Are we in an era of postcritique?
If so, what does this mean for discussion between different points of view and for the political imagination of another future? Are we condemned to a democratic relativism where everyone is right and where we must practice universal tolerance?
Or can we give a strong meaning to the concept of postcritical, to distinguish it from the post-truth regime where everyone has the right to construct their « reality » apart from any confrontation with a real independent of our wills ?
To try to answer this question, one should speak concretely, from a real case. One can take the example of the « debate » between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Zizek:
In the first part of this meeting Jordan Peterson chose to adopt the critical posture, even if he is capable of other language games. His initial statement was close to the critical rationalism of Karl Popper. Despite his insistence on his status as a clinician , Peterson spoke, albeit clumsily, from within the discourse of the university by trying to refute the Communist Manifesto.
Disappointing expectations, Slavoj Zizek in his response adopted a postcritical posture, speaking the discourse of the hysteric , that is to say, a subjectivated speech, despite his academic legitimacy. Thus, he foiled the expectations of a « critical » debate, pre-coded and unsurprising.
The result of this non sequitur , and of the open-mindedness which Peterson exemplified, is that the critical « debate » turned into a free exchange. The points of agreement were able to come to the fore. The points of disagreement were not avoided, but they did not dominate the discussion.
Thus the clear and distinct lines of demarcation of the critical era have today become more ambiguous, more confused, and more permeable.
The two thinkers agreed on one preoccupying ideological symptom: politically correct multi-culturalism. And they shared the same diagnosis: this symptom makes use of democratic relativism and dogmatic egalitarianism as ideological masks to hide the emergence of a new authoritarianism.