Monday, April 13, 2015

ISIS as postmodern Nazis

It looks like, once again, ISIS has destroyed a priceless set piece from the past that can never be duplicated.  A growing trend.   As my boys watched this, they made an interesting observation.  They said ISIS is the Nazi party of the postmodern era.  Here's what they meant.

They said if the Nazis were ISIS, when they captured Paris the first thing the Nazis would have done would have been destroy the Eiffel Tower and burn down the Louvre.  But they didn't.  For all their legendary evil, they were evil within a world in which there were still universal assumptions.  When Hitler visited Napoleon's tomb, he didn't whip it out and piss all over it.  He showed it respect.  Even admiration.

The Nazis understood the worth of art and culture and the past.  Sure, they looted a crap ton of it.  But they also kept a crap ton.  Building on it and celebrating that which was valuable that now belonged to them.  That's because there was a time when you didn't have to like something to see its worth.  You didn't have to like cubism to understand the worth of a Picasso.  You didn't have to love classical music to appreciate Beethoven or Mozart.  You didn't have to like Bogart to accept him as one awesomely cool actor.  There were simply things in the world that assumed.  You assumed a common mindset, even if all other things were up for grabs.  Things bigger than us that we couldn't deny.

The Patron Saint of postmodern thinking
Fast forward to the postmodern world of the Internet.  The world my boys are growing up with.   Nothing is real and truth can get hung about it.  Much of the Internet is filled with people flipping the bird to anything and everything.  Who says this is good and that isn't?  Maybe The Godfather sucks, but Phantom Menace rocks.  Harry Potter?   As good as holy writ.   Shakespeare?   Loser.

And it goes on.  The US?  Evil.  Stupid. Parties?  For losers.  Maybe  the Enlightenment sucked.  Plato?  Aristotle?  Socrates?  Morons.  I owe nothing to anyone except my carefully hand crafted demographic of like thinking awesome hipsters.

And if disregard for accepted ideas and contributors is the name, then inconsistency is the game.  On Mark's CAEI, Mark is a crusader against abortion, debauchery, blasphemous humor and the movement to crush religious freedom for better sex lives.  And yet Mark loves, admires and respects Jon Stewart, who according to CNN and other media outlets, in one of our culture's most admired defenders of abortion, debauchery, blasphemous humor and the movement to crush religious freedom for better sex lives. After all, as postmoderns we owe nothing to anything but our own awesomeness.  Loving what all should love.  Hating what all should hate.  Binding and loosing accordingly.  And always - always - being awesomely right.

In the day, lines were drawn.  Those who advocated evil were simply those who advocated evil.  It didn't matter that Hitler loved animals.  Great.  But his evils and being wrong far outweighed the good. And even if the US wasn't perfect, the focus was on Hitler as the evil despite his love for animals.  Because Americans, and many others, believed that what America brought to the table was better than what the Nazis brought.  And loyalty to those ideals meat that we stood together as Americans against a greater evil.  Consistency.  Shared values.

Even though the Nazis did what ISIS and many postmodern don't, and that's accept certain common ideals and assumptions. Which is also a problem I have with Pope Francis, who seems to be loved by those same bloggers who have no problem saying that more people get killed by lightening than terrorist attacks.  What they mean, of course, is that as long as the terrorists kill some other dumb American, it's a sacrifice I can handle.  I owe nothing to America, Americans, or anything unless I personally say it's awesome.  It's me and my hand crafted demographic.

So when Pope Francis dismisses this or that tradition just because it's not Dogma, what do we care?  People are offended?  Screw them.  People don't like it?  Who cares?  It's not important right?  I mean, even postmoderns agree the Nazis were evil or that ISIS is bad.  The irony, however, is that increasingly ISIS is merely adding one thing to the layers of evil witnessed decades ago.  A new layer that our postmodern world not only engages in, but increasingly celebrates as long as it doesn't impact me.

I have to say, it was a true observation.


  1. I could probably post more about how this was all predicted in CS Lewis' Abolition of Man but until then, two links:

    That I think prove your point as well in a round about way.

  2. I've seen that story picking up speed. It's what happens when you speak against the demands of the PC era. I tell my boys that they have no idea what it is to live in a truly free and tolerant society. And they agree. That the cause of this is the same movement that once promised tolerance and diversity is best explained, as my second boy said, by reading Animal Farm.


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