Friday, November 27, 2009

Lexus And/Or the Olive Tree

The PoMo Con argument, or hope, is that we can separate modern institutions (Democracy, Capitalism, Science) from modern values (individualism, moral relativism, atheism). If this separation can occur, then these values can be replaced with a more robust understanding of who we are and our place in the cosmos. Harvey Mansfield succinctly summarizes the argument, “John Stuart Mill in the public sphere and Aristotle in private.”

Front Porcher Patrick Deneen’s counter to this argument is that modern values are wedded to modern institutions so one must either accept or reject the project in toto.

One way to test this question is to look at globalization and immigration issues. Easterners make a distinction similar to the one made by PoMo Cons above. They say yes to modernization (institutions) but no to Westernization (values). Have they been able to do so? Has India, which is a rising economic power, been able to maintain its traditional culture? Have Easterners who have moved to the U.S. been able to instill their values in their children? The early returns do not look good: Bollywood and ABCD’s.

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