Monday, March 08, 2010
Dunbar, Max. "The Intense Humming of Evil." 3AM MAGAZINE February 7, 2010.
Faye, Emmanuel. Heidegger: the Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009. When the Nazis achieved power in 1933 they were not satisfied with mere control of the state. Fascist ideology spread through the fields of law, medicine and culture as a totalising virus. The universities were no exception. The campus was subject to the purge or worse of dissent, the narrowing of curricula and the book-burning ceremonies that still resonate as a symbol of anti-intellectualism in its worst and truest form. Writers and thinkers still alive after the fall of the regime were confronted with that ultimate question: what did you do in the war? Academic supporters of Nazism could see several ways to postwar respectability. They could plead indulgence. It must have be easy in the mid-thirties to get caught up in the propaganda whirl of it all: tomorrow belongs to me! Alternatively, one could plead cowardice or pragmatism. Many had to make compromises to spare themselves and to protect family and friends. The mistake is to see fascism as strictly a yob phenomenon that addresses the short-term frustrations of the poor and ignorant. The mistake is to believe that it cannot possibly appeal to educated men and women. Yet even before Hitler’s takeover there were true believers inside the academy’s lustrous gates. No one now remembers Schmitt, Wolf and Rosenberg but Martin Heidegger continues to be read, studied and quoted. And yet, as Emmanuel Faye shows in his devastating study, the rector of Freiburg held a fervent and unblinking commitment to Nazism. He was the writer at the book burnings. He raised not a word of protest when a government decree dismissed his former teacher and assistant; he had complained that the universities had been ‘Jewified’ under Weimar, and organised his study sessions as outdoor ‘work camps’ in a creepy homage to the horror that was coming. Heidegger rejected the abstract pursuits of art and humanities. Authentic existence could only be experienced through confict and struggle; the lectures fairly drip with blood and soil. He justified racial selection, eugenics and dictatorship. Reading Faye’s book, I had two thoughts going through my mind. How the fuck did he get away with this? And: Why did anyone take this guy seriously? It’s not the case that a romance with totalitarianism corrupted Heidegger’s philosophy. Heidegger’s philosophy was structured around his support for Nazism. There was nothing else. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/the-intense-humming-of-evil/.