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Part 8 of the audiobook version of my Nietzsche and the Nazis: A Personal View.
Part 8. Nazi and Anti-Nazi Philosophies [mp3] [YouTube] [7 minutes]
40. Hindsight and future resolve [mp3] [YouTube]
41. Principled anti-Nazism [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 1. Introduction: Philosophy and History [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 2. Explaining Nazism Philosophically [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 3. National Socialist Philosophy [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 4. The Nazis in Power [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 5. Nietzsche’s Life and Influence [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 6. Nietzsche against the Nazis [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 7. Nietzsche as a Proto-Nazi [mp3] [YouTube]
The Nietzsche and the Nazis page.
Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 8:10 am. 1 comment
In chronological order:
1893 New Zealand
1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
1920 United States
1928 Britain, Ireland
All other countries in the world: Granted later or not yet granted.
Interesting: Six of the fifteen are British or former British colonies, and the other nine are northern European.
Posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago at 8:12 am. 3 comments
Professor Capaldi lectured recently at Rockford University on the topic of “The Lockean Liberty Narrative versus the Rousseau Equality Narrative, and How These Narratives Explain Everything.” Afterward we discussed his themes — the conflict between the Lockean and Rousseauian narratives, enterprise and civil societies, the nature of the corporation, corporate philanthropy, cronyism, and more.
Professor Capaldi is the Legendre-Soulé Distinguished Chair in Business Ethics at Loyola University, New Orleans. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has taught at a variety of universities in the USA and around the world, including Columbia University, Queens College, City University of New York, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the National University of Singapore.
His principal research and teaching interest is in public policy and its intersection with political science, philosophy, law, religion, and economics. He is the author of seven books, including The Two Narratives of Political Economy (2010), John Stuart Mill: A Biography (2004), and America’s Spiritual Capital (2012).
Professor Capaldi’s talk was sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. More about Dr. Capaldi here.
Posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago at 8:44 am. Add a comment
I’m reading a biography of the father of the author of The Count of Monte Cristo. More about him in another post, but I was struck by this poignant passage:
“King Louis XIV, the Sun King, died after seventy-two years on the throne. As he lay dying, the old king counseled his heir, his five-year-old great-grandson: ‘I loved war too much, do not imitate me in this, nor in my excessive spending habits.’ The five-year-old presumably nodded earnestly. His reign, as Louis XV, would be marked by a cycle of spending and wars so extravagantly wasteful and unproductive that they would bring shame not only on his person but on the institution of the French monarchy itself.”
Is it so wrong that my mind immediately leaped 300 years forward to two recent American presidents?
Source: Tom Reiss, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (Crown, 2012), p. 23.
Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago at 9:03 am. 4 comments
At Philosophy Now, Thomas Akehurst investigates why Bertrand Russell blamed German fascism on German philosophy: “What is less well known is that in the 1930s and 1940s Russell’s attention turned to the idea that the origins of Nazism were primarily philosophical.”
Russelll, according to Akehurst, mentioned several German philosophers by name, among them Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, along with other philosophical fellow-travelers such as Rousseau, Mazzini, and even Dewey. In his 1945 A History of Western Philosophy, Russell made his case that these thinkers contributed to the development of fascism. Akehurst is not impressed with Russell’s arguments — neither Russell’s presentation of each philosopher’s views, nor his attempts at connecting their theoretical philosophy to Nazi politics, nor with Russell’s failure to provide evidence that the Nazi politicians read the philosophers.
I haven’t read Russell’s History since grad school, but I do remember concluding then that Russell was not at his best as historian of philosophy. Still, that isn’t to say that Russell wasn’t on to something and that a good case can’t be made. Indeed, the work of later scholars such as Richard Wolin, Emmanuel Faye, and Zeev Sternhell have borne out Russell’s conjectures.
Akehurst is right to point out that thinkers in the Anglo-American tradition can be too quick to connect the work of Continental philosophers to the worst manifestations of European politics. But it’s also true that philosophers friendly to the Continental tradition can be too quick to set aside that tradition’s very real complicity in Europe’s political disasters.
Thomas Akehurst, “Bertrand Russell Stalks the Nazis”, Philosophy Now, Jul/Aug 2013. (Thanks to Robert Hessen for the link.)
Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago at 6:13 pm. 5 comments
In “Philosophy and a Century of War,” I left the Soviet Union out of my discussion of World War II, for reasons not clear or convincing to everyone. So let me lay out my thought process.
I started with a semi-complete list of the belligerents on both sides. It looks like this:
From outside perspective, not all of those countries are equally important to explaining why the war occurred, and some of them are involved for reasons other than the 20th-century pattern I want to explain, so I set them aside.
But there’s also the oddity that the Soviet Union appears on both sides. The USSR first partnered with Germany. In 1939 they agreed to divide Poland between them: the Nazis invaded Poland in early September, and the Soviets invaded in mid-September. So we get this:
Two years later, the Germans turned on the Russians. Big shock! Betrayal! The Germans felt able to attack the Soviets because the war on the Western front had gone well for them. So as a matter of mutual desperation, the Western powers and the Soviets allied for the rest of the war. So we get this:
Now the big step. I think the Soviets are a side issue to explaining why the war occurred. They were initially opportunist in taking a deal offered by Germany to split Poland in return for protecting Germany’s back. And when Germany reneged on the deal, the Soviets reluctantly had to fight and to ally with the hated capitalists. In both cases, the Soviet Union was the more passive, reactive partner. The real initiators and causal factors lay elsewhere. So I cut the Soviets out in order to focus on this pattern:
And that is the context for my nine-minute story: “Philosophy and a Century of War”.
Posted 6 months ago at 8:04 am. 8 comments
Nietzsche and the Nazis: A Personal View was first produced as a documentary in 2006. The book version was published in 2010. A Polish translation is forthcoming in 2014. We are releasing an audiobook version serially. To begin, here are Parts 1 and 2.
Part 1. Introduction: Philosophy and History [mp3] [YouTube] [5 minutes]
1. Fascinated by history [mp3] [YouTube]
2.What is philosophy of history? [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 2. Explaining Nazism Philosophically [mp3] [YouTube] [17 minutes]
3. How could Nazism happen? [mp3] [YouTube]
4. Five weak explanations for National Socialism [mp3] [YouTube]
5. Explaining Nazism Philosophically [mp3] [YouTube]
Part 3. National Socialist Philosophy
Part 4. The Nazis in Power
Part 5. Nietzsche’s Life and Influence
Part 6. Nietzsche against the Nazis
Part 7. Nietzsche as a Proto-Nazi
Part 8. Conclusion: Nazi and Anti-Nazi Philosophies
The Nietzsche and the Nazis page for information about the documentary and book versions.
Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago at 9:05 pm. Add a comment
“A common misconception often quoted by media, politicians, activists is that violence is on the rise and has historically been much lower. Similarly, the trend in post-colonial anthropology has been to regard historically indigenous and tribal societies as more peaceful than contemporary Western society. However, archaeological evidence shows that previous societies had very high level of violence. Likewise, modern tribal societies typically too have extremely high rates of violence, with more than half of deaths being violence related in some cases. Ancient and medieval empires had lower rates of violence, and the violence decreased further as empires became more organized. Modern societies saw still lower rates of violence from the medieval period onwards, with significant decreases after World War II. This trend is general across all categories of violence, from large-scale warfare to murder and animal cruelty, and the trend is discernible on both millennium, century and decade scale, making modern societies the most peaceful the world has even seen.” (Source and references here.)
Take that, shades of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. And props to the Capitalist Peace and Democratic Peace theses. We are making progress.
Posted 7 months, 1 week ago at 9:01 am. 4 comments