Skip to comments.From German Marxism to Heidegger's Post Modern Fascism
Posted on 03/04/2014 3:50:06 PM PST by Olympiad Fisherman
While Cold War geopolitics has recently reasserted itself in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, America is profoundly mired politically and culturally on the inside with a Post Modernism that accentuates multi-cultural, ethnic, and indigenous differences at the expense of the classic American melting pot ideal. Such identity politics is far more rooted in Fascism than in classic Marxism.
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I have also often thought that the contemporary left would scarcely be recognized by the universalist, rationalist, and fan of industrialization Karl Marx.
There's a difference between the political left and the more cloistered academic left when it comes to Heidegger, at least.
I had not thought of that, but I think you are very correct!
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
Heidegger cannot be defended, but many still do not realize how much his ideas still have had incredible influence overt the modern mindset. He was the philosophical western prophet of the 20th century.
Good point about the cloistered academic left.
In practice, it did not, and the advent of other class delimiters such as sex, race, ethnicity, are later grafts usually but not entirely ascribed to the Frankfurt School. Here once again only "false consciousness" leads someone to consider himself a Frenchmen or a Canadian instead of primarily a man or woman, black or white, Italian or Jewish. But Marx was correct about what this would do to his theory of classes - because people have memberships in multiple such classes (and nationality is just as much a one as the others) the solidarity is diluted and relations between the classes become muddied - as they are in practice. Whatever this is, Marxism it is not.
Marxian theory turned out to be quaint and rather old-fashioned over only a little time. By 1860, when he began Capital, the predictions he and Engels had made in the 1848 Manifesto concerning the proletariat and capitalism in general - increasing illiteracy, falling profits, etc - were demonstrably not the case. But Marxian techniques, that is, the agitation of class rivalry and the employment of amoral manipulation to break down the structure of the existing society - these turned out to be, and remain, very successful at gathering political power. It is these that so blur the distinction between classic Marxism and the neo-Fascist model in currency with the Left these days. Most classic Marxists are fine with that because they still hold that any breakdown of existing society must ineluctably result in a more socialist future - Marxian historiography "proves" the inevitable progress of history. But breakdown is possible, building a new socialist society, not so much. It doesn't stop the True Believers from trying but it cautions anyone sane against the results.
Thanks for the very interesting note.
Nice piece but I think he may be overlooking the Left’s cynicism when it comes to their emphasis on ethnic differences and the virtues of other cultures. I think for them this is mostly tactical, a means to stymie and weaken the one traditional culture they hate (because it truly threatens their “progress”), namely that of conservative Christianity in its various forms. If they could snap their fingers and turn the whole world into snooty atheist/agnostic post-modern hipsters just like they are, they would do it without blinking.
There is no question that is certainly true with some of them for sure.
The principal reason this whole "US liberalism is really a form of Fascism/Nazism" meme seems like nonsense to me is that the core of Fascism isn't "big government" or economic policy, but nationalism. Fascism is all about glorification of the nation, making heroic myths of its history, and flaunting its military strength. American liberalism is the opposite of all of this. Obama and Clinton didn't glorify America's past, they go to Africa and grovel apologetically for slavery. Obama doesn't glorify America's military, he degrades it. And so forth.
It's true that American liberals support the ethno-nationalism of blacks, hispanics, and other "minorities," but the whole point of this support is to show just how opposed to American nationalism they are.
There's also the fact that Fascist movements were invariably socially conservative, as part and parcel of mythologizing national heritage and tradition.
To ignore all this and to latch onto the fact that neither US liberals or Fascists were libertarian laissez-faire capitalists is like claiming that birds and flies are exactly the same because they both happen to have wings.
I completely disagree on this point.
Fascist youth groups were encouraged to engage in nonmarital intercourse, to ignore Church teachings on divorce, etc.
For a long time in Germany youth groups were encouraged in to participate in deviant behavior.
Fascism utterly rejected traditional morality in Italy, Germany and Scandinavia.
Only in Vichy and Spain were Christian morals encouraged.
I would also point out that nationalism is different from patriotism and that nationalism - but especially ethnonationalism - is not conservative.
Nationalism is simply patriotism taken to a greater extreme.
I would also add that nationalism/patriotism everywhere but the US is by its very nature ethno-nationalism, because the nation in most countries is defined by ethnicity to a degree that US society is not.
Fascist youth groups were encouraged to engage in nonmarital intercourse, to ignore Church teachings on divorce, etc. For a long time in Germany youth groups were encouraged in to participate in deviant behavior. Fascism utterly rejected traditional morality in Italy, Germany and Scandinavia. Only in Vichy and Spain were Christian morals encouraged.
Fascist societies were conservative insofar as they didn't tolerate feminism, homosexuality, etc. The fact that some of their leaders were secretly homosexual doesn't change this, any more than the fact that the observation that Saudi Royals live debauched lives changes the fact that Saudi Arabia has the strictest Sharia Law in the entire Middle East.
Nationalism is about the nation - the tribe.
Patriotism is about the country, the homeland where you live - its laws, its customs, its values.
Ethnonationalism is a nationalism that holds that only blood membership in the tribe is acceptable.
Nationalism and patriotism differ in kind, not degree.
Fascist societies were conservative insofar as they didn't tolerate feminism, homosexuality, etc. The fact that some of their leaders were secretly homosexual doesn't change this
It hasn't been a secret.
It is not a coincidence that so many fascist leaders have been open deviants.
A constant and recurring theme in Fascist literature is the creation of a "new man" who is not bound by the constraints of Christian morality.
This is part and parcel of the Nietzschean aspect of Fascism - that Christianity was founded by ethnically suspect individuals and is a religion for slaves, cowards and weaklings.
Rejection of traditional morality was a main part of the program and a strong selling point.
Again, Fascism was about forging an all-powerful centralized state controlled by a strong leader whose rule was reinforced by myth and by forging the ruled into a unified, homogenized, obedient mass.
Nationalism, anticlericalism, and amoralism are really good tools to use, because it makes the leader/party the source of all social values.
Moreover, ethno-nationalism is by its very nature conservative because it makes the claim that the culture and customs are a nation are often inseparable from the people who originated them.
It is not a coincidence that so many fascist leaders have been open deviants.
The only prominent Nazi who was more or less openly homosexual (or rather, more like an open secret) was Ernst Roehm, who was eliminated in 1934. Under Hitler, male homosexuality was illegal (i.e. he reversed Weimar Republic decriminalization of homosexual acts). I'm not sure whether the same was true in Mussolini's Italy, though one thing Mussolini did do (as part of his agreement with an independent Vatican) was to reverse the secularization of Italy's schools and to allow religious instruction back into curricula (contra the mandatory secularization that took place under his liberal-democratic predecessors). Again, the fact that Mussolini was himself not religious is irrelevant, what matters for the purpose of this discussion is what policies he enacted.
So are Black and Hispanic nationalists who glorify their history and "nation" really fascists then? Or is post-economic, post-industrial Marxism morphing into something closer to fascism?
Ek_hornbeck--I would remind you that as nationalistic as Fascism may be, it is nevertheless a modern and revolutionary nationalism that did not exist in the past. It was also a "mass movement" creating a one-party state and calling for the creation of "the new man." Even some traditionalist European right wingers objected to Fascism's revolutionary and "mass" tendencies. As far apart as Fascism and Communism are in ideology, these are things that are indeed held in common by the two (as is militarism, as "socialist states" have all been highly militarized and not the least bit pacifist).
Finally, ek, it cannot be denied that modern leftism, however much it continues to invoke the name of Marx, is no longer Marxist in any classical sense of the word. As the author has pointed out, it has dropped universalism, economism, and industrialism, is mystically nationalist (on behalf of the "oppressed"), celebrates "the earth" and nature, and even at times attacks science as an artificial concept used by white people to exploit the natural world and destroy the mystical cultures of "indigenous pipples" (but never of rednecks). Leftism and Fascism are still separate ideologies, but the Left is indeed coming to resemble fascism more than it did in the past. Perhaps one could say that for groups like "Blacks and Hispanics" the left is their "rightism."
Wideawake--I agree completely that nations that began as colonies (the USA, Australia, Brazil) simply cannot have the mystical "integral" ethno-nationalism of more traditonal nations as (for example) Japan, nevertheless there is a temptation even in American conservatism in this direction. Note how over the years American conservatism has ceased to invoke chrstianity as true, but rather as "the American religion." Why do so so many conservative American chrstians invoke George Washington and the Founding Fathers to defend and excuse public observance of chrstianity? Shouldn't the justification for chrstianity be that it is the true religion? Yet American conservative chrstianity is becoming more and more a national and tribal religion of white northwest Europeans (Pat Buchanan is the ultimate example of this, even going so far as to favor northwestern European Protestants to Catholics from elsewhere). And we have all noted the banning over recent years of various FReepers (most of whom I disagreed with most profoundly) whose chrstianity was a little too objective and universal, and not "American" enough.
Also note that attacks on "chrstianity" are never contested or protested by Blacks and Hispanics who are also "chrstian." There seems to be a universal understanding that the chrstianity opposed by the Left is the northwest European variety and that even public chrstianity by Blacks and Hispanics is revolutionary and to be celebrated. I am quite serious about this question. Why do militant Black and Hispanic nationalists and clergymen never say a word about Sarah Silverman's attacks on chrstianity, for example? Why did Blacks and Hispanics not protest "The Last Temptation?" Why do Blacks and Hispanics never object to the "separation of church and state?" And if Black and Hispanic communities were to merge their religions with their local governments, would any liberal object?
To both of you--With regard to morality and sexuality, I must simply point out that the only source of true morality is the True G-d. When the True G-d defines something as wrong, it is wrong. The fact that any monster of the left or right might share this position means absolutely nothing. Hence my impatience with people who argue against a position because "that's what the Nazis believed."
Again, thank you both.
On the other hand, I agree with you that the "Leftism" practiced by third world people (and by racial minorities in the US) has little in common with classical Marxism. You don't hear much these days about class struggle or the proletariat, nor even about Labor Unions until some politician has to pander for a few more votes in the Rust Belt. On the other hand, you hear a lot about "oppressed minorities" and "colonial exploitation," so the US and European Left wind up encouraging the nationalism of third world peoples while rejecting their own.
So perhaps you could say that today's Left prescribes militant ethno-nationalism for the Third World and multiculturalism (along with pacifism) for the First.