Charlottesville, Third- and Fourth-wave Postmodernism

Clashing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia — far right, far left, and others. Street violence and declarations of emergency by the governing officials. How did we get to this?

First, how postmodernism evolved through three phases from high theory to coercive activism:

Second, other anti-liberal and anti-rational movements learn and adopt the same strategies to their own ends: “Will the Alt-Right Make the Left embrace the Enlightenment?”

That’s the intellectual form the dynamic takes. But that works with embodied psychology of the individuals who make up the movements.

So third: neo-Nazi, white supremacist, alt-right, and related movements are populated with envious losers who seek cheap self-esteem by embracing a group identity.

Then, fourth, they meet the many left-identity factions that are equally resentful and seeking validation through their group memberships:

At the same time, genuine liberals who care about individual rights, civility, and the peaceful prosecution of disagreements become the marginalized minority.

And now both alt-right and pomo-left are angry and energized — and at the same time committed to anti-rational and anti-individual principles. Their taking it to the streets becomes inevitable.

“Understanding Postmodernism: The 3 Stages to Today´s Insanity” is excerpted from an interview Michael Mark Lewis did with me in 2016.
“Nietzsche Perfectly Forecasts the Postmodernist Left” is excerpted from a 1998 lecture at The Atlas Society conference in Boulder, Colorado.

6 thoughts on “Charlottesville, Third- and Fourth-wave Postmodernism

  • August 12, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Correct as always.

    A couple of thoughts:
    1) I feel like you were the first lucid champion against the postmodernists (you were for me). But Peterson is generating $50K+ in contributions because he is a more aggressive (and prolific) opponent, and I feel you’re not getting due returns.

    2) I have a problem when anyone uses psychologisms, which are just as much a technique of the marxists and postmodernists (gossips), as the denial of reason. So, if one is going to go to the effort of historicizing the rhetoric of both the enlightenment and counter enlightenment, then why not avoid psychologism and argue with incentives. This is what may make your arguments more accessible to common people, but it does a disservice to them and you: people seek to acquire by far more dishonest and parasitic means than honest and productive means. And as far as I know, the current suite of rents and redistributions has come at the expense of those of the working middle, and less so, upper middle class, because under redistributive democracy the bottom and top can ally against the middle – and have. Reducing arguments to psychologisms (emotions) creates a false equivalency – and creates the same relativism that the marxists and postmoderns have with their construction of iterations on psychologism.


  • August 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Absolutely, as always!

  • August 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    David Lowenthal of Boston College in 1987 published a book called No Liberty for License: The Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment. In it there is quite a bit about the clear and present danger rule that Oliver Wendell Holmes made up that goes totally against what the founders would have thought was rational: therefore you get threats of violence toward other groups that end up happening and the police are put in the position of being fortune-tellers. I think that is part of the basis of this and not a small part.

    The book is a look at the law in three areas: revolutionary groups, obscenity and pornography, and church-state relations – a look at the law and how it has changed. it was so prescient it was reissued after 9/11 as Present Dangers with a new preface.

  • August 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks, Curt.
    Yes, I should think more about how to monetize all of this.
    Can you say more about the distinction you’re making between psychological and incentive factors? An incentive is a prospect of value, and that seems psychological. Or is it that what you’re calling psychologizing factors are expressive of internal states while incentives are external inducements?

  • August 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Mr. Hicks,
    I have been seduced by Alt-right thinking and would like you to change the way I think. I listen to YouTube videos of Richard Spencer, Red Ice, Millennial Woes, and Jared Taylor. I have a fear of going extinct and losing influence and hold a growing resentment for blacks, Jews, and Muslims. I don’t like how much control ‘white guilt’ has over people. I tend to think we, descendants of Western Europeans, are the only people able to feel shame and guilt for the actions of their ancestors; other groups shamelessly milk our guilt for their interests. I am very angry that all the world’s problems have been blamed on my group, young, white, straight, non-gender dysphoric men. I idealize being left alone and not bothered by all the freaks and weirdos who stymie and parasitize good people. Why do I feel this way?
    I have read two of your books, Nietzsche and the Nazis and Explaining Postmodernism, and have listened to many of your lectures and interviews on YouTube. I very much enjoyed them.

  • August 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    *our ancestors

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