Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Being and Time as esoteric national socialism

I received a striking letter from Matt Morgan, raising important questions which are basically a research program about Heidegger in relation to my earlier post here (and related posts here, here, and here). In my absence to give a lecture at Portland State this spring, Matt led a seminar on Heidegger (he studied Greek at St. John’s for a year, then at an excellent summer workshop at Berkeley* and was a number of years ago the best undergraduate ever to take seminars with me on Socrates and Plato).

Two preliminary comments. First, what Matt raises are questions that any fair-minded person who disagreed with my interpretation might have. They are a) was Heidegger for 20 years a Nazi? or, is Being and Time covertly Nazi? and b) how sharply tied to Heidegger is Strauss’s interpretation of Plato?. These questions are exactly what any philosopher who holds my point of view ought to take up. The strength of a point of view is precisely in its ability to answer what for it are difficult questions, to offer eventually a refined account which responds to them.

Second, I once said to Matt of the political Straussians and the neocons that I hoped “to take them out.” The aggressions, torture and authoritarian politics they initiated and advocate need to be stopped, pointblank. I regard the harshness of the sentiment I expressed in the Cheney period, to be, nonetheless. consistent with militant, mass nonviolence. I would be happy to have Truth and Reconciliation commissions after major political change, and I think the harshest punishment in the world is for Dick Cheney to live a long life, isolated from politics and in infamy, without Fox News blaring constantly to divert him. But two occupations and 3 other aggressions (killing large numbers of innocents through drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen) and the flourishing of the war-complex continue under Obama. The Democrats have a coterie of neo-neo cons, think-tank experts who cry out for war (Michael O’Hanlon at Brookings, among others). So stopping these policies, and stopping those who foster them must be the priority.

“Dear Alan, My apologies for the delay. I've been rather caught up of late --which has been very much to the good, and I'll tell about some of it later, if opportunity affords. Also, I hope the trip went well, and look forward to hearing about it in turn. Let me start with a fond recollection. I remember you once saying to me –and it may well have been during the same conversation in which I expressed my concern about your getting involved with Strauss at all [because Strauss, like Schmitt and Heidegger, has a certain darkness which affects anyone who looks closely; he may be less bizarre for me because he was a jew. Schmitt’s anti-semitism proved a far deeper poison] — that the goal of the work was “to take them out.” “Them” being, obviously, both the [political] Staussians and via them, the people involved with the neocons – to say nothing of the havoc they’ve unleashed on an unhappy world. [yes, I am for militant mass nonviolence which stops such things] I assume that that’s still the telos here, still what’s fuelling your efforts. Let me know if that assumption is mistaken. It’s the background thought conditioning my response to your essay here. Just so we can be clear about this. OK, to business. You argue for the integrity, consistency, and – what will strike some as quite controversial—fundamental stasis of Heidegger’s thought: that ‘his politics is an extension of his philosophy. There is no difference between the two.’ That, prior to the 1933-5 lectures, “he had long been pro-Nazi.” Or, as you add a little later, “Heidegger’s” views […] are straightforwardly national socialist, call forth national socialism, and in so far as they are serious philosophical arguments […] have a national socialist upshot.’ ‘But more importantly, what the 1943 Essence of Truth shows is that Heidegger’s national socialism came directly from reflection on the cave in Plato’s Republic and that it represented the subtle pinnacle of at least 20 years of reflection on ancient thought.’ ‘[T]hat is what Heidegger’s whole philosophy is about.’ Crucially, and to drive the Straussian connection home, you claim later that ‘Whether or not Strauss ever read the 1943 version of The Essence of Truth, between hearing Heidegger lecture, studying Being and Time, thinking about Plato and exoteric/esoteric writing, he got the message exactly and profoundly.’ That’s forceful and unambiguous. It also sounds right to me, but my concern is to protect the argument from opportunistic hostility; this is theatening stuff to a lot of people. Clearly, if we can’t show beyond doubt that Strauss read 1943’s EoT – or that he heard the lectures ten years earlier, including that breath-takingly violent quote that Paul was kind enough to email to everyone yesterday [See On “enemies” and extermination here]— then that last claim of yours becomes doubly important in making the connection between Strauss’ half-cloaked love of tyranny and Heidegger’s gaudier version of it. Whether Leo read the book, in which Martin lets the cat out of the bag re: Platonic tyranny’s link to Hitlerism, he ‘got the message exactly and profoundly.’ Now, in order to make this point bullet-proof –which is the goal—it’s eventually going to take more detailed argument about what Martin was specifically thinking, saying, and writing during those 20 years prior to 1943. (You know all this already, of course, but I’m writing it down in part to fix it in my own head – so that it doesn’t move around like those fabled statues...**) The signal event, of course, is Being and Time. Does it make any difference to the interpretation of that book, for instance, that Martin’s ugliest, most forthrightly national socialist days are still ahead of him? Is there any chance that Martin would’ve read Mein Kampf? If, as the evidence seems to suggest, MH came to national socialism in a different way, with different answers to different questions than was the norm for his fellow Nazis – who couldn’t have given less of a damn about the revival of the Seinsfrage [the question of Being] — what difference does that make? If it makes none at all, then why is that so? Obviously, lots of other people have posed variations of these questions: there’s a massive bibliography about which I don’t know much. So far as I can tell the closest you get to establishing that connection in the present posting is in the following section: ‘Through taking in one’s ‘ownmost’ mortality, one’s being toward death, one moves out of the realm of alienation, of the “one” into which one has fallen, and becomes capable of authentic decision, of responding to the destiny of one’s time, of joining the mit-sein of the German people, of realizing oneself in dying of the Fatherland, for the Fuehrer.’ This, I think, is excellent stuff. And while it only partly fits Being and Time –which doesn’t mention the Fuehrer, presumably because there wasn’t one yet—it offers a starting point. A very compressed, but very rich starting-point. I would urge you to expand it – to de-compress it —and to go slowly in doing so. Your native tendency to leap from one idea or reference to another – the example from your note yesterday was the jump from Heidegger’s hair-raisingly ‘chilly’ quote about the enemy within to Schmitt, which I’m sure not everyone in the class is acquainted with—is a sign of mental agility. Personally, I enjoy it enormously. But that isn’t true of everyone. It can leave others in your wake, for one thing: and we are dealing with a very large, very important argument here. That said, that there is a lot of rich material for you to work with. The argument can be bolstered from a variety of angles. So, for example: if the Jewish-Bolshevist enemy is what one is supposed to die fighting, then it’d probably be worth thinking more carefully about how, exactly, that enemy appeared to Martin from within his ontological framework. If I had to guess, I’d guess that the enemy is the paradigm instance of ‘theyness.’ What if Bolsheviks, Jews, and the others conspicuous instances of sub-Teutonic ‘otherness’ are precisely what he has in mind when he speaks of ‘das Man?’ To be sure, I can’t prove this. And I don’t know enough about Martin’s connections with the Ancients – Plato in particular —during the 20s. But it seems to have something to it, intuitively at least. What if these folks, those to be exterminated, are simultaneously a threat to the coming-to-authenticity of the Volk and themselves the manifestation of the abyss of inauthentic being? Might it prove true that the thought of this other-than-beingness present to Martin in the ethnic/political Other was what fired him to articulate the argument of Being and Time in the way he did? If one could plausibly show that, then your suggestion that MH had been in essence a Nazi for twenty years prior to the publication of Essence of Truth would immediately become, not just plausible, but inevitable. And then you’d have the Straussians right where you want them. Or close to it, anyhow. Here’s another possible avenue of inquiry. I’m thinking a little about Being and Time II.ii, ‘The Attestation of Da-Sein of an Authentic Potentiality-of-Being, and Resoluteness.’ There’s a passage there in which, says Martin, “But what else is this ‘public conscience’ than the voice of the they? Da-sein can only get the dubious idea of a ‘world conscience’ because at bottom conscience is essentially always mine, not only in the sense that one’s ownmost potentiality-of-being is always summoned, but because the call comes from the being that I myself always am”. In one way this sounds quite promising, no? To argue that “at bottom conscience is essentially always mine” would seem to acknowledge the uniqueness and integrity of the individual. Let’s say, for instance, that my conscience ‘summoned’ me to risk my life by resisting the Nazis: we might suppose that that would be a manifestation par excellence of the authenticity of ‘the being that I myself always am.’ Yet this cannot possibly be the meaning for Martin. Rather, the ‘always-mineness’ gets translated into a war against potentially foreign elements in me; against the contaminations of alterity. What sounded like a clarion call on behalf of individual conscience is also, potentially at least, a covert intimation of the annihilation of any threat to my ownmost potentiality-of-being. To put it more vividly, his argument stands on the edge of a knife. It could have been glorious. Instead it’s chilling. There’s more along the same lines, but I won’t weary your ears with it at the moment – not least because the foregoing is already less than rigorous. My hope is simply that some of this may prove helpful to your project. I had intended to send some ideas about my work, but this seems enough for now, especially given that I’d intended to write you previously. In solidarity, Matt”

First, this letter raises several questions about how to pin down the argument that Heidegger was always Nazi-leaning – even in Being and Time (1927) which is comparatively easy to read in another way vis-a vis the World War II racist Platonism or as a fascist, but not a Nazi. One can try this on Schmitt and Strauss, too, though I have shown how Strauss was, in fact, already sympathetic to the National Revolution and wrote in this light – see Enmity and Tyranny, here, here and here, and Shadings - "they consider me a 'Nazi' here" here. Heidegger started lecturing on ancient philosophy in 1926. He gave lectures on Plato’s Theory of Truth in 1930 and on Vom Wesen der Wahrheit (The Essence of Truth) in 1932 and 1933. Thinking about these matters, for Heidegger, is overlapping and mutually illuminating, not successive. I will return to some further indications on Being and Time and Nazism below.

But Matt’s second question is the relation of Strauss to Heidegger. How much did Strauss grasp about and adhere to what Heidegger was doing in pursuing his fascism/Nazism? This is much easier and from Strauss’s own words. As we have seen in his posthumously published (and therefore comparatively daring, one “foot in the grave,” as Strauss says of Hobbes) “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism,” Heidegger was, for Strauss, the sole “great thinker” of our time. See here and here. (Strauss by the way here imitates Heidegger, who gave the famous interview to Der Spiegel in 1966, but it was published at his request a few days after he died in 1976 see here). In Strauss’s 1973 “An Evening at St. Johns,” he speaks himself of being mesmerized by Heidegger in the 1920s, reporting to Franz Rosenszweig that Heidegger, on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, has a subtle style of reading which makes Max Weber, whom Strauss previously thought the pinnacle of German science, “seem like an orphan-child” (Waisenkind),

In the 1920s, Strauss was a young Zionist fascist, an admirer of Mussolini – see here. He then shifted to become a Nazi which he remained determinedly as of 1934 (a year after Hitler came to power, when even Jacob Klein, who had also been a Jewish Nazi enthusiast, arguing this first to Strauss, realized that Hitler was solely anti-semitic. See Shadings here). Strauss was a young Heideggerian from the mid-1920s on, hung out with other Heidegger students like Arendt until he left Germany for Paris on an American/Rockefeller Foundation fellowship procured for him by a letter from Schmitt in 1933. He would thus at least have known the drift of Heidegger’s lectures on the Greeks and the “hints,” of which Strauss was plainly an aficianado, which many reactionaries who knew Heidegger would get.

Now Herbet Marcuse did not fully get them. Interested in Marx, Hegel and Freud with some existential twist, Marcuse admired Heidegger, but had no clue about – or chose to disregard – the hidden meanings. Also Heidegger was probably a fine teacher (a model for Strauss), one who taught different students differently. He may have been more direct about the fascist implications of his work with those who were sympathetic and let others, to some extent, go their own way. Finally and crucially, teachers were persecuted and fired for being pro-Nazi until Hitler took power. So Heidegger had reasons, underlined by Strauss’s Persecution and the Art of Writing, for being cautious or Delphic before he could – as he swiftly did – declare his allegiance to Nazism as soon as Hitler’s Machtergreifung occurred.

Karl Loewith who was treated badly by Heidegger (as was Husserl, Heidegger’s teacher and advocate in German academia – see Faye, Heidegger, The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy, pp. 317-18, 213, 216, and 40-43, inter alia), saw Heidegger and Heidegger’s philosophy much more clearly early on (see his My Life in Germany before and after 1933). So did Jaspers, who referred sarcastically to “the Little Magician of Messkirch.” See here.

Let us consider briefly an alternate hypothesis – Heidegger popped up as a national socialist in 1933. He was just a right-wing opportunist who suddenly burst out. Evidence for this might be that Heidegger had Jewish students (Loewith, Marcuse and many others) and even lovers (Arendt) before 1933. One might add: this thought was good enough to blind Arendt, at least 20 years later, so she propagated the bizarre thesis about Heidegger the man in the clouds, who sunk to become an “ideological tool” of something alien to his philosophy, and then again “ascended.” Aristophanes might have been amused by the enduring influence of “The Clouds.” See Strong, Kirsch and Faye here.

Perhaps the most obvious counter to this hypothesis is, once again: those who were pro-Nazi were persecuted in German academia until 1933. So Heidegger, if sympathetic, would have gestured toward Nazism but not avowed it openly. In “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism,” Strauss says this about Heidegger: that anyone paying attention could get the drift of Being and Time. Strauss emphasizes “resoluteness,” but as I have suggested, for instance in Heidegger’s central notion of being toward death (Sein zum Tode) and giving one’s life for the fatherland, the fascism/Nazism of the argument is central. I would now add to this a point Immanuel Faye makes. Heidegger replaces any universal notion of the individual with Dasein, a mortal, who can sacrifice himself in war. Matt adds to this the call of conscience (anti-universal conscience). He suggests rightly above that Dasein could be an authentic and admirable individual, say Sophie Scholl who gave her life fighting the Nazis in the White Rose. But Heidegger, chillingly, does not mean this.

In the substitution of Dasein for individuality, Heidegger means the possibility of a “authentic” Germanic Dasein, submissive to Hitler, which would eat, for example, French or Polish or Czech Dasien (as Brecht says, in a Hans Eisler song, what did she get, the soldier’s wife, from the lights of Paris: a new dress…and from Russia, the widow’s veil). Let us pursue this. Dasein is not an individual. Dasein is particular. Dasein reflects a privileged – German – nationalism: thus, the call to destiny is to a people to become masters of other peoples. In Being and Time, such a Schicksal – fate - can only be realized in a community (or a “community of destiny” in the Nazi rhetoric of the time). In 1933, Heidegger speaks the words in the Rektoratsrede or the speeches supporting Hitler’s withdrawal from the League of Nations – he offers the German people the chance to be “authentic” in precisely the sense of Being and Time.

These six points, resoluteness, being toward death, Dasein, the call of conscience, authenticity and destiny go a long way toward answering Matt’s first question. They show how authentically Nazi Heidegger’s thinking was from the early twenties on, Being and Time was published in 1927, but Heidegger was thinking and writing about it from a much earlier point, probably just after World War I.
As a related hypthesis which attempts to distance Strauss from Heidegger’s Nazism, one might consider the following: Strauss proclaimed in America that he had paid no attention to Heidegger for twenty years. He could mean, Heidegger was previously a fascist, but became a Nazi in 1933; he only left Nazism after the war.

But that hypothesis isn’t plausible. Heidegger never denounced Nazism, but instead affirmed a “true national socialism,” once again about the “planetary confrontation with technology.” In fact, Strauss became interested in Heidegger again in 1953 (the twentieth year after Hitler’s Machtergreifung), when in An Introduction to Metaphysics, Heidegger spoke of “the inner truth and greatness of national socialism” from which Hitler had strayed. Strauss told Catherine Zuckert, when she was a graduate student, not to read Heidegger (phone conversation, December 2006). If one detects the powerful star Heidegger, one might think, one might understand the distant planet, Strauss. Strauss did not wish to be fully or easily understood even by adoring students (reaction or tyrannical executive power in America yes, Nazism not so much). But in his last year of life at St. John’s and posthumously, Strauss rapturously embraces Heidegger.

As I have shown, Strauss’s enthusiasm for the Nazis was strong not only in 1934, but even after he came to America in 1936 and even after Kristallnacht and the Nazi invasion of Poland, when he enthusiastically described his teaching overwhelming the student’s preconceptions as the Nazi Panzers swept into Poland. See here. Strauss was a Nazi for a very long time, and retained Nazi sympathies except for the murderousness against Jews (which he did not find sufficiently horrifying to stay away from Heidegger; rather, Strauss left the hidden message – roughly a common, quasi-Platonic Nazism - floating in the bottle of his posthumous “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism”). The tie of Strauss to Nazism is even more obvious than the question of whether Being and Time is already a covert, racist, quasi-Platonic vision of national socialism.

In response to the first question: does Heidegger’s National Socialism go back well into the 1920s? Is the Platonism of The Essence of Truth (1943) and the critique of technology of a piece with Being and Time, exhibiting a static core point of view politically along with a quite brilliant philosophical development of it? I consider the six points from the writing plus the point about the dangers of persecution for avowing Nazism (Heidegger’s was also a love that dare not speak its name) decisive. Nonetheless, let me add to these seven ten further points about Being and Time’s National Socialism and/or about Strauss’s agreement with it.

First, that the structure or movement in Being and Time is the same as the structure or movement of the cave, from being fallen into the “one” or “anybody” of gossip about others’ mortality into a personal experience of mortality and a movement to the clearing, to authenticity, to serving and dying for the Fatherland.

Second, as Matt’s letter adds eloquently, in Being and Time, Heidegger spoke of conscience as “always mine.” He resisted, once again, the universal (ethics). His idea of historicity is answering, through appreciation of Dasein’s own “being toward death,” the generational call of the fatherland, the fate – Schicksal – of dying in war. That prefigures worshipping Hitlerian Dasein over France and England. It is the Dasein of Heidegger’s later Nazi speeches, that in which each individual authentically finds his voice in the “choice” provided by the Fuehrer – to withdraw from the League of Nations. In addition, it echoes in Strauss’s later emphasis on “ one’s own,” on one’s own people, and his utter hostility to modern notions of the individual and individuality as “liberal” from Strauss’s “Remarks on Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political” on through his affirmations of Israel as a national-social (anti-Palestinian, not inclusive or rights-oriented in its citizenship) entity.

Third, Heidegger was already, through his living in the Dark Forest and woodsiness, linked to the prize Nazi slogan Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) or “blubo,” as Gunther Anders a blond student of Heidegger’s, agitated by Elfrida Heidegger who did not know he was Jewish, to join the Nazis, sarcastically calls it (Faye, Heidegger, pp. 19-20). Elfrida was married to Martin; in addition, according to Faye, she was in the National Socialist youth movement from the early 1920s. In effect, she and Martin were common agitators for Nazism before Hitler came to power…Heidegger entitled a later book, Holzwege, ways through the forest, with its echo of Blut und Boden. To see how closely Strauss adhered to Heidegger’s vision, consider his 1957 letter criticizing the anti-semitism of the National Review and being a signal event in the conversion of American reaction to be pro-Israel. Jews, suggests Strauss, were to become rooted in the desert with “the nearness of Biblical antiquity,” distinct in their relation to a tradition from other peoples (and from Jews in the diaspora). Strauss says to conservatives – he is not one himself - that he hopes, in a thrice-repeated turn of phrase, to get them to support an Israel which “a conservative might admire.”

Fourth, Heidegger helped organize and attend a reactionary demonstration about the French execution of the German solider von Schlageter in the Ruhr in 1923. He had long been an activist on the Right. The leading fascist game in town, the one that became a mass movement as opposed to the great variety of reactionary sects in post-World War I Germany, was Hitler’s. To say that Heidegger’s politics in Being and Time are merely fascist does not take in this point. To be fascist in Germany was to be National Socialist.

Fifth, Strauss displays hostility to the unrestricted unfolding of technology – and to liberalism and capitalism. To express this hostility, he alternately cites the Greeks and Heidegger (see his remarks on Heidegger’s “night of the world” in “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism” – again, published posthumously – and p. 27 of On Tyranny (1947, Strauss’s first book in the United States). His is exactly the same rap as Heidegger’s, just with a Zionist (once again, a Jewish national-socialist) twist. Heidegger is the star – the Nazi Heidegger, stemming from Heidegger’s interest in the Greeks, particularly Plato, Strauss the fascinated and distant American planet.

Sixth, Strauss kept Heidegger’s form of questioning texts by which he was mesmerized (what George Kateb rightly refers to as Strauss “getting under the skin of a text”) and developed it further. Heidegger inspired Strauss’s scholarship, but here, as in his lectures on Plato's Symposium, edited and published by his fine student Seth Benardete, one can see why Strauss’s best students found much in his work to admire (Benardete’s correspondence with Strauss in Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago is solely interested in the meanings of the Greek texts and has no obvious political implication).

Seventh, Strauss, too, identified with the National Revolution covertly, initially with friends like Klein, though it got out to other jews in Paris – see Shadings here. His 1947 On Tyranny suggests his own turning (Kehre), parallel to Heidegger’s, to an underlying true authoritarianism or national socialism. He affects enmity toward the Soviet Union (what conservatives like Tim Fuller take from him: see our 2007 debate at the American Political Science Association here); he carefully, following Heidegger, says that the US is as corrupted by technology as the Soviets.

Eighth, I have emphasized that the Rektoratsrede – the Rectoral Address when he became head of the University of Freiburg upon its exclusion of all Jews from the faculty and staff*** - is also Platonic. Heidegger’s invocation of Plato - “all that is great stands in the Storm” - alludes to the esoteric meaning of the Republic’s phrase about the philosopher “hiding under a wall” in ordinary politics – true in most cities, but not in the city to be ruled by the philosopher-guardians – as well as, for Heidegger, to Hitler’s Stormtroopers (Sturmabteilung). some of whom attended this speech. The connection of the categories of Being and Time and Platonism to the admirableness of the Nazis, emphasized by Faye in commenting on the 1933 and 1934 lectures was not accidental. Fearing persecution, Heidegger had spoken in hints before, but developed these views more obviously and openly once the Nazis were in power. See on enemies and extermination here.

Ninth, that Heidegger was a longstanding sympathizer is revealed externally in Gestapo comments about him from Freiburg in a report in 1938: “he always treated the Nazis with friendship” even before Hitler came to power. The Gestapo spied on everyone, so the report is no evidence of any dissidence:

“Did he speak out in favor of the NSDAP before its coming to power? Yes.

…”Does he has a subscription to the party press? Yes.
Do his children belong to a National Socialist Youth Organization? Yes…
Is he a generous donor? Yes, sometimes that could be better [ja, duerfte manchmal besser sein].
Does he approve of the National Socialist state? Yes.
Has he ever made negative remarks about it? No.
Is he capable of exerting a positive effect on people pedagogically? Yes, on a theoretical level [ja, in der Theorie].
Does he buy from Jews? No.” (Faye, p. 326 )****

Tenth, being in the world, being-with others starts a trajectory in Heidegger of trying to find the originary or autochthonous (rooted in the soil, growing from the soil). Extending into World War II, Heidegger later finds a supposedly autochthonous link between the Germans and the Greeks. See here and Charles Bambach’s Heidegger's Roots. He comes to use the term polis for an initial Greek way of being collectively before and against democracy – before “man is a political – polis - animal” as Aristotle puts it. Instead, he idealizes the rule of the one (the “delicate hands” of the Fuehrer as he bizarrely puts it – see here). Heidegger’s fundamentally anti-Aristotelian way of discussing this – what humans are - is not revealed as a telos in the democratic polis as in Aristotle's Politics, but is inverted or, in Heidegger, overthrown by the despotic rule of the one . Heidegger’s is a misuse and esoteric reinterpretation of the term polis. See also here, here and here on Athena as a snake goddess and how Heidegger misunderstands what is autochthonously Greek: an egalitarian, matriarchal culture, a soil full of snakes...

Aristotle also wanted a wise ruler (see book 3 of the Politics on the rule of the outstanding man and book 5 on how a certain kind of tyrant becomes a philosopher-king in Plato), but, in this context, we can see how Heidegger misread Aristotle. Even Plato wanted a wise ruler but not unending war (as Hilary Putnam has rightly emphasized to me, Plato was not for the conquests of a master race; I will comment on Hilary’s note shortly).

Heidegger’s vision is anti-political, suborning oneself to a monstrous leader, not even a king which the democratic polis superseded, but a modern aggressive, hand-waving, hypnotic, genocidal tyrant on steroids.

But more about the question of Being and Time as a whole in relation to Heidegger’s writings on the Greeks in the early 1920s and 1930s remains to be unraveled. Matt and I and Paul Stucky will do some common reading and discussing of these matters over the next few weeks. I will put up some further reports on what we find.

*In a sign of a continuing attack on the humanities, Yale and Princeton, inter alia, no longer offer undergraduate language instruction in Greek and Latin. See here.

**Meno says to Socrates “You make my words get up and walk away form me.” Socrates distinguishes true opinion from knowledge. True opinion is like the statues of Daedalus which, unless bound, get up and walk away. Unless one understands – has knowledge – opinions which happen to be true as well as those which are false, when confronted by questions, “get up and walk away." Meno, 97e-98a; Euthyphro, 11b-e.. Knowledge is hard, which is why Socrates says, about most matters that he does not possess it, and is wise only in knowing – compared to others – that he does not know.

***Wilhelm von Moellendorff, the previous Rektor and an honorable man, had resigned two weeks earlier because of the anti-Jewish Exclusion Law. Faye, pp. 41-43.

****The Gestapo Report is lengthy. Section 4 “Willingness to cooperate” explained that Heidegger was both a party member and a member of two other Nazi organizations since 1933. Section 5, “Psychological Evaluation” includes “Reactionary, argumentative, critical? No.” The overall judgment emphasizes that Heidegger is “a virulent adversary of Catholicism” and is “reliable.”


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