> Not so. Postmodernism maintains only that there can be no independent
> standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an
> event is the true one. The only thing postmodern thought argues
> against is the hope of justifying our response to the attacks in
> universal terms that would be persuasive to everyone, including our
> enemies. Invoking the abstract notions of justice and truth to
> support our cause wouldn't be effective anyway because our
> adversaries lay claim to the same language. (No one declares himself
> to be an apostle of injustice.)
> Instead, we can and should invoke the particular lived values that
> unite us and inform the institutions we cherish and wish to defend.
> At times like these, the nation rightly falls back on the record of
> aspiration and accomplishment that makes up our collective
> understanding of what we live for. That understanding is sufficient,
> and far from undermining its sufficiency, postmodern thought tells us
> that we have grounds enough for action and justified condemnation in
> the democratic ideals we embrace, without grasping for the empty
> rhetoric of universal absolutes to which all subscribe but which all
> define differently.
> Ms. Sontag grants them courage, which she is careful to say is a
> "morally neutral" term, a quality someone can display in the
> performance of a bad act. (Milton's Satan is the best literary
> example.) You don't condone that act because you describe it
> accurately. In fact, you put yourself in a better position to respond
> to it by taking its true measure. Making the enemy smaller than he is
> blinds us to the danger he presents and gives him the advantage that
> comes along with having been underestimated.
If "there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an event is the true one", how can we take the "true measure" of an act and "describe it accurately" or discover "the particular lived values that unite us and inform the institutions we cherish and wish to defend", "the record of aspiration and accomplishment that makes up our collective understanding of what we live for"?