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Nationalism and Richard Rorty: The Text as a Flag for Pax Americana
Richard Rorty is in danger of attaining the sort of eminence which today is normally reserved for French philosophes. He is one of the few English-language thinkers whom defenders of postmodernism feel able to cite along-side the continental icons of Foucault, Derrida and Baudrillard. He has been described, for example, as ‘one of the major US philosophers of the post-modern movement’.  As such, Rorty can be treated as a representative of wider cultural, ideological trends.  Roy Bhaskar takes this line in his recent Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom. ‘Why Rorty?’, he asks, having devoted the bulk of his book to criticizing the American philosopher. Bhaskar answers his own question by claiming that Rorty’s philosophy, with its anti-realism and celebration of irony, provides an ideology for intellectual yuppies.  There is nothing new in seeing the tones of conformity in Rorty’s professed postmodern liberalism. Nancy Fraser has accused Rorty of failing to acknowledge patriarchal assumptions. A few years ago, Richard Bernstein saw Rorty as a Cold War theorist.  Indeed, Rorty himself writes that ‘the left’s favourite word for me is “complacent”, just as the right’s is “irresponsible” ’. 
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