Friday, October 23, 2009

Just your average postmodernist double standard

If you’ve already had enough of my posts this week on double standards, then spare a moment to consider this one. It’s a doozy.

“Unquestionably the leading twentieth-century philosopher for the postmodernists,” says Stephen Hicks in Explaining Postmodernism, is Martin Heidegger.

Nazi bastard And guess what? While postmodernist “thinkers” are overwhelmingly of the “left” (indeed, says Hicks, “it was the failure of socialism that made postmodernism necessary”), old Martie gets a free pass from postmodernists for being a hard-core, out-there, “sack-those-damn-Jews” Nazi – an “ostensibly magisterial thinker who informed Freiburg students in his infamous 1933 rectoral address of Nazism's ‘inner truth and greatness,’ declaring that ‘the Führer, and he alone, is the present and future of German reality, and its law’."

Nice chap, so why do postmodernists keep him around the house?

Asks Carlin Romano in The Chronicle of Higher Education, from whence I drew those quotes above [hat tip Mr Hicks],

“How many scholarly stakes in the heart will we need before Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), still regarded by some as Germany's greatest 20th-century philosopher, reaches his final resting place as a prolific, provincial Nazi hack? Overrated in his prime, bizarrely venerated by acolytes even now, the pretentious old Black Forest babbler makes one wonder whether there's a university-press equivalent of wolfsbane, guaranteed to keep philosophical frauds at a distance.”

Sure does.  And it makes one wonder too why postmodernist so-called thinkers disparage young boys who are too young to know what’s wrong about saluting Nazi symbols, but are prepared to give a free pass to a fully-fledged Nazi like Martin when “scholarly evidence fingers the scowling proprietor of Heidegger's hut as a buffoon produced by German philosophy's mystical tradition. He should be the butt of jokes, not the subject of dissertations.”

nazi-com Why? Perhaps because they’re so desperate to shore up their failed politics, that any old Hitler-loving philosophical fraud will do as a buttress? Or, perhaps, it’s because as bedfellows the “left” and the “right”, the Nazis and the socialists, are really just one and the same.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous David S. said...

The terms right and left wing do not determine ideology on their own. It certainly isn't as simple as right=capitalism left=socialism.

Originally they were only an indication of the amount of wealth either side of which competing ideologies possessed. Left wing parties represented the views of workers, and Right wing parties represented the aristocracy. The Nazi's represented the aristocracy, in fact one of the first things the Nazi's did when they came to power was to ban unions - hardly an action a left wing party would make.

I tend to think that's about as close to an actual definition of left and right, dispite the fact that the wealth on either side is more evenly split in today's day in age. Generally speaking parties on the right support wealthier people and parties on the left support the poor.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

10/24/2009 12:10:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how do you explain National Socialist?

Sean

10/24/2009 12:07:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

My post was actually in response to one by Redbaiter which has been deleted. He was trying to argue the point that the Nazi's were left wing.

10/24/2009 01:42:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Sorry, David, that gentleman has been told numerous times that he's unwelcome here, but still he persists . . .

10/24/2009 02:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

George Reisman, in the last sentence of the post, was correct:

"Why Nazism was Socialism and why Socialism is Totalitarian".

In the meantime, this ongoing left/right argument is ridiculous. The parameters have shifted so much that we only have two camps now: those who would control and those who wish they wouldn't.

Choose your camp.

10/24/2009 02:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Clarification:

.. those who would control and those who wish they (the former) wouldn't.

10/24/2009 02:38:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

"In the meantime, this ongoing left/right argument is ridiculous. The parameters have shifted so much that we only have two camps now: those who would control and those who wish they wouldn't.

Choose your camp."

I don't think it's that simple, unfortunatly. Libertarians exist on either side of the left/right divide (which I agree is far less clear cut than it use to be) because we have a lot of different ideas on how to achieve a society that will uphold individual liberty consistantly and without bias.

Oh and no need to apologise PC, it's your blog and the level of abuse RB attaches to everything gets really tiring.

10/24/2009 04:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Interesting that you see things that way, DS.

I think libertarianism (ie its aims) is clear-cut: one is either free or one isn't.

However, an entire system cannot be immediately replaced with another .. a period of transition is required.

Thus, I can understand differences arising with regard to measures/timeframes and the transitional implementation thereof, but I would go out on a limb to say that libertarians desire very similar outcomes.

No?

10/24/2009 04:13:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

Yes I would agree with that. I think the main difference would be when it comes to collective ownership and negotiation. From an ideological standpoint libertarianism is neutral on the subject as long as the individuals comprising these collectives choose to organise them in such a way.

While right wing libertarians don't oppose such collectives outright, the evils of "collectivism" that are often presented can easily be confused as opposition to the idea.

Whereas left wing libertarians tend to oppose individual concentrations of wealth. This is often confused as an authoritarian view that wealth should be forcibly removed from individuals, when actually we're presenting the view that people should be prepared to promote the decentralisation of wealth voluntarily in the interests of improving individual liberty.

http://aaeblog.com/2009/04/26/why-we-fight-the-power/

This blog post explains some of the reasoning behind this point of view better than I could.

"No, I am not saying that non-forcible forms of authority are rights-violations, nor that they should be combated by forcible means appropriate to such violations, nor again that those who wield non-forcible authority should be hurled into the Pit of Azathoth, there to boil and burn for all eternity in His howling, bubbling chaos. The solution to noncoercive authority is not coercive authority, any more than the cure for flu is pneumonia"

- quote from that post.

10/24/2009 04:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Mark said...

Yes, I agree the left/right argument is stupid.

Any party that is not for freedom and choice is on the road to what I would call Nanny statism which is where you are told what to do and when to do it and what rights you may have.

Freedom cannot be given away freely rather it is taken away from the force of the state.

Therefore the left which prefers larger government aginst the right which prefers smaller government is still government that wants to take away your rights.

Annoying it's it.

10/26/2009 07:10:00 pm  
Anonymous goofey said...

David S, thanks for your posts. They remind me Ben Goldacre's catchphrase "i think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that".

I agree with PC that postmodernism is more popular amongst the "left", but I suggest the reason for this is different from what he suggests. I believe that those on the "right" are more inclined to search for simple explanations, while those on the left are more willing entertain and explore complex explanations. Postmodernism presented a completely new way of thinking about the (social) world and asked some interesting questions that were worth exploring. Unfortunately, its proponents became a bit too excited took things way too far. It started to crop up in places where it just didn't belong and that was postmodernism's downfall.

Sus, in response to David S you say:
"I think libertarianism (ie its aims) is clear-cut: one is either free or one isn't".

But what is "free". I would argue that there is no such thing as "freedom" as every action and human behaviour has consequences and that these in turn determine future actions and consequences.

And let me just state upfront that I think there is a big difference between 'free will' and 'choice'. I think people have 'choice' but I honestly don't believe they have 'free will'. And I think the distinction is an important one.

And yet I have little time for postmodernism. :)

10/27/2009 01:02:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

"Unfortunately, its proponents became a bit too excited took things way too far."

True, a lot of them have, I'm kind of a post-post-modernist :P

"But what is "free". I would argue that there is no such thing as "freedom" as every action and human behaviour has consequences and that these in turn determine future actions and consequences."

Sure, and even if you make the leap beyond pure determinism as an explanation of human behaviour, we're still limited by our environment and capabilities. I'm not free to sprout wings from my back and fly around the room, for example.

I think the issue basically comes down to being free from the will of other people. Our choices shouldn't be restricted by others, though even that discussion isn't as simple as it may sound to some.

10/27/2009 03:08:00 pm  

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