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Ed Driscoll

New Silicon Graffiti Video: Weimar? Because We Reich You

May 9th, 2012 - 1:12 am

Similarly, as the late Allan Bloom wrote in 1987’s The Closing of the American Mind, by the middle of the 20th century, American universities as a whole – not just their architecture departments –had essentially become enclaves of German philosophy. Bloom wrote:

This popularization of German philosophy in the United States is of peculiar interest to me because I have watched it occur during my own intellectual lifetime, and I feel a little like someone who knew Napoleon when he was six. I have seen value relativism and its concomitants grow greater in the land than anyone imagined. Who in 1920 would have believed that Max Weber’s technical sociological terminology would someday be the everyday language of the United States, the land of the Philistines, itself in the meantime become the most powerful nation in the world? The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.

Which isn’t to say that German influences on America were all bad, or that this was some sort of sinister plot. Sigmund Freud’s efforts have been left in the dust by modern neuroscience, but research into the hidden caverns of the human brain had to start to somewhere.  Albert Einstein’s theories led to the splitting of the atom, which both won World War II and provided the basis of nuclear power, which has been remarkably safe in America and Europe. After the war, America’s jet aviation – first the Air Force, then commercial airlines – benefitted enormously from brilliant German engineering work even as America was, thankfully, destroying Nazi Germany’s ability to implement these designs. Similarly, America landed a man on the moon thanks to the efforts of Werner Von Braun, and other German émigrés.

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