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Dialogue of Cultures

Today's ‘Conservative Revolution and the Ideology of the Nazis’

The Case of Martin Heidegger

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

This article is reprinted from the Spring 1995 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.

For related articles, scroll down or click here.

Spring 1995

Right now—not only in the United States, but especially there, with the recent election results—a new Conservative Revolution movement has crystallized internationally. In the U.S., that part of the Republican Party around such people as Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm, William Weld, and others, are in an unbroken tradition with people like Nietzsche, the Nazis, fascism—a tradition that goes without interruption to the ecology movement and New Age.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, presented this case study of Martin Heidegger as part of her keynote address to the Sept. 3, 1994 conference of the Schiller Institute in Vienna, Virginia. On Dec. 10, she addressed the Schiller Institute conference in Eltville, Germany, on "Why the Renaissance Must Prevail Over the Conservative Revolution." Excerpts from both speeches appear in the boxes accompanying this article.

The Nazi past of this leading 20th-century philosopher helps to illuminate the reappearance of fascist ideas among ‘respectable’ spokesmen of the so-called “right’ and “left’

Martin Heidegger is generally known among professional philosophers in academic circles. Many believe that he is the greatest thinker of this century. Many French philosophers are convinced of it, and many even think that he is the greatest thinker of all time. (After having tried to read him, I can tell you that that is a little bit difficult to imagine, because what he has produced is an incredible amount of gobbledygook.) His work is a symptom of our present-day confusion.

Why present Martin Heidegger as a case study? It has a lot to do, indirectly, with our efforts in respect to the United Nations' world population conference in Cairo in September 1994, and also something which happened in 1987, which somehow escaped our attention at the time. It is understandable why, because that was the moment when the onslaught against the LaRouche movement was really going on, the Boston trial, the criminal indictments. My life was totally focused on defensive action, trying to save my husband's reputation, organizing internationally people who would testify for his character, people active in science, and so forth, so my mind was occupied with that, and I missed something which I have now discovered, and it gives me an incredible delight.

In 1987, a Chilean scholar by the name of Víctor Farías published a book called Heidegger and Nazism, and this book hit like a bomb. What was in this book, was so outrageous, that it caused a tidal wave of articles, special editions of magazines, and, since the Spring of 1988, many books. There is hardly a publisher or journalist or philosopher who did not write something about this case, because what Farías did in this book, was to present the documentation that Martin Heidegger, who was a pupil of Edmund Husserl, and who, in the 1920's, suddenly became famous for his book Being and Time, was a Nazi. Not only had he joined the NSDAP (Nazi party) in 1933, and paid dues until the end of the war in 1945, but he also had collaborated throughout with the system, had admired Hitler, and was a Nazi thinker par excellence.

This caused an earthquake in the academic world, because forty-two years after the war, somebody who had been the most respected philosopher of the century, whose ideas were totally accepted, who had influenced Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist, as well as Jacques Derrida, was exposed as a Nazi. In Germany, there was a whole Heideggerian school following Hans-Georg Gadamer, who was close friends with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.

A freakout occurred. One school said, "Oh, this is nothing new. We knew it all along; what about it?" Another school said, "Maybe Heidegger was politically a collaborator of the Nazis, but his philosophy has nothing to do with it, and he is just politically naive." Then there was another line saying, "Oh, he's a Nazi; so what?"

But if the facts were all known, why did no consequences follow from this knowledge? And why, suddenly, in the year 1987, was there this tidal wave of deserters suddenly saying, "No, I have nothing to do with Mr. Heidegger"? Obviously, the slogan was, whoever can save his neck, should run as fast as possible, because if you keep supporting Heidegger, then it raises a couple of questions about yourself.

One of the persons most closely associated with Heidegger was Jacques Derrida, who, acting like a cornered rat, started to counterattack. After all, he said, National Socialism in Germany or in Europe did not pop out of the ground like a mushroom, and to think that it would be possible for European philosophy to treat National Socialism as a distant object, is at best naive and, at worst, obscurantism and a grave political mistake. This is the pretense, said Derrida, that National Socialism has no connection to the rest of Europe, to the rest of the philosophers, and to the rest of the political speeches which have been made; and this is just not the case.

Now, a person who actually had voiced criticism of Heidegger throughout the period, a French philosopher named Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt, correctly pointed to the fact that it was not only the party membership and such things, but that Heidegger's National Socialism lies at the essence of his thinking, and that the world has to face the fact of what that implies for all those who endorsed him, especially that the question was now on the table: how to treat a "philosophy of the century"—which it was called many times—which, without any question, prepared "post-modern" thinking, and also was part of National Socialism, and that such a connection existed.

Heidegger, without any question, was the dominant philosopher in France, accepted by everybody, which obviously has a lot to do with the French blocking on the history of the Vichy period. As a result of the debate over Heidegger in France, it became clear that the accepted categories of right and left, which stemmed from the French Revolution two hundred years ago, not only did not function in politics, but also did not function in philosophy.

There was debate back and forth, and the longer this so-called philosopher controversy lasted, the clearer it became that it was not Heidegger's Nazi past which was being debated, but it was the accepted philosophy of the present epoch, and that this was being shaken to its foundation.

Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt pointed to the fact that even in Heidegger's first work, Being and Time, the vocabulary and the style are very close to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. Among other things, Heidegger said that technology is the power which turns man away from the actual meaning of his life. In his book, he calls this condition of being turned away from the actual meaning of one's life, the Seinsvergessenheit, the being-forgottenness. (If that sounds weird, don't worry; it sounds weird in German, too, because Heidegger is famous for having constructed new words to give a twisted meaning to ideas. You have to dive into it, and after you swim in it for a long time, you get used to it, but by that time, you are totally brainwashed, so it's not really all that useful. It's like a language which is five degrees off, and once you adjust your eye, you get used to it.)

"Man, in the course of the history of Occidental culture," says Heidegger, "has forgotten the essentials of human life. People live life in an unactual way, and they look for entertainment in their flight from death agony. The actuality of true life, lies in the banal, basic experience of the being-thrownness"—Geworfenheit, that is, you are thrown into history, and plop, there you are. "Man, therefore, originally is not the self-conscious, self-righteous subject for whom the world is an object, but man is eternally in the world; he is part of it, and he must live with it, in sorrow."

The individual's fear of his death, at the end of his unactually lived life: that is the basic subject of existential philosophy. "Thrownness to the being," Verfallenheit an das Seiende, is the basic idea of Being and Time. At first, he meant the Dasein, the "being there," in respect to the individual: that you are just there. (He has these incredible, profound insights, like "existence just happens to exist.") But later, in 1933, "being there" becomes the form of the existence of the collective. "The individual, wherever he stands," Heidegger wrote in 1933, "is worth nothing. The fate of our people in their state, is everything." He said this on the occasion of having called somebody to take a seat in the university.

In 1933, Heidegger became the rector of the University in Freiburg, and this was not, as he later tried to pretend, just an effort to save the mind and what not; this was a clearly calculated move by certain Nazi cadres to put Heidegger in there, after they had cleaned out Jewish and other unwanted scholars.

Now, in his famous, or, rather, infamous, Rectorate speech, Heidegger said: "The university has to conduct a decisive fight in the National Socialist spirit, which must not be suffocated through humanizing, or Christian conceptions."

On Nov. 1, 1933, he said, in another speech, "The National Socialist revolution brings about the complete upheaval of German existence [Dasein]. It conserves knowledge as the necessary basic property of the leading individuals in their völkisch [popular] tasks of the state." "Continuously, your courage should grow," says Heidegger, "for the saving of the essence and the elevation of the most inner force of our people in its state. The Führer himself, and he alone, is the present and the future German reality, and its law. Learn to know, ever deeper. From now on, each matter demands decision in every acting responsibility. Heil Hitler!"

In the Fall 1933 Freiburger Studenten Zeitung, he wrote, "Not theorems and ideas should be the rules of your existence. The Führer himself, and he alone, is the present and future reality, and its law."

For Heidegger, National Socialism meant the complete overthrow of knowledge: "Proceeding from the question and forces of National Socialism, science must be considered completely new. The university of tomorrow must be based entirely on the Weltanschauung [worldview] of National Socialism."

Heidegger was very ambitious. He wanted to be not only rector of Freiburg, but he wanted to become the explicit and unchallenged leader of all German rectors, the "leader of the leaders" of intellectual Germany. And, from Freiburg, he wanted the total renewal of the German university, in the spirit of his inaugural speech. This attempt failed, only because his theories were a little bit too esoteric for the party leadership in Berlin, which rejected him for this reason—a rejection which he took as an abysmal insult and from there on, he had certain prejudices against Berlin. But he did not criticize Hitler in the slightest.

Immediately after these Rectorate speeches, he wrote a letter of faith to Hitler in Berlin: "To the savior of our people out of its need. Determination and honor! To the teacher and frontier fighter of a new spirit."

It is documented that Heidegger was also a snitch in respect to his colleagues, that he was informing on them to the Nazi authorities, causing their layoffs and similar things. He was a cowardly opportunist who, from 1933 onward, pretended not to know his teacher Husserl anymore, because he was Jewish. But he never broke his friendship with another person by the infamous name of Eugen Fischer, who was the organizer of euthanasia against the mentally retarded; this Fischer had demanded, in 1939, explicitly, the extinction of the Jews. It was this same Fischer who protected Heidegger from having to join the labor service in 1941.

In 1945, Heidegger immediately started to create a coverup and a mythology of his own resistance. He said: "I thought that after Hitler in 1933 had taken the responsibility for the entire German people, that he would have the courage to detach himself from his party and its doctrine [what an idea!—HZL] and the whole matter would lead to a renewal and a collection to take responsibility for the entire West. This conviction was a mistake, which I recognized on June 30, 1934." This was the date of the assassination of Ernst Röhm, and the eclipse of the SA (Storm Troopers). "Indeed, I intervened in 1933 to affirm the national and the social, but not National Socialism and nationalism, and not the intellectual and metaphysical foundations on which biologism and the party doctrine were based."

Now, this is, in all likelihood, a total fabrication, because one of his former friends, the relatively famous philosopher Karl Löwith, recently published his diaries, in which he reported about the last discussion he had with Heidegger in Rome, in 1936, where Heidegger expressed an unbroken faith in Hitler and the conviction that National Socialism was the designated path for Germany. Löwith told Heidegger that his engagement for National Socialism was totally coherent with the essence of his philosophy, to which Heidegger agreed without reservation, and added that he was also certain that his notion of historicity represented the basis for his political activity.

As a matter of fact, Heidegger, already at the beginning of the 1930's, was totally convinced of "being-thrownness," that any political activity, was totally in vain, because existence is not such, and the individual is just "thrown" like that.

So Löwith said, in qualifying this encounter, that Heidegger did not recognize the destructive radicalism and the petit-bourgeois character of all of the Nazis' "strength-through-joy" institutions, because he himself was a radical petit-bourgeois. Heidegger's only complaint in 1936 was that things were not moving fast enough.

Now, even after he was no longer the rector of Freiburg University, he continued until 1941 to give his famous Nietzsche lectures, and one can actually say that he was the official philosopher of the Nazis. Eugen Fischer had used this as an argument to free him from the labor service, by saying to the Nazi authorities, "We do not have that many Nazi philosophers, and if we have one, we should treat him well."

Heidegger, even in the 1950's, quoted Nietzsche positively for the notion that human beings are not made equal, and each person does not have the capacity and the right for everything.

Now, you can't always blame husbands for their wives, so I don't want to use the horrible utterings of Mrs. Heidegger as a proof against him, but what she said about motherhood, as the conservation of racial inheritance, would just turn your stomach. So I don't want to use it against him, even though he had such a wife.

After the war, Heidegger did not say one word about the Nazi period. He did not say one word about his being the rector of Freiburg University, nor did he ever comment on the Holocaust, nor any other occurrence of this period.

He probably didn't feel guilty. He didn't feel that there was anything wrong, because in Heidegger's thinking, there is simply no room for individual responsibility. The theory of "being thrown" (Geworfenheit) into a time to which one has to react with determination and for which one has to be open—such a theory does not know the notion of individual responsibility.

In 1945, the French occupying powers removed Heidegger's permission to teach, but unfortunately, he got it back in 1951. He was immediately re-integrated into the respected circles of the academic world, and this was all the more profound, because it came with the official sanction of the occupying power.

One of the most important influences in my life, the famous Cusanus researcher Professor Herbst, told me a long time ago, that the occupying powers insisted that Heidegger be taught in theology classes in Germany, in the same way that they had insisted that pragmatism, John Dewey, positivism, and so forth, be part of the official de-Nazification programs.

In this climate, no one asked questions any longer. In France, a boom in Heidegger philosophy occurred. Practically everyone became a Heideggerian: Jean Beaufret, Sartre, Christian Jambet, Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, and other famous Frenchmen. Many said that Heidegger has to have a place in history like that of Hegel and Plato, that he is one of the greatest thinkers of all time.

A German professor named Guido Schneeberger, who actually knew some of Heidegger's lectures, started to prepare a compendium, which he published in 1961, with 217 texts which prove, without any question, Heidegger's Nazi convictions. But he could not find one German publisher to publish it, so Schneeberger published it himself. He sent it to many universities, who bought the book; but it never appeared on the shelves. The professors and the assistant professors quickly made sure the book would disappear.

Karl Jaspers, himself a man of questionable convictions, testified that his former friend Heidegger lacked—and he said this to the investigating commission of the occupying powers—any conscience for truth, in favor of a "magic of words" [beschwörenden Zauber].

So, that was the situation. Everything had been swept under the carpet. Heidegger was respectable, influential, in the academic world.

The Heideggerians Scramble

Then, in 1987, the book by Víctor Farías, Heidegger and Nazism, hit like a bomb. It shattered the myth which Heidegger had concocted after the war, the myth that he had supported the Nazis only briefly. Instead, the book proved that he had a very deep commitment to Nazism.

In 1988, a biography of Heidegger appeared by Hugo Ott, which was a "cover-your-behind" line: Admit the Nazism, but try to save the philosophy by trying to pretend the two have nothing to do with each other.

Derrida went into a complete freakout. He said: "The facts have all been known for a long time, and if one reads Farías's book, one wonders if he read Heidegger for longer than one hour."

This is always the accusation: that people don't understand Heidegger's profundity, and so forth.

Derrida said: "Why deny that so many courageous works in the Twentieth Century dare to enter the region of thought which some call the 'diabolical'? It just happens to be true. Rather than deny it, we have to investigate the analogies and points of connection between Nazism and Heidegger's thinking. The commonalities of Nazism and anti-Nazism: I will prove that it's all the same; it's mind-boggling if you think about it."

An interviewer of Derrida in this controversy asked, "Is not what you are saying only a sniping response to those who accuse you of the deconstruction of humanism and of being a sponsor of nihilism?"

Derrida then moved, through his lawyers, to prevent the publication of an interview he had given in a book, The Heidegger Controversy, and tried then to elaborate a long explanation of why the Heidegger of pre-1933 was totally different than the Heidegger of 1934 and later.

Jürgen Habermas of the Frankfurt School also felt the need to cover his behind. He said: Ah, now we finally know that this resistance is a pure legend, it never happened. Habermas also reveals—and this is something that demands further investigation—that all of Heidegger's lectures of the 1930's are still classified, and that the few persons who have some copies, are not allowed to quote them. This is really very fascinating. Habermas says that he is sure that if these lectures were to be made public, then Farías's case would be proven even more.

Jürgen Busche, the chief editor of the Hamburger Morgenpost, said: "I don't care if Heidegger is a Nazi. Look at it. He doesn't have one fascist pupil, and after all, Heidegger is to be seen in the context of the late Romantic, and he's actually the same as the Greens today"—which happens to be true!

Rudolf Augstein, the famous British-licensed editor of Der Spiegel, said, Oh, somebody who has fertilized so many important minds, can't be labelled a Nazi. Michael Haller, the "Zeit-Dossier" department head of Die Zeit magazine, said, Why, Heidegger was called the greatest thinker. Now, suddenly, he is just a swindler, who cheated with verbal trifles; why, suddenly, is everybody deserting him? Bourdieu, the French philosopher, said, "Heidegger is the philosophically acceptable variant of a revolutionary conservativism of which Nazism was just one more possibility." And that is actually the truth: it was part of the Conservative Revolution.

Nazism and Post-Modernism

Now, here we get to the essence of what went wrong in this entire century, because Heidegger was a Nazi. More correctly, he was exactly one of the representatives of the Conservative Revolution, of which Nazism was one possibility, but he was also the ideologue of post-modernism.

Now, this is very interesting, because here we get to the real truth of the matter. Heidegger, in 1953, said the amazing words: "It is not nuclear war that represents the greatest threat, even if that is the worst thinkable; but more threatening, is the peaceful, continuous development of technology, because it robs the thinking human being of his essence, of his ability to think."

The author Milan Kundera comments on that quote, that the worst thing about this, is that this conception of Heidegger's does not shock anyone anymore; the problem is that it has been accepted.

Heidegger's only criticism of the Nazis was that he mistrusted the party apparatus and their belief in technology and progress, having the same view as Ernst Jünger, who wrote that the total mobilization led to a horrible use of technology, industry, and so forth. These are all the fathers of modern eco-fascism.

Heidegger, in the 1950's, wrote the incredible sentence: "Agriculture is now a motorized food industry, which, in essence, is the same as the production of corpses in gas chambers and extinction camps, and the same as the blockade and starvation of countries, the same as the fabrication of the H-bomb."

It's hard to comment on this, because he criticizes technology, but he doesn't bother about the annihilation of human beings!

Obviously, under the influence of the occupying power, the "very respected" philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, who has published one zillion books, standard works and whatnot, said, after the Farías scandal broke out, that "most of this was known," and that "it would be an insult to say that his political error had nothing to do with his philosophy, that this was insulting to such an important thinker," and after all, how would those who make such a criticism reconcile this with the fact that "he is the same man who already in the 1950's said incredibly wise things about the Industrial Revolution and technology, which astound one for their foresight."

Bishop Lehmann Defends Heidegger

After the war, there was the coverup for all the reasons we have discussed many times. Heidegger was actually imposed by the occupying powers; but Gadamer wrote this after the Farías book came out. He admitted that most of the facts were known, obviously, among the insiders.

In 1966, a certain Karl Lehmann published an article in the Philosophical Yearbook about the "Christian Experience of History and the Ontological Question in the Young Heidegger." He discusses a lecture which Heidegger gave in the Winter semester, 1920-21, under the title, "Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion," in which he comments upon the letters of the Apostle Paul as "a phenomenologically rich example of religious behavior." He chooses there, in particular, the first Letter to the Thessalonians, about the sudden coming of the Lord. Some of you may know this story, that you never know when the Lord is coming, you have to be attentive for the time.

What Lehmann then does, is to say that this is the Kairos, the moment which determines fate. Lehmann claims that there is a remarkable relationship in this affinity of time and being to the theology of St. Paul. (Yet, as we noted earlier, Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt pointed out that the affinity was rather to Hitler's Mein Kampf!)

And then Lehmann says that Heidegger's notion of fear, this fear of death agony, which is the entire determining aspect of life, is the same as the suffering and martyrdom that Paul is talking about. And then he says that "Paul opens up the most extreme possibilities of human existence."

Lehmann notes that Heidegger was able to make use of Aristotle in the most productive manner, for his own questioning.

What is most outrageous about this, is that Lehmann treats Heidegger in the most objective and positive manner, as if nothing were wrong. He says, finally, "The destruction of traditional theology through Heidegger was shocking, obviously; but his conviction that ontology could not be based in the traditional theological form, he had already said very clearly in Being and Time." So, he does not find this very objectionable, that theology does not have to explain ontology; and, he says, all the questioning of Heidegger is in vain, if one substitutes for the word Being, the word God.

Lehmann regrets that a serious confrontation with Heidegger from the side of Catholic theology, which would do justice to the depths of the problem, is not visible, and, finally, that Heidegger's thinking is still waiting for a future dialogue—even the early Heidegger.

Now, the whole article would not be so earth-shaking—as a matter of fact, it's not very profound at all—except that Karl Lehmann is, today, the head of the German Bishops Conference. And the office of Bishop Lehmann just cancelled a room we had rented for a forum against the Cairo conference, and the reason given in the letter was, "the extreme belief in science and progress by the Schiller Institute."

Now, I would dare venture the hypothesis that that characterization, which has also gone out in a slanderous book published by the infamous Herder-Verlag, has a lot to do with Lehmann's convictions about Heidegger.

One could say, that in 1966, before the Farías book detonated this bomb, maybe Lehmann was not so smart, and he just overlooked this—he didn't get it. But, the only problem is that what Lehmann forgets to mention, already in 1966, is that Heidegger did not believe in God. He was a very well known anti-theist. So, if Heidegger's Nazi outlook did not bother him, Lehmann, as a Catholic official, should have at least objected to the anti-theism of Heidegger, because the Dasein, the being there of Heidegger, is without God. In contrast to this, look at another pupil of Husserl, who deserves, actually, to be much more famous than the evil Heidegger: Edith Stein, who was born Jewish, converted to Catholicism, and made exactly the attack on Heidegger, which Lehmann, obviously, forgot to notice.

Edith Stein also became very famous. She received early recognition in the philosophical world. She became a Catholic, and she was finally killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz, in retaliation for the Dutch bishops' denunciation of the Nazis. They killed many nuns from Dutch convents at that time. Edith Stein was beatified by the Pope, during the Pope's last trip to Germany, and she is an outstanding figure.

Heidegger started out as a Catholic philosopher, but then he lost his faith, and he became a celebrity among the professional philosophers today. Edith Stein went exactly the other way.

Now, one could think: Lehmann did this in 1966, he was not yet head of the Bishops Conference. So, maybe, one could credit him with making youthful errors. But then, in his recent book, published in 1993, what do we see in the chapter about "Man and the Environment"? It is full of praise for Limits to Growth, Dennis Meadows and the Club of Rome. He quotes Heidegger as if the Farías debate had never occurred, and, in the chapter about the relationship to creation and the Book of Genesis (which he modifies—he is pretty much on the side of man being a steward rather than a master of the universe), he says: "Maybe it comes to an encounter with the late Heidegger. He also sees man in danger of losing his being, his essence," and then he keeps on quoting Heidegger, on and on.

(Parenthetically: a while ago, LaRouche had insisted that the entirety of Liberation Theology in Latin America was not primarily communist-inspired, but inspired by existentialist philosophy. I think this is now pretty much proven, because Lehmann is the head of the German Catholic Church, and Misereor and so forth are the main funders of that, including the rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico.)

The Heidegger affair—and this is why I decided to present this case study—is the most embarrassing for official academia, because nearly everybody endorsed him, and it just shows the total bankruptcy of the Conservative Revolution, being identical with post-modern ideology.

Now, that these people are aware of it, is clear. Let me give you one more quote. The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard says, too bad that this Heidegger debate came too late. "What's the difference now, if one accuses Heidegger or tries to whitewash him? All those on the one side and those on the other, fall into the same low thinking, which is no longer even proud of its own origins, and which no longer has the strength to grow beyond them, and that finally wastes the few energies left to it in tirades, accusations, justifications, and historical confirmations. And since philosophy no longer exists, it must prove that with Heidegger, it has finally discredited itself. All this is a desperate attempt to find some posthumous truth or justification, at a moment when there is not enough truth left to allow any investigation, where there is not enough philosophy to make any connection between theory and practice, and not enough history to bring any historical proof. Our epoch is characterized by the fact that we do not anymore have the truth for recognition." So, he says, Heidegger should have been attacked, as long as it was time. "Indeed, the Heidegger case proves the total bankruptcy of the dominating schools of thought. They have deconstructed themselves completely, and they are finished."

BOX 1:

A Turning Point in History

When the Soviet Union collapsed, and especially in the most recent period, Lyndon LaRouche emphasized that this collapse, as gigantic as it is, is still only the "first shoe" to drop. The Soviet Union only collapsed as part of the system which dominated the Twentieth Century, for which the names of Versailles, Yalta, and the condominium between the superpowers, are the appropriate names, and unless there is the kind of urgent reform, the second phase of the collapse will be even more enormous, and everything in the West will come down, just as communism came down in the East.

This is a gigantic statement, and most people say, "Wait a second, do I really want this? Because, you know, I do not exactly know what will come out of this."

When communism collapsed, Marxism was suddenly discredited (except among a few people), and with it, the entire set of axioms which characterize Marxism also went out the window: Marxist economics, the idea of the Five-Year Plan, economic planning; communist or Marxist art theory, so-called "socialist realism." Everyone can see now, clearly, that the Marxist theory of history, that history is the history of class struggle, was a concept which was completely ridiculous.

But the intellectual and spiritual catharsis of the West is still to come, and it will wipe out and discredit all the ideologies and so-called theories which are associated with the "Enlightenment": liberalism, empiricism, positivism, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism, and deconstructionism. All of these things will not stay around, and people should start to readjust their thinking. We are looking at a dying epoch, and a lot of the things which have bothered us will no longer be there. We should be rather happy about that.

I dare this prediction, because I am a cultural optimist at heart: What will prevail, after all these theories and ideologies are out the window, is the method of truth-seeking, and the idea, not of one truth, but of the intelligibility of the laws of Creation, and the ability of man to have an ever better knowledge of these laws, because man is imago viva Dei, he is the living image of God, and therefore, with his creative activity, he can not only know these laws, but he can also change them.

The mythologies of the Twentieth Century will be smashed, and the truth will emerge.

back to article


At the Cairo Conference:
A Battle Against Nazi Ideology

In late August 1994, the evil Conor Cruise O'Brien, the journalist mouthpiece of the British oligarchy, had a vitriolic attack on what he called the emerging "holy and explosive alliance" between the Vatican and Islamic fundamentalism, in the context of the then-upcoming September United Nations world population conference in Cairo. O'Brien said—and here there was an element of truth—that the Cairo conference would be "the most important world conference ever" to have taken place, that at Cairo the "greatest ideological debate" would take place "between those who hold values derived from the Enlightenment and believers in supernaturally revealed certainties." Now, that is a lie, because the anti-Enlightenment side of this fight, was the people who believe, not in "supernaturally revealed certainties," but who believe that creative reason is an efficient force in the universe, and who believe that man is made in the image of God.

So the fight which took place in Cairo, was not between, as the language is commonly used today, the Enlightenment—and, therefore, "the rational people"—and the "dogmatic fundamentalists"—and, therefore, "the crazies." The true fight in Cairo was between those people who are proponents of Nazi ideology and oligarchism, and, on the other side, those people who believe that there is a method of truth-seeking of which man is capable, because he is in the image of God.

We in the LaRouche movement campaigned to close down this Cairo conference. We were able to demonstrate that this conference was in the tradition of the infamous 1932 eugenics conference in New York; it was exactly the same philosophy as the Nazi Race Hygiene Conference of 1935 in Berlin. The verbiage and the philosophy were identical with Hitler's so-called Generalplan Ost, which was a plan for how to reduce the Slavic populations in Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere. To this historical understanding, we added that the first evil person who came up with the concept of "carrying capacity," that is, that the Earth has only a limited "carrying capacity" for its human population, was this evil Venetian monk Giammaria Ortes.

Those of you who have been familiar with the LaRouche movement, know that for decades we published the evil plans of the Club of Rome's Dr. Alexander King—that he was afraid that the black, yellow, and brown people would outnumber the white Anglo-Saxon race. We published the evil doings of the Club of Rome and the World Wildlife Fund. We published the fact that Prince Philip, this degenerate, wants to be reincarnated as a virus in order to reduce the world's population. We did this for two decades, and people would say, "Oh, you are exaggerating. These are just some crazy people, this is not relevant."

But now, when the United Nations had the nerve to put their plans openly on the table, before the world—as a matter of fact, there are official U.N. documents which say that the desired low variant of the population is 2.5 billion people—now, all of a sudden, this crime was so incredible, that the world understood what was going on, what the conspiracy was that we were talking about. That the United Nations was to be established as a world government which could decide who lives, and who dies; which country is allowed to have how many people; which country will not get aid if they don't agree to forced abortion (because this is what really what was at stake, and not the nice verbiage about "women's rights," and so forth), or to what the Nazis had determined useless eaters to be, the mentally retarded, the disabled, the Jews, Gypsies, and so forth, only, this time, it was supposed to be the Third World, and, especially, the poor in the Third World.

When Conor Cruise O'Brien said "forces of Enlightenment," what did he mean? He meant the image of man associated with Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Bentham, and all their evil, so-called theories: empiricism, the idea that only sensuous experience gives you any knowledge about the world; positivism, that you have to bang your head against the wall three times, in order to believe it—an image of man which is associated with the idea that man in general is a beast, and that an oligarchical power elite can rule over herds of animals which he can cull down to the wanted size at any time he wishes to.

In "How Bertrand Russell Became an Evil Man,"* LaRouche wrote that the Twentieth Century will be known in history to have been the century of the greatest number of popular mythologies, and the most frauds about science, history, and other things. One of these frauds is the question of what is actually the true basis of Nazism, which was brought to the fore in the Cairo conference in its purest essence. —HZL

* Fidelio, Vol. III, No. 3, Fall 1994.

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BOX 3:

Academic 'Political Correctness':
Heritage of the Nazi Heidegger

It is impossible to graduate from a university in North or South America, or in Western Europe, without being forced to study one or another of the corrupt philosophical fads spawned by the ideas of Martin Heidegger. Such seemingly-contradictory theories as existentialism, anthropological structuralism, Catholic "liberation theology," various varieties of Protestant Biblical criticism, radical ecologism, most versions of non-Communist New Leftism of the last thirty-five years—plus a baker's dozen of more recent philosophical trends like post-modernism and deconstructionism—all acknowledge their origins in the Nazi epistemology of Heidegger. Heidegger intellectual prominence in Germany immediately after World War I was based upon his call for a revival of "Aristotelean-Scholastic philosophy" to combat what he saw as the lingering influence of Plato's metaphysics on European civilization. Working closely with phenomenologist Edmund Husserl and proto-existentialist Karl Jaspers, he became the guru of an entire generation of German students, including: his lover Hannah Arendt, who became the theorist of "anti-authoritarianism"; Hans-Georg Gadamer, one of postwar Germany's most-important philosophers, and founder of modern communications theory; Hans Jonas, the world's leading expert on gnosticism; Rudolf Bultmann, the Protestant theologian who pioneered "de-mythologizing" the Bible; Fr. Karl Rahner, the Jesuit priest whose Heideggerian theory was the basis for "liberation theology"; and Herbert Marcuse, later a leader of the Communist International's Frankfurt School, and godfather of the 1960's New Age student rebellion in both Europe and America (and, at the end of his life, the sponsor of the ecological-extremist Green Party in West Germany). Heidegger's influence in pre-war France was almost as massive, largely through the efforts of Alexandre Kojève, an instructor at Paris's elite Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes from 1933 to 1939. Kojève's class roster during that period included the majority of France's postwar intellectual heroes: sociologist Raymond Aron, structuralist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Communist Party official Jean Desanti, psychotherapist Jacques Lacan, and existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre, who became famous as a Communist, travelled to Nazi Germany in 1933 to study with Heidegger. Especially after World War II, this many-headed Heideggerian monster was transplanted to America. It is now entrenched as the philosophical basis of every one of the "politically correct" theories dominating U.S. campuses—including the nominally leftist deconstructionism of Jacques Derrida and the late Paul De Man (himself a Nazi collaborator in wartime Belgium). Acording to African-American professor Cornell West, who is the most sophisticated theorist of political correctness in America today, the "Heideggerian destruction of the Western metaphysics" must be acknowledged as the core of the multicultural critique of Western civilization. "Despite his abominable association with the Nazis," wrote West in 1993, "Martin Heidegger's project is useful."
—Michael J. Minnicino

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BOX 4:

The 'Conservative Revolution':
Counterattack to the Renaissance

The name Conservative Revolution historically was first used by Hugo von Hoffmannsthal and later coined by Moeller van den Bruck, the famous author of the book The Third Reich, from which the Nazis actually took the name. What they meant by this, was to describe an oligarchical tendency, which emerged at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, against different aspects of the influence of the Renaissance tradition.

Why do we attribute such enormous importance to the Golden Renaissance of the Fifteenth Century? The major achievement, and what really makes it a watershed between the Middle Ages and modern times, was, first of all, that mainly through the efforts of Nicolaus of Cusa and his famous book Concordantia Catholica, for the first time in history the principles were defined on which the sovereign nation-state could be built. Most important was the idea that only in a nation-state, in which the representative government would create accountability for those who are the representatives of the people, and who are accountable in practice not only to the people but also to the government, was the possibility created for the individual to participate in government.

Associated with that, in this period the work of Cusa and the other fathers of the Council of Florence defined the obligation of the sovereign nation-state to foster the common good through the application of scientific progress for the benefit of the population at large. Thus, the Renaissance ended practices which had been based on the oligarchical assumption that society would be forever divided into three classes: a tiny group of oligarchs; the lackeys of oligarchs, the hangers-on-to-power, those who profit from the evil system, which helped the oligarchical system to function; and, lastly, the ninety to ninety-five percent of the population: the underlings, serfs, slaves, and so forth.

It was especially the unity of the Church accomplished at the Council of Florence, re-establishing in the context of the above-mentioned factors, the possibility for the individual to access the Filioque—the idea that, in practice, each individual person could participate directly in God's creative reason—which created the modern age. This Filioque principle gave each individual a sense of sovereignty and of limitless perfectibility, which indeed broke the rules, broke the system which had existed before that time. And it was exactly that new, sovereign authority of the individual, against which the Conservative Revolution was mobilized.

The reason why this occurred especially at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, was because this period, in many respects, was a nightmare for the oligarchs. First of all, the American Revolution was in fact the first time that the principles which Nicolaus of Cusa and others had established in the Fifteenth Century—the idea of individual, inalienable rights based on natural law—was put into a constitution. It was the first time that a government was established—with some imperfections—in which a republican representative system was established, and which no longer had any place for oligarchs, princes, or baronesses. This was a fact over which the oligarchies, especially the British, George III, went crazy, because it was a threat to their system.

There was another development, which was equally threatening, and that was the Weimar Classic, the beautiful humanist renaissance and Classical period exemplified by Friedrich Schiller, along with the revolution in music dating from Johann Sebastian Bach to Johannes Brahms. The image of man prevailing during that period gave man greater possibilities for self-perfection than at any time before. If you look at the lofty conception of man, as it was developed by Schiller or the Humboldt brothers, the idea of mass education on the basis of these ideas was, from the standpoint of the oligarchs, what they feared most.

And then, you had the beginning of an industrial revolution associated with the idea of mass education.

So the oligarchs correctly feared that their system was coming apart. And from here you can follow the emergence of the Conservative Revolution in every country in Europe. It very deliberately sponsored a counter-movement against the idea of intelligibility through reason and the perfectibility of man: Romanticism. Romanticism, the emotional exaggeration of all expressions of life, promotes an emphasis on the natural instincts versus reason, a mystical fascination with the Middle Ages versus Classical and Renaissance periods, and the idea of mental and emotional escapism. Romanticism was the ideological and emotional basis for the emergence of the "youth movement," which then, with the help of the First World War and the Depression, led directly to the ideology of the Nazis.

The Conservative Revolution was not a German phenomenon, however, even if you have a lot of people in it such as Oswald Spengler, Ernst Jünger, the Haushofer brothers, Karl Barth, Martin Heiddegger, Moeller van den Bruck, Nietzsche, and Wagner. There were similar people in other countries, such as Dostoevsky and the two Aksakovs in Russia; Sorel, Maurice Barrès in France; Unamuno in Spain; Ebola in Italy; Jabotinsky for the Jews. In the United States, people to be named are Lothrop Stoddard, Madison Grant, and James Burnham. The tradition is continued by the Club of Rome and similar institutions today. And today, too, Romanticism is the basis of ecologism and the New Age.

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BOX 5:

Nietzsche: 'Conservative Revolution' Spawns
an Irrationalist New Age

Go to any university in the United States or in Germany today, and you will find that there is a gigantic Friedrich Nietzsche revival. Incredible efforts are being made to whitewash Nietzsche, saying that he had nothing to do with the Nazis, that he was misunderstood, or that it was only his evil sister who falsified his work. As everybody knows, Nietzsche went insane in the third stage of syphilis. However, from reading his writings, you can conclude that he was insane all along.

Nietzsche was a passionate hater of the humanist conception of man; he hated Plato, Schiller, and Beethoven. He denounced Schiller as the "moral trumpeter of Säckingen"; he (correctly) blamed Plato for having developed the scientific method leading to scientific progress; he totally denied the scientific and humanist explanation of the unity of human development.

Nietzsche was engaged in a very conscious effort to undermine the Socratic spirit. What he did first was to reinterpret history, methodically replacing all Socratic elements with a Dionysian conception. Instead of emphasizing the Classical Greek contribution of Socrates, Plato, and others, he replaced it with an emphasis on Dionysian destruction. He emphasized all periods in history during which irrationalism existed in an organized form.

Giving up one's own identity to a higher commonality is not only characteristic of the Nazis, it is also the sentiment of the New Age, the Age of Aquarius. This idea of giving up one's sense of identity is obviously the opposite of the sense of identity of the individual in humanism, where the individual contribution to creative power and creative development is emphasized.

Nietzsche realized that Christianity obviously represented the biggest problem for him, because it defined the idea of man's participation in God through creative reason. Nietzsche is most famous for his dictum, "God is dead." And at the end of his somewhat autobiographical scribbling Ecce Homo, he puts forward the slogan "Dionysus against the Crucified."

This leads us to the heart of the Conservative Revolution. If you compare Nietzsche, Prince Philip, the Tofflers, and others of this sort, what do they mean with their attack on what they call the "linear world" (a notion used by all of them)? Romano Guardini, who was originally associated with the Conservative Revolution but later clearly broke with it, wrote an article (later a book) in 1935, entitled "Der Heilsbringer" ("The Savior"), which was an attack against the Führer ideology of the Nazis. Guardini's main concept was that before Christianity, all religions were cyclical, as there is a cycle of nature, a cycle of the times of the day, of the year, of light and darkness, a cycle of getting up in the morning and going to sleep in the evening, a cycle of spring and autumn, of rising up and sinking down, of being born and dying. Pagan gods, which are such saviors, were idols of pre-Christian cults, such as Osiris, Mithra, Dionysus, Baldur. They all are only saviors within this idea of a cyclical conception of nature.

Guardini correctly notes that, at least for the western world, it is through Christianity that history emerges. Events from now on do not eternally return, but occur only once and not for a second time. The main criticism of the Conservative Revolution against Christianity is, that the idea of the permanent progress of man, of nature, of civilization, devalues the present in favor of an always better future moment and future possibility. Armin Mohler blames Christianity: "At any rate, for the West, Christianity became the determinant of destiny. Together with its secularized forms, the doctrine of progress of all kinds, it has created the 'modern world,' against which the conservative revolutionaries are in revolt."

Nietzsche attacks these "linear" (as opposed to cyclical) conceptions—they are by no means linear, of course, but that is how progress appears for him. In Thus Spake Zarathustra, he says: "Everything goes, everything returns, the wheel of being rolls on eternally. Everything dies, everything blooms again, eternally runs the year of being. Everything breaks, everything is being put together, eternally the same house of existence is building itself." And in his posthumous papers, Nietzsche says: "He who does not believe in a circular process of the universe, necessarily must believe in a willful god."

Various representatives of the Conservative Revolution describe this clash between two worlds as an "interregnum." Heidi and Alvin Toffler describe this conflict as one between the "Second Wave" and the "Third Wave." Marilyn Ferguson, in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, said that "we are experiencing a change from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius," meaning that no longer are reason and progress dominant, but rather feeling—some cosmic feeling, through which all the conspirators of this Aquarian conspiracy are united.

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The 'Conservative Revolution'
in the U.S. Today

Now, what is the nature of this latest expression of the Conservative Revolution? You can start with Gingrich's endorsement of the futurologists Heidi and Alvin Toffler. The Tofflers have written a couple of books which have become the cult books of this current, in which the main (and not very profound) thesis is that the whole world, all the parties, all the institutions in different countries, are engaged in a fight between what they call the "Second Wave" and the "Third Wave." The First Wave was the agricultural age, the Second Wave is the so-called industrial age, and the Third Wave is supposedly the information age, surpassing industry and all the values associated with the time of the Industrial Revolution and the industrial age.

The Tofflers work extremely closely with the Stanford Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, which must be regarded as one of the key think-tanks of the Conservative Revolution. It is the same institute which published a popularized version of a previous study on the New Age, namely, the book by Marilyn Ferguson about the Aquarian Conspiracy.

Basically, the Tofflers' thesis is that the new Third Wave civilization would be highly technological but completely anti-industrial at the same time, and that the main conflicts in society today would emerge from the useless efforts of representatives of the industrial age to preserve the core institutions characteristic of that historical period. For example, the nuclear family, the idea that you have a mother, a father, and children—that should go. Instead you can have all kinds of other combinations—two men, three women, five children, whatever.

Also, mass public education should go, according to these people. They want to eliminate big corporations and big trade unions; they want to eliminate the nation-state. They claim that the chief conflict in this era will be between those who try to defend these old values and those who are willing to go with the new values, and that the conflict of the Second with the Third Wave will be stronger than any previous conflict among representatives of the Second Wave, such as the historical conflict between Americans and Russians, between communists and anti-communists, and so forth.

They say that this is a new vision—they call Gingrich the new visionaire—but one can prove that this is absolutely nothing new. What Gingrich, the Tofflers, and others are talking about, is the essence of that spectrum of Conservative Revolution tendencies of which the Nazis were only one example. As a matter of fact, if you read these Toffler books, they are extremely watered down plagiarisms of a thousand similar books published by the Conservative Revolution during the Twentieth Century.

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BOX 7:

The Fascist Core of Ecologism

The continuity of the modern ecologists with the fascists is easily demonstrated. A case in point is the work of Friedrich Georg Jünger. In his 1939 book The Perfection of Technology, Jünger writes: "We must realize that technological progress and mass education go hand in hand. ... Technological progress is strongest in those places where mass education has most progressed. ... [The masses] are the most usable, docile material for the technician, without which he never could realize his plans. ... For us, the notion of mass is connected with heaviness, pressure, dependency, and vulgarization." For the oligarchs of the Conservative Revolution, the idea of educated masses is a horrible vision, because it would mean the end of that oligarchical elite.

For the same reason, they oppose the idea of the nation-state based on technological progress. And many of them, including Friedrich Hilcher and all the different representatives of the Pan-European Union, want to destroy the nation-state and replace it with regionalism, tribalism, estates. If you look at the present destabilization of many countries, the attempts to rip countries apart—as in Italy, where the Northern League is trying to split up the nation into several parts, or the Chiapas upheaval in Mexico, or similar things around the world—the basis for that is the ideology of the Conservative Revolution.

One element coming from the Conservative Revolution is the morbid mythical importance attributed to the so-called "wilderness." Wilderness has a very special meaning for Prince Philip and the World Wildlife Fund. Armin Mohler says: "It is especially the wilderness which becomes a leitmotif in the literature of the tradition of Nietzsche." There, wilderness is counterposed, as a "healing sleep," to the linear world of destruction. "In the wilderness, the laws of economy do not apply; the wilderness is the backdrop before which the world-feeling unfolds, which we have tried to describe here," says Mohler. "It emanates from here, and to here it always returns."

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BOX 8:

Toward A New Renaissance

The epoch of six hundred years of history is now coming to an end, and with it, all the evil ideologies emanating from Venetian oligarchism through the Enlightenment to deconstructionism, and they themselves are digging their own graves.

The crime of the U.N. Cairo conference was so enormous, because there, people dared to propose what the Nazis never dared to say with publicly with such clarity. But, being confronted with such an enormous evil, will trigger an impulse for Good in the world, and we have to reassert now the principles of the Council of Florence and the Golden Renaissance, which means nothing less than that each human being must have a chance to live a life as imago viva Dei and capax Dei. This is only possible, however, if we bring the political and economic order into coherence with the laws of God's Creation.

The world cannot survive partially; mankind, as never before, is all in the same boat, and we will only save ourselves on the basis of the highest conceptions. These are the conceptions discussed, for example, at the Council of Florence by Nicolaus of Cusa, who said that concordance in the microcosm is only possible through the maximum development of all microcosms. That means the maximum development of all individuals and all nations.

The sovereign nation-state must be defended, because it is only through the representative system, that the freedom of the individual is guaranteed. Any supranational institution annihilates such freedom. It is, therefore, in the self-interest of each individual and each nation, to work toward the maximum development of all others. All nations, together, must be focused on the joint task of the development of mankind.

We have to have an idea of man and of society in which the beautiful soul, the person who with compassion does what is necessary, the Good Samaritan who helps without even thinking about himself, is what is normal. Because what we have now, is not normal, it's a disease. We are suffering from the fin de siècle, the end of an epoch. The nastiness in society, the stabbing-in-the-back, treating each other like low creatures, looting small nations for your own profit—all of these things are not human, they are not part of what we are meant to be, as man in the image of God.

A new Renaissance means a change of values, so that people want to be creative as their purpose in life, that people are so thirsty for true knowledge, for discovery, for art, for music, for discovering the laws of composition of the late Beethoven, of Schubert, of Schiller, in order to be, then, able to do something creative themselves. And I think that Nicolaus of Cusa was correct when he said that once people have tasted the "sweetness of truth," they try to find more of it, and more and more.

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