Post is the name of a cereal company that makes Raisin Bran, Honey Combs and Shredded Wheat. In 2006, they discontinued Post-Toasties, the brand of choice in summer camp. When I hear the prefix post-, I think of cereal.
The latest infection of language is to call everything is post- and post-modern. People who want change apply it to every change they want and people who are against change call all change as post –modern. Simply things like the modern poetry of Rilke or the thought of Hegel can be called Post-modern by those who have not read/heard of them.
People throw around terms indiscriminately. I do not like the term right and left- there has to be a description. Right and left differ between decades and countries. I do not like it when the word existential is used as a synonym for emotional or important. Nor do I like it when hermeneutic, which means the horizons and assumptions that allow for interpretation, is used for exegesis. And I do not like when the word “unique,” which in Rav Soloveitchik means revelatory and outside of culture, is used for special.
So here is a little screed from another blog inhabitato dei, with the expletives removed.
You’re not “post-“ anything so shut up!
If there was one term I could actually effect a moratorium on I think it would have to be the phrase “post-”. But, since I can’t effect a moratorium, allow me to propose an axiom instead:
Any conceptual position (theological, philosophical, etc.) that describes itself using the modifier “post-” is never actually “post-” anything in anything other than a temporal sense (and usually that’s not the case either).
Postmetaphysical? No. Postfoundationalist? No, you were never foundationalist to start with. Postliberal? No, you’re still liberal. Postmodern? Shut up, that’s just stupid. Post-postmodern? Kneecaps, meet baseball bat.
The only possible places where I can think of the term “post-” having any real usefulness are in the realms of architecture and art history. Insofar as it gets used by philosophers and theologians its just an attempt to short circuit an argument by pretending that the views you are attacking were a developmental stage you went through when you were young and not quite as well read as you obviously are now. To call any view “post-” anything is just a masquerade alloying one to define your adversary as wrong, arcane, and naive from the outset.
In short, adopting the language of “post-” is unforgivably cheap and masks a lack of ability to actually make good arguments against things you want to criticize.
There are indeed large cultural changes afoot. Gen Y- the Millennial are the most liberal generation alive and their immediate seniors gen X is the most conservative. And more importantly- Since the 1730’s, every 30-35 years American culture has dramatically shifted from liberal to conservative and back again. But describe it. Calling it post-modern is like the 1958 person saying “we cant kept kosher outside the house- we are modern” or the 2000 person saying “of course we are libertarian and not interested in high culture, are we dont seek religious experience, we are Orthodox.”