How many scholarly stakes in the heart will we need before Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), still regarded by some as Germany’s greatest 20th-century philosopher, reaches his final resting place as a prolific, provincial Nazi hack? Overrated in his prime, bizarrely venerated by acolytes even now, the pretentious old Black Forest babbler makes one wonder whether there’s a university-press equivalent of wolfsbane, guaranteed to keep philosophical frauds at a distance.
To be sure, every philosophy reference book credits Heidegger with one or another headscratcher achievement. One lauds him for his “revival of ontology.” (Would we not think about things that exist without this ponderous, existentialist Teuton?) Another cites his helpful boost to phenomenology by directing our focus to that well-known entity, Dasein, or “Human Being.” (For a reified phenomenon, “Human Being,” like the Yeti, has managed to elude all on-camera confirmation.) A third praises his opposition to nihilism, an odd compliment for a conservative, nationalist thinker whose antihumanistic apotheosis of ruler over ruled helped grease the path of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
Next month Yale University Press will issue an English-language translation of Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy, by Emmanuel Faye, an associate professor at the University of Paris at Nanterre. It’s the latest, most comprehensive archival assault on the ostensibly magisterial thinker who informed Freiburg students in his infamous 1933 rectoral address of Nazism’s “inner truth and greatness,” declaring that “the Führer, and he alone, is the present and future of German reality, and its law.”
Some scientists, the German chancellor’s adviser, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber among them, say that if the cuts are not achieved, we will end up with a planet with a “carrying capacity” of just 1bn humans. If so, we need to start cutting back population now with methods that offer a humane choice – before it happens the hard way.
As Ann Althouse writes, “Oh, great. Thanks for the warning about cutting back “population” the hard way. Germany.”
Not that Hitler’s bête noir is having much trouble expanding their own living space by culling the population:
The Kremlin’s chief political strategist warned in an article published on Monday that Russia risked collapsing into chaos if officials tried to tinker with the political system by flirting with liberal reforms.
Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov said it was clear Russia was falling behind in many areas of economic development and that the country could not simply continue being a “resource power.”
Or as Orrin Judd sums up Russia’s demographic death spiral, “We’re Dying Off Just Fine Without Any Help From Democracy, Thanks.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of Europe, “Hey, England: 1590 Called, It Wants Its Police State Back”, Anthony Sacramone writes at Commentary:
Flash-forward to the England of Elizabeth II, where video cameras espy your every intestinal spasm, local police departments tap all manner of personal communications, and you can be tracked, surveilled, and followed for, well …
Local governments regularly use these surveillance powers — which they “self-authorize,” without oversight from judges or law enforcement officers — to investigate malfeasance like illegally dumping industrial waste, loan-sharking and falsely claiming welfare benefits.
But they also use them to investigate reports of noise pollution and people who do not clean up their dogs’ waste. Local governments use them to catch people who fail to recycle, people who put their trash out too early, people who sell fireworks without licenses, people whose dogs bark too loudly and people who illegally operate taxicabs.
Some would say this is taking the “broken windows” theory of city reclamation a bit far; others would say it was way too far. Still others would insist it was hell’s bells bloody awful double-plus too far. Only those with a vested interest in the surveillance business, or for whom poor recycling habits constitute an act of global terror, would, I believe, demur.
And it’s pointless to introduce George Orwell into the discussion, as supporters of RIPA (no, not Kelly, but the Regulation and Investigatory Powers Act) seem to have read Nineteen Eighty-four as a blueprint for good government and are convinced that the proles should never have been allowed to roam the city outskirts unescorted.
He’s not the first person to notice that the modern left seem to have adopted 1984 as a user’s manual.
All of which dovetails remarkably well with “Rightwing Fascists and Other Fables”, a new essay by Jon N. Hall at the American Thinker:
The political Left has been saying for the longest time: Fascism is an ideology of the right. In January 2008, Jonah Goldberg’s excellent Liberal Fascism debuted, and in it he demonstrated for all time that fascism is most definitely an ideology of the left.
What distinguishes Mr. Goldberg’s book is not that his “secret history” revealed things no one knew, but rather its singular success both in America and abroad as a work of political heresy. That success is due, I think, to the book’s packaging and presentation: From the jarring title to the relentless rolling out of suppressed history to the unsettling conclusions, it’s a most compelling read. (The book is now available in paperback, with a new afterword on Obama.)
Sadly, Goldberg’s authoritative history has not sunk in with the media. This can be seen in the coverage of the October 22 appearance on the BBC’s Question Time program of British National Party leader Nick Griffin, who is widely accused of fascism in the U.K. The main gripe against Griffin seems to be his position on immigration. But, inasmuch as the protesters were trying to silence a man and shut down debate, could this be a case of fascists protesting other fascists?
Because they’re so toxic, charges of fascism and racism can’t be allowed to stand. Justice Secretary Jack Straw probably wishes he hadn’t launched such charges, as Mr. Griffin’s comeback was devastating. (See it in this excerpt from the BBC show, which garnered a huge audience. For more British coverage of the event, read: Times of London, Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Independent.)
In America, the press continues to conflate fascism and rightism. The Associated Press leads with: “Anti-fascist protesters broke into the BBC’s west London headquarters on Thursday ahead of a far-right party leader’s appearance on a leading political debate show”. Another AP writer titles his story: “UK Far-Right Leader’s BBC Appearance a Ratings Hit”. The title of the John F. Burns’ article at the New York Times’ website is: “Rightist on BBC Panel Draws Protests and Viewers”.
Journalists need to understand that you can be fascist or you can be rightwing but you can’t be both. Ink-stained wretches, you need to brush up your Goldberg.
Read the whole thing. (The essay, then the book, if you haven’t read the latter yet.)