How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 1)

It is hard to talk to talk to people who believe that truth is relative. And there are more and more such people all the time.

C.S. Lewis described the fallacy of any theory that rejects the connection between thought and truth. In his book Miracles he said “All possible knowledge … depends on the validity of reasoning,” and developed his argument thus:

No account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, itself be demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound – a proof that there are no such things as proofs – which is nonsense.

To disbelieve in truth is patently self-contradictory. To “believe” means to think that something is true; and to say, “It is true that nothing is true” is fundamentally meaningless nonsense. The very statement, “There is no absolute truth,” is a statement of absolute truth. In the past, this pseudo-intellectual exercise was little more than a parlor game for the vacuous and simply not taken seriously. But it is very serious today, indeed. Today these views are held not only by much of academia, but by the average man on the street.

The rejection of absolutes is not merely a fine point of philosophical debate. Relative values accompany the relativism of truth. Today, we are a morally velocitized culture. What was unthinkable decades ago is openly practiced today; and what is unthinkable today will surely be openly practiced within a few years’ time.

What we have today is not merely immoral behavior by virtually all previous standards of conduct, but an abandonment of moral criteria altogether. More, we have an abandonment of meaning itself; and so today, we look for meaning in ways that would have bewildered, saddened, and shocked our forefathers.

The intellect is being replaced by the will. Reason is being replaced by emotion (which is one reason our kids are falling so far behind in math and science, and why so many are so passionate about a political candidate whose positions they cannot even begin to articulate). Morality is replaced by relativism. Reality itself is becoming viewed as little more than a mere social construct that can be manipulated by language. It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

Today, I frequently encounter people who hold mutually inconsistent ideas. I literally wonder how their heads do not explode from the contradictions they spout. It might simply be ignorance or confusion, but it really doesn’t matter: holding to mutually inconsistent ideas is a sure sign of believing that there is no such thing as absolute truth.

Where did all this come from?

Postmodernism as any form of coherent intellectual discipline largely developed from the field of literary criticism, especially from deconstructionism. So it is no surprise that postmodern scholars stress the importance of “contextualizing,” putting an author or an idea in the context of the times and showing its connections to all of the other “texts” that constituted the culture. But it turns out that one can deconstruct this deconstructionism to see where this thinking has been before, and where it will surely go again unless we turn away from these ideas. It is revealing, for instance, to contextualize Martin Heidegger, who originated the anti-humanism of both the academic theorists and the environmental movement that is so significant in the postmodernist academic circles of today. David Levin has written that Heidegger criticized humanism for tolerating totalitarianism. But Levin was quite disingenuous; the fact is, we now know that Martin Heidegger was a Nazi (see Victor Farias, Heidegger and Nazism, tr. Paul Burrell (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989), p. 253).

Heidegger’s active involvement in the Nazi party and his shameless promotion of its ideology puts a very different light on his rejection of the individual, his repudiation of traditional human values, and his glorification of nature and culture. We find that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these postmodernist concepts were central tenets of fascism. It should be no surprise that the deconstructionist critic Paul de Man has also been revealed as an apologist of Nazism (for the connection between Heidegger’s Nazi ideology and his philosophy, see Tom Rockmore, On Heidegger’s Nazism and Philosophy (Berkeley: U of California Press, 1992). The fact is, postmodernism as a philosophy shares the same underlying concepts as fascist thought.

Postmodernists of today and the fascist intellectuals of the 1930s BOTH embrace a radicalism based not so much on economics but on culture. They BOTH reject identity in favor of cultural determinism. They BOTH reject moral values in favor of the will to power. They BOTH reject reason in favor of irrational emotional release. They BOTH reject a transcendent God in favor of an impersonal, mystical nature.

In Gene Edward Veith’s book, Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, he discusses in detail fascist ideology, its intrinsic opposition to the biblical worldview, and its survival in contemporary culture and postmodernist thought. He demonstrates that the irrationalism, the cultural reductionism, and the anti-human values of the postmodernists have already been tried once, and the result was catastrophic. Fascism is coming back. Communism has fallen, but throughout the former Soviet empire democracy is opposed by a new alliance of ex-Marxists and nationalists, who are trying to forge a new National Socialism (witness Vladimir Putin’s shutting down a newspaper for publishing his secret divorce and remarriage to a young Russian gymnast). American academics see themselves as pro-Marxists (or neo-Marxist, or post-Marxists, or however they sell this utterly failed system to themselves), but their desire for a government controlled economy, their cultivated irrationalism, and their reduction of social issues to questions of culture and race are actually more similar to Mussolini (i.e. fascism) than to Marx. If Marxism is modern, fascism is postmodern. And, as per the title of another of Veith’s books on the subject, we are living in Postmodern Times.

In addition to Gene Edward Veith’s insightful works, a further excellent reference is the book The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism by Richard Wolin (whose study substantially agrees with this paper). A review of Wolin by George Crowder available online is also very much worth reading. Although Crowder disagrees with the conclusion that fascism is implicit in postmodernism, he nevertheless acknowledges that the philosophical premises between the two ideologies are virtually identical. There is a genuine interrelatedness between fascist and postmodernist thought that simply cannot be denied.

For all their earnest championing of the oppressed, and their politically correct sensitivities, postmodernist intellectuals, no doubt without realizing it, are actually resurrecting the ways of thinking that gave us World War II and the Holocaust. Perhaps the postmodernists think their good intentions will mitigate the implications of what they are saying. But intellectuals thought this once before, with terrifying consequences. David Hirsch has warned, “Purveyors of postmodernist ideologies must consider whether it is possible to diminish human beings in theory, without, at the same time, making individual human lives worthless in the real world.” Ideas have consequences.

The Tenets of Postmodernist Ideology and The Political Implications of Postmodernism (Understand that this is a presentation of what postmodernists believe and the corresponding implications of these beliefs):

  • Existentialism. Existentialism provides the rationale for contemporary postmodernism. Since everyone creates his or her own meaning, every meaning must be equally valid. Religion becomes merely a private affair, which must not be “imposed” on anyone else. The context of one’s meaning makes no difference, only the personal commitment – to give otherwise meaningless life some subjective degree of meaning. Jean Paul Sarte chose communism; Martin Heidegger chose Nazism; Rudolf Bultmann chose Christianity. Everyone inhabits his or her own private reality. Thus, “What’s true for you may not be true for me.” In today’s youth culture (and video/computer games are a classic example), we find a growing dark side to this existential subjectivism; we see a growing cynicism, pessimism, and dislike for reality as more and more people elect to create their own private realities and “tune out” to the world around them.
  • Moral Relativism. Moral values, like all other kinds of meaning, are created by the self. The best example of this existential ethic can be found in those who call themselves “pro-choice” in their advocacy of abortion. To them, it makes no difference what the woman decides, only that she makes an authentic choice (whether or not to have her baby). Whatever she chooses is right – for her. “Pro-choice” advocates are astonishingly disinterested in any objective information that might have a bearing on the morality of abortion or the status of the unborn. Data about fetal development, facts about the despicable ways abortion is performed, philosophical argumentation about the sanctity of life – all such objective evidences from the outside world are meaningless and can have no bearing on the woman’s private choice. As we can see in the “One child per family” policy of forced abortion in China, however, this view of individual choice cannot stand for long in a larger community that accepts the premises of abortion. Ultimately, as we shall see, one’s will must be subsumed into the will of the majority.
  • Social Constructivism. Meaning, morality, and truth do not exist objectively; rather, they are constructed by the society. The belief that reality is socially constructed is nothing less than the formula for totalitarianism [as David Horowitz pointed out in “The Queer Fellows,” American Spectator, January 1993, pp. 42-48. For a similar discussion applied to Hollywood values in K.L. Billingsley, The Seductive Image: A Christian Critique of the World of Film (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1989), pp. 112-113)]. Democracy presumes that individuals are free and self-directed. They are capable of governing themselves. But postmodernism holds that individuals are NOT free and in fact are directed by their societies. If the members of a society are passively and wholly controlled by societal forces, then self-governance would be impossible. Furthermore, if reality in fact is socially constructed, then the power of society and those who lead it becomes unlimited. We see this carried out to its logical extreme in Orwell’s 1984, in which the all-powerful state totally shaped the culture and controlled the very thoughts of the masses.
  • Cultural Determinism. Individuals are wholly shaped by cultural forces. Language in particular determines what we can think, trapping us in a “prison house of language.” Whereas Christian religion teaches that God constructs reality and creates man in His image to comprehend that reality, to see society as the creator (of reality) is to divinize culture. With these postmodern assumptions, every problem must have a societal solution, and nothing would escape the control of those who direct such a society. “Totalitarian” means that the state controls every sphere of life, which is exactly what postmodernism implicitly assumes in its presuppositions!
  • The Rejection of Individual Identity. People exist primarily as members of groups. The phenomenon of American individualism is itself a construction of American culture with its middle-class values of independence and introspection, but it remains an illusion. Identity is primarily collective. Postmodernism minimizes (even subsumes) the individual in favor of the group. This can only result in a collectivist mentality in which the claims of the individual are lost within the demands of the group. An ideology that that believes that personal liberty is an illusion can hardly be expected to uphold, allow, or tolerate human freedom. Subscribing to the former view ultimately must rule out the latter.
  • The Rejection of Humanism. Values that emphasize the creativity, autonomy, and priority of human beings are misplaced. There is no universal humanity since every culture constitutes its own reality. Traditional humanistic values are canons of exclusion, oppression, and crimes against the natural environment. Groups must empower themselves to assert their own values and to take their place with other [human as well as non-human] planetary species.
  • The Denial of the Transcendent. There are no absolutes. Even if there were, we would have no access to them since we are completely bound to our culture and imprisoned in our language. Moreover, excluding transcendent values places societies beyond constraints of moral limits. There is no God outside, above, or transcendent to society that holds a society accountable. Society is not subject to the moral law; it makes its own moral law.
  • Power Reductionism. All institutions, all human relationships, all moral values, and all human creations – from works of art to religious ideologies – are all expressions and masks of the primal will to power. If there are no absolutes, the society can presumably construct any values that it pleases and is itself subject to none. All such issues are only matters of power. Without moral absolutes, power becomes arbitrary.
  • The Rejection of Reason. Reason and the impulse to objectify truth are illusory masks for cultural power. Authenticity and fulfillment come from submerging the self into a larger group, releasing one’s natural impulses such as honest emotions and sexuality, cultivating subjectivity, and developing a radical openness to existence by refusing to impose order on one’s life. Since there is no ultimate basis for moral persuasion or rational argument, the side with the most power will win. Government becomes nothing more than the sheer exercise of unlimited power, restrained neither by law nor by reason. One group achieves its own will to power over the others. On the personal level, the rejection of all external absolutes in favor of subjectivity can mean the triumph of irrationalism, the eruption of raw emotion, and the imposition of terror.
  • A Revolutionary Critique of the Existing Order. Modern society with its rationalism, order, and unitary view of truth needs to be replaced by a new world order. Scientific knowledge reflects an outdated modernism, though the new electronic technology holds great promise. Segmentation of society into its constituent groups will allow for a true cultural pluralism. The old order must be swept away, to be replaced by a new, as yet undefined, mode of communal existence.

(Note: Although I do not provide citations, and my own ideas are interspersed throughout this paper, much of this three part series emerges directly from the influence of two works by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.: Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, and Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture. At some future time I intend to add page references. Veith’s penetrating analysis of culture needs to be considered as we enter into what are incresingly perilous times.)

See How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 2)

How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 3) is available here.

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38 Responses to “How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 1)”

  1. Thomas Jackson Says:

    Though your writing is obviously inspired by some familiar rants that rightwing cranks regularly revisit, your exposition of postmodern ideology is actually a pretty good description of the ideology currently embraced by the neocons and their supporters.

    “To disbelieve in truth is patently self-contradictory. To “believe” means to think that something is true; and to say, “It is true that nothing is true” is fundamentally meaningless nonsense. The very statement, “There is no absolute truth,” is a statement of absolute truth.”

    Of course it’s contradictory to disbelieve in truth. But it’s not belief in truth that is being critiqued. It’s belief in certainty that cannot be absolute. This is trivially proven, quite rationally, by the impossibility of having absolutely certain measurement, absolutely every time. Every student of science knows that every measurement comes with critiques: precision and certainty.

    Even standard measurements are set by convention, and not because one can be absolutely sure that a measurement will be absolutely reproducible in every instance. Neither the universe nor our senses sort nicely into absolute categories. How do we know this? Because we’ve tried. Scientists, engineers, architects, and craftsmen of all kinds try, every day, and have been trying for thousands of years.

    Philosophers have tried to incorporate that same fuzziness we see in reality into critiques of our expectations from religious, philosophical and social doctrines.

    Deconstructing text is not about boiling it’s importance down to an equivalence with the ingredients for a twinkie. It’s about better understanding what influences shaped it’s creation. The purpose of the exercise is not to reduce all ideas to moral equivalence. The purpose is to understand what cultural influences can be associated with ideas. You’re doing it yourself, though somewhat clumsily.

    “In the postmodern world, people are increasingly defining themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, or ’sexual preference.’ Others define themselves by associating with a particular cause or ‘interest group,’ such as environmentalism, physical fitness, animal rights, or natural foods. In another ominous parallel to fascism, individuals find their identity by submerging themselves in a group.”

    This is just silly. People have been finding their identity this way for as far back as we can find evidence. You might as well say that joining the boy scouts or devoting oneself to a religion is a precursor to fascism.

    As for your tenets of postmodernism: I have no idea whether these tenets are actually tenets of postmodernism or not. I do know one thing, though. I could find examples of exactly these tenets in the ideology of the neocons. Many people have written whole books documenting the striking similarities between the neocons and the historical fascist regimes. I have been seeing examples of these similarities in reports about current events.

    Perhaps you should be less concerned about the Left taking leave of reason, morality, semantics, and humility and look at the anti-republican movement that, with Orwellian verve, calls itself “republican.” I don’t see any Leftists aggressively establishing a fascist state in America.

    Just one example (they are myriad). Who has adopted a policy of nationalist exceptionalism and international anarchy, in defiance and in rejection of international law? Who has adopted a policy of pre-emptive warfare, following that by fabricating pretexts for war, and then following that by invading, occupying, terrorizing and looting another country? I’ve just described The Crime Against Peace, for which the Nazi High Command was tried, convicted and hanged. Does it sound like anything else that you’ve heard?

    It’s a bit more concrete, if you’re looking for current examples of resurgent fascism, than raising the alarm about post modernist academics deconstructing books for critical analysis.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    I see again and again leftists and postmodernists who are complete hypocrites – and yet completely unable to see their own hypocrisy, no matter how obvious it is. You tell me that belief in certainty cannot be absolute – and then you offer assurances that we can be absolutely certain of that. You literally prove my major point for me.

    By the way, science uniquely emerged in Western European Christendom by men who embraced the ideas of a personal Creator God, an orderly, rational, law-based universe, and a view of human beings whom – as the Imago Dei – were capable of understanding and investigating the universe God made for them. The scientific method, and every major branch of science, was discovered by a publicly confessed Christian. Galileo, the greatest scientist who ever lived by most accounts, wrote more about theology than he did about science. So please do not insult the intelligence of any readers of this article with insinuations that either truth or religion are somehow incompatible with science.

    You make note of my clumsy attempt at deconstruction: but it’s not that I did it clumsily, simply that you don’t care for the conclusion that emerges. Martin Heidegger, the man who gave us deconstructionism (Derrida got it from Heidegger’s Destruktion) is a documented Nazi. That colors deconstructionism every freakin’ bit as much as deconstructionists who routinely use the approach to condemn one conservative cause after another. It is literally a badge of honor that a Nazi technique would find fault with conservatives. One of your heroes was a Nazi. Deconstructionism is both intellectually and morally bankrupt. Live with it.

    When I talk about people defining themselves by group or race, this IS something new. Contrary to your analysis, Boy Scouts did not identify themselves as a group exercising its own “will to power” to triumph over other groups, employing crushing political tactics and even violence if necessary. I ought to know; I was a Boy Scout. We didn’t do that stuff in my troop.

    Your statement of the neocons’ (whatever the hell you mean by ‘neocon’, anyway) matching my ten criteria is simply laughable. You have clearly never been in an evangelical church in your life, or you would have more of a clue how seriously wrong you are. The 10 criteria I list are all fundamentally denied by conservatives, but increasingly embraced by the left. I notice that you didn’t say ANY of them were bad things.

    I’m going to quote your frankly best paragraph:

    “Just one example (they are myriad). Who has adopted a policy of nationalist exceptionalism and international anarchy, in defiance and in rejection of international law? Who has adopted a policy of pre-emptive warfare, following that by fabricating pretexts for war, and then following that by invading, occupying, terrorizing and looting another country? I’ve just described The Crime Against Peace, for which the Nazi High Command was tried, convicted and hanged. Does it sound like anything else that you’ve heard?”

    So you are arguing that President Bush (yes, we can name your boogeyman), is a fascist who claims American ethnic superiority, that he has imposed a national SOCIALIST government upon the United States (you DO know that Nazism was socialist, don’t you?), and that – as a gigantic fiction, the United States is NOT a democratic republic, but actually a fascist totalitarian regime masquerading as a democratic republic. Furthermore, it is a fraud perpetuated by the fascist United Nations lackey of the fascist United States in finding 17 UN resolutions condemning Iraq which gave the United States legitimate authority to go to war as negotiated by the 1990 cease fire agreement (http://magazine.byu.edu/g/?act=view&a=1204).
    And, of course, you are clearly correct that the United States must have annexed both Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its new “United Fascist States of America.”

    And, of course, when Iran does develop nuclear weapons, we will be equally fascist if we venture there, as well. The REAL hero of history, of course, was Neville Chamberlain, who made peace such a priority over war that he gave us “peace in our time.”

    I wonder seriously if people with attitudes like yours are capable of realizing that the world’s oldest democracy, and the nation that above all others defeated fascism and served as the greatest source of freedom in the world for better than two centuries (even though imperfectly), just might deserve some credit. The Iraq war resolution, for what it’s worth, passed by overwhelming margins in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, with a clear majority of Democratic Senators (including Senator Hillary Clinton’s) support. The people who deserve genuine reproach are those who supported the war, and then turned against it in an astonishing example of moral cowardice.

    Much of your own rhetoric is in fact a classic example of what I was writing about, and frankly why I wrote it. It’s little wonder you disapprove of my article so strongly.

    But thank you for reading it, and thank you for your comments.

  3. Allan Says:

    This article is no good. Let me tell you why:

    1. POSTMODERNISM IS NOT A REAL SCHOOL OF THOUGHT. The term stems from an article by Lyotard. While I believe he self-applied the term, I am aware of no other important thinker who has. Further, no one you cite (basically, Heidegger and Derrida) is an irrationalist. Quite the opposite. They are devoted to understanding what reason is rather than simply making use of it. This is a critical move. Rather than use reason to draw conclusions from premises, they take reason as an object of study and say “What is this? What sustains it? What is the nature of its claim upon us?” etc.
    Now it is certainly the case that there is an abundance of crappy deconstructionist thought out there (though there is much more crappy anti-postmodernist thought out there, and you cite much of it). But your use of the term “postmodernists” is an attempt to summarily dismiss a deeply heterogeneous set of theories by assuming a non-existent uniformity among them. This is a straw-man.

    2. YOU DO NOT PROVIDE ANY REAL SUPPORT FOR YOUR CENTRAL CLAIM. Your thesis: postmodernism inexorably leads to fascism. You make a hazy though forceful claim that a necessity exists. You never warrant that claim. What is the nature of this necessity? What sustains this necessity? There are non-relativist fascists (e.g. Iranian fascism), there are relativist non-fascists (e.g. Daoists). If this is true in one case, then at the very least the use of the word “inexorably” is improper. But more than this, you never show that more than two theorists had fascist ties. Correlation is not causation, and a weak correlation in fact suggests the lack of a necessary causal relation.

    3. YOU ABUSE THE ISSUE OF NAZISM. That Heidegger briefly endorsed Nazism does not imply in and of itself that everyone who reads him seriously has caught the Nazi bug. The logic you deploy is this: all postmoderns take from Heidegger, he was a Nazi, therefore all postmoderns take from Nazism. This is the same logic used by those who claim: American constitutional democracy was founded by a group of people (the founders), most of them were racists and/or slave masters, therefore American constitutional democracy is inherently racist. If this were a serious point, you would be able to point to many, many more examples than Heidegger and DeMann (whose ‘Nazi involvement’ consisted of a couple of pro-Reich articles in a student paper he wrote for in his early twenties). If this were a serious point, then instead of pointing out how some universities are limiting free speech, you would be able to point to passages in Heidegger’s and Derrida’s philosophical works which advocate such policies. You can’t because those passages do not exist.

    4. YOU FALL PREY TO YOUR OWN CRITICISM, generally to a greater degree than those you criticize. Heidegger endorsed the Nazi party (by the way, he did so for about a year and this occurred long before the horrors of Nazism were evident; most of the rest of his career after “die Kerhe” involved fundamental rethinking of his early position and the positions of Nazi intellectuals–cf. his Nietzsche lectures) for precisely the reasons you cite for rejecting “postmodernism.” He thought it might be a way out of the “age of technology” among whose primary features is that the world lacks an absolute standard to lend it an ultimate meaning.
    Against the age of technology, the early Heidegger saw a potential in Nazism to reinstate, through force of decision, the German destiny. You perform the same basic move in your piece, wading through a sea of nihilists to reinstate humanist, Christian, moralistic heritage of American Democracy. You never give any reason Democracy is a good thing, you fight for it in the manner one fights for the home team.
    Your article is far more relativist than Heidegger’s philosophy concerning the meaning, truth, and place of Being. Your article amounts to this: “The postmodern barbarians are at the gates of our ancient and hallowed city! To arms!” That is to say, YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY INASMUCH AS IT IS A CULTURAL POSSESSION, NOT INASMUCH AS IT IS THE TRUTH OF POLITICS.

    In sum, there is little to no serious thinking behind this piece. It is a haphazard bricolage of ad hominems (Heidegger was a Nazi), appeals to authority (“today, we look for meaning in ways that would have bewildered, saddened, and shocked our forefathers”), straw-man arguments (‘postmodernism’) and non sequiturs (Heidegger was a Nazi so everyone who takes him seriously is a Nazi). That is, your piece has a curiously “postmodern” aim, structure, and emphasis.

    PLEASE TAKE PHILOSOPHY SERIOUSLY. IT IS NOT A CLUB TO BEAT YOUR OPPONENTS OVER THE HEAD WITH, IT IS THE HUMBLE PURSUIT OF WISDOM. Give a little thought to thinking. If you believe in truth, then the only reason to assert that “postmodern” thought is wrong is to assert that it is false. Instead you assert that it is fascist. Nice use of a hippy sophism.

    Preemption: nothing I have said here argues for or against any political ideology. I’m not a hippy, gun control makes me livid, I am a Christian, and I was a Boy Scout too. DO NOT REFUTE ME WITH AN AD HOMINEM as you did the last person to post a reply.

    Still to come: a point by point demonstration that neither Heidegger nor Derrida would assent to any of your 10 tenets of postmodernism, at least in the specific way you explain and develop them.

    PS: there are factual inaccuracies in the original article and in your reply, but I couldn’t let this one go.

    “By the way, science uniquely emerged in Western European Christendom by men who embraced the ideas of a personal Creator God, an orderly, rational, law-based universe, and a view of human beings whom – as the Imago Dei – were capable of understanding and investigating the universe God made for them.”

    F&*# WHAT? Science didn’t emerge in the middle ages though it certainly underwent development then. Medieval science was unthinkable without innovations made by Greek, Egyptian, and Islamic mathematicians; by Greek natural scientists, doctors, and anatomists; and by astronomic sciences which stretch back before recorded history. Get serious.

  4. Thomas Jackson Says:

    I’ll address each of your points.

    First, the only absolute certainty is uncertainty. We can go to the foundations of modern physics for this one. If you reject that, then you might as well reject the world functioning around you. However, I am not a rigid dogmatist. Science can get it wrong, and we’ve seen breathtaking advances in knowledge which have required us to revise our understanding of things from time to time. I wouldn’t reject entirely the idea that there can’t be absolutes. Instead, I look at the evidence. And I accept what works.

    Your belief that science emerged exclusively in Western European Christendom is refuted by evidence. It’s well known that the learned men of Europe studied texts from the remarkable civilization built by Arab muslims, who refined knowledge passed down from Roman, Greek and Indian civilization.

    We also know, from recent studies,that the Chinese were building factories and using mechanical devices long long before Galileo was born. And precise observations of the heavens were being used in prehistorical times. Our species has been around, with our current capabilities, for at least 24,000 years. Humans as intelligent as humans are today were walking the earth that long ago, and I’m sure many of them had some good ideas and abstract thinking to test their theories.

    It’s remarkable that you denounce the idea of groups competing with one another, and yet, you use Eurocentric mythology to justify your point of view.

    If I gave you the impression that I was arguing that science and religion are incompatible, then I apologize. That is not my view at all. I’m a Universalist, and I believe I can demonstrate that they are not incompatible. It requires reasonable conjecture based upon scientific materialism, and it requires a willingness to reasonably critique scripture, and reject unreasonable dogma.

    People defining themselves by group or race is something new? Really! I think the entire history of the human race refutes that. You can find discussions about it in the New Testament. Spoiler: they come down on the side of tolerance.

    I honestly don’t know enough about the history of philosophy to argue with your insistence that deconstruction was invented by a Nazi. Nazis invented the rocket technology that we Americans further developed for space exploration. Does space exploration lead to fascism, too? Or just rocket science?

    Boy Scouts. You had competitions with other troupes, didn’t you? You played sports, didn’t you? Group dynamics in competiton is exactly what you describe. That’s a precursor to fascism?

    As a matter of fact, I attended an evangelical church as child. A LIBERAL evangelical church. As an adult, I picked an evangelical church to attend one Sunday, and it turned out to be a conservative evangelical church. During the service the pastor lead us in a prayer to save us from the evil liberals and democrats. I can assure you, I never had that kind of experience in a liberal evangelical church. I never went back to the conservative church.

    Let’s go through the ten criteria.

    Existentialism. I don’t think you’ve done justice to existentialism here. I’ve read Sartre and Camus. But you are focussed upon Heidigger and deconstruction, so I’ll let it pass. People creating their own reality. Hmmm. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, it was a neocon who works for Bush describing to a journalist how they are actors who create their own realities, while others sudy what they do and react. If you really haven’t observed how the neocon cabal has set up their own version of reality which they cling to despite all facts and consequences to the contrary, then you should get out more. Here’s a case in point: they sat around a table discussing what tortures they would use on which people, ordered the torture, and then they emphatically clung to the mantra “We don’t torture” for years.

    Moral relativism. Plotting to make war against another nation, and then “fixing the facts” around that decision is absolutely wrong for Nazi war criminals who were hanged for doing it, but in a morally relative sort of way, it’s ok for Bush and his neocons. I could use other examples.

    Social constructivism. Meaning, morality and truth are social constructions. Sort of like when the president decides that the exact opposite of the legislation that he just signed is actually what it means, and he then acts upon that opposite construction. For example, he signed legislation prohibiting the unwarranted search of registered mail, and then wrote a signing statement saying that he can search registered mail without a warrant. He’s engaged in this kind of exercise over 800 times. It’s called assuming powers of fiat, a characteristic of anti-republican, fascist government.

    Cultural Determinism. The neocons like corporate solutions. If there’s a problem, then it can be solved by giving corporations more power, less restraints, more subsidies or bigger tax breaks. Corporations get to decide what discourse is allowed on public airwaves, among memebers of Congress, or among policy makers in the executive branch. If judges see things differently, then they must have pro-corporate judges. The fascist movement in this country, and historically, stems from the anti-republican system of power amongst corporations which we have foolishly allowed to mature. Here is the source of your “prison house of language.” I’ll have more to say in a moment, but for now: Corporations are chartered by the GOVERNMENT.

    Rejection of Individual Identity. Look around you. How many instances of corporations putting out messages to conform and be a part of the herd can you find all around you? How many imperatives from the government and from corporations come down to us to act, speak and think in accordance with the latest memo?

    Here’s what corporate America and the government thinks we ought to be doing: work 50-70 hours a week making a tiny percent of us rich, spend all the rest of our free time during the week meeting legal, financial or social requirements, clean the house and the yard on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon and night we’re allowed to go spend whatever money we have left at some corporate-owned entertainment venue. Then Church on Sunday and start preparing for the next week. Is that freedom? When do we have time to congregate and decide for ourselves what ought to be done and in what order?

    Personally, I think the whole objectivist “rugged individual” myth is just that: a myth. We’re social creatures. We need each other and we help each other survive and prosper. That doesn’t mean we need to be on collective farms, but it does mean that we do find our strength in unity and in numbers.

    Rejection of humanism. Well, I refer you to the last thing I wrote. But, as a matter of fact, each culture DOES constitute it’s own reality. People live in different places with different circumstances and have different traditions. The challenge for humanists is to emphasize what humans have in common over what things divide them. We haven’t seen that approach from Bush, the neocons and his corporate fascist allies. What we’ve seen instead is a demonization of the “other,” to rally our “group” against the other groups in “the long war.” What we’ve seen from the fascist movement is the notion that we’re the exceptional, superior ones who have a right to go where-ever we want in the world and impose our way of doing things. It’s yet another similarity to the views of the Nazis.

    Denial of the Transcendant. Perhaps you don’t see the utter blasphemy involved in a president and his government asserting that God told them to go to war to seize the oil of another nation. Perhaps you don’t see the Anti-Christ when someone bows their head to pray for victory in war. Well, that’s what Osama Bin Laden and his cult of fanatics do. For our president to follow his example and match cruelty with cruelty and even adopt the tactics of the terrorists is beyond denial of the transcendant.

    Power reductionism. Bush has used everything at his disposal to further his own will to power, and the will to power of his loyal fascist cronies. Nothing has been overlooked. He has destroyed our schools, he has attacked our civil service system, he has intimidated librarians and academics, he has overruled scientists who disagree with his political dogma, he has corrupted the free press with bribery and threats, he has placed foxes in charge of guarding every henhouse when it comes to preserving the interests of the people over the will to power of anti-republican corporatists, and I could go on.

    Rejection of Reason. This has been well documented by several writers. Bush and the neocons have entirely jettisoned any notion of empirically based policy making. I’ll give one trivial example that illustrates the approach to reason taken by the fascists. If you are unemployed, and your unemployment compensation has run out but you still haven’t found a job, then Bush’s Labor Dept doesn’t count you as unemployed any more. THAT is the source of the fascists repeated, false claims that unemployment is low and has remained low. Reality doesn’t conform to the message that they want to circulate, so they find a way to falsify empirical methods of reasonably determing the truth. They have done it in myriad ways, for myriad purposes,including fabricating pretexts for war.

    A Revolutionary Critique of Existing Order. You really don’t see the neocons as a radical, revolutionary group, do you? You don’t see that 50 years of painstaking work to spread the principles of our society, like the rule of law,has been swept away for a poorly planned or concealed purpose? Bush has asserted that he has the power to “unsign” treaties. He has asserted that he can make treaties without ratifying them, and then act upon them as if they were treaties. Every approach to governance by Bush reflects the kind of unrestrained and assumed power that CEOs exercise.

    Now I’ll address A few remaining points. The current fascist movement, led by Bush and the neocons, is not an exact match to the Nazi regime, of course. However, I invite you to consider the following. Our economy is dominated by corporations, which are chartered by state governments. In a very real way, that is a socialist economy, and it is not a socialist economy based upon Marxist or socialist ideology, but rather, upon the very system of power that brought Mussolini and Hitler to power.

    When we have corporations backing wars for profit and using our troops as mercenaries and even starting up corporations that are literally paramilitary mercenaries, we do indeed have the same dynamics that were in play during the 1930s in Germany. The parallels are not isolated. There is an interconnected web of policies that reinforce one another, moving our country toward the installation of a fascist state. They are building concentration camps and paramilitary installations, just as the Nazis did.

    You have your facts wrong, with respect to UN resolutions. There weren’t any resolutions authorizing military action against Iraq.
    Bush circulated a message in the press, in Feb 2003, that he would submit one, but when he learned it would be voted down, he didn’t submit it. 1441 doesn’t authorize war. Neither do any of the previous resolutions. The facts, repeatedly proved, are that Iraq was NOT in violation of the UN resolutions. They did disarm. They didn’t restart chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs after 1991. Rather, they bluffed the Iranians to keep them from doing, in Iraq, what they are doing today.

    Neither did the AUMF authorize Bush to go to war under the circumstances that existed when he ordered the invasion. Bush ordered the inspectors out of Iraq after they debunked Bush’s claims about nuclear weapons research, and while they were in the process of debunking his claims about chemical and biological weapons. Bush’s declaration of war, sent to the Congress, asserted that he was going to war based upon ties between 9/11 and Iraq, which were false, invented by Douglas Feith, and repeating the claims about WMDs which were being debunked even at that time!

    Bush invaded Iraq illegally. He placed in prominent policymaking positions a cabal that had decided to go to war with Iraq for it’s oil years earlier. Bush had no constitutional authority to go to war, either. His order to invade Iraq was essentially an act of treason, seizing authority and military power from the United States, and using it to further the interests of a fascist faction that he installed in power. It was only one of the many acts of treason committed by Bush and his fascist cronies.

    Bush HAS in fact, created colonial territories in Iraq and Afghanistan. Had the Democratic Congress not stopped him, he would have gone ahead building an occupation capital( The Embassy) in Iraq, and permanant military bases there, for use in further invasions and occupations of other countries.

    The false dichotomy you present, that we must emulate Hitler and his Nazis, borrowing their domestic policies and their foreign policy, or choose the path of Neville Chamberlain, is looking a little ragged these days. Most people no longer believe that the only alternative to war with Iraq was appeasement of dictators and terrorists. It’s clear that many of us were fooled by that propaganda. Not me.

    The “overwhelming support” for the AUMF can be directly traced to brazen LIES that were given out as credible intelligence to Congress, to the American people and to the nations of the world. There were a number of people who voted against it, and that’s where I would place the moral courage. Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that she supported the AUMF because she gave the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt. We have seen from the proponderance of his behavior in all areas that placing our faith in him was a grave error. He is a liar, a racketeer, and an anti-republican enemy of this country, and humanity generally. He deserves the same due process of law given at Nuremberg, but not in an international court. His ass belongs to us. Both him, and his neocon cabal will surely see their day of judgement. The fascist movement he led will be broken, for the sake of the republic, or the American Republic will go the way of the Roman Republic.

    I find it interesting that you attribute to me thinking that has been embraced by the neocons you would defend. We are seeing the results of that thinking today. Those of us who do not construct an ideological bubble around us and deny reality right under our noses, at least two thirds of us, roughly, are not amused with Bush’s antics or the ridiculous assertioons of his supporters. Not amused at all.

  5. Thomas Jackson Says:

    The article you cite, from 2003, IS WRONG.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    Oh, it’s you again.

    I’ll stop with a critique of your very first point (uncertainty), followed with an observation.

    The Uncertainty Principle says that the more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa. The act of measuring one magnitude of a particle, be it its mass, its velocity, or its position, causes the other magnitudes to blur. In quantum physics, the observer is no longer external and neutral, but through the act of measurement he becomes himself a part of observed reality, essentially becoming part of the system he is measuring.

    The conservative interpretation has been that uncertainty was a limitation imposed by our measuring techniques. However, Heisenberg himself took a far more radical view – that this limitation is a property of nature rather than an artifact of experimentation.

    Here’s an interesting account of the debate:
    “If we regard reality as that which can be observed by all, we have to find that there is no objective movement of an electron around the nucleus. This viewpoint would imply that reality is created by the observer; in other words: if we take Heisenberg literally, the moon is not there when nobody is looking at it. However, we must consider the possibility that there is a subatomic reality independent of observation and that the electron may have an actual trajectory which cannot be measured. The moon may be there after all. This conflict is the philosophical essence of the Uncertainty Principle.”
    http://www.thebigview.com/spacetime/uncertainty.html

    Einstein disagreed vehemently with Heisenberg. He didn’t fail to understand Heisenberg’s science; but he criticized Heisenberg’s sweeping philosophical interpretation of his own work. Einstein believed in a reality independent of what we can observe, which is the essence of the view of realism which I embrace. So I’m actually in pretty darned good company.

    God, for instance, is outside the system. He knows exactly what’s going on, even if at some ultimate level the human race does not.

    Heisenberg stated that it is impossible to determine simultaneously and with unlimited accuracy the position and momentum of a particle, but due to Planck’s Constant being so small, the Uncertainty Principle was intended to apply only to the motion of atomic particles. However, culture often misinterprets this to mean that it is impossible to make a completely accurate measurement. You are taking this error and running down the field with it, claiming that uncertainty is a fundamental metaphycical reality. You become so angry when I absolutize that you write these incredibly long replies: but dang if you don’t do it on an even more massive scale.

    Allow me to post C.S. Lewis again here:
    “All possible knowledge … depends on the validity of reasoning,” he said, and explained: “No account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, itself be demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound – a proof that there are no such things as proofs – which is nonsense.”

    As for my observation:

    My point in this article is that the tenants of postmodernism are identical with the tenants of fascism. For all the length and vitriol of your responses, you have not even attempted to show that my premise is in any way false. You merely say, “Look: conservatives are the fascists because they’re going to a war I don’t like, and stuff like that!” The fundamental problem with your reasoning is that, even if conservatives are warmongers, they’re not fascists. Fascism is a core of ideas that exalts the nation-state or race, disregards the individual and the individual’s rights by first abandoning the individual’s dignity and moral freedom, employs thought control and strict regimentation, and disregards moral objectivity, sweeping away everyone who disagrees in their wake.

    That is fascism as a political ideology. However, the philosophical underpinnings which define it and supported the politics came first. it is THESE ideas I’m describing. Your view of fascism seems to be limited to goose-stepping soldiers shooting people. You don’t realize that it had the overwhelming support of German intelligentsia because they had bought into the ideas I describe.

    You also have a fundamentally flawed view of fascism on another level: it is a form of socialism, which is, again, a device of the left. The Communists defined fascism as their polar opposite, but this is simply not the case. One is national socialism, the other is class-based socialism. You conveniently fail to notice in all of your tirades against the right that it is the communist and atheist left which was responsible for over 100 million deaths IN PEACETIME, in purges against their own people.

  7. Thomas Jackson Says:

    You are indeed correct. I am speaking about Heisenberg. And yes, Einstein had differences with several members of the quantum mechanics school. The question for me is this: Did their science and the assumptions they made, the theories they tested, lead to applications that we use today? The answer to that question is YES. That doesn’t mean Einstein’s opinions on the matter can be thrown out.

    But, leaving aside more esoteric debates involving equations I don’t know or pretend to understand, measurement uncertainty is NOT confined to the subatomic level. Our modern engineers can do some amazing things these days, like measure and calibrate on a scale smaller than a human hair, but the uncertainty of measure persists and is a constant factor in applications. I also note that there are conventions which set universally agreed upon numbers for measurements in chemistry, even though the measurements are not absolute. The uncertainty factor is always accounted for in designing experiments, even for experiments that have bee reproduced thousands and thousands of times.

    Now back to the esoteric: How do you know that God is “outside of the system?” Is that your opinion, your belief, or do you have some kind of empirical evidence of that claim? I disagree with the idea. If God exists, then God is included in the set of all things that exist. Why? Because that’s how we define what exists. Go ahead and tie yourself up with paradoxes trying to refute me.

    You have yet to really establish that your criteria define postmodernism. Not enough documentation. I’m willing to hear you out on that, though, because I don’t have enough info on postmodernism to refute you. Perhaps if you gave some postmodernist sources to back up your claims, I could check them and either agree or disagree with you.

    But I know enough about fascism to agree that your critieria describes it. What’s fascinating to me is that you wish to make an ideological argument attributing fascism to leftist influences, and that claim entirely contradicts historical fact. You seem determined to work a patchwork quilt of questionable associations and inferences to attribute a fascist agenda to leftist causes that you disagree with, and you compound this error by defending an ideological view that is, well, fascist.

    I gave some pretty hard-hitting examples of fascist policies at work among the neocons, and I gave enough of them to establish that it isn’t just one policy, or one area of policy, or one historical event that bears resemblance to historical fascist regimes. It’s not just “a war i don’t like, and stuff!” as you put it.

    I’m not just relying upon my own opinion, either. Many writers have written entire books on this subject.

    We can get down to definitions of fascism, and see where that leads us. I’m game. Even with the definition you give, which is not complete, I can still argue that the neocons are fascists. There’s nothing conservative about their ideology. It’s a radical, anti-republican ideology. When we look at anti-republican ideologies, the neocons seem to have borrowed from all of them, a trait they share with the Nazis.

    “Fascism is a core of ideas that exalts the nation-state or race, disregards the individual and the individual’s rights by first abandoning the individual’s dignity and moral freedom, employs thought control and strict regimentation, and disregards moral objectivity, sweeping away everyone who disagrees in their wake.”

    The Bush Administration. CHECK.

    “Your view of fascism seems to be limited to goose-stepping soldiers shooting people. You don’t realize that it had the overwhelming support of German intelligentsia because they had bought into the ideas I describe.”

    My view of fascism is much broader than that, as I have demonstrated in my comments. I commented on political, economic, legal and social policies, comparing historical regimes with the rogues we have in power today. I even went through each of your criteria and demonstrated which things fit your critieria. We have elites in this country who have thrown all kinds of money and other support to the neocons. That’s who I’m talking about when I talk about the fascist movement. Of course, we have people who are willing to lend them a hand by accusing liberals of being fascists, as if to say “See? Everyone’s a fascist!” Like Jonah Goldberg, for example.

    The corporatist system of power is not a “device of the left.” Demonstrably, it has been a “device of the right” for the last seven years, and conservatives ought to be ashamed for trashing our traditions to follow these fascist lunatics. But, in truth, fascism is not a device of the left or the right in this country, as it is outside of anything that is constitutionally acceptable. It’s simply not a legitimate ideology under the framework of our social contract, and no amount of cash from aristocratic pretenders or huffing and puffing by loudmouths will make it a legitimate ideology.

    I haven’t “failed to notice” that authoritarian dictators masquerading as “heroes of the working man” were responsible for 100 million deaths. Nor does my lack of mention of them imply that I defend them or their ideology.

    What you have failed to notice though, is that we have government-chartered corporations run by a very few people indeed which dominate our economy and have a lock on every aspect of our lives, political, economic, social, and legal. That is a socialist society. If we ask ourselves what kind of socialist society it IS, then we draw the most similarities to the type of societies Mussolini and Hitler envisioned. That’s where the corporatists are leading us, and that is not an idea or an opinion, it is the factual reality that we currently face as a nation.

    Your premise that we should beware the fascist future that will surely descend upon us as a result of postmodernist college professors and students is ludicrous. “Look over there!” You say “There are people identifying themselves through GROUPS and they don’t conform to my views of tradition!” Meanwhile, the neocons are building paramilitary capabilities to rival the Gestapo, and that’s just ONE example of the whole danger. It makes you sound like a blind fool. I can see that you are an educated, and thoughtful person, and so I implore you to turn your criteria toward the GROUPS that I have pointed out to you. An objective look would surely persuade you to use your skills to help save our republic.

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    Yep. I’ll copy and paste my message from my other comment to your post. But let me respond to two points you mention:

    1) Yep. It’s limited to the subatomic world. My brother is a physicist. His field is “measurement and engineering.” He’s worked at TRW and at Boeing. He’s worked on the space shuttle. I asked him if Heisenberg EVER came up in his measurement/calibration work (he verifies that things match the required standard), and he said, “NO. Never.” I’ve also got a couple of chemists in my family, but I don’t have to ask them.

    I provide a quote from C.S. Lewis that provides the fundamental problem of denying the human ability to know truth even in theory in the second paragraph of this article. It is worth re-reading.

    Also, it is always interesting with atheists (and I am not calling you one, since I haven’t seen you make that statement about yourself). Before Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, we had a clockwork universe, and atheists said, “We don’t need a God; we have a system that functions perfectly without him!” And then when we see that sub-atomic reality is a LOT messier than we thought, they say, “God can’t exist, because certainty can’t exist!” Clearly, there’s no pleasing some people; true ideologues will always have EVERYTHING their way.

    2) You’ve kind of indicated that you don’t even really know what fascism is. Before you tell me that I am not representing fascism accurately, I would suggest you go learn something about it. All I can tell you is that I’ve done my homework on it.

    Here’s a copy and paste from my other response, since you rail on conservatives in both:

    You raise every phantom of “neo-con” and Republican boogeyman. Do you not have any idea how easy it is for a Republican to turn that rationale on its head?

    World War I was waged by warmonger Democrat (Woodrow Wilson) who sent millions of Americans to die in the trenches of Europe!

    World War II was waged by a pair of warmongering Democrats (FDR and Truman) who deliberately allowed the Pearl Harbor attack (just ask Rev. Jeremiah Wright) so he could put Japanese in concentration camps!!! That fascist!!! And President Bush doesn’t even BEGIN to have the blood on his hands that FDR has: MILLIONS died. And Truman? He dropped the bomb on women and children!!! But he wasn’t satisfied with that fascist bloodletting; oh, no. That evil Democrat pig hadn’t had enough war yet, so he attacked North Korea.

    And we have JFK, that fascist son of a gangster, who showed his true colors at the Bay of Pigs (HE’S the pig!!!). And who brought the world closer to a total nuclear war (Cuban Missile Crisis)?

    And HOLY MOLY, there’s LBJ, who started the Vietnam War by faking the Gulf of Tonkin incident. What a scumbag fascist he is!!!

    And then – through all of those Democrats, like some bloody, scarlet hand of fascism – we have J. Edger Hoover and his FBI, with tactics right out of the worst Stalinist-Nazi wet dream. He did all kinds of stunts out of the fascist playbook when his fascist Democrats were in power. He illegally surveilled Martin Luther King; heck, he’s probably the one who had him murdered!!! Who was in charge when the we had all the race rioting?

    Do I need to go on, or do you get the idea? Do you see what makes your anti-republican tirade so trivial and boring? You are frankly so bitter toward Republicans and conservatives that you cannot see straight.

    If Republicans WERE fascist, then there wouldn’t BE ANY Democrats. They would have secured power, and wiped out the opposition. That’s what fascists do when they have power (and the Republicans had control of the White House, the Senate, and the House for six years).

    Fascism is a set of ideas from which a political body proceeds to act. Fortunately, we have not yet seen the devolution of EITHER of our political parties into the madness of fascism. But Americans need to be aware of what fascist ideas are in order to avoid them and their consequences.

  9. Michael Eden Says:

    Allen, I seem to have missed your reply from May 3.

    I’ll answer your first few numbered points:

    1) I just “googled” postmodernism. For something that isn’t a “real school of thought,” there’s a LOT of thought on it: 3,430,000 citations.

    If you are making the VERY trivial point that the view of “postmodernism” is sufficiently murky that one cannot manage a uniform definition that covers every form of adherent’s view, please quit wasting my time. Given the fact that postmodernism actively embraces contradiction, it is of course more difficult to present “universally accepted” postmodernism than other ideologies. However, that said, postmodernism is clearly a MASSIVELY held view, and there are ideas that tend to be held by most who support the view. If the term didn’t mean anything, then no one could talk about it at all! 3,430,000 people say you need to wake up.

    2) You are right, in a limited sense. I do not claim that every single “postmodernist” is a fascist, or will ever become such. (Again, when one can hold contradiction, one can buy every premise and then deny the conclusion). But since you raise a valid point, I may go ahead and change the title to “How Postmodernism Leads to Fascism.” What I am saying – with the support of thinkers such as Gene Edward Veith and David Hirsch – is that the central ideas surrounding postmodernism are identical with the central ideas surrounding fascism. If there are enough people in power who buy into postmodern thought, we will end up with fascism. I stand by that, and challenge you to show me how it is not so.

    3) You are flat-out wrong in claiming that Heidegger “briefly endorsed” Nazism. Let me quote someone who is even smarter than you THINK you are: “Thanks to Victor Faria’s courage and tenacious detective work, we can no longer ignore the question of the connections between the thinking of Martin Heidegger and his LONG-TERM AFFILIATION WITH, AND LIFETIME REFUSAL TO REPUDIATE, NAZI IDEOLOGY. It is now clear that Heidegger’s attraction to National Socialism and HIS EXTENDED MEMBERSHIP IN THE NAZI PARTY WERE CONSISTENT WITH, RATHER THAN ABERRANT, TO HIS WAY OF THINKING.
    Source: David Hirsch, “The Deconstruction of Literature: Criticism After Auschwitz (Hanover, HN: U. Press of New England, 1991), p. 255.
    Source: Victor Farias, “Heidegger and Nazism,” ed. by J. Margolis and T. Rockmore; trans., Paul Burrell (Philadelphia: Temple U. Press, 1989).

    Heidegger was a Nazi between 1933 and 1945, and he NEVER renounced it. In 1933, he said, “The Fuhrer himself and he alone is German reality and its law, today and henceforth.”
    Source: Speech to students, printed in the Freiburger Studentenzeitun with full source documentation provided in Hirsch, n. 8, p. 301.

    Let me provide a little more. Heidegger wrote a “Letter on Humanism” which is not so much about humanism but an attack on humanist values. HE WROTE THIS IN 1946, when the ashes of Nazism were still warm. In emphasizing his anti-humanist (and very pro-Nazi) stance, he says, “Because we are speaking against “humanism” people fear a defense of the inhuman and a glorification of barbaric brutality. For what is more “logical” than that for somebody who negates humanism nothing remains but the affirmation of inhumanity.
    Because in all the respects mentioned we everywhere speak against all that humanity deems high and holy our philosophy teaches and irresponsible and destructive “nihilism.”
    Source: David Farrell Krell, ed., “Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings” (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 225-226.

    Question: is it unjustified – in the wake of the Death Camps – for thinkers to suspect that one who speaks against “humanism” may indeed be glorifying the “barbaric” and affirming unmenschlichkeit (“inhumanity”)?

    And how is it discredited logic that thinkers assume that one who “speaks everywhere against all that humanity deems high and holy” is INDEED teaching “an irresponsible and destructive nihilism”? We’re talking about throwing out the sanctity of human life, of love and respect between humans, of human dignity, and love of justice. How is a philosophy that speaks everywhere against such ideas NOT glorifying the barbaric and affirming inhumanity? By 1946, Heidegger clearly should have known that the fascsist assault on humanism served to shape the mentality that implemented the Auschwitz.

    Here’s a statement from Heidegger’s idol, Adolf Hitler, at a “table talk” that ought to clarify Heidegger’s thought even further: “They regard me as an uneducated barbarian. Yes, we are barbarians! We want to be barbarians! It is an honorable title. We shall rejuvenate the world! This world is near its end. It is our mission to cause unrest.” Hitler went on to say, “We are not in a position to dally with humane feelings, nor can I undertake tedious investigations into anyone’s good will or innocence. We must shake off all sentimentality and be hard… It is preposterous to expect me to look only for the real criminals among the Communists. It is just like the cowardly, inconsistent bourgeoisie to pacify their conscience with legal proceedings.”
    Source: Hermann Rauschning, “The Voice of Destruction (New York: Putnam, 1940) p. 80.

    Hitler didn’t engage in Heidegger’s elaborate but pathetic rationalizations. The man Heidegger had so praised in 1933 was quite candid in attacking what he called “bourgeois values.” What was he talking about? Judeo-Christianity, Enlightenment liberal democracy, justice (you know, like habeas corpus, which Hitler clearly throws out the window here).

    And another postmodernist thinker, Michael Foucault (who embraced both Nietzsche and Heidegger), has the SAME disdain for “bourgeois legal proceedings” and “bourgeoise” ideas of justice in his “Discipline and Punish.” It was in the Death Camps that we saw where the contempt for “legal proceedings” led.

    You criticize me in such a smarmy, deprecating manner, but it is YOU who totally ignorant and abuse philosophy.

    4) And I won’t bother to waste my time after this one (noting you AGAIN feel the need to tell me that Heidegger wasn’t much of a Nazi when he was up to his eyeballs in it):
    I was using the literary technique of deconstructionism to deconstruct the father of deconstructionism. I think deconstructionism is a pile of crap. But – for the sake of argument – I assumed it to be true just to show what IT’S ROOTS are by the very method itself. If deconstruction has ANY validity at all, then I can use it to prove that deconstructionists are Nazis. THAT’S HOW DECONSTRUCTIONIST CRITICS ROUTINELY USE THEIR CRAP TO ATTACK CONSERVATIVES!!! And if it’s NOT valid, then it’s obviously still the junk, crap discipline of moral idiots. Please follow the arguments, rather than doing the very thing you at some point accuse me of doing: attacking a straw man.

  10. Allan Says:

    Alright hoss, its clear you don’t know your stuff. You never quote Heidegger or Derrida because I don’t think you have ever read more than a couple of their essays.

    1) I just googled pink elephant. For something that isn’t a real animal, there’s a LOT of thought on it: 1,040,000 citations. You are seriously going to make the argument that because a word appears in a great number of websites (that is what google search returns tell you) that something exists in the real world that corresponds to that word. If you knew something about the spirit of philosophy you would know that philosophy begins with a movement AWAY from opinions and toward truth. Tallying opinions gets you no where. Heidegger says this, Derrida says this, Aristotle says this, Plato says this.

    (Side note – you say: “Given the fact that postmodernism actively embraces contradiction, it is of course more difficult to present ‘universally accepted’ postmodernism than other ideologies.” You seem to be embracing contradiction, as this statement is contradictory: Postmodernism universally embraces contradiction, so postmodernism does not universally embrace any point. Here, you are manipulating the principle of explosion: A & not A -> B. That is, since your initial statement is contradictory, you can draw any conclusion from it.)

    My point is by no means trivial. The problem is not that a generalization blurs trivial differences, but that you completely misconstrue the philosophies of the thinkers you are criticizing. You ignore fundamental differences.

    You give the following features of postmodernism: Existentialism, Moral Relativism, Social Constructivism, Cultural Determinism, Rejection of Individual identity, Rejection of Humanism, Denial of the Transcendent, Power Reductionism, Rejection of Reason, Revolutionary Critique of the Existing Order. None of these apply significantly to Heidegger or Derrida.

    1.1 Existentialism
    Sartre invented this word to describe himself. He felt he was building on Heidegger. Heidegger thought he was a dunce. His “Letter on Humanism” was a response to Sartre’s “Existentialism as a Humanism,” and it comes to the general conclusion that Sartre’s work is useless.
    What you are critiquing is the notion that we can choose our own meaning. Heidegger critiques this view as well. See the section on “Schematizing Chaos” in Neitzche Lectures, vol. II. When Heidegger speaks of the relation between decision and authenticity, it crystalizes in Dasein’s relation to death. To be authentic means to choose to be precisely the human that I am (a mortal), and if I choose to be anything else, I fade into the anonymity of das Man. Meaning, as you conceive it, is thought by Heidegger as the relationship between world and “the God”, by which he means something like the ultimate for-the-sake-of-which. Since to be Dasein, means being-in-the-world, to be Dasein means to be thrown into a world that is already meaningful (or not meaningful) in a way which Dasein did not choose. Your criticism basically mirrors, much less insightfully, what Heidegger criticized as a symptom of the technological era.
    Derrida is slightly more open to such criticisms in his early work, but his notion of indeconstructables addresses precisely this problem. He sees deconstruction as a movement between a constuction and an indeconstructable: e.g. legal deconstruction would operate in the space opened up between the laws of a nation (constructions) and justice (which is indeconstructable). Thus deconstruction must always be guided toward the absolute, even if the absolute remains veiled. See “Spectres of Marx”.

    1.2. Moral Relativism
    Find me one quote by Heidegger or Derrida in which they say that whatever one thinks is right is right. These quotes don’t exist, because neither thinker believes what you say they do. This criticism applies somewhat to Nietzsche (if read badly) but not at all to Heidegger or Derrida. Find me a quote.

    1.3 Social Constructivism
    Find me one quote by Heidegger or Derrida in which they say that meaning or truth are socially constructed. These quotes don’t exist, because neither thinker believes what you say they do. Both thinkers believe (with Plato and Aristotle) that philosophy’s task involves the examination of opinions, but that the reason to investigate opinions is to discover truth.

    1.4 Cultural Determinism
    In a sense, Heidegger and Derrida say that “culture” can have a determinate effect on thinking. Here, they do not vary widely from Aristotle or Kant on this point: only the practice of philosophy can subject prevailing opinions to the truth. Their message is not, “everything comes from culture, so don’t think you can ever get the truth.” It is, do not assume the dogmatic opinions you have adopted due to their currency in the prevailing culutre are true. You must rigorously interrogate them, precisely in order to establish the truth.

    1.5 Rejection of Individual Identity
    Phenomenology constitutes, in a sense, the most radical individualism ever seen. Heidegger’s use of Dasein in “Being and Time” is perhaps best thought as “I, the inquirer in this project of inquiry.” He has to do alot of work to even be able to account for the fact that others are in the world in the same sense that I am (though this is his final position).
    And are we so sure we understand what, in truth identity, is? If it constitutes simply the fact that something is what it is, then neither Heidegger nor Derrida would deny this, but they would immediately point to the relational character of identity (that is – I am related to myself through the relation of identity,) as would anyone who is attentive to the nature of predications (cf. Hegel, Schelling, etc.)

    1.6 Rejection of Humanism
    I will address this point below, while addressing you quotation from the “Letter on Humanism.”

    1.7 Denial of the Transcendent
    Heidegger thinks we are currently stuck in a nihilistic technological quagmire and that “Only a God Will Save Us.” See his article in Der Spiegel by the same name.

    1.8 Power Reductionism
    True of Foucault and a poorly read Nietzsche. Not at all of Derrida or Heidegger. Find me a quote from Heidegger or Derrida. You can’t because they don’t exist.

    1.9 Rejection of Reason
    Their argument was never “reason is evil” or “reason is just a mask for power.” Heidegger and Derrida ask about the forms, grounds, and contradictions inherent in reason itself. And they do so in rational arguments. In this sense they take up Kant’s project of turning reason upon itself to discern its limits. Find me one quote by Heidegger or Derrida saying we should embrace irrationality.

    1.10 Revolutionary Critique of Existing Order
    Heidegger’s critique of the existing order (i.e. his criticism of the age of technology) cuts against the Nazis directly.
    And lets remember that the Enlightenment was precisely this. Philosophy is precisely this. The greatest philosophers have been killed by tyrants and mobs threatened by philosophers corrupting the youth and threatening the civil order. What do you thing Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, or Alexander Hamilton were up to?

    2) You make a predictive claim: “If there are enough people in power who buy into postmodern thought, we will end up with fascism.” Then you say: “I stand by that, and challenge you to show me how it is not so.” Sorry chief, hypotheses have to be backed up by those proffering them. It is not my burden to prove a negative. You have to give empirical evidence for a predictive claim. All you can say is Heidegger was a Nazi. At the very least a single historical instance cannot be taken as evidence of a general claim.

    Nonetheless, let me say this:

    3) You say smarter people than me think I’m wrong. Again, a simple appeal to authority. And an unconvincing one since I feel Farias is a charlatan and Hirsch, who I am unfamiliar with, evidently thinks some very stupid things. Maybe he does have a good argument, but you haven’t presented one.
    You are correct on the dates of Heidegger’s Nazi party membership. That is not the whole story. He was made rector of Freidburg University in 1933, with Nazi backing. Shortly after the night of the long knives, he resigned this post due to increasing Nazi hostility to his aims (he was heavily criticized for preventing book burnings, preventing Nazi students from posting an anti-semetic poster, ). He remained a Party member in order to keep teaching at the University. In 1933, he gave is only significant pro-Nazi speech (the Rectorship address, which you quote.) But from 1934 on, one can detect an increasingly stringent, though veiled, critique of Nazi ideology. See the Nietzsche Lectures, vol. II, “On Neitszche’s alleged biologism”, for one obvious example. None of this is sufficient to excuse Heidegger’s conduct. He failed to speak forcefully against evil at a time when courage could have brought about some real good, and he failed to apologize (preferring to dismiss his Nazism as a “youthful error”). The real issue is whether Heidegger’s lack of action is essential to his philosophical work or accidental to it. It is accidental. His philosophy rejects Nazi technologist ideology more forcefully than he had the courage to say concretely. That is, Heidegger, while a flawed man, did not sow the seeds of fascist ideology. See “Only a God Will Save Us” for the full story.

    Your quotation from the “Letter on Humanism” either shows a total lack of academic integrity, or a total lack of understanding regarding the piece. You quote him so grossly out of context as to make him appear to be saying THE PRECISE F#*@ING OPPOSITE of what he intends to say. When he is talking about the view that being critical of humanism amounts to a celebration of the inhuman, he is saying that is a stupid view drawn from the overuse of logical formalism and an inattention to the matter at hand. Nihilism is not a good word in Heidegger’s lexicon. When nihilism strikes thinking is brought to a halt. SHAME ON YOU.

    Anti-humanism, in the Heideggerrian form, means precisely this: that man is not taken as something obvious and pre-given, but as something worthy of question and investigation. You ought to study Heidegger’s distinction between the ontological and ontic modes of inquiry, cf. intro to Being and Time. He does not throw out the sanctity of life, he asks what that means.

    This piece is anti-Nazi, not pro-Nazi. The Nazis were racialist humanists. The struggle of man and of the race were their themes. But what it is that constitutes man was removed from question. Heidegger was fond of saying that we do not even know what man is. This is the primary thrust of the “Letter on Humanism.” He was right, thinking must continue to proceed in this direction.

    Smarmy or not, that is irrelevant. What I am saying is the truth, though I may be rude and annoying – something of a gadfly. I give you reasoned arguments, you give me weighty authorities (most of whom carry no weight with serious academics). I clarify the thought of those you criticize, you quote others’ misguided summations of “postmodern” thought. You characterize Heidegger and Derrida as assenting to ten essential points, and they would out and out reject most of them. I reassert my essential point: YOU DO NOT WARRANT YOUR CLAIMS. YOU DO NOT PROVIDE ANY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT HEIDEGGER OR DERRIDA WOULD ASSENT TO THESE POINTS. THUS YOU MERELY STATE AN UNFOUNDED OPINION AND ATTEMPT TO ADVOCATE IT CONVINCINGLY AND FORCEFULLY. THIS IS THE ANTI-PHILOSOPHICAL PRACTICE WHICH HAS BEEN KNOWN AS SOPHISM SINCE THE BIRTH OF PHILOSOPHY.

    Has it occurred to you that your indictments against Heidegger and Derrida mirror quite precisely the Athenian indictments of Socrates? or the Nazi/Soviet argument for burning counter-revolutionary books?

    4) Its too bad you don’t want to waste time thinking. I reiterate: you are using hippy sophisms. POSTMODERNISTS ARE FASCISTS is as stupid as REPUBLICANS ARE FASCISTS. Stupid because obviously untrue. What you were doing was not a deconstruction. Anyone who reads deconstructions will see this immediately. You don’t know what deconstruction is. For one it is not a literary technique. Literary criticism deconstructionists are a laughable bunch, I will be the first to admit. But deconstruction began as a philosophical movement. You were trying to prove that its roots were tainted, and therefore all subsequent thinkers who draw upon these roots are tainted. Anyone who makes an argument such as this as a cut against the right doesn’t know what they are doing. What do you consider deconstruction to be? How does it proceed? Are you not just using it as a dumpster-bin for stuff you don’t like?

    You ought to make an effort to understand those you criticize. Sure, Heidegger and Derrida are dense, and they are wrong about many things. But if one is a philosopher, then this means that one proceeds by carefully understanding the precise reasons someone is wrong.

  11. Allan Says:

    The one thing we can seem to agree on is this: anyone who makes arguments like you are making (which you call deconstruction, though it is not) is making very bad arguments.

  12. Michael Eden Says:

    Allan,
    You clearly have issues with more than just your poor thinking if you think I agree with you on any such thing. Have you been sitting in your car for too long in the garage with the engine running or something?

    The funny thing is that – in defending Martin Heidegger, a fascist and a Nazi – you are literally proving my main point for me. I wrote this article to cry out to the world that fascism is coming back – and here you are actively defending a known Nazi and defending his philosophy. There’s a LOT of budding fascists out there, folks, just waiting for their chance.

    I could write a whole bunch of stuff on deconstruction, but I won’t waste my time. Suffice it to say that if you think that a deconstructionist would never think to use an author’s known history as part of their analysis (e.g. pointing out that Jefferson owned slaves as part of deconstructing the Declaration of Independence to claim that the document actually meant to enshrine the rights of wealthy white slave-owning men), you are simply ignorant. Deconstruction begins with the premise that meaning is socially constructed, and that culture manipulates that meaning for its own will to power. All I did with Heidegger was point out that he was up to his ears in a Nazi culture he helped create. Deconstructionists speak of “interrogating the text” to uncover a hidden political agenda – well, let’s deconstruct that sentence and see the hidden Nazi SS terminology of interrogation to force a confession. Give me a break. You’re just wrong.

    Your continued argument that postmodernism doesn’t exist as a real school of thought is also simply bizarre beyond the point of comprehension. I have the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, edited by Robert Audi, in my library with an article on postmodernism by Bernd Magnus. These two must be equally as dumb as me, given that the article defines and discusses postmodernism. Nowhere does the article take the extreme and frankly idiotic position that you do. We can go back to Sir Arnold Toynbee for a discussion and description of postmodernism.

    By your notion, there is likewise no such thing as religion, Christianity, art, or dang near anything, as there are many schools of thought and perspectives on many subjects. But they all clearly exist as schools of thought in spite of the many different views that are within each. You are wasting my time.

    When you use “pink elephants” to show up my claim regarding postmodernism, you help me illustrate my point. I don’t believe that pink elephants correspond to reality, and I don’t believe that postmodern thought corresponds to reality. But both exist as ideas, and we can talk about the characteristics of both. As far as describing postmodernism, the above Cambridge Dictionary article by Magnus – after acknowledging that it certainly isn’t the most clearly delineated viewpoint – states “postmodern philosophy typically opposes foundationalism, essentialism, and realism.” Later, he says, “Postmodern philosophy is therefore usefully regarded as a complex cluster concept that includes the following elements: an anti- (or post-) epistemological standpoint; anti-essentialism; anti-realism; anti-foundationalism; opposition to transcendental arguments and transcendental standpoints; rejection of the picture of knowledge as accurate representation; rejection of truth as corresponding to reality; rejection of the very idea of canonical descriptions, rejection of final vocabularies, rejection of principles, distinctions, and descriptions that are thought to be unconditionally binding for all times, persons, and places [such as moral truths]; and a description of grand narratives, metanarratives of the sort perhaps best illustrated by dialectical materialism.”

    For a real philosopher, what is described by these negations becomes a reasonably clear view of the postmodern worldview. And, just as the above describes postmodernism in terms of negations, so also does my article. What I provide is a list of the political implications of the negation of the above historically-held philosophical premises.

    Interestingly, if postmodernism ISN’T a real school of thought, in the way that you maintain and in the example you provide, then nothing I’ve said about it can be wrong (e.g. say something false about a square circle), and you have no cause to be so annoying. If I came across you postulating statements about pink elephants, I would quickly move on.

    Let me hit a couple of your lowlights:

    Your 1.2 is simply dismal. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a gross misunderstanding of moral relativism from one who expressed any interest in philosophy. Relativism is NOT “whatever one thinks is right is right.” That is a frankly pathetic definition, given that relativism actually denies “right” as an ultimately meaningful moral category altogether. Moral relativism is the denial of any objective or transcendent moral standards; the belief that no moral absolutes exist. Truth and morality vary from person to person, time to time, circumstance to circumstance. In the case of cultural relativism, the argument is that there are no standards of value that are external to cultural standards. That is, cultural standards are the ultimate basis of all morality, just as social standards are the basis of all law. In other words, morality is totally relative to culture (which, btw, was the Nazis’ defense at Nuremberg). Note that cultural relativism explicitly denies that morality is relative to the individual’s beliefs and values, but still maintains that morality is relative to a given culture. And there is no question that both Derrida and Heidegger qualify as moral relativists. And find your own quotes. I don’t bother with these fools.

    Going to your point labelled ‘3’, I have already clearly demonstrated that you are flat-out wrong in your superficial denial of Heidegger’s Nazism in my last response. In 1933, Heidegger made a crystal clear pronouncement of Nazism that I will quote again: “The Fuhrer himself and he alone is German reality and its law, today and henceforth.” Just how much clearer can a guy get? And again, the man NEVER genuinely renounced Nazism.

    In HUGE contrast, in January 1933 – the same year that Heidegger glorified Hitler – Albert Einstein called Nazism a “psychic illness of the masses” and never returned to German soil. He was subsequently dismissed from his position at the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, expelled from the Prussian Academy of Sciences, and stripped of his citizenship. You may be too ignorant to see the difference between these two men, but I am not. There were many other men (such as Dietrich Bonehoeffer, Martin Niemoller, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Jaques Maritain in France) who similarly saw what Heidegger refused to see in Nazism.

    In 1929,EVEN BEFORE the Nazis came to power, Heidegger wrote a letter which clearly showed his anti-Semitism and fascist ideology in his pointed rejection of the “‘Jewification’ of the German spirit [Verjudung des deutschen Geistes, p. 111].

    Heidegger joined the Nazis immediately following Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933. In 1933 Heidegger denounced his former mentor, Husserl – a Jew – and became the first National Socialist rector of the University of Friedberg. On May 27, 1933, Heidegger denounced “dangerous international alliance of Jews.” And on June 30 of that year he wrote to the ministry of education supporting anti-semitism. In November 11 1933 Heidegger gave a Radio Address supporting Hitler’s withdrawal of Germany from League of Nations. On December 16, 1933 Martin Heidegger reported to the head of the Nazi Professors Association at Gottingen about a former student who ”frequented, very actively, the Jew Frankel, who used to teach at Gottingen and was just recently fired from here. (Nazi Germany and the Jews, p. 54). In November 3 The Rector of Freiburg University, Martin Heidegger, announces that financial aid would be denied to students who were Jewish, Marxist, or otherwise ”non- Aryan as defined by applicable legislation. (Nazi Germany and the Jews, p. 53). In 1936 Heidegger declared ANEW his abiding faith in Hitler and his conviction that National Socialism was the correct path for Germany.

    (Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1, Harper Collins, 1997)

    The man was a life-long anti-Semite and German Aryan racist all his life. Farias demonstrated that Heidegger continued to praise Hitler to his colleagues and refused, even after the war, to criticize Nazi atrocities and genocide, or to recant his earlier Nazism.

    In a speech delivered in Bremen in 1949 Heidegger said, “Agriculture is now a motorized food industry, in essence the same as the manufacturing of corpses in the gas chambers and extermination camps, the same as the blockade and starvation of the countryside, the same as the production of hydrogen bombs” (cited in Farias, 287).

    Like just about everything else you have said, you profoundly misrepresent the truth regarding my quote from the Letter on Humanism. I provided enough content to show what the man was saying, including his mocking dismissal of his detractors. I THEN showed how the Fuhrer whom Heidegger had acclaimed BLATANTLY acknowledged what Heidegger trivialized without even attempting to refute: that Nazis INDEED WERE barbarians who perpetuated brutality; and that – in speaking against all that humanity deems high and holy” – that the clear and inevitable end result of the Nazi humanism Heidegger tried to replace classical humanism with would end up with the death camps.

    I again cite Victor Farias’ “Heidegger and Nazism” (1989) to anyone who wants to learn about Heidegger’s deep commitment to Nazism, as exposed in the man’s own words and actions. Here are some links:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/apr2000/heid-a03.shtml
    http://homepages.anglianet.co.uk/johnm/heidegge.html
    http://www.stanford.edu/dept/relstud/faculty/sheehan/pdf/NormalNa.pdf
    http://www.stanford.edu/dept/relstud/faculty/sheehan/pdf/88-nazi.PDF

    Let me finish with the words of Sir Karl Popper:
    “I appeal to the philosophers of all countries to unite and never again mention Heidegger or talk to another philosopher who defends Heidegger. This man was a devil. I mean, he behaved like a devil to his beloved teacher [Husserl], and he has a devilish influence on Germany.”

    (Sir Karl Popper, quoted by Eugene Yue-Ching Ho, Intellectus 23 (Jul-Sep 1992), pp. 1-5 [Hong Kong Institute of Economic Science, IES], HTML Version, 29th January 1997).

    Since you have continued to present demonstrable falsehood as fact, and since you continue to defend a proven Nazi, I’m going to treat you the way Karl Popper recommends and disallow anything else you write to this blog. You are historically, factually, and morally ignorant, and I’ve already given your junk thought more space than it deserves.

    Go start your own blog and put whatever you call your thoughts there. I won’t be wasting my time visiting.

    Besides that, you’ve used profanity twice already, and I never meant to allow such on this blog.

  13. Allan Says:

    As the sage says:

    Summon me then, he said, and I will be your Iolaus until the sun goes down.

    I summon you rather, I rejoined, not as Heracles summoning Iolaus, but as Iolaus might summon Heracles.

    That will do as well, he said. But first let us take care that we avoid a danger.

    Of what nature? I said.

    Lest we become misologists, he replied: no worse thing can happen to a man than this.

  14. Michael Eden Says:

    Allan,
    I will allow your statement to stand as a final word, without additional comment or debate on my part. A misologist is someone who has a fear or hatred of reason.

  15. Thomas Jackson Says:

    Wow. Michael throws me overboard for a debate with someone who has philosophy creds. It’s all good.

  16. Michael Eden Says:

    Thomas,
    I’m not sure what you mean by “throwing you overboard.”

    I only give myself so much time to deal with this blog, and I really want to concentrate more on writing new articles, as opposed to constantly interacting with articles I’ve already completed.

  17. CICEINOLD Says:

    Thank you

  18. Michael Eden Says:

    Thank you, Ciceinold.

    I’m glad someone finally commented who actually appreciated my effort here!

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  22. Maynard Biggs Says:

    “School of Thought”? The human brain strives to categorize and classify for sake of limited brain managing a boundless range of concepts. Any school of thought is an accretion of similar ideas, to which a label is applied either from within or without. Metaphorically speaking, various tenents tend to gravitate toward each other and coalesce into a school of thought.

    Desconstructing the general by negating the underlying particulars is also perilous. Time and again society has believed that, in spite of general historical patterns, “this time is different” on account of technological, regulatory or cultural ‘changes’. The results tend to be less than beneficial. The dot-bomb and financial crisis are among them.

    Despite the heterogeneity of various murderous regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Mao and Pol Pot, it is still worthwhile examine, in a general way, their philosophical underpinnings and look for commonalities. When those common philosphies — whether named and categorized or not — are prevalent in a society, one should become worried.

  23. Michael Eden Says:

    I agree with your main point. When you are speaking of the “striving to categorize and classify a boundless range of concepts,” I understand that as a roundabout way of saying “worldview” (from a more physiological/neurological viewpoint). Our worldview is the closet, hook, and hanger arrangement by which we categorize things; it is also the prism/filter through which we view and understand the world around us.

    My point was most certainly NOT that postmodernists are monsters. They might be very nice people. But few realize that the philosophical underpinnings or presuppositions of their worldview are markedly similar with those of such monsters of history as the Nazis. And when we look at the philosophical pedigree of Nazism, and see Nietzsche’s and Heidegger’s thought, as well as the German liberal theological tradition that sought to “de-Judaize” Christianity by denying the historic legitimacy of the Old Testament, as well as understand that the Nazis denied any external reality outside of themselves as well as any objective/transcendent morality outside of themselves, we should realize that modern postmodernism is frighteningly similar.

    The Nazis merely took the same set of presuppositions that most postmodernists hold today to their truly logical conclusions. And that was when horror followed.

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  25. James Light Says:

    My, God, Michael. I was expecting an article that made me rethink and reevaluate my postmodern inclinations, but this piece you wrote is… idiocy. You don’t seem to have actually come close to thinkers characterized as postmodern, and you don’t seem to know what deconstruction is. (Neither do I know in depth and specifics, but what you do… jeezsh…)

    Allan is a way superior thinker to you, friend, and he seems more morally correct. Have you read Nietzsche’s thoughts/speculations on sklavmoral and the origin of morals? You seem too resentful too soon.

    Sorry I know I’m a little late to this blog post. You should drop acid once, man. Have a nice day.

  26. Michael Eden Says:

    You’ll have to forgive me for not accepting the advice or criticism from one who links “reason” with dropping acid. Figures.

    As usual, I get a drive-by attack that fails to point out a SINGLE specific point or argument worthy of genuine criticism. Except maybe your opinion that proto-Nazi Nietzsche (see below) deserves more respect and admiration than I am willing to give him. And yes, James, I DID read Nietzsche – including his Geneology of Morals.

    Postmodernism does not have the resources to produce any meaningful explanation of epistemology, metaphysics, or ethics – which is what philosophy is. Postmodernists are unable to make actual arguments because that would be giving credit to logic, rationality, and truth — all of which they deny. You end up with your feet planted firmly in midair.

    You have committed yourself to a radically distorted and frankly warped worldview, such that you cannot even possibly understand the world as it actually is. You have literally willed yourself to be stupid. It would frankly take far more wisdom than you possess to dissuade you from your notions.

    Particularly since the “conversion” of Laurence Bonjour (whose books Epistemic Justification and Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses I happen to have in my library, btw) from coherentism to foundationalism, the overwhelming majority of epistemologists are foundationalists. Which is to say they deny the essential philosophical premise for postmodernism, and which is to say that the overwhelming majority of people with an actual clue agree with me against you.

    I suppose works such as The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Blackwell’s Companion To Epistemology, Michael Loux’s Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, and David Hirsch’s The Deconstruction of Literature: Criticism after Auschwitz would be utterly bereft of any kind of understanding of the issues surrounding postmodern “thought” in your eyes. After all, none of the philosophers who write in these works are even a third as smart as you think you are.

    I’m not surprised you’re a Nietzsche fan. Virtually every pseudo-intellectual moral idiot is.

    Nietzsche’s “contributions” paved the way for Nazism.

    Nietzsche did this in many, many ways. But one of them was his development of the political Superman. Nietzsche saw this Superman as an artist who could bend the human race to his will. Nietzsche said, “Man is for him an un-form, a material, an ugly stone that needs a sculptor” (Ecce Homo). We see here a summary not only of the genesis of the vile eugenics movement that would lead to the Holocaust, but a demonstration of how the exaltation of the will would lead NOT to general liberty, but rather to the control of the people by a powerful elite. Nietzsche’s thought leads invariably to the will being subjugated to the will of the Supermen.

    What else was it that Nietzsche said of this Superman?

    “If his [the Superman’s] strength rank still higher in the hierarchy…, it is not sufficient for him to be capable of cruelty merely at the sight of much suffering, perishing, and destruction: such a man must be capable of himself creating pain and suffering and experience pleasure in so doing, he must be cruel in hand and deed (and not merely with the eyes of the spirit)” (Nietzsche, “Die Unschuld des Werdens” (see also here, where a fuller version appears in this book entitled, Vision and Violence, page 201.

    Oh, your man Nietzsche and his ethic of cruelty provided the intellectual rationale for all of the Nazi atrocities. And he did so with the same flippant, sarcastic contempt for ordinary, basic human values that I sense from you. Nietzsche said:

    “The weak and the failures shall perish: the first principle of our love of man. And they shall even be given every possible assistance. What is more harmful than any vice? Active pity for all the failures and the weak: Christianity” (Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, page 570 in Portable Nietzsche).

    Nietzsche is very clear that Christianity and the Judeo-Christian worldview are the foundation for the superior moral values of classical liberalism. Modern liberals have yanked all foundations for decency away and are taking us right back to the fascists and the totalitarians. And yes, the National Socialist German Workers Party itself.

    A hastily obtained reading list of Nietzsche’s contribution to Nazism:
    – From William L. Shirer (1959), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
    Nietzsche, Prophet of Nazism: The Cult of the Superman–Unveiling the Nazi Secret Doctrine
    Nietzsche and the Nazis, by Stephen Hicks, Ph.D.
    The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism
    – And there was this nice little student paper entitled “Friedrich Nietzsche’s Influence on Hitler’s Mein Kampf” that interacted with numerous Niezsche quotes.

    You just go ahead and keep cheering for your Nazi protagonists as “more morally correct,” you foolish clown.

    I’ll be blocking you, James. It’s not worth my effort to spend time refuting the kind of drive-by smart ass sarcasm that people of your ilk constantly provide in lieu of any genuinely meaningful criticism.

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  30. Kashika Vohra Says:

    I find it so reassuring that am not the only human out there over the age of 20 who doesn’t know any of this! Time to learn *about all of it*.

  31. GE13 News Says:

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  33. 4TimesAYear Says:

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  34. Michael Eden Says:

    4TimesAYear,

    Thanks much. Hadn’t noticed you actually reblogged the third part of a three-part article.

    Your reblogging actually brings the subject of postmodernism and what I wrote back in a very illuminating time: the left is using the SAME tactics I described!

  35. 4TimesAYear Says:

    Exactly!

  36. Michael Eden Says:

    4TimesAYear,

    Which is another way of saying we’re watching the rise of the Nazi Party. Again.

    “Intellectuals” love to say that Nazism was “right-wing.” Which is so idiotic it is beyond absurd: the Nazi Party was “right-wing” ONLY in the bizarre sense that it was the “right-wing” of the extreme radical LEFT.

    We say the Soviet Union easily and seamlessly maneuver between “international socialism” and “national socialism” as needed. We see that behavior from the People’s Republic of China all the time; in fact China is FAR more fascist than they are communist – while still being hard-core SOCIALIST.

    But how did they get there? How did these nations degrade to the point where the government took complete control of these societies? And the answer is the same way in those socialist countries that we’re seeing here and now.

    They just dug a Confederate general out of the ground. The left is the worst of Orwell’s 1984 plus the worst of Animal Farm at the same time. They are purging history. Facts are lies to the left. And whatever mindless junk they scream is the truth.

  37. 4TimesAYear Says:

    I totally agree. I find it really disturbing that these people act strictly on their feelings/emotions. There is no discipline, thought, or foresight whatsoever. They put the 60’s to shame.

  38. Michael Eden Says:

    4TimesAYear,

    The gist of postmodernism is that THERE IS NO TRUTH. And therefore all I have left is however I feel, or whatever world I can create and impose. Everything you are seeing flows from the rejection of absolute truth and human-mind-independent reality.

    The raw appeal to emotion – usually expressed in anger, hate, bitterness and violent rate – has two “plus-sides” for leftist leaders: 1) People who don’t and frankly CAN’T think for themselves are the most easily led and manipulated; and 2) what we’re now seeing is that violence trumps debate. As an example, the leftist-dominated world is terrified of agitating Muslims while they spit on Christians. Well, what would happen if Christians burned and looted and murdered at the drop of a hat the way Muslims do? What would have happened had ten million people died and hundreds of billions in property were burned to the ground in the rioting following the Democrat Party’s funding of “Piss Christ”???

    So the left gets all the benefits of the violence and all the benefits of the fact that there supporters are mindless and easily manipulated morons in one package.

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