Post-modernist Martin Heidegger carried a lot of water for National Socialism.
From Marxism/Communism to Post-Modern Liberal Fascism by R. Mark Musser
The USSR died an ugly death in the 1990’s. Yet, such an ugly political collapse proved to be very opportunistic for many communist leaders throughout the Soviet Union who hated the Marxist ideology that actually placed some restrictions on their behavior. Many of them privatized state companies to themselves and thus became the biggest mafia the world has ever seen. Putin, as a former KGB spymaster, is now in relative control of this mafia in spite of all the clans competing with one another from the Ukrainian Crimea to the Russian Far East.
As has been recently demonstrated on a grand scale in Ukraine, Russia is a strong geo-political player in world events today, but it’s very real threat is not a Bolshevik one. While President Reagan’s anti-Communist drive is in now in the process of being reversed in Eastern Europe, the Russians are not coming back with more Marxism, but with a dark and shadowy mafia lawlessness that is being hidden under Russian Orthodox clouds of incense and undergirded by a geopolitical ideology that is far more reminiscent of fascism than communism.
Classic Marxism was based on humanistic social science and economics, industrialism, and state ownership of the means of production, which few leftists today take seriously. Even China today is a mixture of capitalism and communism. What the Left propagates today is not state ownership of companies, but rather the strict regulation of them instead. This, however, has not made the business community any better. It has, in fact, resulted in an unholy corporatist alliance, if not fascist wedding, between big business and big government in both Europe and North America.
In other words, in the same way that Germany finally abandoned their leftist forefather, Karl Marx, in the 1920’s and 30’s for fascism, so many leftists today have done likewise by adopting post-modernism, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. Through heavy regulation, businesses are effectively collectivized or nationalized in the name of post-modern multicultural and environmental ideals, which seldom can stand under the scrutiny of common sense, sound judgment or reason.
Germany’s communist prophet, Karl Marx (1818-1883), believed he had stringently analyzed all of the political and social pitfalls of Industrial Capitalism. He was therefore convinced that capitalism would eventually produce its own negation through the rise of the socialist proletariat. Incredibly, Marx believed this would ultimately usher in a classless utopia of eschatological humanism free from worker oppression and the division of labor that alienates one man from another. Due to the dialectical laws of social change and historical evolution, Marx believed modern industry and technology would advance so much that class society will become obsolete in the future communist eschaton of proletarian freedom.
Marx’s social scientific prophecy, of course, did not materialize. Worse, what did arise was an extremely repressive Soviet Union and Communist China that produced an apocalyptic body count that became increasingly difficult to defend intellectually throughout the 20th century. In his book, Explaining Post-Modernism, Dr. Stephen Hicks points out this placed the Left in a great political bind, “Confronted by the continuing flourishing of capitalism and the brutality of socialism, they could either go with the evidence or reject their deeply cherished ideals – or stick with their ideals, and attack the whole idea that evidence and logic matter.” As such, rather than admit they were wrong, the Left, of course, adopted post-modern madness as its new political whore.
Hicks then goes on to argue that in the same way the great German master Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) limited reason in the late 1700’s in order to save religion, in the 20th century, shockingly enough, it was Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who became a “godsend” for the Left by advocating an existentialist philosophy that valued existence, nature and emotion over reason. Industrial progress and the communist utopia have thus been replaced with a view of history that is rooted in the existential and/or political realities of everyday life and Nature rather than upon a humanistic rationalism that strives to rise above both.
Heidegger’s fascist philosophy became the political bridge between National Socialism and post-modern multiculturalism. Multiculturalism celebrates the indigenous or ethnic differences against the background of an amorphous and homogenous Global Capitalism where cultural identity is presumed lost and/or extinct. Heidegger deconstructed the successes of western capitalism by delegitimizing it as inherently artificial, inauthentic, and alien to the indigenous countries in which it was exported into. Heidegger criticized capitalistic western values that allegedly worshiped reason, global technology, and money as alien to German culture rooted in the German soil.
Heidegger originally considered such western excesses as an international “Jewification” of society. Heidegger rejected the universal values of the Judeo-Christian worldview wedded to western capitalism as a forced ethic contrary to the existential sentiments of Germany. Such overarching western values alien to the fatherland thus need to be eradicated from Germany. This explains why Heidegger was even involved in book burning bonfires during the early years of National Socialism.
During the heyday of his National Socialist days, Heidegger followed Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) infamous “will to power” doctrine. Nietzsche held the strength of man was not in his reasoning intellect nor in religious virtue, both of which tended to arrogate mankind above nature, but rather was rooted in biology, instinct, and willpower. As such, Nietzsche not only replaced Judeo-Christian ethics, but also the Christian medieval scientific dictum, “knowledge is power” with his existential “will to power.” In Nietzsche’s existentialism, human will thus trumps reason and knowledge.
However, after witnessing the horrific results of what National Socialism did with Nietzsche’s will to power, Heidegger repented. Nonetheless, he repented in the wrong direction by propounding a more radical form of existentialism. After the war, Heidegger became an anti-technology “let it be” environmentalist that helped pave the way for the modern deep ecology movement, which demands that man, particularly western man, be far more humble with the natural surroundings in which he lives. Man must learn to just let things “be.” Thus, while Nietzsche’s existentialism infamously attacked the mind, Heidegger’s post war “letting be” existentialism attacked both the mind and the will so that there is very little left of humanity in post modernism.
Such nihilism is at the very heart and soul of modern environmentalism’s deconstructionist proclivities, which has very little to do with Marxism. Marx, in fact, characterized the early German greens of his day as backward romantics and peasants. Environmental fascism was not born in Soviet Russia, but in the Third Reich, rooted in the German Romanticism, Existentialism, and the Social Darwinian scientific biology of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), the very man who coined the term “ecology” in 1866. Indeed, at the end of World War II, the Red Army rushed into Field Marshall Herman Goering’s (1893-1946) nature reserve just outside of Berlin, herded his animals out of the forest with tanks, and enthusiastically shot them all up with machine guns. In other words, conservatives who speak of a red environmentalism are misinformed. Even Gorbachev was converted to environmentalism because of the ecological disasters of Chelyabinsk and Chernobyl. He was also shocked at what humanistic red scientists wanted to do with Russia’s huge rivers that emptied into the Arctic Ocean – divers them south.
After World War II, the Left not only quickly forgave Heidegger’s Nazi past, but they rehabilitated him by developing his existential deconstructionism into a multi-pronged attack against western capitalism. This was accomplished by promoting a global multiculturalism steeped in identity politics that overemphasized many other political concerns beyond the restrictions of Marxian class warfare to include environmentalism, racism, ethnicity, and gender where many groups felt artificially repressed by industrial capitalism and its universal Judeo-Christian ethic. In so doing, Heidegger’s existentialism also downgraded the importance of the intellect in the face of other existential facets of life like willpower, emotion, and natural existence itself, particularly with regard to one’s own “local only’ culture and environment.
It is here where the modern Left made its transition away from communism into a post-modern existentialism. Dr. Hicks strongly argues that post-modernism is rooted in the Counter Enlightenment movement featuring German superstars such as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger. According to Hicks, post-modernism favors subjectivity over objectivity, the inadequacy of language to communicate over reason and truth, various collective multicultural groupings over individual identity and autonomy, willpower over realistic experience rooted in rational analysis, communalism and solidarity over individualism in values, markets and politics, and finally, suspicion, if not hostility, toward science and technology.
As such, the Post-Modern critique of capitalism has replaced the original Marxian critique of capitalism. The universalism of Marxian socialism has been exchanged with identity politics mixed in with an inverse racism that emphasizes white guilt in particular over its colonial and capitalist sins. International communism thus was converted into a multicultural form of modern fascism that accentuates cultural dissimilarities. Such sentiments also stand very opposed to the classical American melting pot based on the universal values of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Thus Heidegger’s philosophy has been twisted into a leftist deconstruction program in order to undermine the dominance of western classical liberalism that originally extolled the virtues of individual liberty, free markets, religious freedom, and a democratic republican form of government. The ever-increasing madness of the post-modern age where the political left and right continually talk past each other in America is hardly surprising. However, continuing to confuse Marxism with Post-Modernism will not clear the air, but only cloud up the issues even further. In short, Post-Modernism means Post-Marxism.
Copyright 2015 by R. Mark Musser
Permission is herewith given to copy and distribute by electronic or physical means as long as it is not sold – the copyright notice is included and credits are given to the author. This article was originally published in November 2015 on the American Thinker.