Heidegger on the Führer Principle

Heidegger on the Führer Principle:

young-heidegger“Only where leader and led together bind each other in one destiny, and fight for the realization of one idea, does true order grow. Then spiritual superiority and freedom respond in the form of deep dedication of all powers to the people, to the state, in the form of the most rigid training, as commitment, resistance, solitude, and love. Then the existence and the superiority of the Führer sink down into being, into the soul of the people and thus bind it authentically and passionately to the task. And when the people feel this dedication, they will let themselves be led into struggle, and they will want and love the struggle. They will develop and persist in their strength, be true and sacrifice themselves. heideggerWith each new moment the Führer and the people will be bound more closely, in order to realize the essence of their state, that is their Being; growing together, they will oppose the two threatening forces, death and the devil, that is, impermanence and the falling away from one’s own essence, with their meaningful, historical Being and Will.”[1]

Yikes. Relevant to the question of the depth of Heidegger’s Nazism.

Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 (Yale, 2009), p. 140, italics in the original.

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8 Responses to Heidegger on the Führer Principle

  1. Luther says:

    It’s interesting that only crypto-fascist web sites repeat these aspects of Heidegger, as it’s not relevant to discussions of Heidegger’s way of thinking.

  2. Hi Luther:
    You think that pointing out Heidegger’s fascism is itself “crypto-fascist”?
    And isn’t THE biggest Heidegger debate about how strong the connection is between his politics and philosophy?

  3. Bob Marks says:

    Actually, it’s crypto-fascists who try to ignore what excerpts like the above indicate about Heidegger’s way of thinking.

  4. Edward Fox says:

    Luther: the above quote is not relevant to discussions of Heidegger’s way of thinking? And that he remained an unapologetic Nazi after WW II…? Like to read your take on that.

  5. Edward Fox says:

    I’d also be interested in why you insinuate that this is a cypto-fascist site when Professor Hicks has extensively dissected the roots of and trenchantly critiqued rightist collectivist ideologies e.g. Fascism and Nazism as well as leftist.

  6. Stephen Dahl says:

    Seems a bit rhetorical to me. Obviously, this website is not crypto-anything. And it should be acknowledged that philosophers’ politics and metaphysics often vary. Do we discount Aristotle because he condoned slavery? It was a fact of life in his time. Germans felt shame and chagrin after “losing” WWI (who in fact won it?) and feared the advent of Bolshevism. Most German soldiers when interviewed often cite they fought Bolshevism, and believed in the dignity of the German Reich (Third Reich, don’t forget the previous two). The Fuhrer or “leader” principle is not unique to Hitlerism, it functions within kingship and a democratic presidency. The buck must stop somewhere. Moreover, people who are not Germans, or, who have never traveled there, don’t quite get the almost medieval quality of German “Treue”, or loyalty. The Teutonic flavor of philosophers like Kant, Nietzsche, or Heidegger is bitter on foreign tongues. They are not an easy-going people. They work hard, play hard. German is a strict tongue, with four cases and three sexes of nouns. England and France may be seen as extensions of Germanic influence, the Anglo-Saxons and Franks, to wit. Germany proper was instituted after the Franco-Prussian war. It had the same newbie enthusiasm as the young American republic. I would personally exclude a philosopher’s politics from his thinking unless he were nothing but a political philosopher.

  7. Bob Marks says:

    Stephen Dahl wrote: “I would personally exclude a philosopher’s politics from his thinking unless he were nothing but a political philosopher.”

    Are you saying that politics is not based on thinking? What then? Emotion? Flipping a coin? Are you also saying that there is no connection between a philosopher’s metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics and that it is okay if these contradict each other?

    Yes, Aristotle supported slavery, but Heidegger lived over 2,000 years later and he had much less of an excuse for advocating tyranny.

  8. Stephen Dahl says:

    What you conclude from what I have written is your affair. In short, the true philosopher, in my view, provides truths through reason that apply to everyone. The law of identity cares for no racial or political context. I think Plato’s views about the ultimate and his “creation” of Socrates overweight the Republic. Aristotle likewise, and his efforts in science and biology are noteworthy. Less so, his Politics. His definition of man was “an animal who lives in a city state”. Truly political philosophers (if “philosophers” they can be called) have plans for government and society. Hobbes, Paine, Locke, Mill, Bentham and Marx/Engels/Lenin are such. It is my view that these are secondary thinkers, by the nature of their enquiries. Government is very simple : it must enforce contracts, protect private property, defend the community, and be jurisprudential (although this can be done through religious courts, as in Islam and in the Middle Ages in Christendom). The lowest and perverse of all thinkers are the Marxist bunch. They debase human charity by making it by fiat. The best “political philosophers” are (often regrettably) politicians themselves, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, Napoleon, or Burke. Politics is action, it is the affairs of the “city state”. It can only be based on pre-existing “common sense” (provided by thinkers like Aristotle). Or Ayn Rand, whose comment “there are no human rights without property rights.” But I would call her an exception, a topic left for the future.

    I have found that people who grab the banner of anti-slavery or anti-Fascism or anti-racism, whatever, seek a cheap glory. “Look at what a fine person I am!” Slavery has many forms. Slaves in ancient Israel were mostly indentures, and all slaves were freed every 50 years under the “Jubilee” provision. Slaves were mainly taken in war, indeed, most Negro slaves were sold to the English and Dutch by their own African chieftains. Slavery implies ownership and by its nature can have no political scope. You may be freed by fulfilling your indenture, buying your freedom (quite common, as a slave is at basis an economic tool) or charitable manumission. People can be said to be “slaves to alcohol” or tobacco. Moreover, some people prefer slavery under a kind master than freedom in a cruel world. Americans are greatly prejudiced by the example of Negro slavery. Abolitionists continually brought up whippings, lynchings, mutilations and claimed a divine prerogative in freeing slaves. Yet there were many “white slaves” in colonial times, indentured servants. Negro slavery was easier to enforce because Negro ancestry was obvious but in previous times slaves wore collars, or worse, were branded (also done to criminals to warn the innocent). In Rome slaves were bought and sold, captured in war, or sentenced to same, and turned into gladiators, salt miners, household servants, and tutors. While not desirable, being a living slave is better than a dead soldier. Euripides pointed out that no one condoned slavery, but it was inevitable. Aristotle maintained it was “natural.” There is no question that it is unjust, but so is our government which gives welfare bums a “right to live”. Should, in fact, the productive members of society be “enslaved” to the ne’er-do-wells? Should citizens be conscripted (i.e. “enslaved”) into military service?

    Political philosophies pretend to the exactitude of metaphysics, but politics has no such niceties. So, I argue, philosophers may be dissociated from their political theories, unless they have no metaphysics to speak of. It’s something in the vein of “Heidegger was a Nazi so I don’t like him as a philosopher.” They won’t play the music of Wagner in Israel because “Wagner was Hitler’s favorite composer”, which isn’t true, it was Lehar. Try “Aristotle condoned slavery, so his philosophy must be wrong.” Then we get the hippie-dippie who is against slavery, and racism, and capitalism — who must be a good sort because he opposes “bad things.” And on to our knee-jerk media that uses half-truths and emotional slop to enforce an egalitarianism which is bogus — what they want is to establish the (still-fictional) “Proletariat”, but they don’t say so.

    Philosophy is our wondrous instrument to see further, like a telescope, but if we reverse it in any sense, we have a poor microscope that cannot be focused on little but dust.

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