Over the past couple of years, I’ve trended strongly towards antifoundationalism, which is a rejection of fundamental truths or beliefs as a basis for analysis or inquiry. It sort of started with Nietzsche’s God is dead formulation and proceeded from there. Basically, I’ve come to doubt that there are any moral truths or any grounds for believing that their might be. This line of thinking can lead to what appears to be some ridiculous claims–there are no genders?–but I want to deal with it on a more superficial level.
One of the problems of antifoundationalism, for me, is trying to define the United States of America. If there are no absolute, no essences, what can America possibly mean? I think most people, me included, when pressed, quote the Declaration when pressed on this point: America is about the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what we think ties us together as Americans.
So what does America mean to an antifoundationalist who rejects life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as universals? I don’t know–how can I share in an America that I reject?
It’s a tough question for me–I don’t really know how to answer it. And none of this is to say I don’t share in America, but I am pretty skeptical of the bullshit we tell ourselves about universal values.