Friday, September 21, 2012
Hilary Putnam on Heidegger's slipshod scholarship
As I pointed out here, Heidegger’s pseudo-Platonic affection for Nazism is stunning. Heidegger was a deep student of the ancients and his way of discussing the texts, as Hannah Arendt recounts for his 80th birthday, saying more deeply what Leo Strauss also said - that Heidegger's way of thinking reveals each text in a novel way and that it would come to dominate Europe - was striking. There was suddenly, in her words, a new, "secret king in philosophy." Heidegger would study each word, each phrase, each allusion, and often build up a novel interpretation of the text.
In addition, Heidegger's reading of Plato is often careful and novel. Moreover, he was himself a brilliant philosopher, one who started a whole new and often more plausible way of thinking about being in the world, being with others, which removed much of the strangeness of Cartesianism (for Descartes, I am a thinking thing. But then, how do I know there is a world? how do I know that there are others, i.e solipsism?). Heidegger often shapes subsequent philosophy, for instance, in not pitting man against nature, deep ecology (see Michael Zimmerman, Heidegger's Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, Art).
And yet, Heidegger sometimes makes inferences that are wrong or fit only with his own predilections which are not Plato's. And as Hilary Putnam and Uwe Meisner, a philosopher and classicist at Augsburg, rightly note below, sometimes, at the core, these inferences are repulsively shoddy.
In such cases, Heidegger felt free to represent what he imagined to be hidden meanings in Plato (as did Strauss who was blown away by Heidegger), often by making them up. A search for new understandings of and sometimes for hidden or esoteric writing invites close readings. But a subtle understanding of the surface and an unearthing of seeming contradictions and hidden paths along with an assessment of them are something different. One can reveal the texts in the first way, but in looking for esoteric meanings, sometimes find startlingly wrong ones or infer that the meaning one thinks one has found is, in fact, there, pretty much without argument. And Heidegger's amazing 1943 assertion that the guardians are all philosophers who set, in their "freely thinking inquiry," all the rules for everyone else who will just repeat the same things and supposedly, even have the same passions, is a paradigm case of this error. Recall: Heidegger aspired to do this for Adolf Hitler...
One might even see seeking to ventriloquize a tyrant on Heidegger's (and Strauss's, and perhaps even earlier Aristotle's part) as a kind of wish-fulfilment, a wrong turn pursued to its most reckless and, in Heidegger's case, evil and catastrophic conclusion. Heidegger is at core not a philosopher, but a monster, restricted only by his limited career as a Nazi official - he picked out "untrustworthy" i.e. decent students to denounce to the Gestapo during his time as Rector at Freiburg.
And yet, the subtlety of Plato's dialogues seems to invite this. As Socrates says in the Phaedrus,
“Socrates: Writing Phaedrus, has this strange quality, and it is very like painting; for the creatures of painting stand like living beings, but if one asks them a question, they preserve a solemn silence. And so it is with written words; you might think they spoke as if they had intelligence , but if you question them, wishing to know about their sayings, they always say only one and the same thing. And every word, when once it is written, is bandied about, alike among those who understand and those who have no interest in it, and it knows not to whom to speak and to whom not to speak; when ill-treated or unjustly reviled, it always needs its father to help it; for it has no power to protect or help itself.
…in my opinion, serious discourse about them [justice and similar subjects] is far nobler when one employs the dialectic method and plants and sows in a fitting soul intelligent words which are able to help themselves and him who planted them, which are not fruitless but yield seed from which there springing up in other minds other words capable of continuing the process for ever and which make their possessor happy, to the furthest possible limit of human happiness.” Plato, Phaedrus, 275d-277a
Heidegger had read Plato to pioneer, in recent times, thinking deeply about what a dialogue is (and his follower Strauss is often quite insightful on this). For a dialogue is not a treatise. That one knows what Socrates or the Athenian stranger or the Eleatic stranger says is not yet to discern what Plato thinks. And there are a series of interrelated dialogues in which the meanings are often elusive. For instance, in the Meno, Socrates coquets with the beautiful young man who inveigles him into discussing whether virtue can be taught rather than his original question: what is virtue? And they reach the provisional conclusion that it cannot be taught. Yet at the end, Socrates's invoking of Homer's image in Hades of Tiresias Theban, the blind prophet in the daylight world, who alone among the dead can see, "the rest are flitting shadows," is, of course, a parallel to Socrates in the cave of Athens.
But in the Republic, Socrates teaches Glaucon not to become a tyrant (he does not teach him to become a philosopher for which Glaucon has little inclination, though some interest; in the Republic, becoming a "philosophical youth" is reserved for the leader of the democrats, the bully Polemarchus, who actually begins to think about arguments - see my "Polemarchos as a symbol of the Republic's theme: a philosophical warrior for democracy against tyranny" here). In the action as well as the argument of the Republic, Socrates teaches Glaucon virtue and thus contradicts the most obvious, seeming conclusion of the Meno.
In fact, the Meno may be a lesson for Plato's students, present and future, in how to argue, how to think philosophically. It may also be important for a seeming sub-theme, the conversation with a slave who is able, stirred by questioning, to make a mistake, reconsider and ultimately prove an advanced theorem of Greek geometry. Contra Aristotle's later argument for "natural" slavery (even Aristotle notes in book 1 of the Politics that nature makes many mistakes...), the Meno shows that humans are equal in having the capacity to question and learn, to find (some of) the truth.
And of course, the Meno is relevant to Socrates's trial and death (Meno's host Anytus is one of Socrates's accusers and makes a brief and belligerent appearance). For to preserve questioning is to preserve the possibility of equality and decency which underlies a common good-sustaining democracy as opposed to the fallen democracy - defeated in the Peloponnesian war and at a low in 399 B.C. - which, after tolerating Socrates for 70 years, murdered its wise man.
Dialogues are not what they appear on the surface...
Now, Heidegger's philosopher-king - actually, a tyrant who rules purportedly wisely but without laws - is shaped by the invisible philosopher-guardians (Nietzsche's invisible philosophers of the future, embroiders Strauss in his posthumously published "Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism" in another striking anachronism*). And one might be inclined, mistakenly to shun Heidegger for Nazism and this kind of shoddy "scholarship." For Heidegger is often a powerful reader of others as well as an innovative philosopher in his own right.
Still, in the Republic, what the character "Socrates" imagines is the rule of guardians who are military men, soldier-athletes, and not philosophers. In fact, the whole point of the Republic is that the city in speech is Glaucon's fantasy, a military leader who is hungry for "relishes," a potential tyrant himself. The kallipolis (kalos polis) or beautiful city is what Glaucon would see as a good regime, a regime or god shaped to the psyche of the individual, in contrast to a regime of philosophers. Plato also makes this insight - one gets it from reading the Republic closely - explicit about the psychology of love and divinity in the Phaedrus:
"Now he who is a follower of Zeus, when seized by love, can bear a heavier burden of the winged god [Eros], but those who are servants of Ares and followed in his train, when they have been seized by Love and think they have been wronged in any way by the beloved, become murderous and are ready to sacrifice themselves and the beloved." (252c)
The image and potential of Glaucon, the warrior and his city, is clear here, the role of a philosopher-king as it were, or psyche in his soul, simply to restrain him. And in the chariot metaphor of the Phaedrus, the black horse of Glaucon's hungers would pull that psyche or charioteer far down, not rise up to see the truth or perhaps go on the journey Socrates conjures in images of the philosopher (248a-249c).
Socrates continues here:
"And so it is with the follower of each of the other gods [the gods are mirrors of the way the desires or appetites are structured in each individual] he lives in so far as he is able honoring and imitating that god, so long as he is uncorrupted, and is living his first life on earth [the metaphor of reincarnation of souls in earthly lifetimes and in spiritual journeys "of a thousand years" is vivid in Plato and the east), and in that way he conducts himself toward his beloved and toward all others. Now each one chooses his believe from the ranks of the beautiful according to his character and he fashions him and adorns him like a statue as though he were his god to honor and worship him." (252c-d)
The Republic shows Plato's or Socrates's implied city to be at least importantly Pythagorean (i.e. the followers of Pythagoras formed communities uninterested in a militarism). See "If the city of guardians is Glaucon's, what city is Socrates's here?"
And for all the exoteric (surface) handwaving of Strauss and his followers about the importance of "reading the text," Heidegger, the "one great thinker of our era" in Strauss's words, is perfectly happy to blow off Plato when it serves his Nazism. It takes mere reading to understand that this is mistaken and repulsive in a more than just scholarly way, as Hilary implies.
Now, Leo Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing, an approach which names something important about Heidegger's own writings as we will see, can be, as I noted in describing Heidegger as Strauss's mentor in the classics, an invitation to read subtly and well. Writers often have thoughts which they want to reveal only to some readers.
But Strauss's notion can also serve as a license to pervert what a philosopher thinks - pretty arbitrarily as Heidegger does about the philosophers as guardians - and provide no argument for it. The yearning that all the classic philosophers had a single hidden meaning which Leo Strauss has discovered - an invitation to the authoritarian rule of the best man - is not yet an argument for such rule. For instance, the assertion that the best man is smarter than everybody else and therefore, like a sea-captain, should rule does not yet say anything about what politics is. In fact, this is really a form of antipathy to politics.
But Socrates, in the Apology, reveals a leadership in the democracy (for a democracy which preserves questioning, a common good-sustaining democracy) which is more strongly that of a good captain and attracts a following (a shift of only 30 votes would have changed the decision). Strauss ignores this.
Strauss is, as I have often said, a cryptographer, a would-be decoder of hidden meanings, and not a philosopher.
And as Hilary's comment underlines, even sometimes more philosophical cryptographers just blow it.
So, one needs argument to show that the hidden meaning is, in fact, what the writer was directing us towards. The Republic provides the greatest indictment of tyranny, in terms of public consequences and even psychologically about the tyrant, so far written. And yet, it is easy to discern a hidden meaning in "Socrates's" story of regimes which decline from philosopher-king to tyrant. For as Aristotle says in book 5 of the Politics, it would be perfect and a circle (kuklos) if a tyrant of a certain kind became a philosopher king. As one of Plato's best students, his announcement of this "criticism" suggests that Plato was advancing a message of that sort (and Aristotle himself not only recommends the rule of the "outstanding man" - who would pretend, he says, to rule over Zeus? - but himself advised Alexander).
"Socrates," helpfully for the careful reader, adds that extremes are nearest to each other - tyrant to philosopher-king - and out of something moderate and self-satisfied (some kings), nothing great will ever come.
But the surface arguments of the Republic contradict this hidden pointing. See here, here and here. And Plato was loyal to Socrates who "went down" to fight against the censorship of questioning and philosophy within the Athenian democracy and died for it. Socrates was a founder, as Gandhi and King later insist, of civil disobedience. See here, here, here, and here. Heidegger and Strauss, European reactionaries, have no imagining about, let alone insight into this form of resisting tyrannies, either of majorities (defective democracies) or the more ordinary form.
Plato's other student Demosthenes, who had written Phillipics against Philip of Macedon, Alexander's father, was murdered by Alexander. Although Aristotle sees and signals a hidden meaning in the Republic in book 5 of the Politics and goes on to discuss a supposedly common good-oriented tyranny, pretty much borrowing from the advice of Siominides to the tyrant in Xenophon's Hiero (Strauss wrote on this pro-tyrannical work in his first book in America, On Tyranny), there is little evidence that Plato was arguing for this meaning as opposed to challenging his students to think about it and, hopefully, reject it.
I initially was saddened - but persuaded by - the discovery of Aristotle's pro-tyrannical account of the Republic in book 5. It seemed evidence for what Plato encouraged his students to think. But about four years ago, I saw that Strauss's wooden and non-philoosphical way of looking for hidden meanings - find the hidden meaning and you have the answer in a writer without any reasoning about it - was false.
Interestingly, Heidegger pioneered this kind of cryptography in the 1920s and early '30s (Strauss adapted it in America after World War II). In his 1943 Essence of Truth, Heidegger's own vision of Nazism turns to be just a misreading of Plato according to Heidegger's political desires to further Heidegger's ambition to become Hitler's "brain." Heidegger here projects his own Nazism onto Plato.
Meanwhile, the Socrates who defended questioning and not authoritarian rule by philosophers, the Socrates who was wise only in that he did not know about the ideas (he knew instances of justice but not the idea of justice...) and unlike others, did not pretend to himself or others that he knew, the Socrates who never advocated and could not consistently have advocated the rule of a philosopher and went to his death to affirm the need for philosophical and political questioning in a democracy, the Socrates who pioneered what we call civil disobedience, that Socrates is nowhere to be found in Heidegger or Strauss. See here, here, here, and here.
I have previously broken the story of Heidegger and Plato, quite an amazing one for most Anglo-American Heidegger scholars who see Being and Time as a novel philosophical work, focused on the tradition from Descartes to Husserl, which does not touch upon the ancients (h/t Tracy Strong). Think of Robert Solomon's interesting discussions of Heidegger and existentialism; there is no whiff of Heidegger's extraordinary classicism...
But Heidegger's belief is that we have “fallen” into the “one” (das Man) and that the only way to become genuine is to recognize our personal mortality – Sein sum Tode, being towards death – and sacrifice ourselves for the Fatherland. This cave of the "one" is exactly what one must turn from to become a philosopher in the Republic or, perhaps, to become an authentic soldier who will die in battle - realize one' generational destiny, one's historicity - in a repeat of World War I for Heidegger. The structure of Being and Time thus mirrors that of "the cave metaphor," as Heidegger subtitles his 1943 Essence of Truth. And yet as Hilary and Uwe Meisner note, it also plainly perverts it. For Plato was not about encouraging every citizen of the polis to become "authentic" by serving the Fatherland in battle.
In the chapter on historicity, I show in detail here and here, Heidegger affirms a pro-Nazi point of view about the destiny of his generation: a repeat of World War I. See also here.
But is this really comparable to Socrates's sticking to his post in Athens by soldiering for the democracy, and then defending questioning against an Athenian proto-McCarthyism (a phony democracy or what Rousseau would call a will of all) or proto-Hitlerism? Is this Socrates's fighting, with his life, for a democracy which includes questioning (philosophy and dissent from injustices to which a mob may often be moved, a common good-sustaining democracy). The latter is what Rousseau would call a general will or a will to equality, i.e. the equal freedom of citizens, and founds modern democratic theory.
The movement or structure in Heidegger's existentialism broadly parallels the movement of philosophy out of the cave, but the Nazism Heidegger recommends grotesquely parodies the life and politics of Socrates.
Heidegger's Nazi vision is, in fact, made up out of whole cloth allegedly from Plato and needs a mesmerized group of followers which cannot, like a child, point and say: He [the Emperor] isn't wearing any clothes!
This is the pride as well as the viciousness of what Heidegger fought for politically with all his being. No wonder that Hilary and Uwe Meisner are appalled at the rotten "scholarship" of Heidegger's crucial remark on Nazism.
In Persecution and the Art of Writing, Leo Strauss explicitly draws a line between what is said for superficial readers and what is offered to careful ones. But the book itself is a feint. One imagines from the title that Strauss will discuss Tycho Brahe and Kepler – burned at the stake – and Galileo, threatened and forced to recant as well as the followers of Darwin - the Scopes trial - for their pursuit of science. One imagines Tom Jefferson, Tom Paine and Marx, inter alia. But this common expectation of the reader about the word "persecution" is surface. Strauss mentions and means none of these familiar cases of crimes against thinking.
Rather, Strauss fears only persecution by the democracy of the extreme right – those among philosophers who seek to counsel tyrants and make them supposedly wise.
In fact, Being and Time, published 21 years earlier, also illustrates Strauss's point and makes roughly similar moves. In the late 1920s, Heidegger sought Husserl’s chair at the University of Freiburg. The senior professors might not have given it to an outspoken Nazi sympathizer. And, more importantly, the Weimar government fired professors who announced themselves as Nazis.
So Heidegger starts the book with his search for a mystical Being as opposed to the existing beings in the world. But this, too, is a feint. Heidegger switches abruptly to Dasein – the being for whom the question of Being comes into question - and spends the rest of the book on this.
Now Dasein (Being there) is and is not what we think of as an individual. He is a local farmer, rooted in the soil and engaged, without reflection, in tasks. But also, German Dasein may eat French Dasein (the French language, Heidegger tells us, is no good for thinking...), Polish Dasein and Russian Dasein (the wheels came off this imagining in the Soviet Union).
After introducing Dasein, Heidegger talks, in a lengthy and often poetic and innovative philosophical account, about the authentic historicity of this being, understanding one's own thrownness and mortality - Being toward death - breaking free from "the one" (for most of us much of the time, death is everyone's else's) and then, by implication, joining the Nazis and fighting a now successful repeat of World War I. Read carefully, the section on historicity excludes other alternatives (see the posts on this linked to above).
Of course, his students and not Heidegger went to their deaths. In his 25th high school reunion speech at Konstanz, Heidegger mystically invokes the graves and markers of those who had fallen in World War I while he had avoided frontline service as a medic. See here. Even beyond the Nazism, Heidegger's politics reeks of bad faith.
But one has to read with care the passage on historicity, far into a long book, to get this point. The Nazism is but adumbrated, steadily, in a lengthy book, for the careful reader, and a sleepy one might miss it. And so, among often reactionary academics in Germany, Heidegger got his promotion...
Heidegger's pseudo-Platonic “pure national socialism,” the one he adhered to long after Hilter lost and even in his posthumous interview with Der Spiegel in which he says democracy is too weak a regime to deal with "the problem of planetary technology," is that in which philosophers serve as guardians and through their "freely thinking inquiry" set all the rules for the society.
But a careful reading of the Republic reveals a very different meaning. For instance, the argument in book 2 that philosopohers are like dogs in barking at enemies and wagging their tails at friends is Socrates’s worst argument – as I underline here - and made so that the careful reader will be suspicious of the seriousness of the subsequent construction, again for Glaucon's sake, of the "city in speech." For in book 1 of the Republic, Socrates had just defeated the argument of Polemarchus - that justice is benefiting friends and harming enemies - with the points that one often mistakes friends and enemies and in any case, that the just man does not seek to harm others. So as his interlocutor Adeimantus would have remembered from the previous conversation and is quite taken aback by Socrates's assertion of, the argument that dogs are like philosophers, barking at strangers who might be friendly and rubbing up against even masters who beat them, is not meant to be taken seriously.
Perhaps Heidegger was a careful reading without a sense of humor. In any case, he missed something essential that if one reads the text carefully, one is meant to notice.
For Plato, the hazy philosopher king is not the same as – not close – to the guardians. In fact, the proposal for a philosopher-king is largely a satire - Plato takes the charges against Socrates and shows what it would take to clean up the gods, for example. See here, and here. But one can see how, given his prejudices, Heidegger might have grasped for philosopher-guardians.
One needs to be careful about getting too high on oneself. Heidegger was famous, mesmerizing (Arendt and Sartre and Strauss, inter alia, show as much; others like Loewith were less taken - see My life in Germany before and after 1933). Heidegger taught Plato with a deadly seriousness, founded or adapted a common view of the philosoher-tyrant among pro-Nazi philosophers, and missed badly on the Republic.
But just as scholarship on Plato's argument, Heidegger’s Nazi version, as Hilary says, is shocking. The line of argument pursued in reactionary Plato scholarship, which Strauss names and Heidegger practices, goes back to Al-Farabi. One focuses on deliberately "ambiguous, allusive, misleading, and obscure speech." And for Strauss, the "great men" never, ever make a mistake. No word, no setting in the text, no number fails to be calculated so the careful decoder will miss the point. And Heidegger is the "one great thinker of our era..."
If one practices ambiguous speech, the chance that about the most important things one will just say something stupid, viz. Heidegger about the phulaches (guardians), gets pretty high.
In 1943, Heidegger indicates his Nazism more clearly than elsewhere, and highlights its reactionary pseudo-Platonism. It is still vague - note the misleading title of the section "Seeing and the Seeable in the Yoke of the Light."
The sentence about the philosopher/guardians just pops out and then recedes. As political institutional development, it is nothing (Heidegger was, at most, a would-be high functionary among the Nazis like Schmitt, who lasted two years longer - until 1936; he was not a potential leader with a worked-out argument).
Though ceasing to be Rector of the University of Freiburg in 1934, Heidegger remained a Nazi throughout the War.
But continuing the pattern of hiddenness, Heidegger would trim all this material from post-War versions of the Essence of Truth. He had been banned from teaching in Germany for 5 years and was trying to conceal his politics, that is rehabilitate himself.
In the 1943 version of the Essence of Truth, Heidegger thinks Socrates is the best example of being toward death. That is a good point. But he entirely misses Socrates as a founder of civil disobereience within the democracy. Heidegger ignores Socrates’ questioning as a source of dissent in a common good-sustaining regime as well as a basis for philosophy.
Instead, he (and Strauss) impose the image of the philosopher-king from the Republic. They do not see Socrates in life as trying to reform the democracy, and translate him, instead, into their interpretation of Plato. Theirs is a pseudo-Plato, not the Plato who admired Socrates.
Plato defended Socrates for “going down” in the democracy to head off tyranny, including philosophical tyranny, i.e. that of Critias. Socrates's words and action in the Apology affirm a decent, or common good-oriented democracy, one which protects questioning. So Heidegger is a weak scholar of the Apology and Republic, and is fundamentally mistaken about both Plato and Socrates.
One danger of exoteric writing (writing which misleads superficial readers) is that it invites a deliberate carelessness in expression and in the reading. In fact, it is precisely because Heidegger pioneered a new form of reading and writing, often careful and creative, that he mesmerized himself, gave himself permission to refashion Plato as a Nazi.
But that Heidegger has a vision of Nazism in which the philosophers lead the slaughters and redesign a heavily controlled society, one of a eugenic idiom, for the masses of people who are gulled is appalling. Heidegger's and Strauss's image of a philosopher advising a tyrant to mislead the people with religion (roughly the Athenian Stranger in the Laws who is the focus of Strauss's last book and for Plato, a Socrates who did not take the poison, a "Socrates" without integrity) resembles the neocons making war to conquer the world and are elected mainly by evangelicals who haven't a clue. These pseudo-philosophers - William Kristol or Paul Wolfowitz** or Abraham Shulsky, for example - are among the would-be guides of the clueless Bush or Romney.
And that is an even worse crime than the, nonetheless, awful shoddiness of Heidegger's interpretation.
Here is what Hilary wrote to Uwe Meisner:
The political significance of Heidegger's vom Wesen der Wahrheit was called to my attention by Alan Gilbert, an old friend (he was a Harvard undergraduate in the 60s), who is now a professor at the University of Denver. In his blog, Democratic Individuality, he wrote:
"In 1930 Martin Heidegger lectured for the first time on The Essence of Truth (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit) and in 1931-1932, on Plato’s Teaching concerning Truth (Platons Lehre von der Wahreit). In 1943, at the time of the battle of Stalingrad, he delivered an expanded version of these lectures as The Essence of Truth: Plato’s Cave-Metaphor and the Theaetetus (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit: zu Platons Hoehlengleichnis und Theaetet). In the latter, he suggests in paragraph 13 that the guardians must be the philosophers who through their 'freely thinking inquiry' shape every aspect of political and social life. This was Heidegger’s blueprint for a 'good' regime, the 'inner truth and greatness of national socialism' he espoused even in his 1953 Introduction to Metaphysics." I checked this for myself, and I found the slip I described to you. I have attached an image of the page from the English translation.
Hope we meet again. The dinner was great fun,
Here is the passage
"Seeing and the Seeable in the Yoke of the Light [given the surprising political content of the next sentences, this title is also a feint]
We must now see if what has been said can be verified from Plato’s own presentation. With this intention we turn to the final section of book VI of the Republic. In regard to the ‘state’ (as we somewhat inappropriately translate polis) and its inner possibility, Plato maintains as his first principle that the authentic guardians of human association in the unity of the polis must be those who philosophize. He does not mean that philosophy professors are to become chancellors of the state, but that philosophers are to become phylaches, guardians. Control and organization of the state is to be undertaken by philosophers, who set standards and rules in accordance with their widest and deepest, freely inquiring knowledge, thus determining the general course society should follow." (paragraph 13, p. 73)
Here is what Hilary wrote to me:
"Subject: Heidegger's slip
The slip (actually an incredible blunder for a classicist) in Heidegger's vom Wesen der Wahrheit is that he says the philosopher rulers are philakes,
I pointed this out to an acquaintance Uwe Meisner who is a philosophy professor at Augsburg, who was shocked. That is the message I just copied to you.
Une forte embrassade,
And here is what I responded:
Yes, it is a shocking slip and shows that Heidegger adapted to his own purposes many things. I think I remarked this in the original posts, but I will write more on this because it reveals how far Heidegger distorts Plato to unearth what Heidegger thinks of as the true meaning of Plato – he is right that there are complicated or hidden paths in Plato, but mostly wrong about what they are – and to take in how grotesque his Nazi misinterpretation of Plato is.
Une forte embrassade,
* Thomas Pangle, the editor of the essays, added the word Heideggerian to the title. He has a reverence for Strauss's texts; it is unusual for him to have done that. So perhaps the word separates a fascist or Nazi version of existentialism, pretty clear in the essay itself, from, say, Sartre's.
**Wolfowitz worked with Allan Bloom as an undergraduate, went to courses with Strauss as a graduate student, but was mainly influenced by the right-wing, former Trotskyite nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter. Much of Strauss's influence in political life came from Robert Goldwin, a "one man-think tank" who transformed the Republican Party as Donald Rumsfeld eulogized him at the American Enterprise Institute in 2010. The lines from Strauss to the importation of authoritarianism (commander in chief power, executive power) are bipartisan and manifold.