Thursday, December 3, 2009

Heidegger: rely upon the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler

Heidegger was a student of Nietzsche and for him the ubermensch was not a principle but a person.  The totalitarian government that Heidegger had in mind was to be led by a spiritual ubermensch.  That Hitler fell short of Heidegger’s ideal, Heidegger may have concluded later, but that isn’t above dispute.  The official pro-Heidegger position had been that Heidegger was naïve about Hitler and the Nazi party and once he wised up he resigned from the rectorate.  Hugo Ott however found evidence that the Nazi party was unhappy with Heidegger because even though he had sought to bring students and faculty "into line," he had failed.  They refused to cooperate, and the Nazi Party asked for his resignation.
There was room for "decisioning" in Heidegger's philosophy, but only when the clear path to authenticity wasn't available or was unknown.  A spiritual ubermensch would provide that path.
Here is one of the speeches Heidegger made while Rector at Frieburg from Victor Farias, Heidegger and Nazism, page 118. It is a speech Heidegger delivered Nov. 3, 1933:
            “German students,
            “The National Socialist revolution rings in the total collapse of our German existence {Dasein].
            “It is incumbent on you to stay with this process {Geschehen}, those of you who always want to press on further, those who are always ready, those who are hardened, those who never cease developing.
            “Your will to know seeks contact with the essential, the simple, the great.
            “You are restless to seek out what assails you, what presses hard against you, what engages you from afar.
            “Be harsh and authentic in your needs.
            “Remain clear and certain in your refusal.  Do not turn hard-won knowledge into an egoistic and arrogant possession [eitlen Selbstbesitz].  Keep it as the original indispensable possession of the man on whom devolves the role of chief [des fuhrerischen Menschen} among the callings of the people of the state.  You can no longer be only those who ‘hear.’  You must participate in knowledge, and in the creation of the future university of the German spirit.  Each of you must first prove your gifts and your privileges and justify them.  This is to be achieved by the power deriving from consecrating yourselves in combative fashion [des kampferischen Einsatzes] to the struggle the people lead in their own name.
            “The faithfulness of your will to follow (of all of you together) must be strengthened day by day, hour by hour.  In you there must unceasingly develop the courage of your sacrifice for the salvation [Rettung] of the essence of your people [Volk] within their state [Staat] and for the elevation of its innermost force.
            “Do not let principles and ‘ideas’ be the rules of your existence.
            “The Fuhrer himself, and he alone, is the German reality of today, and of the future, and of its law.  Learn to know always and more deeply.  Starting now each thing demands decision and every action, responsibility.
            “Heil Hitler!  Rector Martin Heidegger.”

COMMENT:   I don’t have much at stake in Heidegger, but I find it interesting that those who in the past could be considered “Leftists” (as Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut describe the intellectual situation in France) have turned into enthusiastic pro-Heidegger supporters.  I can read of Heidegger’s support for Hitler and Nazism and not be bothered, but those who have founded their own philosophies upon Heidegger take a different view. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do we know it was the speech Heidegger delivered to students or a speech rendered to the political officer?

In any case, all of this was hashed out years ago and punishments meted out.

Now the far Left and other Marxists have the need to probe for any or all of Heidegger's alleged misdeeds for an ad hominem attack on his ideas.

Bush, too, has been called a Nazi for the last eight years with about as much veracity.