism is Marxist, Libertarian, or both; and the negative is that it’s neither?

    1. Oh, now I see the debate resolution: “Postmodernism is necessary for a politics of individual liberty.”

    2. Because the principle of individual liberty is best supported by the notion that there are no principles, only more or less appealing narratives.

  5. It’s gibberish spewed by people who can’t understand much of the world and don’t want to admit it.

    1. Nailed it.

  6. The thesis isn’t even wrong, it’s just nonsense.

  7. Nothing says “We have an actual political philosophy” quite like “Well, does this support our ideology OR is it the exact opposite?”

  8. Having encountered both Foucault, and Derrida, as well as a host of other creatures, in my graduate studies in English literature and linguistics, I found this debate quite entertaining! Thanks!

  9. As far as I can tell “postmodernism” is something the right-wing fever swamp likes to complain about, but which actual left-wingers don’t actually care about.

    1. Except all the Democratic Presidential candidates are falling over themselves with post-modernist virtue signaling.

      1. Yeah, if you actually listen to the debate and glean the philosophy and tactics you’ll see that it totally explains all of the nonsense in the progressive movement – right down to picking the label “progressive”.

    2. I think the problem you’re experiencing is that leftist politics, a la Lenin, is a combination of the conspiratorial and the imbecilic. The conspirators concentrate on producing activists that infiltrate the media, diversity administration and local government. They act as the vanguard and part of their strategy is to conceal their motives under the language of diversity, equity and inclusion. The other side are the left wing imbeciles, the modern day proletariat, who are satisfied that their support of leftist policies equates to a moral and intellectual superiority that substitutes for actual inquiry or rational argument. The people, for example, that applaud the Green New Deal and the simultaneous outlawing of nuclear power on the basis of some crap about Western Imperialist Patriarchy etc. So if you’re the first type, you just lie and if you’re the second type you’re too stupid or brainwashed to see the bigger picture

  10. The contention that “The 20th Century (and the things I selectively choose from the events of the 20th Century) is the culmination of Enlightenment thinking.” was when I noped out. At that point, one side had clearly handwaved logic and rationality in favor of really weak, really louse debate tactics.

    Completely worthless.

    AND, those French post-modernists actually were some pretty awful people, though I don’t know if they ever got to the horrorshow that was Lacan.

  11. It’s rare that one gets to use the word ‘destroyed’ in the context of a serious debate but there’s little doubt that Dr Hicks absolutely mastered ‘Thad’. This was the Professor being challenged by an upstart student whose self regard far outweighs his understanding of the subject. This did nothing for the reputation of Postmodernism, ‘Thad’ or Columbia college. In fact it’s a serious boost to those who argue that postmodernist courses are a mixture of drivel and propaganda taught by morons

  12. I think the problem you’re experiencing is that leftist politics, a la Lenin, is a combination of the conspiratorial and the imbecilic. The conspirators concentrate on producing activists that infiltrate the media, diversity administration and local government. They act as the vanguard and part of their strategy is to conceal their motives under the language of diversity, equity and inclusion. The other side are the left wing imbeciles, the modern day proletariat, who are satisfied that their support of leftist policies equates to a moral and intellectual superiority that substitutes for actual inquiry or rational argument. The people, for example, that applaud the Green New Deal and the simultaneous outlawing of nuclear power on the basis of some crap about Western Imperialist Patriarchy etc. So if you’re the first type, you just lie and if you’re the second type you’re too stupid or brainwashed to see the bigger picture
    https://arab-rhyme.blogspot.com/

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