Long Read, Philosophy, Politics, Recommended

Sedentary Revolutionaries: Two Academics Who Joined the Nazi Party

Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) and Martin Heidegger (1889–1976), two of the most prominent German thinkers of the twentieth century, became members of the Nazi Party in 1933, and briefly held positions of some prominence after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Heidegger spent just over a year as Rector of the University of Freiburg (1933–1934); Schmitt spent the years 1933 to 1936 as the “Crown Jurist of the Third Reich” whilst teaching law in Berlin. After the end of the Second World War, neither man publicly explained or apologised for his earlier political activities.

In spite of his close association with Nazism, Heidegger’s reputation as one of the twentieth century’s preeminent thinkers has never faded: he ranks with Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) as one of the most influential philosophers since Nietzsche, and he has enjoyed particularly widespread admiration in France; prominent thinkers including Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961), and Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) have all learnt from (and struggled with) Heidegger’s notoriously difficult oeuvre.

Schmitt’s work, on the other hand, fell into relative eclipse after the war. But his essays on legal and political theory have grown steadily in popularity over the past half-century. Almost all of his important work is now available in English, and has enjoyed renewed attention with the rise of populist political movements in America and across Europe. In the Anglosphere, Schmitt’s most important current champion is probably Adrian Vermeule, a law professor at Harvard who converted to Catholicism in 2016 and has recently become an unlikely Twitter celebrity with his sardonic attacks on liberalism.

The neoconservative political philosopher Harvey Mansfield has criticised Vermeule for his attempt to rehabilitate Schmitt’s profoundly illiberal ideas about executive power and the administrative state. But neoconservatives’ influence is waning on the American Right. Vermeule’s Schmittian anti-liberalism, meanwhile, is in the ascendant among American conservative intellectuals, who are increasingly disenchanted with classical liberalism’s perceived failure to protect Christians from what is seen as an aggressively anti-Christian culture.

Schmitt’s adversarial view of politics has something superficially in common with the ideas of the former Trump Administration official Michael Anton (author of “The Flight 93 Election”) and the Catholic writer Sohrab Ahmari (whose First Things essay “Against David Frenchism” has proved controversial for its embrace of an overtly confrontational approach to cultural politics). But neither Anton nor Ahmari appears to have been directly influenced by Schmitt: Anton’s intellectual hero remains Leo Strauss (1899–1973), who openly opposed Schmitt; Ahmari is too philosemitic to have time for the writings of a Nazi party member. Nevertheless, Schmittian ideas are once again in the air, as can be seen in journals such as American Affairs, First Things, and the Claremont Review of Books.

Schmitt’s and Heidegger’s activities in the 1930s are often excused on the grounds that these unworldly professors joined the Nazi Party out of naivety, academic careerism, or complete miscalculation. They grew up in a world where suspicion of Jews was commonplace, it is said, and never found occasion to reflect seriously on their own prejudices or paranoia. Such explanations are unsatisfactory. Still, Nazism was only one of several contemporary movements informed by (or based on) overtly antisemitic doctrines. It does not fully explain Schmitt’s or Heidegger’s ideas or political choices.

Antisemitism attributes to Jews extraordinary power, influence, and wickedness. Over the centuries, its tropes have been adapted to scapegoat Jews for a wide variety of problems, from localised outbreaks of illness to economic depressions and international wars. The politicised variant that flourished in Europe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries began in the wake of the revolutions of 1848, and intensified with the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). The central preoccupation at this time was Jews’ perceived predominance in banking, commerce, and industry.

Charles Maurras (1868-1952)

The most influential antisemitic political theorist during this period was Charles Maurras (1868–1952), a French poet and literary journalist best known in the English-speaking world for his influence on T.S. Eliot. Maurras was a nationalist who argued that France’s interests could only be defended in the long term by a power that was independent of political cabals or the influence of money. He was preoccupied with the influence, not only of Jews, but also of Freemasons, Protestants, and métèques (immigrants) on French society.

Maurras did not disguise his visceral hatred of Jews; but he found theories of “Aryan purity” fatuous, and was intellectually opposed to biological or “scientific” racism. Instead of recommending the expulsion of Jews, he suggested that they be allowed to live in France, albeit as second-class citizens with limited political rights and some form of royal protection. He consistently denounced Nazism, and loathed Hitler; but this was in part because he simply hated Germans. Despite this, Maurrassian ideas had a considerable impact on the German “Conservative Revolutionary Movement.”

“Conservative Revolutionaries” were proudly nationalist, openly authoritarian, and often profoundly antisemitic; although they generally rejected Nazi racial theories and mythology in favour of the more cultured reactionary traditionalism offered by Italian fascism or Maurrassian monarchism in the wake of Germany’s defeat in the First World War. Notwithstanding their membership of the Nazi Party, it seems fairest to describe Carl Schmitt and Martin Heidegger as supporters of this tradition, which was also associated with many of the best known German and Austrian writers, including the novelist Thomas Mann (1875–1955), the poet, playwright, and librettist Hugo von Hoffmanstahl (1874–1929), and the historian Oswald Spengler (1880–1936).

These eloquent (if sedentary) revolutionaries tended to despise Nazis. But they thought they could gain power through a tactical alliance with them, and so often became their apologists and enablers. They assumed that their superior minds and educations would automatically ensure that they maintained control over the Nazi vulgarians. The Night of the Long Knives (30 June–2 July, 1934) demonstrated this to be a fantasy. The Conservative Revolutionary movement is now little known in the English-speaking world except among scholars. Yet there is much to learn from its adherents’ spectacular failure to contain the threat of Nazism, or to draw a distinct line between overtly Nazi principles and their own.

Carl Schmitt, “Intellectual Adventurer”

Born into a modest Catholic family in a Protestant part of Germany, Carl Schmitt was initially interested in classical philology, but ended up studying law at the universities of Berlin, Munich, and Strasbourg. Whilst training as a jurist he continued to read widely. His earliest work available in English, Political Romanticism (1919), is a provocative and original study of the Romantic movement, which he criticises as involving an aestheticization of all spheres of culture, a “poeticization” of political conflicts, and a reduction of political debate to a mere endless conversation. This essay turns out to be a biting attack on fundamental elements of liberalism in the guise of a critical literary disquisition.

Schmitt’s 1921 book Dictatorship is a tour de force of historical erudition. Within its pages, Schmitt traced the history of dictatorship in theory and practice, from its origins in ancient Rome as a temporary emergency safeguard for the constitution, to the development of the concept of “sovereign dictatorship” (or a dictatorship in the sense that we now tend to use the term) in the nineteenth century. This work is of particular importance because it prepares the ground for all Schmitt’s best known essays in political theory. He introduces ideas that will develop into “decisionism,” a doctrine based on the premise that every human grouping requires a sovereign who has a duty to decide what to do in an extreme or exceptional situation. A sovereign’s decision is valid as long as it has been made in the correct way, by the proper authority. Nothing else matters.

Schmitt’s professional situation was precarious until he was awarded a professorship at the University of Greifswald in 1921. There he rapidly produced three of his most important essays: Political Theology (1922), Roman Catholicism and Political Form (1923), and The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (1923; published 1926). In Political Theology, Schmitt claims that “all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularised theological concepts.” He underlines the need for a strong state to ensure order, peace, and stability, and expands further on his concept of sovereignty with the dynamic of protection and obedience: as long as a sovereign is in a position to protect his subject, his subject is bound to obey him. The essay begins arrestingly: “sovereign is he who decides on the state of exception.” In other words, the sovereign is the one who decides whether there is an emergency, as well as what must be done about it.

The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy is a highly critical engagement with classical liberal concepts of parliament, and the system of institutionalised “government by discussion,” as well as the idea that you can get at the truth simply through reasonable, rational discussion and the possibility of compromise. Roman Catholicism and Political Form is a Maurras-inspired exploration of the Catholic Church as a political and cultural institution. At the time, Schmitt was increasingly frustrated with the “celibate bureaucracy” of the Church, and officials’ refusal to grant him an annulment, and eventually fell in love with the 19-year-old woman who acted as translator during his divorce case. He married her in 1926. Meanwhile, he was beginning to see Mussolini as a possible ideal ruler.

Schmitt developed a sideline in the emerging field of political science; in 1927, he published the first edition of The Concept of the Political, perhaps his most widely studied essay. This is where he fully articulates his adversarial concept of politics. For Schmitt, the concept of the State presupposes the concept of the political. He defines a State as the political status of an organised people in an enclosed territorial unit. Further: “the specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy.”

In 1928, Schmitt published his longest work, Constitutional Theory, a masterly synoptic overview of common problems in constitutional jurisprudence and political philosophy. His growing intellectual prestige and professional prominence inevitably led to political influence. He was ambitious in his pursuit of a public career, and saw that he might finally have his chance. However, he dealt with the resulting pressure in unusual ways. According to his biographer Reinhard Mehring, that year he watched Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc at least a dozen times in various cinemas. More than once he picked up a prostitute to watch it beside him in the dark.

Carl Schmitt (1888–1985)

Schmitt was consistently bigoted against Jews, and this is made evident in the diaries he kept throughout his life. Yet he kept this mostly to himself until around 1932, when his views began to darken noticeably. In the 1920s, he had dismissed Adolf Hitler as a “hysteric.” But when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany at the end of January 1933, Schmitt began to sever his remaining friendships with Jews, and formally joined the Nazi Party in April 1933.

Schmitt was not opposed to a dictatorship; only he would have preferred one led by his mentor General Kurt von Schleicher (1882–1934), the last Chancellor of the Weimar Republic. Schleicher and his wife were murdered during the Night of the Long Knives. In the aftermath, Schmitt wrote a paper entitled “The Führer Protects the Law.” He claimed that “the Führer protects the law against the worst forms of abuse when, in a moment of danger, he instantly creates law by force of his character as Führer—the supreme legal authority.”

Schmitt never had much influence on the Nazis. All the same, he was regarded outside Germany as their official philosopher and éminence grise behind the scenes, at least by appalled émigrés and refugees. His influence was particularly overestimated in Italy, where Mussolini granted him an audience in 1936. But the Nazis themselves did not trust him. In an attempt to strengthen his position in the Nazi Party, Schmitt organised a conference in 1936 on the subject of how to eliminate Jewish influences from German jurisprudence. He called for the “purification of libraries,” suggesting that Jewish books be isolated in a segregated, guarded “Judaica” section of libraries, and referred to only by some separate system of citation for Jewish authors.

In 1937, Schmitt was forced to resign all his official positions within the Nazi legal establishment. He had been “exposed” as an opportunist who did not really believe in Nazi racial theories, and was saved from persecution only by Hermann Göring’s personal intervention. He was allowed to keep his professorship in Berlin until the end of World War Two, but was otherwise considered disgraced. In the autumn of 1945, he was arrested and detained by the Allies for a year, but avoided a trial for war crimes. He presented himself to his interrogators as a mere “intellectual adventurer” rather than a Nazi apologist.

Schmitt continued to write prolifically throughout his retirement; his later works, including Nomos of the Earth (1951), Hamlet or Hecuba (1956) and Theory of the Partisan (1963), are less well known than his essays of the 1920s, though Hamlet or Hecuba in particular maintains a growing readership. Jan-Werner Müller’s 2003 study A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought details just how surprisingly deep and wide Schmitt’s influence is, not least on anti-liberal left-wing philosophers in continental Europe.

Schmitt’s authoritarianism is beyond dispute, as is his antisemitism; the main question is not whether or not he was a Nazi, but whether or not his pre-1933 and post-1937 writings are tainted beyond redemption. (His work between 1933 and 1937 is undoubtedly contaminated with Nazism, of course.)

For an idea of the problems with Schmitt’s work, readers may now consult The Tyranny of Values, and Other Texts, edited by Russell Berman and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin (Telos Press 2018). This anthology provides an ideal introduction to the sheer range of Schmitt’s thought and erudition, from a brilliant 1927 essay on Machiavelli to a May 1969 radio interview with a Maoist intellectual on Schmitt’s theory of the “partisan.”

Schmitt wrote stylishly and with a light touch on politics, international law, current events (the United Nations, the Cold War), intellectual history (Hobbes, Rousseau), classical literature, modern art, and the work of his friend Ernst Jünger (1895–1998). The best and the worst of Carl Schmitt is exemplified by his long 1942 essay “The Forming of the French Spirit via the Legists.”

For the most part, “The Forming of the French Spirit” is lucid, elegant, and convincing. There is much to learn from this study in cultural and intellectual history; Schmitt’s ideas about French literary classicism are unusual and provocative. The sticking point comes in the middle of an excursus on the French jurist Jean Bodin (1530–1596). Schmitt spends the better part of a page assuring the reader that Bodin’s mother was not in fact a Spanish Jewess, and that this rumour was a “smear” that emerged over 70 years after Bodin’s death:

…it could admittedly acquire a semblance of credibility because a famous scholar… who was in general a great admirer of Bodin’s, perpetuated it and because in the posthumous religious dialogue Heptaplomeres the Jew Salomo comes off well. Bodin had indeed strongly “judaised” and had shown a great interest in Jewish-rabbinic learnedness. However that was generally shared among the humanists of his time and still proves nothing related to Jewish or half-Jewish descent. Both in this religious dialogue as well as in numerous other expressions from his books and letters Bodin displays a wholly un-Jewish piety far removed from any zealotry, from any chosenness-madness and which in a movingly modest way withdraws from the screaming of the theological controversies to prayer and patience… After the results of the most recent archival research no one can any longer call into doubt his purely French descent from the soil-based Angevine people….

Later in the same essay, Schmitt uses a point about the Dreyfus Affair to criticise what he saw as Jewish attempts to provoke a German equivalent:

When in the postwar period some organised attempts were made primarily by Jews to stage something similar in Germany and to make the so-called cases of Fechenbach, Bullerjahn, and others into German Dreyfus Affairs, this demonstrated nothing other than a truly pitiful misunderstanding, indeed the complete lack of relation of the Jewish spirit to the German people.

Finally, Schmitt mentions with approval a January 1936 protest in Paris against the law professor Gaston Jèze, during which students cried out “Death to the Jew Jèze!”

Readers who wish to ignore elements like these will find there are more than a few of them throughout Schmitt’s oeuvre. Such features combine uncomfortably with his conspicuous post-war silence on the Holocaust and the continuing antisemitism of his private diaries. Schmitt regarded his support for the Nazi Party as a mere miscalculation or tactical error of sorts. He had a telling exchange in 1947 with Robert Kempner (1899–1993), who served as assistant U.S. Chief Counsel during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, having fled Germany in 1935:

SCHMITT: I wanted to give the term National Socialism my own meaning.
KEMPNER: Hitler had a National Socialism and you had a National Socialism.
SCHMITT: I felt superior.
KEMPNER: You felt superior to Adolf Hitler?
SCHMITT: Intellectually of course. He was so uninteresting to me that I do not want to talk about that at all.
KEMPNER: When did you renounce the devil?
SCHMITT: 1936.

Martin Heidegger

Controversies involved with Martin Heidegger’s membership in the Nazi Party are well known in the English-speaking world, thanks to Heidegger’s pervasive influence on postmodern and post-structuralist thinkers. His work is difficult to describe succinctly to anybody who has not spent time trying to read it. For those who admire it, the attraction is best encapsulated by Hannah Arendt’s 1969 description of what it was like to be taught by Heidegger:

What was experienced was that thinking as a pure activity—and this means impelled neither by the thirst for knowledge nor by the drive for cognition—can become a passion which not so much rules and oppresses all other capacities and gifts as it orders them and prevails through them. We are so accustomed to the old opposition of reason versus passion, spirit versus life, that the idea of a passionate thinking, in which thinking and aliveness become one, takes us somewhat aback.

Heidegger has literary as well as philosophical imitators. As with Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, he had a distinctive manner of expressing himself. His prose is opaque and uniquely difficult. The critic Mark Lilla describes it in his 2001 collection of essays The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics as “mythopoeic.” Heidegger’s stylistic models seem to include the Romantic poet and philosopher Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) as well as the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, whose work often survives only in random, enigmatic fragments.

The greatest German-language poet of the postwar period, the Romanian-born Paul Celan (1920–1970), owned 33 heavily annotated copies of Heidegger’s books. James K. Lyon’s noteworthy 2006 study Paul Celan and Heidegger: an Unresolved Conversation explores the fraught relationship between the two men. They finally met in 1967, as was commemorated in Celan’s untranslatable poem “Todtnauberg.” Heidegger wanted to take Celan to the mouth of the river Danube and show him the landscape that had been so powerfully described by Hölderlin; but before he could do so, Celan drowned himself in Paris. His parents had died in the Holocaust, and the guilt of his survival never ceased to torment him.

Martin Heidegger (1889–1976)

Heidegger’s relationship to the Nazis remains more ambiguous than Schmitt’s. The best introduction to the subject remains Richard Wolin’s 1991 anthology (revised for legal reasons in 1993) The Heidegger Controversy. Donatella di Cesare’s new study Heidegger and the Jews: The Black Notebooks is also essential reading, not just on account of all the valuable background material, but also because di Cesare has been able to analyse Heidegger’s recently published “Black Notebooks” from 1931 to 1948, in which the philosopher’s antipathy to Judaism and conspiratorial antisemitism are plain to see.

Commentators have often dismissed or even denied allegations that Heidegger was an antisemite. Alastair Hamilton’s classic 1971 survey The Appeal of Fascism rightly ignores an unsubstantiated rumour of Heidegger’s mistreatment of his Jewish former mentor, although Hamilton did not have access to private correspondence or diaries demonstrating the philosopher’s deep-seated dislike for Jews. George Steiner’s brief introduction Heidegger (1978; revised third edition 1991) does not skirt around the topic of Nazism; but Steiner could not find proof of antisemitic leanings in Heidegger’s published oeuvre. With the discovery of the “Black Notebooks,” such innocence becomes impossible.

Heidegger was a sexton’s son. Like Schmitt, he came from a modest Catholic background and eventually lost his faith. He entered the Jesuits at the age of 20, hoping to train as a priest, but left after two weeks. For two years, he studied theology at the University of Marburg. As late as 1920, he was willing to describe himself, improbably, as a “Catholic theologian”; though he had been distancing himself from the Church for a decade, with ever-growing contempt and bitterness.

Heidegger’s interest in philosophy began with Aristotle and his mediaeval interpreters and commentators. The ex-priest Franz Brentano (1838–1917) was a particular influence; although after he left the Jesuits, Heidegger became obsessed with the work of Brentano’s famous pupil Edmund Husserl (1859–1938), who established the study of “phenomenology.” From 1916, he began to study formally with Husserl at the University of Freiburg, and became his assistant in 1919. The following year, Husserl’s wife introduced Heidegger to Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) as Husserl’s “phenomenological child.” But in 1923, Heidegger left Freiburg to teach at the University of Marburg. His relationship with Husserl quickly soured.

At Marburg, Heidegger became renowned as a lecturer. The published version of his 1924/25 course on Plato’s Sophist (1992; English translation by Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer 1997) gives some idea of why his students were captivated by him. Indeed, all of his available lectures on Plato, Nietzsche, and Hölderlin provide an accessible introduction to his philosophy. They give evidence of a nimble, powerful mind; though it is often next to impossible to pin down precisely what he is saying.

In 1927, Heidegger published his long, demanding text Being and Time, which is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of modern philosophy. He dedicated it to his former mentor Husserl. The following year, he moved back to Freiburg to take up Husserl’s chair in philosophy. They now openly resented each other.

Husserl retired officially in 1929; in 1933, he was suspended by the Nazis and not allowed to take part in any university activities on account of his Jewish blood. When Husserl died in 1938, Heidegger declined to attend the funeral. In 1941, he removed the dedication to Being and Time. His treatment of his old mentor is far from exemplary. Still, there are many potential reasons for him to have been cold-hearted or passive-aggressive towards the man to whom he owed his career.

Heidegger’s apparent enthusiasm for the Nazis seems to have begun in 1931; whatever he believed, by the end of that year he was willing to support them publicly. Jewish students and admirers including Hannah Arendt confronted him with rumours of his open antisemitism, which he seems to have been unable convincingly to deny. Soon he would begin ending his letters with “Heil Hitler,” although this may have simply been politically expedient for a man campaigning to be made Rector of the University of Freiburg.

On 21 April 1933, Heidegger became Rector; on 1 May, he registered as a member of the Nazi Party; the following year, on 27 April, he resigned as Rector. During his year in that post, he campaigned enthusiastically (if idiosyncratically) for the Nazis. Many of his admirers have suggested that he was trying to change and guide the Nazis from within, failed catastrophically, and then resigned from the rectorship in shame and frustration that he had been so naïve and ineffectual. Thereafter, he retreated into “pure philosophy,” spending as much time as he could at his secluded chalet at Todtnauberg in the Black Forest. In this version of events, Heidegger was idealistic and short-sighted, nothing more.

After the end of World War Two, Heidegger had a nervous breakdown. In 1946, he was barred from teaching. In 1951, he was reinstated by the university, but his chair in philosophy was not restored. His old student Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979) tried in vain to get him to say something —anything—in public to dispel rumours and suspicions about his Nazi past. Finally, in 1966, he granted an interview to Der Spiegel in which he was willing to discuss the subject, on condition that all questions be submitted to him for advance approval, and that it not be published until after his death. The interview is remarkable for its failure directly or substantially to address important questions.

Until the publication of the “Black Notebooks,” evidence of Heidegger’s antisemitism was equivocal. Karl Jaspers claimed in 1933 to have heard him talking about a “dangerous international alliance of Jews.” His comments about Jews in private correspondence amount to relatively mild, commonplace bigotry. At last there is undeniable evidence of his anti-Judaism and antisemitism in the “Black Notebooks.” In 1940 and 1941, he even refers to “international Judaism” and “world Judaism,” using the language of classic antisemitic conspiracy theory. The problem, as always with Heidegger is: what does this mean, and what does it prove?

Donatella di Cesare marshals a great deal of evidence in Heidegger and the Jews, and for the most part lays it out with admirable clarity to demonstrate that Heidegger was indeed an antisemite in the strong sense of the term. He had no obvious personal aversion to Jews, as many of his students have attested. Di Cesare is correct to approach Heidegger’s anti-Judaism and antisemitism in metaphysical terms, but she fails to prove that antisemitism was central or foundational to Heidegger’s philosophy.

So far, three of four volumes of the “Black Notebooks” have already been published in English by the University of Indiana Press, thanks to the indefatigable translator Richard Rojcewicz. Readers without German can see for themselves that decisive evidence of Nazi leanings is unlikely to be found in these characteristically opaque reflections. In the end, there is little tangible evidence to convict Heidegger of ideological Nazism, but plenty to convict him of embracing some very bad ideas, and a few instances of shocking indifference to suffering.

In the collection Poetry, Language, Thought (edited and translated by Albert Hofstadter, 1971), Heidegger famously wrote: “he who thinks greatly must err greatly.” Donatella di Cesare notes the philosopher’s fondness for quoting a line from the poet and philosopher Paul Valéry (1871–1945): “Those who cannot attack the thought attack the thinker instead.” The oblique self-defence may be telling.

The Authoritarian Dilemma

Carl Schmitt was never indicted for his collaboration with the Nazis, but he actively resisted “de-Nazification,” and so effectively barred himself from returning to academia. Martin Heidegger, on the other hand, tried to defend himself to the De-Nazification Committee. Although he was stripped of his status for a few years, he was never detained as Schmitt was. Then again, there is proof that he was not completely truthful with the De-Nazification Committee about his record.

Schmitt is commonly thought to be more dangerous than Heidegger. His open hostility to classical liberalism and liberal democracy are not unique, and plenty of other philosophers have shared his bleak view of human nature. The real anxiety involves the doctrine of decisionism, and what you commit yourself to if you accept Schmitt’s view of sovereignty, and agree that the decisions of a sovereign are sacrosanct in and of themselves. Heidegger’s views are not so obviously dark; his radical originality as thinker can still make for thrilling reading. Yet the very resistance of his thought to easy analysis makes it hard to demonstrate decisively how it might be incompatible with the blunt doctrines of Nazism.

There is no reason to suspect that any of Schmitt’s or Heidegger’s current intellectual admirers are flirting with antisemitism. Adrian Vermeule is notably cautious when referring to Schmitt’s work, and careful to distance himself from anything Schmitt wrote after he joined the Nazi Party. He engages critically with Schmitt’s insights and observations rather than treating them as simply authoritative. Unlike Schmitt’s anti-liberalism, Vermeule’s derives from his understanding of Christian orthodoxy rather than from naked power as in Schmitt’s Nazi-era writings.

And yet, Vermeule is a controversial figure among conservative and traditionalist Catholics, because he consistently defends the unorthodox and disruptive Pope Francis, and attacks those who criticise him. Vermeule’s attitude of complete submission and fidelity to the Pope bewilders those who do not share his serenely militant obedience, which looks remarkably like adherence to a Catholic version of Schmittian decisionism. No private personal ambition is involved; he simply wishes to obey a sovereign whose legitimacy he will not question.

But the danger of decisionism lies precisely in its surrender to authority, if it precludes critical examination of authority’s doctrines. Some of Weimar Germany’s finest minds allowed themselves ultimately to be led into complicity in almost unimaginable crimes. Anti-liberal intellectuals would do well to bear this in mind as they explore the nature of power.

 

Jaspreet Singh Boparai is a former academic. He has formerly written for Quillette under the pseudonym “Sandra Kotta.”

62 Comments

  1. Geary Johansen says

    Great article, which sheds on illuminating light on a little known aspect of the history of Nazi Germany.

    What stuck me was the extent to which these two highly intellectual individuals, were able to indulge themselves in the unreasoning fantasies of anti-Semitism. Admittedly much lesser parallels can be found in Steven Pinker’s book ‘Enlightenment Now’, with his observation that a preponderance of intellectuals are cynically anti-progress, despite all the overwhelming evidence of the ways in which scientific and philosophical progress has improved our lives immeasurable. I suspect that this is because the innovation of the market, with it’s repudiation of ‘the man of systems’ approach to government, restricts the intellectual to the role of an incrementalist usurping their place as valued adviser to some imagined utopia.

    I will admit to having somewhat of a fascination with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in my youth, although much of my interest focused on military history. Thankfully, like many tyrants and dictators the seeds of Hitler’s failure were sown in his successes. The selfsame tendency to overrule advice and ignore conventional wisdom which resulted in the remarkable period of diplomatic successes which characterised ‘brinkmanship’, also led him to interfere as Barbarossa unfolded. Had the German military focused on Moscow, concentrating on air attacks on the rail infrastructure of which Moscow was the hub, they would have paralysed the Soviet Union’s ability to mobilise, or direct forces to the other spearheads. Resource-mindedness still occupies military thinking to this day, with the axiom that ‘amateurs worry about strategy, professionals worry about supply’.

    Similarly, Stalin’s own character led to disaster in the early stages of the Barbarossa campaign. His paranoid purges of the Soviet military during the thirties, led directly to their inability to respond in the opening stages of Barbarossa. We now have strong evidence to suggest that Stalin might have been planning a double-cross of his own, his failure was in not striking first and in crippling the officer corps of his own military.

    One thing I learned from reading Len Deighton’s ‘Blood, Tears and Folly’, was that we should perhaps be more kind to the politicians of the liberal democracies, in their role as appeasers. The view of military experts, such as Bomber Trenchard, was that the bomber would always get through- so that contemporary thinkers not only imagined future Somme’s and Passchendaele’s, but also cities aflame and bombed out, with considerably less effort expended than was required for Operation Gomorrah, the bombing of Hamburg.

    What both the article and these musings teach us, are the dangers of failing to maintain independent thought and the perils of conforming to group think. In this the most intelligent seem just as susceptible to faulty thinking, as the common man in the street. Perhaps that’s something our politicians should remember when planning policies that are sure to set the world to rights.

    • Marc Domash says

      While I agree that emphasis on the capture of Moscow (operation Otto, superseded by Barbarossa) would have hampered the USSR, my belief at the moment is that it would not have been a war-winner (with the possible exception of a political overthrow of the Soviet leadership). While it would have certainly hampered Soviet operations, the fact of the matter was the the Soviets lost one army in Barbarossa (5 million men, 3.8 as prisoners) but by December had raised another army of approximately the same size. As supplies increased from America and Britain (particularly food, which allowed the USSR to withstand the loss of Ukraine), and with the relocation of armament factories to the Urals, my thinking is that the USSR could have withstood the loss, though certainly it’s future offensive operations would have been hampered.

      Incidentally, if Hitler had died on November 8, 1938 (the day before Kristallnacht), he would have been remembers as a great German leader with regrettable retrograde attitudes towards Jews. I base that argument on the fact that anti-Semitism was very widespread in Europe at that time (recall the Jews in Rome were confined to a ghetto until the collapse of the Papal States in the 1870’s–the “Pope’s” Jews) and Hitler had ended the depression in Germany (freedom to starve had been eliminated), and had occupied Austria and the Sudetenland bloodlessly). Seen in this light, the cooperation of German philosophers before 1938 is perhaps more understandable, though of course their failure to denounce the barbarity of the Holocaust is an indelible stain on their honor, much as it is on the whole German people (not casting stones–American slavery and Jim Crow was horrific also).

      • neoteny says

        Hitler had ended the depression in Germany (freedom to starve had been eliminated)

        Yes, by implementing the socialistic aspects of National Socialism. German workers in the Third Reich could switch jobs only with the agreement of both employers: if you left your job without the agreement of your employer (documented in your employment booklet), then no one hired you. This was effective ‘wage slavery’: the employee had no handle on the employer for raises: he couldn’t threaten with going over to the better paying competition.

        And while industry nominally remained in private hands, in practice the different ministries decided on what got manufactured by whom. The Third Reich did have a Four Year Plan, after all.

        So the way Hitler and his economic minions ended the depression is significant: it wasn’t any more sustainable (to find real use for a buzzword) than the economies of the Eastern Bloc countries were after the war. While West Germany experienced the Wirtschaftswunder under Ludwig Erhard’s post-war economic regime of good (not inflated) money and low taxes.

        • Marc Domash says

          Sustainability isn’t the issue–I posited a death of the Fuhrer before Kristallnacht. It is likely that had Hitler providently done such, the Nazi party would have collapsed into some type of authoritarian conservative party (such as we are seeing created in Hungary) and the most egregious excesses of the Nazi’s would have been eliminated. As regards to the economics of Nazi Germany, I’ve seen analyses that claim that the economy would have collapsed in any case if war had not been initiated, given the various shenanigans the Nazi’s were doing with all parts of the economy (not just the relationship between worker and employee). Obviously, having ideological fanatics take over a functioning country and imposing their preferences on it is, in general, not sustainable (consider the Bolsheviks the their War Communism, soon replaced by the New Economic Policy). On the other hand, the Eastern European countries functioned under a command economy for 45 years (with of course much reduced GDP as opposed to the West). So it can be gotten away with.

          • neoteny says

            Sustainability isn’t the issue […] — As regards to the economics of Nazi Germany

            Yes, my point was about economic (standard of living) sustainability of the Third Reich.

            On the other hand, the Eastern European countries functioned under a command economy for 45 years (with of course much reduced GDP as opposed to the West). So it can be gotten away with.

            The communists got away with it only by putting down uprisings (“counter-revolutions”) in 1953 in East Germany and in 1956 in Hungary; occupying Czechoslovakia in 1968 (as a reaction to the ‘Prague Spring’); and by introducing martial law in Poland in December 1981.

            Anyhow, I just wanted to make the point about Hitler’s ending the depression in Germany by introducing socialist economic policies, and how such economic policies are self-limiting regarding the living standards reachable by their application. I generally agree with your analysis: I just wanted to clarify this issue.

        • lbjack says

          My god, I’m so sick of hearing the mindless right-wing meme that Nazism was a kind of socialism! What Hitler did was NOT socialism, any more than FDR’s New Deal was socialism. They both used practical solutions to the problems of the Great Depression—deflation and unemployment. Neither thought about socialism when they used government spending to create jobs and re-inflate the economy. Hitler didn’t know squat about economics, so when you say Hitler in the economic sense, then you mean Schacht. The “Socialist” in NSDAP was just a con, just like “Workers’ ” in NSDAP was a con, and if you read Hitler, then you’d know this. Nazism was pure right-wing fascism—the notion that the Nazis wanted to or tried to take over private capital is fatuous—and today’s right-wing’s attempts to make Nazism out as socialist is just a desperate, dishonest attempt to disown a nasty heritage, just as the left does with Stalinism.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Stalin was rightfully paranoid about the Soviet High Command, especially Tukhachevsky. There is some evidence that Tukhachevsky was organizing a coup to overthrow Stalin. Heydrich caught wind of it and created and disseminated a fake dossier to Russian diplomats to spur action against Tukhachevsky, who Heydrich considered a threat to German plans for eastern expansion, but Stalin had already independently decided it was time to get rid of the marshal. The bad blood between them goes back at least as far as the Miracle on the Vistula (1920).

      • Marc Domash says

        What evidence of a coup exists? From Wikipedia:

        Athough Tukhachevsky’s prosecution is almost universally regarded as a sham

        And Tukhachevsky was rehabilitated under Khrushchev in 1957, indicating the Soviet authorities did not believe he was guilty of anything.

        • El Uro says

          Apropos. During Tambov peasant rebellion Tukhachevsky and Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko signed an order, dated 12 June 1921, which stipulated: “The forests where the bandits are hiding are to be cleared by the use of poison gas. This must be carefully calculated, so that the layer of gas penetrates the forests and kills everyone hiding there.”
          It was, probably, the first usage of the chemical weapon against the own people.

    • Jeremiah says

      Thanks for the informative comment. Rare on internet comment sections where it’s usually just partisan flame throwing.

      • johnhenry says

        Jeremiah, the nesting of replies on this website is sometimes difficult to follow. It helps when people mention the name of the persons to whom their replies are addressed, so that others can look back without having to read everything that came before.

        Quillette should also consider using time stamps as well as date stamps.

        And now, I shall return to the Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James:

        “I was conscious of the most horrible smell of mould, and of a cold kind of face pressed against my own.”

        • dirk says

          If you run longer here, john, you have learned to always start with the name of the commenter you want to answer, because your answer can shift so far to the bottom that no one can figure out what you mean and to whom it is directed. Though, a good detective, after ample considering and research, can find out,even without that name calling (as I did a few times).

  2. Morgan Foster says

    “Some of Weimar Germany’s finest minds allowed themselves ultimately to be led into complicity in almost unimaginable crimes. Anti-liberal intellectuals would do well to bear this in mind as they explore the nature of power.”

    As should pro-liberal intellectuals when considering the relationship between Russian intellectuals and the Soviet Union during the Lenin-to-Stalin years.

    As should we all.

    • Jeremiah says

      He’s not using liberal in the American sense as a synonym for left wing he’s using it in the traditional sense where it honestly denotes libertarians and people on the center right more than left wing views.

      • Jeremiah says

        The intellectual backing for the Soviets was left wing but it certainly wasnt liberal.

      • Debasement of language makes discourse difficult. Milton Friedman called himself a “classical liberal” for years. Here in the US, “liberal” has come to mean leftist; conservative is APPROXIMATELY libertarian (thus…”classical liberal”). This seems to me to be a difficult issue on Quillette, and has been since its beginning. To help non-US readers, I humbly suggest reading two interesting documents, from the early 1960’s: “The Port Huron Statement”, the founding document of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society, in case you don’t recall) (1962), to better understand US leftists; and “The Sharon Statement”, the founding document of YAF (Young Americans for Freedom, in case you don’t remember)(1960), to better understand US conservatives. Both documents easily found with a search engine, and both moderately well described on Wikipedia. I hope this helps.

  3. Bab says

    On Schmitt’s recent popularity – I tried to borrow the book exploring the dialogue between Schmitt and the Jewish scholar Jacob Taubes, but was told by the library that there were already three holds on it. He has definitely experienced a resurgence of late, in continental Europe and also in Israel, incidentally, which is not surprising given Israel’s political tendencies of late. When Netanyahu recently announced that Israel was a Jewish state, and that the Arabs could live there but only under sufferance, it wasn’t difficult to see shades of Strauss and Carl Schmitt.

    One aspect of political Islam is that it has always had well-defined categories of second-class citizenship for minorities such as Christians and Jews. Although it runs counter to liberal ideals, the fact is that those political institutions were stable and successful for an extraordinarily long time – the amount of Jews massacred during the age of classical Islam was less than 0.001 percent of the number of Jews murdered in Europe. Ironically, it was the secular liberals in Turkey that staged the Armenian genocide, the greatest massacre of Christians in history. A universal state is only successful so long as there is a universal commitment to the cultural ideals that underpin it.

    • Marc Domash says

      I would hardly call the Sultan (who styled himself as a Caliph) a “secular liberal”. Ataturk eliminated the Ottoman Caliphate in 1922, well after the Armenian massacre.

      • Bab says

        Ataturk was the driving force behind the genocide far more than the Sultan was.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Bab

      “Ironically, it was the secular liberals in Turkey that staged the Armenian genocide, the greatest massacre of Christians in history.

      No, it was the people of Turkey – devout Muslims, all – who killed them.

    • Sydney says

      “When Netanyahu recently announced that Israel was a Jewish state, and that the Arabs could live there but only under sufferance, it wasn’t difficult to see shades of Strauss and Carl Schmitt.”

      Utterly ridiculous arrogance and stupidity. Go read some history. Then get over yourself. You have a problem with Israel being a Jewish state? I see shades of dead old anti-Semites in YOU.

      • Bab says

        Hi Sydney,

        I certainly don’t have an issue with Israel being a Jewish state. In fact I see it as being more or less the natural state of things.

        Interesting anecdote about Carl Schmitt – when Jacob Taubes (the son of the Chief Rabbi in Vienna) was in Israel in the early days just after the 1948 war, Jordan was still occupying Mt Scopus. The Jordanians nevertheless permitted a small group of Israeli soldiers to monitor the library there, and surreptitiously Israeli soldiers would bring back the most precious items in the library each night. It was possible but extremely difficult for academics to request that specific publications be brought back if they were deemed sufficiently important, because only a very few books could be carried by the soldiers without arousing the Jordanians’ suspicions.

        Jacob Taubes requested that Carl Schmitt’s Constitutional Theory be brought over, but was informed that this would not be a problem, since the jurists at the Knesset who were at that time planning to draft Israel’s constitution had already requested it. Apparently, it was worth setting aside precious space in a soldier’s rucksack to make sure that Israel’s constitutional scholars had access to the views of the Nazis’ most pre-eminent jurist.

        Of course, the Israeli constitution never actually eventuated, but still, its an interesting story.

        • @Sydney
          “Utterly ridiculous arrogance and stupidity. Go read some history. Then get over yourself. You have a problem with Israel being a Jewish state?”

          You should perhaps read some history yourself. Israel was not a jewish state for roughly1500 years. Jews were in facty a small minority for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Palestine_(region)

          I have a problem with any state being defined as a state for a specific religon. The ethinc cleansing and exclusion of those non-jews who had been born within borders of Israel and the need to both exclude the majority of non-jews from Israeli citizenship and prevent them from establishing their own state within the area controlled by Israel has caused a vast amount of conflict and suffering. The establishment of Israel as a Jewish state despite Jews being a very small minority of the population around the start of the 20th century is a stark warning about what can happen if immigration is allowed to take place unfettered by any restrictions. I say this with reluctancce because I am a liberal who thinks we should have the minimum restrictions on anything which does no direct harm to others.

          Today Jews are a majority with the borders of Israel itself and it would be an outrageous crime to eject those born there but it is not at all innappropriate to question whether it was a good idea for Israel to have been founded as a Jewish state and to question if it is right for any state to discriminate against members of its population on religous grounds.

          • Bab says

            AJ,

            The problem is that those sorts of liberal ideals are not capable of simply hanging there in the luminiferous ether, untethered to any sort of cultural construct. In fact, things like “free speech” and the like are only sustainable within a “homogeneous medium” wherein there is actually a strong cultural consensus on what the bounds of that freedom actually are, in a Schmittian sense. Or in other words, there can be no free speech without forbidden speech.

            In the case of Israel, the only reason it remains a liberal state in many respects is because it continues to be dominated, and its political sphere largely monopolised by secular, Ashkenazi, English-speaking Jews who ironically describe themselves as “Anglo Sexim” (the Hebrew plural for Anglo-Saxons) – and who largely rule as a oligarchical clique. The appearance of freedom is only secured because, despite the appearance of democracy, their position is unchallenged.

            The supposed liberal tolerance for unorthodox opinions is in fact highly perfomative, and largely contingent on those opinions having no actual traction or power. After all, if liberalism really did indulge its enemies to the point of its own destruction then it would not exist today. A tremendous amount of effort is in fact invested in any liberal democracy to make sure that dissent remains within curated and acceptable bounds. When those bounds are exceeded, such as during the Red Scare of the 1950s, or even in the aftermath of 9-11, those freedoms tend to become malleable. Or in Schmittian terms, the sovereign, the true power is that figure that makes the decisions when the legal order must be suspended, when everything turns to soup.

      • Jeremiah says

        Calm down. I dont agree with him on that either but that type of lazy resort to accusations of bigotry to shut someone down is what I expect from SJWs not people who comment on Quillette.

  4. Christopher Chantrill says

    The trouble is that this is girl stuff, Good Little Girls saying “I can’t believe that Schmitt/Heidegger did that!”

    Hey. So they were idiots, like everyone else.

    We’ve got the same things going on with today’s Woke Patrol. Oh No! I can’t believe that Romney was mean to another kid in high school. Or Brett Kavanaugh.

    For years, I never read Nietzsche, because Nazis.

    Don’t listen to these Nervous Nellies. Go out and read stuff, and make your own judgement.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Christopher Chantrill

      “For years, I never read Nietzsche, because Nazis.”

      Do you think it’s okay to read one of Garrison Keillor’s books?

      • Saw file says

        “Do you think it’s okay to read ‘someone’s’ book (s)?”
        Is that a serious Q?

        • Morgan Foster says

          @Saw file

          Should have used a smiley face, I guess. I try not to rely on them.

        • johnhenry says

          Saw file asks: “Do you think it’s okay to read ‘someone’s’ book(s)?”

          Indefinite pronouns (someone, anyone, everyone, one) ending in “one” are always singular. The final possessive apostrophe is unnecessary, according to Miss Kunkle, my Grade 10 English teacher.

    • X. Citoyen says

      I wouldn’t reduce the whole of it to that, but you’re right that concerns over the moral purity of the author matter only to the censor and the status-seeker. I’d have no problem hanging both men for war crimes, but to not read them would be to harm myself. Schmitt, in particular, is a thinker that every self-respecting political philosopher should read.

  5. Mark Matis says

    After the Russian revolution, and the failed Spanish revolution, why would anyone NOT welcome Jews with open arms???

    • johnhenry says

      “…the Russian revolution, and the failed Spanish revolution…”

      Mark Matis: What “Spanish revolution” are you referring to, “failed” or not? Do you mean their civil war? In any case, Jews were not responsible it, nor for the Russian one either, unless you think of Jewry primarily as a race and not as a religion. The Ashkenazim revolutionaries in Russia were not religious, as you know.

  6. Curle says

    I view the National Socialists as opportunistic reactionaries resisting the rise of Bolshevism. Opportunistic in their use of socialism.

    There’s enough evidence of an excessively positive and supportive reaction to Bolshevism from Russia’s Jewish community to render the ‘Judeo-Bolshevism as an trope meme’ itself a trope. It’s a shame folks like Ilya Somin get so much traction in their efforts to discourage serious study of Hitler-Bolshevism and Jews. Solzenitzen’s indirect study of this, 200 Years Together, not to mention Beloc’s, The Jews, is worth serious treatment not peremptory dismissals as part of an vast conspiracy to slander the Jewish people.

    One of Hilter’s major German biographers (name escapes me) lays the blame for his attitude towards Jews firmly on Bolshevism. This is an more coherent explanation than the Middle Ages blood libel hangover story floated in the US to this day as an explanation.

    We need to get outside the trite medieval prejudice explanation if we are to ever understand what occurred in Central Europe in the mid 20th century.

    • Jesse says

      Curle,

      We already know that Jews are over-represented in movements of all sorts. The fact that there were a lot of Jewish Bolshevists doesn’t mean that Bolshevism was a Jewish plot.

  7. dirk says

    I miss in this expose the name of the German- American sociologist Karl August Wittfogel, that other great theoretician of dictatorship and despotism, its history, its felt need for a powerful , peaceful state, with a flourishing agriculture, industry and culture in general (such as the highlights in US: the period of the holistic Tennessee Valley Authority, but mainly the situation in China) . They lived at the same time, but Karl W. was a Marxist (in his early youth) and escaped his homeland for the Nazis. They must have known each other, because taught rather similar things.

  8. Peter says

    For quite a while, I have wondered about the anti-semitic aspects of Marxism. I have wondered if his anti-semitic statements were mild enough to be explained away as thoughtless repetition of cultural tropes from the time, or if he is given a pass by willfully blind Marxists.

    It seems to me that before Marx, anti-Jewish sentiment was mainly religious in character. After Marx, it was mainly racial. Marx himself seems to have no religious nor racial quarrel with the Jews; he despises them because they are the epitome of the capitalist.

    If you are going to harness human resentment and envy in the service of your belligerent ideology, you must always plan for the day when you may need to put the genie back in the bottle. If you direct hatred at an elite, what happens if you need that elite (even a recreation of it) in the future but your mobs still hate who they’ve been trained to hate?

    This may be the key to why the USSR, fighting a one-front war while being supplied with food and weapons by the UK and several countries in the Americas, had so much trouble casting out the Wehrmacht. Germany was fighting on approximately three fronts (Atlantic/France, North Africa/Italy, and Eastern) with no major help from abroad. Communist class hatred caused massed violence, not just against pre-revolutionary bourgeoisie, but against anyone else that resembled them–kulaks, engineers, talented military officers–anyone who seemed successful. As has been pointed out on this thread, Stalin denuded of his country of the people needed to defend it.

    Seeking to “socialize human beings” instead of mere industries, the Nazis combined anti-capitalism with anti-semitism. While Soviet citizens had to fear success because of the possibility of being perceived as latter-day bourgeoisie, Germans had no such fear, unless they were Jewish (in which case being a humble worker was no protection). Marx declared that “Emancipation from haggling and from money, that is, from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.” “Practical, real Judaism” is a sort of metaphor: if you make money as a merchant or a banker, you may wind up being a “metaphorical Jew” even if you aren’t a literal one. Hence the fear, in a Marxist country, of success (or at least of one kind of success). But the Nazis continued to perceive Judaism as a racial and thus a literal category, which provided a twisted sort of pressure valve to the wave of hatred they rode to power.

    If latter-day Marxists made an honest appraisal of Marx’s role as bridge between ancient anti-Jewish religious sentiment and recent anti-semitic racism, they would not be so surprised to find that post-1945 Marxists like Adorno and Marcuse had anti-semitic forebears.

  9. E. Olson says

    Hitler and the Nazi movement were Leftist, which is inherently appealing to the mostly Leftist academic “great thinkers”. And no group is more petty and fraught with jealousy than Leftist academics who hate the idea that someone with less intelligence and/or a less worthy background is somehow able to do better than them academically or economically. They hate that their “C” students or dropout students or never went to university people are often the ones that start billion dollar corporations that they must go grovelling to for research grants and consulting crumbs. And of course the non-Jewish academics would tend to hate the fact that Jews have done so well in academia, business, and the professions, so Hitler’s antisemitism would be appealing to some out of jealousy.

    A new survey asking modern-day “scholars” to rank modern era presidents just reinforces the biases in academia, as Trump and Republican presidents in general are ranked at the bottom, even though the sample is from the “top 20 conservative” universities.

    https://www.csdd.northwestern.edu/research/csdd-survey-results_presidential-leadership-poll_may-2019.pdf

    • “Hitler and the Nazi movement were Leftist, which is inherently appealing to the mostly Leftist academic “great thinkers”.

      That you can make such a statement shows how limiting and arbitrary the categorisation of political ideas or movements into left and right can be. I and I think most would categorise them as extreme rightwing. Perhaps we should just drop left and right and say they were extreme authoritarian militaristic nationalists and racists.

      • E. Olson says

        AJ – What part of Nazi big government, big taxes, big regulations, and socialized medicine, education, and pensions would be considered political Right?

        Oh – that isn’t what you mean? You mean the nationalist part or the big military part? If those are what makes something Right-wing, then how do you explain the huge military of the former Soviet Union or modern day China? Also, didn’t Stalin use patriotic appeals about “mother Russia” during WWII and the cold war, and hasn’t Communist era China also been very nationalist in promoting their country’s interests and promoting the idea of Chinese cultural/racial superiority?

        Ah – but you say the Nazi’s were against the Jews and that is what makes them Right-Wing. So how do you explain the anti-Israel platforms of every Leftist party in Europe and the Democrats in the US, and the rising anti-Semitism that is almost exclusive to Leftists?

        Left = big government, government solves all problems, private enterprise is bad or suspect.
        Right = small government, government creates most problems, private enterprise is good.

        Nationalism, Identity Politics, Big Military = Left or Right, although the small government Right means they pose little threat to personal liberties compared to big government Leftists.

  10. It is so easy to judge people after the fact.on actions that were at the time (and always are when they are in play) a gamble with the foggy and shifting shrinkdown of the future from vague possibilities into probabilities into actualities into the historical consequentialities of the now past.

    If you didn’t know that the Nazis were going to seriously try to ‘liquidate’ every Jew in Europe and somehow manage to lose what apparently looked in the later 1930s like an ‘unlosable’ coming war of German restoration and Imperium in Europe, how would one be calculating one’s options?

    If one were a stupid young man, the Waffen SS would be a uniform to die for and get girls with. If one were an older academic who wanted promotion, well being a Nazi Party member was pretty nearly the only way, much like it is now in universities where one has to be on good terms with the increasingly bizarre demands of the social justice warriors and ideological preciouses to keep one’s career on track.

    And as to Jews, no one liked them much anywhere in Europe. It came with the cultural turf. Australia’s General Sir John Monash, who was one of the most outstandingly successful generals of the Great War, was refused membership of the Melbourne Club because he was a Jew. Nothing personal of course….It was just that if you let one in, the rest of them would want to apply….as you do.

    And it has to be said, that now that our Jewish brothers and sisters have established a colonial state of their very own in Palestine, their popularity with their fellow Semites doesn’t seem to have improved much on their European status in the 1930s. And if one were looking for a Jewish conspiracy for the twenty-first century, surely their near monopoly control of Hollywood would be a much more interesting leverage in an age of spectacular non Jewish malfeasance within International Finance Capitalism….that leaves Jewish financial cabalism gasping for oxygen.

    We are all post-holocaust after the fact moral virtuosos these days, but it wasn’t obvious to everyone in quite the same way in the 1920s and 30s, when people like Jaspreet would have likely been playing a very different tune, even in that worker’s paradise and paragon of the socialist way, the Soviet Union. Stalin’s attitude was very ambiguous indeed.

    In hindsight, the chronic failure of the post WW1 treaties was that it left none of the trade issues which locked German goods and services out of much of the global trade system, about which the Great War was fought, resolved. The Anglo-French alliance was so weakened by the war that they were no longer in a position to exercise the kind of global hegemonism that they still possessed as the fortuitous fruit of victory in 1919. By far the largest and most powerful economy on the planet blithely walked out on its affairs as if it had nothing to do with them, leaving a great power vacuum in their wake. And Germany, which had an economy dynamic similar to the US was plunged into an existential black hole straddled by a benighted democratic government that did not have a prayer if anything went wrong, which it did in 1923 when the country bankrupted its currency and the life savings of much of the middle class and then again in 1929, when the depression struck.

    I try to capture in the following short piece below, some of the roiling anguish and enragement that the Nazis and Hitler in particular were able to exploit to get past what in a normal society at the time would never have passed the Sunday afternoon park soapbox test. Again, if we look at our own times at just how much ideological fruitcakery is doing the rounds right now, it is not so dissimilar….

    https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/866696

    • dirk says

      Very well said, Chris, however, it looks like that presentism rules these days (even in the curricula in schools). Here on Quillette I read the astonishing anecdote of a young american girl, no longer visiting an old Italian lady after being told that she admired Mussolini when a teenager, unbelievable!!

  11. C Young says

    Oh, how the irony drip, drip drips.

    The campus radical defines themselves through opposition to “fascism” (meaning anyone who disagrees with them, to whatever degree).

    Meanwhile, this very ideology is derived from Foucault and Derrida, and their ideology is derived from Heidegger, who was an actual member of the Nazi party.

    Note, this was not someone who deadnamed a transexual, not someone who took a slightly iffy line on intersectionalism or the role of the patriarchy, this was someone who promoted a political party dedicated to murder and genocide in the cause of the Most extreme racist ideology.

    Time for the progressives to call themselves out perhaps?

  12. I find these McManus essays unsatisfactory. Schmitt wrote about politics and law. The question is whether his analysis is correct, or flawed, or flat out wrong, which is an entirely different things from his political affiliations.

    In the alternative, if we must talk about his three year stint as a high Nazi muckety-muck, what are the characteristic features of Schmitt’s thought, and how are they similar or dissimilar to Nazi doctrine. To do this right would probably require bravery, because one would also have to acknowledge some things the Nazi’s got correct (say heliocentrism and the health dangers of tobacco smoking) and this would inevitably provoke condemnation.

    Without that, I am afraid it sounds very much like a warning we would expect from the church lady that Schmitt backmasked Satanic speeches in his books, and that exposure to his works will inevitably ensnare your soul in works of the Devil.

    A more interesting essay would involve looking at Leo Strauss and Friedrich Hayek, and analyzing Schmitt’s actual influence (mostly unacknowledged) in their thought, and the way that Schmitt cryptically and indirectly influenced modern conservative thinking and the modern conservative construction of “classical liberalism”.

  13. Charlie says

    Very good article by S Hicks on the Nazis and Nietzsche .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpjz-wK5lrA
    What I think is ignored is how rare is the concept of free speech and representative government , let alone democracy. Dr Starkey points that the continental Europe adopted the concept of the Divine Right of Kings from the Divine Roman Emperor after the Fall of Rome. England was very rare in having laws and a Witan and from 1100, The Charter of Liberties. In 1215 there was Magna Carta and by 1295 a Parliament of 294 representatives for 4 million people. The Anglo Saxons had respect for the truth and for the person who speaks truthfully.

    The existence of a caste of scholars/priests advising the King has existed from the time of Sumer and Egypt. Schmitt and Heidegger I think considered themselves as some sort of priest/scholar who were detached from the day to day existence and their utterances were only for the enlightened.

    In Germany authority is given a reverence . It is almost that by being authority it becomes free from criticism . Authority exists because it exists and should be respected if not reverently obeyed. In Germany there is not the tradition of speaking truth to authority and certainly not the 18th century cartoons mocking royalty.

    I think people ignore how by becoming authority Hitler automatically obtained reverential obedience from much of the German people. Germany lacks an elastic humorous well balanced self discipline and a sense of give and take and the ridiculous . How anyone could take Himmler seriously as an example of a master race@ a chinless man with a plump belly and glasses is absurd. Germany fears that without discipline and an imposed order there will be chaos. People have said that the horrors of the Thirty Years War and the Peasant Wars of the 1520s induced in Germans a fear of disorder and chaos perhaps they were traumatised. Germans have problems coping with uncertainty. Where a nation a has relied on the sea people learn to adjust to the uncertainty of the sea, a sailing ship in a storm being the ultimate example of disorder and chaos. Nations who thrived as seafarers did so because they found the chaos and disorder of the storm to be exhilarating. Anglo Saxons and Vikings wrote poems about the thrill of their ships cresting waves.

    In some ways there is a childishness about Germans craving order and certainty . The reality is that life is uncertain, chaotic and disordered and all we do is make the best of it. To give authority a reverence and a moral quality to protect one from chaos and disorder is futile because this is impossible and all that one does is give up freedom. If people have never known freedom then they do not fear it’s loss but they do fear chaos, so what is there to lose?.

  14. YAG says

    Sedentary means living a sedentary lifestyle, the opposite of an active lifestyle. I believe the author meant “Seditious”, as an adjective of the noun “Revolutionaries.”

    This is poor copy editing, and it makes me not want to read, or take this piece seriously. Please fix this.

    YAG

    • @YAG

      I wondered why ‘Sedentary’ too but decided it was because they did no more than write and it was their written works which were revolutionary. I don’t think they were seditious at least not at the time concerned, rather the opposite.

      • YAG says

        If that is the case, then sedentary is a poor adjective for what the author wants to convey. “Sedentary” is a poor choice of adjective, when other words like “inconspicuous” could better portray the meaning of the author: that these academics were members of the Nazi party but actually held “revolutionary” or contrarian views that were found later after their careers as Nazi party members.

        Later on the piece, the author commits the same mistake:

        “These eloquent (if sedentary) revolutionaries tended to despise Nazis. But they thought they could gain power through a tactical alliance with them, and so often became their apologists and enablers. They assumed that their superior minds and educations would automatically ensure that they maintained control over the Nazi vulgarians. The Night of the Long Knives (30 June–2 July, 1934) demonstrated this to be a fantasy. The Conservative Revolutionary movement is now little known in the English-speaking world except among scholars. Yet there is much to learn from its adherents’ spectacular failure to contain the threat of Nazism, or to draw a distinct line between overtly Nazi principles and their own.”

        The use of the word sedentary leads to confusion to the reader: were they passive revolutionaries (not active in inciting violence, or traitorous, or basically, wordsmiths?) or simply inconspicuous, or being subversive from within the party to restraint the worse aspects of the Nazi party? I don’t think you may describe a subversive revolutionary as a couch potato when they are taking the time to do their work in covert fashion as the author claims in this passage.

        I don’t buy it for a second that the author really wants to use the word “sedentary” when other adjectives that are more appropriate could be used. These revolutionaries actually were the opposite of “sedentary”, they actually had careers, and were not coach potatoes.

        Fix this and use a better adjective. The author would be doing a service to the readers for using better adjectives.

        YAG

  15. Peter from Oz says

    What this article achieves is to dispel once and for all the myth that great intelligence leads to political enlightenment.
    If truth be told, there were far more intellectuals that foolishly supported Stalin, Mao and communism than ever supported Nazism. Those intellectuals were just as blameworthy, if not more culpable, as the Communist regime went of for longer and killed far more people.

  16. dirk says

    I wonder why so many pieces on authoritarian, dictatorship, fascism, dystopias, oligarchy or despotism on Quillette. Behind the veil of ignorance, there are two possible drives to do so: 1) to try out in how far there is something positive in it under certain circumstances for us humans, in history and maybe even now
    2) to show how dangerous and abject it is under all conditions.

    I have the idea, in Quilette the second drive is the animator.

    • Charlie says

      Dirk . I think the latter. There is also the fact that the vast majority of those who fought in WW2 and endured the horrors of Soviet communism are dead: the lessons are being forgotten and the history altered . The mass slaughter in the USSR stopped in about 1956. The attack on free speech is very similar to that which occurs with the imposition of dictatorship whether it be the Inquisition, Islam, Nazism or Communism. The torturers and officials who undertook the Inquisition, Nazism, Communism and Islamism are the same. The desire and willingness to use suffering to impose their will on others is due to spite and resentment and these ideologies are used by these people to express their base desires . The torturers are often weak and cowardly people though driven by spite and resentment towards those who were physically tougher and free spirited. Solzhenitsyn states that Smersh and the KBG killers were never front line combat soldiers but rear echelon types; the same is true for the Gestapo and concentration camp guards. One cannot be free spirited if one is easily physically and mentally intimidated and traumatised. I would suggest that those who desire to impose a dictatorship are those who resent and feel spite towards the free spirited who are are undaunted by danger and are not traumatised by the rough and tumble of life. If one looks at Himmler , one cannot imagine him paying a game of rugby on a wet, cold , windy and muddy pitch. The relevance of rugby is that it teaches people to be bruised, bloodied, muddied and accept broken bones, to laugh at oneself, without being spiteful, vindictive and a bad loser. Dictatorships always lack the ability to laugh at themselves.

      The photographs of muddied rugby players

      https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=fran+cotton+rugby+lions&qpvt=fran++cotton+rugby+lions&FORM=IGRE
      V Shalaomov who survived in the Soviet camps from 1937-1955 had the following to say :-

      I saw what a forcible argument a simple slap could be for an intellectual.
      A beating is almost irresistible as an argument («Method number three»).
      The lust for power, for unpunished murder is great — from big shots down to regular police operatives with rifles (Seroshapka[5] and his ilk).
      I learned that world should be divided not into good and bad people but into cowards and non-cowards. 95% of cowards are capable of any meanness, lethal meanness, after light threatening.

      What I Saw and Learned in the Kolyma Camps
      https://shalamov.ru/en/library/34/1.html
      1. The extraordinary fragility of human nature, of civilization. A human being would turn into a beast after three weeks of hard work, cold, starvation and beatings.
      2. The cold was the principal means of corrupting the soul; in the Central Asian camps people must have held out longer — it was warmer there.
      3. I learned that friendship and solidarity never arise in difficult, truly severe conditions — when life is at stake. Friendship arises in difficult but bearable conditions (in the hospital, but not in the mine).
      4. I learned that spite is the last human emotion to survive. A starving man has only enough flesh to feel spite — he is indifferent to everything else.
      5. I learned the difference between prison, which strengthens character, and work camps, which corrupt the human soul.
      6. I learned that Stalin’s «triumphs» were possible because he slew innocent people: had there been an organized movement, even one-tenth in number, but organized, it would have swept Stalin away in two days.
      7. I learned that humans became human because they are physically stronger, tougher than any animal — no horse endures work in the Far North.
      8. I saw that the only group that retained a bit of their humanity, despite the starvation and abuse, were the religious, the sectarians, almost all of them — and the majority of the priests.
      9. The first ones to be corrupted, the most susceptible, are the party members and military men.
      10. I saw what a forcible argument a simple slap could be for an intellectual.
      11. That people distinguish between camp chiefs according to the power of their punches, to their enthusiasm for beatings.
      12. A beating is almost irresistible as an argument («Method number three»).
      13. I learned the truth about the preparations for the cryptic trials[1] from masters of the craft.
      14. I learned why in prison you get political news (arrests, etc.) sooner than on the outside.
      15. That prison (and camp) rumours[2] always turn out to be anything but slop.
      16. I learned that one can live on spite alone.
      17. I learned that one can live on indifference.
      18. I learned why a man lives neither on hope — there are no hopes at all, nor on will — what will?, but only on the instinct of self-preservation, the same as a tree, a rock, an animal.
      19. I’m proud that at the very beginning, back in 1937, I decided to never become a foreman if my decision could lead to another man’s death, if my will would be forced to serve the authorities oppressing other people, prisoners like myself.
      20. My body and spirit proved to be stronger in this great trial than I thought, and I am proud to have betrayed no one, to have sent no one to death nor to the camp, to have denounced no one.
      21. I’m proud to have made no requests until 1955[3].
      22. I saw the so called «Beria amnesty» there and then — it was something to see.
      23. I saw that women are more honest and selfless than men — there was not a single husband at Kolyma who came after his wife. But wives did come; many did (Faina Rabinovitch, Krivoshey’s wife)[4].
      24. I saw the amazing northerner families (civilians, former prisoners) with their letters to their «lawful husbands and wives» etc.
      25. I saw «the first Soviet Rockefellers», underground millionaires, and heard their confessions.
      26. I saw the hard laborers, and also the large E and B contingents, the Berlag camp.
      27. I learned that one can achieve a lot (a hospital, a work transfer), but at the risk of life — at the cost of a beating and the isolation cell cold.
      28. I saw an isolation cell carved out in rock, and spent one night in it myself.
      29. The lust for power, for unpunished murder is great — from big shots down to regular police operatives with rifles (Seroshapka[5] and his ilk).
      30. I learned the unrestrained Russian lust to denounce, to complain.
      31. I learned that world should be divided not into good and bad people but into cowards and non-cowards. 95% of cowards are capable of any meanness, lethal meanness, after light threatening.
      32. I am convinced: the camp is a negative experience — entirely. If one spent but an hour there — it would be an hour of moral corruption. The camp has never given anything to anyone — and never could. Everyone, both prisoners and civilians, are corrupted by the camp.
      33. In every region there was a work camp, there was one at every major construction site. Millions, tens of millions of prisoners.
      34. Repressions touched not only the ruling elite but all levels of society — in every village, at every plant, in every family either relatives or friends were repressed.
      35. I consider the best time of my life to be the months spent in the cell of Butyrki prison, where I managed to strengthen the spirit of those who were weak and where everyone spoke freely.
      36. I learned to «plan» one day ahead, no further.
      37. I learned that kingpins are not human.
      38. That there are no criminals at the camp, there are your present (and future) neighbors caught behind the line of the law and not those who crossed it.
      39. I learned how terrible the ego of a boy, of a youth is: better steal than ask. This and their boasting throws youth to the bottom.
      40. Women didn’t play a big role in my life — camp is the reason.
      41. The discernment of character is a useless ability — I am unable to change my ways for any scum that comes along.
      42. The last in the row, which are hated by everyone — by guards and inmates alike — are those dropping behind, the sick, the weak, those incapable of running in the cold.
      43. I learned what power is and what a man with a gun means.
      44. That the scale is shifted, and this is what is most typical in a work camp.
      45. That passing from a prisoner condition to civilian is very hard, and nearly impossible without a long adaptation period.
      46. That a writer must be a stranger — in the subjects he describes. And if he knows the matter well — he will write in such a way that no one would understand him.
      Translated by Dmitry Subbotin and Robert Denis.

      A New Book: Memoirs, Notebooks, Correspondence, Police Dossiers – Eksmo, 2004: 263-268.

      • dirk says

        Looks like that Solzjenitsin is not the only one to report on the Russian Gulags. It’s always impressive and can warn us for the risks of totalitarianism. However, just read the 4 other totalitarian thinkers, Matt is warning us for in anoter thread. All of them highly influential even for modern thinking (as is Schmitt). Add to them Plato, Confucius and Machiavelli (and the dim future for humanity with AI Yuval Harari sketches for us), and you can’t say any more that it’s al stuff and nonsense, and pure devilish.

  17. Ike the Spike says

    …The neoconservative political philosopher Harvey Mansfield…

    Really?

    Neoconservative?

    How do you figure?

  18. northernobserver says

    I think the moral of the story for political and moral philosophers is, stay the hell away from The Continent. Take another look at English philosophy, maybe it ain’t that bad.

    • Come now, Carl Schmitt was simply standing of the shoulders of Hobbes.

  19. ossicle88 says

    Great article, though I wish you’d talked less about the boring Jewish stuff and more about the two mens’ actual philosophies. (I will say, gently, that your final paragraph is pretty darned weak tea.)

  20. “Heidegger’s … work is difficult to describe succinctly to anybody who has not spent time trying to read it.”

    That pretty much sums up the problem with philosophy.

  21. S. G. says

    I think that Heidegger’s hostility toward Jews (and he certainly was an anti-Semite) has to be viewed through the lens of the relationship between the student and the professor. I have been on both sides. Graduates students frequently exhibit disdain for their major professors and the professors often treat their students as essentially butlers and doormen. I have seen this repeatedly…all too often. I believe Heidegger’s Jewish problem stems from his inability to deal with Husserl’s phenomenal(logical) genius. When a graduate is corrected, criticized (even constructively) he/she will eventually become defensive and look for explanations. Apparently, Heidegger dealt with this saying …oh well he’s a Jew.
    The irony is that Husserl converted out of Judaism but apparently that did not matter.

  22. Stephen Lowy says

    The only apologist in this mix is Jaspreet Singh Boparai. (Who is he? – there is no bio information? … “a former academic” and “writing under the pseudonym, Sandra Kotta”, doesn’t quite do it.)

    There are lots of problems with this ‘long’ piece, least of which there are no citations/references to where Boparai gets his facts. With regard to Heidegger, most of what he presents is conjecture and speculation.

    Boparai does get right that Richard Wolin is someone to read in order to understand Heidegger’s Nazism. Unfortunately, he does not reference Wolin’s updated 2016 edition of The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger (Columbia University Press, NY) with a new 45-page Preface with several pages of notes just for the preface.

    In this preface, Wollin assesses The Black Notebooks and their damning impact to Heidegger’s philosophical work. (How could Boparai miss this important work unless he has an agenda?)

    From the back cover, (Dissent Journal): “Wolin demonstrates that Heidegger’s followers fail in their effort to distinguish between his philosophical thought and his political views and deeds. … Although resisting the temptation either to belittle Heidegger’s considerable philosophical achievements or reduce them to the status of apologetics of fascism, Wolin nevertheless makes clear that, henceforth, we must read Heidegger’s writings with an awareness of their political implications.” [bold italics mine]

    Instead, Boparai directs us to one of Heidegger’s longtime followers, Donatella di Cesare. Wolin writes (p. xxxv):

    “… according to Di Cesare, Heidegger’s anti-Semitism was grounded in Western “metaphysics” (what she means by this assertion is never really clarified), she contends that it represented an instance of self-betrayal on Heidegger’s part, insofar as, at heart, Heidegger was a trenchant critic of metaphysics. … according to Di Cesare, when viewed philosophically, Heidegger’s anti-Semitism represents little more than unfortunate lapsus: a misguided and regrettable slackening of the philosopher’s characteristic anti-metaphysical vigilance. … In other words, these are cases in which Heidegger was not really being Heidegger.”

    Wolin is criticizing Di Cesare’s Being and the Jew: Heidegger’s Metaphysical Anti-Semitism (published in fall 2015 by Gesamtausgabe editor Vittorio Kostermann). Wolen spends 4 pages critiquing Di Cesare thinking. De Cesare’s 2018 book, Heidegger and The Jews, may be an attempt to blunt Wollen’s attack. Amazon’s product notes for her book:

    ” … For much of the philosophical community, the Black Notebooks have been either used to discredit Heidegger or seen as a bibliographical detail irrelevant to his thought. Yet, in this new book, renowned philosopher Donatella Di Cesare argues that Heidegger’s “metaphysical anti-Semitism” was a central part of his philosophical project. Within the context of the Nuremberg race laws, Heidegger felt compelled to define Jewishness and its relationship to his concept of Being. Di Cesare shows that Heidegger saw the Jews as the agents of a modernity that had disfigured the spirit of the West. In a deeply disturbing extrapolation, he presented the Holocaust as both a means for the purification of Being and the Jews’ own “self-destruction”: a process of death on an industrialized scale that was the logical conclusion of the acceleration in technology they themselves had brought about.” [bold italics mine]

    So it seems she still maintains Heidegger had a ‘metaphysic’ hatred for the Jews. (This must be akin to metaphysically hating the Chinese but still loving their food and tolerating their presence.)

    Startling is the phrase, ‘the Jews own “self-destruction”‘, and stating that the Jews were complicit in their own demise. Wollen again (p. xxxvii):

    “Foreseeably, once Di Cesare has gone through the motions of criticizing Heidegger … she can return to endorsing his philosophical standpoint in good conscience and with redoubled enthusiasm. … In her final paragraph, Di Cesare shamelessly seeks to elevate a thinker who characterized the Holocaust as an act of “Jewish self-annihilation” (jüdische Selbstvernichtung) to the status of the philosopher of the Shoah. As she informs us, “After the Black Notebooks, Auschwitz appears more closely connect with [the Heideggerian trope of] the oblivion of being …. [Heidegger] has provided those concepts that today allow a reflection on the Shoah: from enframing, Gestell, to technology, from the banality of evil to the ‘fabrication of corpses’.

    To return to Boparai, his position becomes clearer. He read Di Cesare’s new book and has bought the party position –

    Boparai writes his ‘long’ obfuscating piece, “Donatella di Cesare marshals a great deal of evidence in Heidegger and the Jews, and for the most part lays it out with admirable clarity to demonstrate that Heidegger was indeed an antisemite in the strong sense of the term. He had no obvious personal aversion to Jews, as many of his students have attested. Di Cesare is correct to approach Heidegger’s anti-Judaism and antisemitism in metaphysical terms, but she fails to prove that antisemitism was central or foundational to Heidegger’s philosophy.”

    Well she failed, but Wolen did not (p. xxxviii): “Ultimately, the moral ambiguities involved in suggesting that we rely on a philosopher who, as the Black Notebooks reveal, was both a staunch anti-Semite as well as a convinced Nazi to explicate the Shoah is a dilemma that apparently leaves Di Cesare untroubled. Here, instead of the “oblivion of Being” (Seinsvergessenheit), we are witness to the “oblivion” of reason and common sense.

    I can go on with the nonsense in this very sloppy opinion piece. Boparai writes:

    ” “The Conservative Revolutionary Movement is now little known in the English-speaking world except among scholars.” There is more than enough – See Wikipedia, German Conservative Revolutionary Movement.

    ” Heidegger was merely a supporter of German Conservative Revolutionary Movement. In Germany 1933, who wasn’t a public intellectual and conservative? As per the Wikipedia article, there were over 40 German public intellectuals who joined this movement (This group included political theorist, Edgar Julius Jung who was murdered on the Night of the Long Knives. Things were tense.)

    ” “Antisemitism attributes to Jews extraordinary power, influence, and wickedness. Over the centuries, its tropes have been adapted to scapegoat Jews for a wide variety of problems …” But the Nazis added a new twist, which became known as ‘The Final Solution’. Wollen (p. xx-xxi): “In practically every instance, pulling the strings behind the scene of world politics, Heidegger finds the ignominious practices of “world Jewry.” In this way, he remains faithful to the precepts of eliminationist anti-Semitism that formed the core of the National Socialist worldview.” For this reason Boparai’s assertion that Charles Maurras was the most influential anti-Semitic political theorist during the period is false. He was old school. Hitler and those around were and history bears that out.

    Come on Quillette, you can do much better than this hack job.

    • YAG says

      I would love to read your piece rebutting this on Quillette; with sources for people to check.

      YAG

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