Heidegger and Nazism, again.


Not to be dismissive about Heidegger’s Nazism or anything, but the dialogue has begun (yet) again.  I bookmarked an article entitled “Heil Heidegger,”  for myself (and others, of course) on Twitter last week.  The article discusses a recently translated book revolving around  Heidegger’s Nazism and I just had a chance to look closely at it.  It’s um…rather polemical.    Consider the first paragraph:

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.

Whoa.  Nothing like a little ad hominem attack to get things going.  Sure, Heidegger’s rhetoric is a bit bloated much of the time, but in fact, this paragraph kind of de-legitimizes anything else the author, Carlin Romano, writes afterward.  The connection (identity, really) between Heidegger and Nazism has been picked over and I’m not so sure that Romano is correct to say that there’s been some sort of deliberate systematic disavowal of it on the part of academics.  Anyhow, Romano’s polemic is centered around the forthcoming translation of Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935. Faye’s claim, as far as I can tell, is that Heidegger wasn’t “caught up” or “flirting” with Nazism, but instead, was a theorist or philosopher of Nazism.  Hmm.  Baby.  Bathwater.  I don’t think it’s particular helfpul (or accurate) to  reduce the whole corpus of Heidegger’s work to mere “hate speech.” Both Faye and Romano almost sound like those screaming health care protesters by insisting that publishers (er..Indiana UP and Continuum) stop publishing Heidegger and all of those librarian sympathizers need to cut it out with all this stocking up of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe in order to prevent Nazism from encroaching into the public realm and poisoning the minds of the unexpected.  I hardly think Heidegger’s Nazism or minimally, Heidgger’s connection with Nazism should escape serious and legitimate scrutiny, nor should it be defended, but if Faye’s book is half the hatchet job I’ve heard it to be, then it’s not very helpful.  That said, I will read the book with a good deal of interest.

Anyway, after picking on a couple of recent books by Heidegger scholars, Romano writes: Continue reading