Soho Forum

Do Free Societies Need Postmodernism? A 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.

Music: "Modum" by Kai Engel is licensed under a CC-BY creative commons license.

Produced by Todd Krainin.