Leftist Thought Led To Fascism – And Is Doing So Again

Liberals think that the title of Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism is an oxymoron.  They’re wrong.  Goldberg himself writes:

“For more than sixty years, liberals have insisted that the bacillus of fascism lies semi-dormant in the bloodstream of the political right.  And yet with the notable and complicated exceptions of Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom, no top-tier American conservative intellectual was a devotee of Nietzsche or a serious admirer of Heidegger.  All major conservative schools of thought trace themselves back to the champions of the Enlightenment–John Locke, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, Burke–and none of them have any direct intellectual link to Nazism or Nietzsche, to existentialism, nihilism, or even, for the most part, Pragmatism.  Meanwhile, the ranks of the leftwing intellectuals are infested with ideas and thinkers squarely in the fascist tradition.  And yet all it takes is the abracadabra word “Marxist” to absolve most of them of any affinity with these currents.  The rest get off the hook merely by attacking bourgeois morality and American values–even though such attacks are themselves little better than a reprise of fascist arguments” [page 175].

“Foucault’s “enterprise of Unreason,” Derrida’s tyrannical logocentrism, Hitler’s “revolt against reason.”  All fed into a movement that believes action is more important than ideas.  Deconstructionism, existentialism, postmodernism, Pragmatism, relativism: all these ideas had the same purpose–to erode the iron chains of tradition, dissolve the concrete foundations of truth, and firebomb the bunkers where the defenders of the ancient regime still fought and persevered.  These were ideologies of the “movement.”  The late Richard Rorty admitted as much, conflating Nietzsche and Heidegger with James and Dewey as part of the same grand project” [Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, page 176].

It turns out that most of the moral and philosophical assumptions of liberalism have been shared by not only the Marxists, but the Nazis as well.  NAZI stood for “National Socialist German Workers Party,” and was merely a rival brand of the clearly leftist political ideology of socialism.  And given the fact that Marxism was in fact every bit as totalitarian and murderous as Nazism, in hindsight it seems rather bizarre that “Marxist” was ever an abracadabra word that the American left was willing to bear to begin with.

The purpose of this article is to explore how the foundational ideas that liberals uphold as being the opposite of fascism in fact actually fed the monster of fascist Nazism, and how the modern American left continue to fall prey to fascist premises and outcomes to this very day.

It is particularly interesting that the supposedly highly individualistic and influential school of thought known as “existentialism” became so ensnared by fascism and Nazism.  On the surface, existentialism would seem to be the very polar opposite of fascism and Nazism.  After all, a philosophy of radical freedom centered in the individual would surely be incompatible with a totalitarian social system that denies political liberty in the name of the community.  One would assume that existentialism would be a philosophy of rebellion against all such external authority.  And yet the Nazis quoted Frederich Nietzsche at great length in support of their ideology (see also here).  Martin Heidegger, one of the foremost existentialist thinkers in history, turned out to have been a proud member of the Nazi Party.  And even famed existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre – who fought to resist fascism in his Nazi-occupied France during WWII – ultimately merely chose another totalitarian ideology in its place (Sartre identified himself as a Marxist and a Maoist).

Georg Lukács observed (in The Destruction of Reason, 1954, page 5) that tracing a path to Hitler involved the name of nearly every major German philosopher since Hegel: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dilthy, Simmel, Scheler, Heidegger, Jaspers, Weber.  Rather than merely being amoral monsters, the Nazis emerged out of a distinguished liberal secular humanist intellectual tradition.

Max Weinreich documented in Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes against the Jewish People, an exhaustive study of the complicity of German intellectuals with the Nazi regime.  Far from opposing the Nazi regime, we find that German academia actively provided the intellectual justification for Nazi fascism as well as the conceptual framework for the Holocaust.  Weinreich does not claim that German scholars intended the Holocaust, but he argues that the Holocaust would not have been possible without them.

He asks, “Did they administer the poison?  By no means; they only wrote the prescription.”

How could such a thing happen?

Very easily, it turns out.

The existentialists (along with the secular humanists and the liberals), deny the transcendent, deny objective truth, and deny the objective morality that derive from transcendence and objective truth.  Rather than any preordained system – whether moral or theological – existentialist anchored meaning not to any ideals or abstractions, but in the individual’s personal existence.  Life has no ultimate meaning; meaning is personal; and human beings must therefore create their own meaning for themselves.

One should already begin to see the problem: since existentialism, by its very nature, refuses to give objective answers to moral or ideological questions, a particular existentialist might choose to follow either a democrat or totalitarian ideology – and it frankly doesn’t matter which.  All that matters is that the choice be a genuine choice.

Existentialists didn’t merely acknowledge this abandonment of transcendent morality, they positively reveled in it.  In his book St. Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre celebrated the life of a criminal.  Genet was a robber, a drug dealer, and a sexual deviant.  By all conventional moral standards, Genet was an evil man.  But for Sartre, even ostensibly evil actions could be moral if they were performed in “good faith.”  And since Sartre’s Genet consciously chose to do what he did, and took responsibility for his choices and his actions, he was a saint in existentialist terms.

And the problem becomes even worse: by rejecting the concepts of transcendence, objective meaning, truth, and moral law, and by investing ultimate authority in the human will (i.e. Nietzsche’s “will to power”, Hitler’s “triumph of the will”), existentialism played directly into the hands of fascism — which preached the SAME doctrines.  If fascism can be defined as “violent and practical resistance against the process of transcendence,” as Ernst Nolte defined it, then it’s affinities with existentialism are crystal clear.  The two movements became part of the same stream of thought.

Modern Nietzsche followers argue that Nietzsche was not a racial anti-Semite.  For the sake of argument maybe he wasn’t; but he was without any question an intellectual anti-Semite, who attacked the Jews for their ideas and their ethics — particularly as they contributed to Western civilization and to Christianity (which he also actively despised).  And in addition to Nietzsche’s intellectual anti-Semitism was his utter contempt for any form of abstractions — particularly as they related to the transcendental categories of morality and reason.  Nietzsche maintained that abstraction of life resulted from abstraction of thought.  And he blamed Christianity – which he rightly blamed as a creation of the Jews – for the denial of life manifested in Christian morality.

And, unlike most pseudo-intellectuals of today, Nietzsche was consistent: in his attack against Christianity, he attacked Judeo-Christian morality.  He attacked the Christian value of other-centered love, and argued that notions of compassion and mercy favored the weak and the unfit, thereby breeding more weakness.  Don’t you dare think for a single nanosecond that Hitler didn’t take the arguments of this beloved-by-liberals philosopher and run down the field with them toward the death camps.

The Nazis aligned themselves not only against the Jews but against the the Judeo-Christian God and the Judeo-Christian morality the Jews represented.  A transcendent lawgiving God, who reveals His moral law on real tablets of stone for mankind to follow, was anathema to the fascists.  They argued that such transcendence alienates human beings from nature and from themselves (i.e., from their own genuine choices).  The fascist intellectuals sought to forge a new spirituality of immanence, focused upon nature, on human emotions, and on the community.  The fascists sought to restore the ancient pre-Christian consciousness, the ancient mythic sensibility in the form of the land and the blood, in which individuals experience unity with nature, with each other, and with their own deepest impulses.

Gene Edward Veith in his book Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian worldview writes:

The fascist rebellion against transcendence restored the ancient pagan consciousness.  With it came barbarism, a barbarism armed with modern technology and intellectual sophistication.  The liquidation of the transcendent moral law and “Jewish” conscience allowed the resurgence of the most primitive and destructive emotions, the unleashing of original sin (page 14).

Nietzsche argued that God is dead, and Hitler tried to finish Him off by eradicating the Jews.  What is less known is that he also planned to solve the “church problem” after the war.  Hitler himself  said:

“The war is going to be over.  The last great task of our age will be to solve the church problem.  It is only then that the nation will be wholly secure” [From Hitler’s Tabletalk (December 1941), quoted in The Nazi Years: A Documentary History, ed. Joachim Remak, 1990, page 105].

Hitler boasted that “I have six divisions of SS composed of men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion.  It doesn’t prevent them from going to their deaths with serenity in their souls.”  And Himmler said, “Men who can’t divest themselves of manners of previous centuries, and scoff and sling mud at things which are ‘holy’ and matters of belief to others, once and for all do not belong in the SS.”

With the creed “God is dead” and the resulting “death of God,” Nietzsche predicted that energizing conflict and revolution would reemerge in a great wave of nihilism.  Human beings would continue to evolve, he said, nodding to Darwinism.  And man would ultimately give way to Superman.  And Nietzsche said that this Superman would not accept the anachronistic abstract, transcendental meanings imposed by disembodied Judeo-Christian rationalism or by a life-denying religion.  Rather, this Superman would CREATE meaning for himself and for the world as a whole.

The Superman, according to Nietzsche, would be an artist who could shape the human race – no longer bound by putrefying and stultifying and stupefying transcendence – to his will.  “Man is for him an un-form, a material, an ugly stone that needs a sculptor,” he wrote.  Such a statement did not merely anticipate the Darwinist-based Nazi eugenics movement.  It demonstrated how the exaltation of the human will could and would lead not to general liberty, as one might have expected, but to the control of the many by the elite — with those of the weaker in will being subjugated to the will of the Supermen.

Nietzsche’s new ethic became the rationale for all the Nazi atrocities that would follow.  As Nietzsche himself put it, “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” (in “The Anti-Christ” in Portable Nietzsche, p. 570).  We see here also the exemplification of yet another legacy left behind by Nietzsche that was picked up by the Nazi and afterward by secular humanist atheists today: the Nietzschean attitude of flippant, sarcastic contempt for all the ordinary human values that had resulted from Judeo-Christianity.

One of the ordinary human values that had resulted from Judeo-Christianity was the fundamental sanctity of human life.  But the Nazis had their own concept – Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”).  And nearly fifty million of the most innocent and helpless human beings have perished as a result of an existentialist philosophy that survived the fall of the Nazis in liberal thought, which celebrates pro-existentialist “pro-choice” above human life.

Nietzsche’s philosophy underlies the thought of all the later existentialists, and the darker implications of his thought proved impossible to ignore.

And Martin Heidegger, in his own personal choice to commit himself to National Socialism, did not ignore them.

There is more that needs to be understood.

Martin Heidegger invoked Nietzsche in his 1933 Rectoral Address, in his speech entitled, “The Self-Assertion of the German University,” in which he articulated his commitment to the integration of academia with National Socialism.  He began by asking, if Nietzsche is correct in saying that God is dead, what are the implications for knowledge?

As Heidegger explained, if God is dead, there is no longer a transcendent authority or reference point for objective truth.  Whereas classical thought, exemplified by the Greeks, could confidently search for objective truth, today, after the death of God, truth becomes intrinsically “hidden and uncertain.”  Today the process of questioning is “no longer a preliminary step that is surmounted on the way to the answer and thus to knowing; rather, questioning itself becomes the highest form of knowing.”

Heidegger’s conclusion became accepted to the point of becoming a commonplace of contemporary liberal thought: that knowledge is a matter of process, not content.  With the death of God, there is no longer any set of absolutes or abstract ideals by which existence must be ordered.  Such “essentialism” is an illusion; and knowledge in the sense of objective, absolute truth must be challenged.  The scholar is not one who knows or searches for some absolute truth, but the one who questions everything that pretends to be true.

Again, one would think that such a skeptical methodology would be highly incompatible with fascism, with its practice of subjecting people to an absolute human authority.  And yet this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of fascism.  In fact, Heidegger’s Rectoral Address was warmly endorsed by the National Socialists for a very good reason: the fascists saw themselves as iconoclasts, interrogating the old order and boldly challenging all transcendent absolutes.

We find that in this same address in which Heidegger asserts that “questioning itself becomes the highest form of knowing,” Heidegger went on to advocate expelling academic freedom from the university:

“To give oneself the law is the highest freedom.  The much-lauded ‘academic freedom’ will be expelled from the university.”

Heidegger argued that the traditional canons of academic freedom were not genuine but only negative, encouraging “lack of concern” and “arbitrariness.”  Scholars must become unified with each other and devote themselves to service.  In doing so, he stated, “the concept of the freedom of German students is now brought back to it’s truth.”

Now, the claim that freedom would somehow emerge when academic freedom is eliminated might be sophistry of the worst kind, but it is not mere rhetorical doublespeak.  Why?  Because Heidegger was speaking existentially, calling not for blind obedience, but for a genuine commitment of the will.  Freedom was preserved because “to give oneself the law” was a voluntary, freely chosen commitment.  Academic freedom as the disinterested pursuit of truth shows “arbitrariness,” parking of the old essentialist view that truth is objective and transcendent.  The essentialist scholar is detached and disengaged, showing “lack of concern,” missing the sense in which truth is ultimately personal, a matter of the will, demanding personal responsibility and choice.  In the new order, the scholar will be fully engaged in service to the community.  Academic freedom is alienating, a function of the old commitment to moral and intellectual absolutes.

And what this meant in practice could be seen in the Bavarian Minister of Culture’s directive to professors in Munich, that they were no longer to determine whether something “is true, but whether it is in keeping with the direction of the National Socialist revolution” (Hans Schemm, quoted in Hermann Glaser, The Cultural Roots of National Socialism, tr. Ernest A. Menze, 1978, p. 99).

I point all of the above out to now say that it is happening all over again, by intellectuals who unknowingly share most of the same tenets that made the horror possible the last time.

We live in a time and in a country in which the all-too modern left has virtually purged the university of conservatives and conservative thought.  This is simply a fact that is routinely confirmed.  And as a mater of routine, conservative speakers need not apply at universities.  If they are actually invited to speak, they are frequently shouted down by a relative few liberal activists.  And leftwing censorship is commonplace.  Free speech is largely gone, in a process that simply quashes unwanted views.  We have a process today in which a professor who is himself employing fascist tactics calls a student “a fascist bastard.”  And why did he do so?  Because the student gave a speech in a speech class choosing a side on a topic that the professor did not like.

We live in a society in which too many of our judges have despised a system of objective laws from an objective Constitution and have imposed their own will upon both.  Judicial activist judges have largely driven transcendent religion and the transcendent God who gives objective moral laws out of the public sphere.

Today, we live in a society that will not post the Ten Commandments – the epitome of transcendent divinely-ordained moral law – in public schools.  And why not?  Because judges ruled that:

“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments,” which, the Court said, is “not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause.”

One can only marvel that such justices so cynically debauched the thought of the founding fathers whose ideas they professed to be upholding.

Justices of the Supreme Court agreed with this fallacious ruling even as the figure of Moses holding the Ten Commandments rules atop the very building in which they betrayed our nation’s founding principles.

And thus the left has stripped the United States of America bare of transcendent moral law, just as their intellectual forebears did prior to WWII in Nazi Germany.   And thus the intellectual left has largely stripped the United States of America from free debate within academia largely by pursuing the same line of reasoning that Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger employed to do the same in Nazi Germany.  We saw this very feature evidenced by leftist scientists who threw aside their scientific ethics in order to purge climatologists who came to a different conclusion.

The climate that led to fascism and to Nazism in Germany did not occur overnight, even though the final plunge may have appeared to be such to an uninformed observer.  It occurred over a period of a half a dozen decades or so, with the transcendent and objective moral foundations having been systematically torn away.  And after that degree of cancer had been reached, it only took the right leader or the right event to plunge the world into madness.

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12 Responses to “Leftist Thought Led To Fascism – And Is Doing So Again”

  1. Luther Blissett Says:

    So freedom means that politics should follow whatever transcendent authority you pick; e.g. the ten commandments? Shall we burn any book that doesn’t acknowledge Yahweh as the one true god? Commandment I is: I am the Lord your God. Shall we exterminate all the athiests first and then start on tha pagans? Why is one transcendant authority better than another; e.g. why is blind faith in the coming kingdom of God any better or worse than the coming dictatorship of the proletariat? Heidegger gave up politics in 1934 because the Nazis set up the thousand year Reich as their transcendent authority and didn’t care for the opening Heidegger had imagined in 1933. Are you suggesting it would have been better if he’d gone along with the thousand year Reich because any transcendent authority is better than none?

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    First of all, you are simply factually wrong about Martin Heidegger. While Heidegger ultimately fell out of favor with Hitler, it was NOT because he did not want to see a thousand year Reich, or out of ANY enlightened opposition to Nazism whatsoever. Rather, it was because he ended up on the losing side of a major ideological battle within the Nazi party. Victor Farias showed in his work Heidegger and Nazism that Heidegger was on his way to becoming THE philosopher of the Third Reich (p. 175), and actually proved to be too radical even for Hitler (pp 177-187). Farias showed that, in aligning himself with the Storm Troopers of Ernst Rohm and the SA, and insisting on persecuting Catholic student groups, Heidegger’s extremist anti-religious views interfered with Hitler’s political ambitions (i.e., at the time, Hitler could not risk so openly alienating Catholics). The SA – prior to their annihilation in the Night of the long knives – had been even more extreme in their advocacy of political violence and suppression against Jews, Catholics, and those who represented the “old order” than the SS were. In his support for the SA, Heidegger was lucky to escape with his life.

    Heidegger’s first act as Rector had been to eliminate all democratic structures, including those that had elected him Rector.

    And further, Heidegger remained a loyal Nazi. Farias demonstrated that Heidegger would begin and end each lecture with the Nazi salute and the “Heil, Hitler!” even when it was no longer obligatory – as Heidegger had personally made it when he was rector.

    And further still, Heidegger remained a member of the Nazi Party until the Nazi party was ENDED by the Allies at the end of WWII.

    If that’s what you mean by “gave up politics,” it’s kind of funny.

    Then you proceed to degenerate into historical and moral absurdity.

    If I may point out, the freest, most democratic, and most prosperous societies on earth have been those that have been most closely and intimately associated with “Christendom.” Whether you like it or not, that stands as a brute fact.

    And in contrast to the benefits of Christendom, let’s take a look at other regimes that abandoned transcendence and see what happened. We can start with the French Revolution, and how it degenerated into unimaginable Terror as it degenerated into “dechristianization” and atheism. It was the bloodiest and most ghastly period that Europe had ever seen before more atheists in Germany and Russia went to even more ghastly extremes in their attempt to crush the human spirit even as they attempted to kill God. And then we can begin to examine the hellholes of Communist China, communist Vietnam, communist Cambodia, communist North Korea, communist Cuba, and everywhere else that the transcendence-denying ideology of state atheism.

    You might contemplate the death toll communism has accumulated DURING PEACETIME AGAINST THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

    You further proceed, in your ignorance of history, to fail to realize that our own founding fathers completely contradict your thesis that transcendence equals some bizarre form of slavery. The American founding fathers cite belief in a transcendent, moral, lawgiving God as a foundation for the freest society that had ever been created in human history. Read that article, and you will see how fundamental religion and the idea of a transcendent God was to the form of government they created.

    Read George Washington’s Farewell Address. Read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and realize where the phrase “one nation under God” came from.

    I’ll cite a passage from my article on the founding fathers, because it is appropriate once again:

    What are the foundations of America? After 45 years of public service, George Washington, our greatest patriot and the father of our country, gives his farewell address. He says, ‘We need to remember what brought us here. We need to remember what made us different from all the other nations across Europe and the rest of the world. We have to remember what our foundations are.’ It was the road map, showing us how we’d become what we were, and how to preserve it. It has long been considered the most important address ever given by any US president. President Lincoln set aside an entire day for the entire Union Army and had them read and understand it. Woodrow Wilson did the same during WWI. But we haven’t studied it in schools for over 45 years, so your lack of understanding is understandable. Washington said:

    “Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” — George Washington, Farewell Address

    If you want your politics to prosper, the two things you will not separate will be religion and morality. If you want your government to work well, if you want American exceptionalism, if you want the government to do right, if you want all this, then you won’t separate religion and morality from political life. And America’s greatest patriot gave a litmus test for patriotism. He says in the very next sentence (immediately continuing from the quote above):

    “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars.” — George Washington

    Washington says, Anyone who would try to remove religion and morality from public life, I won’t allow them to call themselves a patriot. Because they are trying to destroy the country.

    And he wasn’t alone. I can well understand why you would throw out the wisest and most brilliant political geniuses who ever lived. I can understand because George Washington wouldn’t have even have allowed you to call yourself “a patriot” in his presence. What they wrote, what they thought, what they believed, utterly refute you. But it was THESE men, and not Marx, or Mao, or any other socialist, who devised the greatest political system the world has ever seen.

    Fortunately, our founding fathers were a whole lot smarter than you, Luther. They realized that freedom of religion was critical to human freedom. But they also realized that the objective morality of a transcendent lawgiving God was foundational to any form of ethical standards which could guide a free and democratic society. They figured out a way to balance these two non-contradictory objectives; which modern activist judges have since undermined. And they realized what history has proven: that when a society abandons that foundation, they will plunge into tyranny and totalitarianism – as state atheism has proven every single time it has been tried bar none.

  3. John Taratuta Says:

    “Martin Heidegger invoked Nietzsche in his 1933 Rectoral Address, in his speech entitled, “The Self-Assertion of the German University,” in which he articulated his commitment to the integration of academia with National Socialism.”

    Martin Heidegger invoked Nietzsche in his 1933 Rectoral Address, “if it is true what that passionate seeker of God and last German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said: “God is dead” –……”

    In Heidegger’s ‘Address,’ Heidegger starts off saying, “The dominant characteristic of the university’s essence is generally thought to be its “self-administration”; it is to be preserved.”

    Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard is seen as the father of Existentialism, and the word came into use by the French in the 1940s.

    Now, French intellectual (or perhaps an anti-intellectual?) Emmanuel Faye book ““Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy,” will be published by Yale University Press and calls for, from the reviews I’ve seen, the banning of Heidegger’s works.

    Before we fire up the grill, I must confess to have found Heidegger (at least the English translations) to be refreshing, and note that even the great Catholic theologian Karl Rahner was influenced by Heidegger.

    Other then that my friend, you are spot-on.

    Thanks for the blog.

    Pierre Joris:Heidegger, France, Politics, the University

    Karen Kilby on KARL RAHNER

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    Pleasure to receive your comment.

    I do want it to be known that I never call Heidegger “the father of existentialism.” I am aware of the influence of Soren Kierkegaard – a religious “existentialist” who believed that religious faith amounted to a blind leap of choice. I once read a great work entitled, “Seven Men Who Rule The World From The Grave,” which put his “contribution” into context.

    I am with the ancient church on ideas. The church fathers PRESERVED the writings of heretics in order to interact with and refute them. Much of what we know of the ancient world would have been lost had they not been preserved. And that would have been a great tragedy, indeed.

    I fight for people to understand the truth, not for people to burn books. It is important to know about wrong and false ideas of the past, because otherwise we will merely stumble upon them over and over again ourselves. In that spirit, I welcome people to read Heidegger and for that matter Hitler; and urge them to reject these ideas in favor of the Truth.

    The biggest problem with Heidegger, from a philosophical point of view, is that he essentially pronounces the death of “essentialism,” which is the death of metaphysics, the death of objective truth as a viable category.

    As a corollary to that idea, Heidegger argued that any choice, ANY choice whether it was “good” or “evil”, was an equally valid choice as long as it was a “genuine” choice.

    And I would submit that Nazism could not have gotten off the ground without these two ideas.

  5. enowning Says:

    “If that’s what you mean by ‘gave up politics,’ it’s kind of funny.”

    Hedeigger was a full-time professor who spent his time lecturing and writing. Then in 1933 he was elected rector, he spent a year as rector, going around other unversities giving speeches about his vision of a political revolution. When he lost out to other academic philosophers and realized he was losing, he resigned as rector and returned to lecturing and writing. That’s what I meant. Seems pretty self evident to me. Heidegger remained a Nazi as long as it was to his advantage (e.g. travel permits) to be one.

    Not everything Farias writes is fact, as pointed out by Ott is his biography, and other anti-Heidegger-but-lets-get-the-facts-straight researchers in this area. The facts are, of course, anathema to ideologists.

    “What are the foundations of America?”

    The extermination of the native nations, slavery, and an emancipatory revolution against the divine right of royalty, the latter of which I applaud.

    “freedom of religion was critical to human freedom”

    I agree. I just object to being oppressed by your transcendent authority.

    “the greatest political system the world has ever seen.”

    There are more people in prison in the USA, both in total number and proportionally, under the Obama regime that ever before in the USA, and more than any country on earth currently, bar North Korea. And that includes dictatorships, theocracies, and other regimes that don’t bother to congratulate themselves about how perfect they are. Why is that? Do you care, or is sufficient that the airlines run on time? Are Americans genetically predisposed towards criminal behavior? Or is it the dominant ideology of the ruling oligarchies (mainstream media, elite universities, politicians, government technocrats) that you support?

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    Don’t assert to me that “Not everything Farias writes is fact.” That is bogus on every level imaginable. Tell me specifically what I draw from Farias regarding either my article or my comment that is not a fact (and we now recognize from a ton of firsthand sources that Heidegger was an ideologically-committed Nazi). The fact that you allude that somebody somewhere says Farias was wrong is a load of crap, and you frankly ought to know better.

    There’s another book out which John referred to below: Emmanuel Faye’s “Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy.”

    In the most comprehensive examination to date of Heidegger’s Nazism, Emmanuel Faye draws on previously unavailable materials to paint a damning picture of Nazism’s influence on the philosopher’s thought and politics.

    In this provocative book, Faye uses excerpts from unpublished seminars to show that Heidegger’s philosophical writings are fatally compromised by an adherence to National Socialist ideas. In other documents, Faye finds expressions of racism and exterminatory anti-Semitism.

    An editorial review adds:

    “Emmanuel Faye incontestably shows that Heidegger’s Nazism was not fleeting, casual or accidental, but central to his philosophical enterprise. Faye’s book challenges us to draw the ethical consequences from this fact.” — Robert E. Norton, University of Notre Dame (Robert E. Norton )

    In other words, pretty much exactly what I’m saying.

    Heidegger was a professor, not a politician. I think it’s a frankly lame prospect to try to assert that he wasn’t a politician, and so he really wasn’t much of a Nazi. The fact remains he was an ideologically-committed Nazi. Furthermore, I think I successfully document why Heidegger “got out of politics.” It had everything to do with his support for a Nazi political entity that was destroyed, and nothing whatsoever due to his moral scruples.

    In 1949 – well after it was “to his advantage to be a Nazi” (like that in ANY way relieves his moral guilt), Heidegger betrayed his total attachment disorder to the Holocaust that had resulted from his own ideological movement, saying:

    “Agriculture is now a motorized food industry, the same thing in its essence as the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps…”

    and thus equivocating between the millions of human beings murdered in the Holocaust and something like pig farming. Heidegger’s lack of respect for human life, and his lack of guilt for what HE HIMSELF had been part of as a Nazi, is monstrous.

    In a way, your comment trying to weaken Heidegger’s Nazism proves my ultimate claim: Heidegger’s thought is so intrinsically tied to the left that you have to attempt to defend the indefensible in order to try to obfuscate the crystal clear Nazi-ties with modern liberalism and secular humanism.

    I’ll only say this, Luther. If you believe your own garbage as to North Korea’s superiority to America, I will personally pay for your one-way trip there, following your forfeiture of American citizenship. I have a hard time believing that you or anyone that spouts your line is truly stupid enough to believe such moral idiocy.

    Do you have no idea what the rest of the world was doing while the United States was doing the things you accused it of? I mean, my God, the Soviet Union was STILL exterminating their ethnic minorities going into the 1960s!!! Why don’t you google “Soviet Union” and “slave labor” and see what you get? And even to this day, North Korea allows its citizens to starve to death out of political ideology. In the mid 90’s, some 3 million people starved to death, when North Korea could have opened up politically and saved them.

    Do I again have to mention what your godless regimes were doing to their people throughout this very century on a scale that UTTERLY DWARFED anything America did at its very worst?

    When we ended slavery, by the way, we did so primarily out of the same worldview that Britain had earlier under William Wilburforce in England: the Christian religious outrage over enslaving fellow human beings created in the image of God. A great deal of the Union agenda was to end slavery, as their chief ballads such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “John Brown’s Body” (John Brown was an abolitionist) demonstrate.

    Millions and millions of people who literally sacrificed everything to migrate to America, even as untold numbers of others who failed trying to escape the bondage of godless communist regimes such as the Iron Curtain, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Cuba, demonstrate how truly full of crap your answer to “America’s foundations” truly is.

  7. JJ Says:

    Just a note – (1) Rorty’s conflation of Heidegger and pragmatism is highly contestable [in fatc, I think it is entirely unpersuasive since Rorty’s view of pragmatism is suspect and his characterization of how Heidegger is a pragmatist is questionable too – all that is too long a story for a comment] and (2) if you hope to rely on Rorty (via the none-too-reliable Mr Goldberg) you should take seriously DIck’s subsequent claim that there is no relationship – that’s right, none – between one’s philosophical views and one’s politics. Cherry picking is really not the way to build an argument – at least one that those not already predisposed to agree will find cogent. That is among the examples of intellectual slight of hand on which Goldberg relies. (I suppose that just maybe getting one’s jobs through nepotism really is disabling.)

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    For better or for worse, Rorty is widely regarded as an authority, and you are not regarded at all. You might assure me that you have a thousand more IQ points than Richard Rorty, and understand the nuances of philosophy better than all the masters combined. I could personally care less.

    Rather than deriving my view of Heidegger from Rorty, I would submit to you that I get it from Heidegger’s former student Victor Farias’s “Heidegger and Nazism” or from Emmanuel Faye’s “Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy.”

    Here’s what another highly qualified reviewer thought about Heidegger:

    “Emmanuel Faye incontestably shows that Heidegger’s Nazism was not fleeting, casual or accidental, but central to his philosophical enterprise. Faye’s book challenges us to draw the ethical consequences from this fact.” — Robert E. Norton, University of Notre Dame

    I differ with Rorty on all kinds of philosophical ideas. That doesn’t change the fact that his views carry weight. Certainly a lot more weight than your views carry.

    I don’t “rely” on Rorty at all, beyond (through Goldberg) to show that this particular scholar has this particular understanding. And given the fact that he is a widely recognized professor of comparative literature, his views in putting together different thinkers and different ideas is quite relevant. I mean, it’s literally what the guy does.

    I am aware that Rorty has said that philosophy and politics don’t mix; but that is very different indeed from the view that one’s philosophy has no relationship whatsoever to one’s politics.

    As an example, I can tell by the way that you describe philosophy that you are a liberal in political terms. And I very much doubt that I’m the only one who can tell. And in the same way, when I talk to a postmodernist post-structuralist feminist, I can pretty much bet the bank that I’m talking to a freakin’ liberal. And, goodness gracious, when I find out that someone is a metaphysical realist who holds to substance dualism, the correspondence theory of truth, and the referential theory of language, an epistemological foundationalist, and an virtue ethicist, I am never surprised to learn that he or she turns out to be a conservative. Perhaps it’s just me being a really really great guesser.

    Actually, your assertion via your assertion of some possible assertion by Rorty that there is no relationship between one’s philosophical views and one’s political views reminds me of a quote by Gleason Archer:

    But it should be pointed out that consistent atheism, which represents itself to be the most rational and logical of all approaches to reality, is in actuality completely self defeating and incapable of logical defense. That is to say, if indeed all matter has combined by mere chance, unguided by any Higher Power of Transcendental Intelligence, then it necessarily follows that the molecules of the human brain are also the product of mere chance. In other words, we think the way we do simply because the atoms and molecules of our brain tissue happen to have combined in the way they have, totally without transcendental guidance or control. So then even the philosophies of men, their system of logic and all their approaches to reality are the result of mere fortuity. There is no absolute validity to any argument advanced by the atheist against the position of theism.

    On the basis of his won presuppositions, the atheist completely cancels himself out, for on his own premises his arguments are without any absolute validity. By his own confession he thinks the way he does simply because the atoms in his brain happen to combine the way they do. If this is so, he cannot honestly say that his view is any more valid than the contrary view of his opponent. His basic postulates are self contradictory and self defeating; for when he asserts that there are no absolutes, he thereby is asserting a very dogmatic absolute. Nor can he logically disprove the existence of God without resorting to a logic that depends on the existence of God for its validity. Apart from such a transcendent guarantor of the validity of logic, any attempts at logic or argumentation are simply manifestations of the behavior of the collocation of molecules that make up the thinker’s brain.

    If Richard Rorty truly didn’t think that one’s philosophical perspective had absolutely no relation to one’s political views, perhaps it was because he couldn’t solve the above atheists’ dilemma.

    For my part, I believe that what we think about the world tends to flow from our worldview presuppositions. I don’t just “happen” to be a conservative because the molecules of my brain happened to randomly arrange themselves such and so; rather, I am a conservative because of certain foundational worldview ideas.

    I’ll leave it to people who read this article past my quote of Goldberg to determine whether philosophy in any way informs one’s politics or not.

    As someone who read and genuinely appreciated Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism cover to cover, I simply completely disagree with your trivial dismissal of him.

  9. Paul M Says:

    Satan is a leftist.

    Everyday he sends his evil leftist demons into the world to corrupt and destroy.

    Thank God for noble, truth-speaking, conservative freedom fighters like yourself.

  10. Michael Eden Says:

    Satan certainly despises the Judeo-Christian worldview just as does the left. And we have to stand up for that which both the devil and the liberals hate.

    Our founding fathers were such wise, noble, and religious leaders, who understood the nexus between the Holy Bible and human governance as no one ever had understood it before or since. We have the ideas we need: we merely need to stand up for them, just as THOSE brave men stood up for them in their own day.

    Thanks for your encouragement, Paul. I appreciate it.

  11. skip Says:

    Nice try,, but facts stand in your way…Fascism is a right winged nationalist bigotry taht [revails during hard economic times created by Capitalism.

  12. Michael Eden Says:

    Boy, you sure proved me wrong.

    It doesn’t matter that I have all the facts in the world to make my case – and can present them ad nauseum:


    You have your liberal assertions that are twisted to conform to your ideology.

    Assertions trump facts in the world of liberalism. I am powerless to overcome that. And I admit that I cannot overcome the ocean of lies your soul swims in.

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