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Comments by john c. halasz
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On “replying to a comment on comments – part 2 (us v is)

Again, this is all too screwy to respond to in detail. But, I didn't advocate an "alliance" with the Assad regime, (which is too late), but simply an acknowledgement, as part of, which should have been the case all along, a political-diplomatic containment of the conflicts in the region and ISIS in particular. There is no military "solution", since ISIS would have to be replaced with another Sunni force, which the U.S. lacks the "legitimacy" to install.

 

The invasion of Iraq, without due cause, was a cluster-f*ck, which shouldn't be rationalized away. To me, the biggest shock wasn't just the attempt to convert the country, after its sovereignty had been collapsed and assumed by the U.S., into a Cato Institute wet dream, staffed by College Republicans, but, after that was an obvious failure, with the outbreak of civil war, Gen, Petraeus being assigned the task of drafting a counter-insurgency manual. You mean, after the Vietnam debacle, the U.S. military had completely ignored the issue of counter-insurgency? And the recent collapse of the Iraqi army is just ARVN all over again. This isn't grand strategy; it's repetition compulsion.

 

Terrorism, in the relevant sense, isn't all that you crack it up to be, and afflicts the people over there far more that over here. But the deepest flaw in U.S. Mideast policy over the years isn't the alliance with Israel, but that with Saudi Arabia, which has used its oil wealth to export what otherwise would be a minor, deviant form of Islam. None of that was either prudent or "necessary".

Rooting matters in events thousands of years before the existence, let alone the ascendency, of Western Europe and its off-shoots, is an evident absurdity.

The U.S. has an opportunity to manage its declining hegemony, but whether its elites will see fit to do so, rather than exacerbate the conditions of the world through short-sighted and selfish over-reach is doubtful.

The U.S. achieved global hegemony as still a young and rather adolescent nation. And so it remains. As a French wag once put it, the U.S. is the only great nation to have gone from innocence to decadence without passing through the stage of civilization.

On “replying to a comment on comments – part 1 (teleonomy)

This is all to involuted and projective to be dealt with, even if I weren't busy with other obligations, but:

 

1) That compunding of historical and geographical features called "geo-political" is useful, especially for understanding limiting factors in international affairs, it's not determinative. So, for example, compare the U.S. and Argentina circa 1900 and then explain their divergent 20th century destinies. And outlining the lineaments of U.S. ascendency does not lead on to or underwrite fantasies like "full spectrum dominance".

 

2) "Historicism" and "post-modernism" are definitely not the same thing, but often opposites. Further, as Gadamer points out, the merely formal refutation of relativism/skepticism, that they must assert the universal truth of their claim and thus necessarily contradict themselves, doesn't really work, as it evades substantive engagement with the matter in question, doesn't eo ipso underwrite an opposing "absolute" claim, and really only refers back to the punctual self-reference of the claimant. (Though these sorts of issues are dealt with better via Wittgenstein). Nor is historical thinking necessarily relativistic. (The way to confute such relativism is to point out that it itself implicitly adheres to an absolute standard, such that historical relativism, to the extent that it is not simply an obvious, empirical observation, itself holds itself above history, rather than understanding itself as emerging from history). Nor does historical thinking deny any (relation to) any "outside". It's just that there is no securable access to any transcendent or noumenal realm, certainly not outside the mediations of history, and any claims about such are necessarily projections within history. The most that can be fully claimed is that a movement of transcendence within human historical existence is "necessary" to the achievement of any coherent understanding. But that doesn't amount to the sheerly dogmatic claim that something transcendent must precede and underwrite all history, else no understanding is possible. Speculative metaphysical or religious claims can be adhered to, on an operative existential basis, but they can't be fully "made out" and adequately "justified" on the basis of public reason. They are not so much irrational, nor completely void of the operations of rational thinking, but arational.

3) Kojeve is a mash-up of Hegel, Marx and Heidegger, a famous instance of "creative misinterpretation". And I would read Hegel as making precisely this point: henceforth modern societies must generate their sense of legitimate authority out of their own resources, without appealing to any extra-worldly transcendent source. But beyond Hegel, an appreciation of human finitude is in order, both individually and collectively, which involves a sense of limits. Nor is finitude reducuble to what merely fleeting and perishable. A "synchronic order", essential to coherent thinking and understanding , is nonetheless attached to the diachronic, and can be coherently conceived as another mode of temporality, rather than "eternal". The point about "teleonomy", a term originally invented by general systems theorists, is that it permit purposive human behavior, both on the level of individual agents and on the level of overall "system goals", without such behavior being predetermined or predestined by some pre-given a priori "foundation". Any "ultimate ends" are projectively constructed, in the clash between human freedom and objective reality, rather than amounting to a final revelation of the timeless or eternal.

 

4) The wise-crack about economics came up in the context of the claim that American "democracy" in the era of neo-liberalism and elite-sponsored corporate globalization increasingly doesn't represent the interests of the vast majority of its citizens. Consider this chart for instance:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Screen-shot-2014-09-25-at-12.35.01-AM.jpg

 

More generally, I don't understand your desire to endlessly rationalize growing U.S. dysfunction at home and abroad, and proclaim its catabolic tendencies as "providential", when it clearly undermines the sovereignty of governments and thus the possibility of any stable alliance of republics that might make "international law", (something I'm not very big on), something of a reality, rather than a transparently and heedlessly manipulated hypocrisy.

On “us v is (What’s So Funny… 2)

Briefly, 1) yes, it's your blog, but the "other participants" were on the CT thread that you've cited here. 3) Yes, 2 oceans and abundant natural resources, (though the latter are somewhat relative to economic/technological systems). But geo-political considerations apply quite generally and are never completely explanatory. 3b),5), 8) I'm not po-mo. This is just standard hermeneutics (Gadamer). Any sort of tradition, as effective history, only survives and renews itself through its successive applications and re-interpretations. And any origins only become identifiable when enough distance has been gained from them, which implies also that they have somewhat lost their hold. History, insofar as it is not just one damned thing after another, concerns the conjunctural emergences and transformations of meanings, understanding, norms and world-views, together with their correlated social/institutional structures, which is the prime interest in such a study, (and why "origins" must be plural and periodic), insofar as it contributes to current self-understandings. And it also follows that there are no "eternal",  extra-worldly or trans-historical truths, reflexively, especially about history itself, which doesn't vitiate any sort of validity claim, but simply limits it, as always potentially and even inevitably, if unforeseeably, revisable. Further, there is a third alternative between reductive causal immanence and unjustifiable metaphysical teleology: teleonomy. 6) Economics is not your strong suit, eh? 7), 8) Power can't be reduced to the classical couplet force or fraud. There are also both functional and normative components to its generation and exercize, no matter how ideologically obscured or distorted they might be. Perhaps a purely Schmittian account has some functional and normative deficits which would qualify its explanatory and explicative "force". 7), 8), 9), This is what I honestly don't understand about your POV. The U.S. just has to be (itself?), regardless of any of its doings, (however attributed)? Whereas ISTM that heedless U.S. doings, (and the "Peter principle" governing its supposed elites), has severely undermined its hegemony and its reputation effects. The Mideast is a perfect example, since its actions destabilized the area to the point where neither its ostensible friends or allies, nor its selected enemies show much respect for U.S. interests or objectives. And I don't think your reading of Daesh/Al Qaeda, in terms of a supposed "clash of civilizations" and "transcendent values" is remotely plausible. Like Ebola, they are malignant and dangerous, but far more a threat over there than here, and the hysteria is rather misplaced, insofar as it ignores the contributions of "our " mistakes, which have undermined credibility and legitimacy in the region. But as I think I've remarked before here, Daesh/Al Qaeda are just a species of religious nihilism, generated from the shocks of the modern world, (rather in the manner of Arendt's take on Nazism, as a wildly slap-dash and incoherent ideology, hollow at its core, and thus self-consuming), rather than any enduring opponent, "justifying" the over-extension of the national-security state, when no such "security" is at issue and no such means are appropriate, relevant or effective. There are all sorts of "reasons" why some might seek to fight-to-death, but that doesn't make those reasons "transcendent". (That's what the "Darwin awards" are for). I prefer the term "devolution" to notions of corruption, degeneration , decadence, as repeating reactionary tropes, but the decline of the "American century" is as inevitable as a self-inflicted wound. Bottom line: reality is not a TV show.

"

Well, I suppose I just don't understand what your getting at and you're talking past me (and likely many other participants). If you want to criticize (?) others' "presuppositions", then just what are yours and shouldn't you be laying your cards on the table? (And if we're not talking about Syria/the Mideast and U.S. involvement/responsibility there, just what are we supposed to be talking about?)

But from what I can make out of your apparent assumptions here, they strike me as fairly dubious. For one thing the assumption of a continuous American "exceptionalism" from the very origins of the country seems tendentious and teleological. There are no origins, except retrospectively and somewhat mythical, (as opposed to a welter of confused contingencies), and the history of the country is subject to emergences and transformation, resulting is periodizations or "epochs", though only retrospectively identifiable. (History involves both continuities and discontinuities, if it is to be regarded as intelligible, which is what is wrong with Foucault's structural mutations, just as much as traditional unreflective historiography of "the West" as originating in ancient Greece and Rome, as transmitted through the Renaissance and resulting in a triumphant and distinctive Western "humanism").

SO if you want to discuss the U.S. ascendency to global hegemony and its strange from of "neo-imperialism", (without assuming some sort of pre-destination), then perhaps some periodization is in order. And post-WW2, there are two, the Bretton Woods era, and the neo-liberal era, which emerged as a result of the failure of BW and the stagflationary crisis that resulted from it. There is also, of course, the Cold War era that overlaps the two, which ended with American triumphalism, (though with no accounting for its risks and damages, which likely continue with us). But the key point is that the Bretton Woods framework, in Keynes' conception, but also partly in White's, was intended to allow each nation a measure of control over its economic policies, to suit its own peculiar circumstance and allow for its development, with some degree of success. But the neo-liberal era of U.S. sponsored "globalization", (which corresponds to the switch from net creditor to net debtor status and resulted in the unprecedented condition that the global hegemon was an importer rather than exporter of surplus capital), has persistently undermined the sovereignty of nation-states and their capacity to conduct domestic policy, in favor of the extra-territorial power of finance capital and MNCs.

So ISTM that you're rationalizing such a "logic of disintegration" (Adorno) under the guise of intrinsic Americanism, when it is not self-evidently in the national and public interest of Americans, at least conceived as a majoritarian system. But nor is the legitimacy of such a system automatically guaranteed by any sheerly autonomous proceduralism, as if such were immune from manipulation, hollowing-out and "corruption". Yes, power is said to derive from the people, as "sovereign", as is the case in our "democratic" age with nearly all regimes, even the most despotic, but that, of course, is something of a legal fiction. But likewise, the location of "the people" in the essentially private interests of individuals rather than in the public status and compact of citizens,- (rather Hobbesian, that!),- rather undermines the claim to republican self-government, (and at the limit, encourages all sorts of infantilism and paranoia and their manipulation). And it encourages the faith, not uniquely, though especially American, that political problems are susceptible to technological solutions.

 

I can't quite shake the impression that your perspective seeks to disable all criticism, in the name of the sheer facticity of American power and its demand for "sacrifice", (which is especially absurd in the face of the clusterf*ck that is U.S. Mideast policy over the last 2 decades).. But perhaps rather than appealing to Schmitt, you should be heeding Arendt, with her emphasis on the key role of judgment. (The two could be considered 2 halves of a broken whole, when considering the political)."Great" leaders are to be distinguished by the quality and efficacy of their judgments, regardless of the cause, party or ideology that they serve. Obviously, few completely measure up, (Bismarck or Venizelos might serve as examples though), but the point is that they are just as well subject to the judgments of lesser mortals and to be held accountable in such terms. And when the leadership so persistently fails in its judgments and forfeits the trust, (another version of legitimacy), that they have claimed from the people, then they have dissipated the very power that they have claimed. IOW there is much to be said for the power of self-restraint, for observing limits.

But then perhaps my POV is just unreconcilable with yours. I'm first generation, the offspring of post-war European immigrants and have the betwixt-and-between perspective of an immigrant. I lack the self-confident complacency of "native" Americans and their unreflective assumption that voluntaristic individualism is somehow the natural and "universal" order.

"

I didn't further reply because I was busy,- (had to organize a meeting),- and by the time I was free, the thread had been over-run by some of the usual spam commenters.

However, here you seem dangerously close to counter-Enlightenment, as if unthinkingness were to be elevated into a supreme virtue,- (and then what next, stupidity and ignorance?)

And I don't think you have much sense, in the current Mid-east crisis, of how much the U.S. has already lost in terms of credibility and legitimacy, from both ostensible allies or friends and opponents and irremediable enemies. (This is also more general, as with the German finance minister blaming the U.S. for the GFC, which is not entirely incorrect, but, of course, blame-shifting for German stupidity in dealing with the Euro crisis).

You don't get to make drastic "mistakes" and then simply declare "time out" and ask for a do-over. The "mistakes" already have consequences and implications, and trying to cover up that fact, at home or abroad, is bootless. And by now, the concatenation of mistakes piling up has left few viable options. In the case of Daesh it is not simply enough to defeat it, but a viable source of local/regional "legitimate" rule in the aftermath needs to be formed. And the U.S. has no basis in the region for doing so. (Aside from the fact that one pick-up costs $30.000 and one bombing run costs $500,000).

Power, however generated or arrived at, can be used effectively or heedlessly squandered. There is something like a conservation law involved. And whether it is Albright/Clinton or Cheney/Rumsfeld or the shallow Obama and his patently hypocritical moralizers, too much has been presumptuously and imcompetently squandered for any "grand strategy" based on geo-political alliances to be recuperated and rendered effective, rather than just reactive and ad hoc. Gratuitous moralizing stands revealed as just empty moralizing, and abstracting into ahistorical "theological" history, as opposed to actual temporal history, just rationalizes the problems away.

On “genomisia

A Levinasian paradox: she was a Polish RC right-wing nationalist bigot, yet she issued an appeal, itself in entirely anti-semitic terms, for the rescue and defense of Polish Jews, and founded a branch of the "Home Army" to carry out that purpose. The Israelis awarded her the honor of "the righteous among nations", but only after she was safely dead.

Speech-act theorists have the notion of "performative contradictions", that there are non-isomorphic correspondences between what one says and what one does. Her case is the flip side of that coin. Human beings are complicated.

"

"an orientation or pathology whose worst and most typical manifestation"

I would question the "most typical" part.

For the rest: Zofia Kossak-Szczucka

On “OBL’s Argument (3): Leviathan

So what exactly is the "sacred"? That which is inviolable and avenges its violation through violence? Thus that which demands the internalization of sacrifice (however barbaric)?

Consider the case of civil disobedience: is that not precisely an instance of sacrificial citizenship? One which challenges the established power and its "sacred" legitimacy and calls down its vindictive force upon it. But also indicates its mere temporality and changeable nature.

You might reply that such a case precisely relies on sovereignty and its reconstitution, which is correct. But it also undermines its unchallengeable claim to the "sacred" and its claim to survive all such challenges based simply on its violent factical imposition. "Verwilderte Selbstbehauptung".

"

By citing two other Baroque thinkers on the matter, in contrast to Hobbes, I was trying to bring out that sovereignty is as much a normative as a factical matter, even if it is always a matter of power. It's more a matter of hegemony than simply the classic couplet of force and fraud, and when hegemonies wear away, increasingly resorting to force and fraud, sovereignties can disintegrate. There is nothing sacred about the matter.

OBL might be the perfect stalking horse for a Schmittian argument, but Schmitt raised interesting questions, rather than providing satisfying or acceptable answers. And the lords of misrule and their wrecking crew need to be brought to account, precisely in the name of any "acceptable" sovereignty.

"

The paragraph from Hobbes has its antecedents, comparing the "body politic" to a physical body, as in the speech from "Coriolanus". But Hobbbes was less an avant-garde 17th century materialist than an inheritor of late-medieval scholastic nominalism, in its decaying form. Hence his program involved reducing everything to the external motions of material bodies in space, including human thoughts or motives, ("endeavors"). (Spinoza's metaphysical ethics of affects could be thought of as an alternative response and Umfunktionierung of the Hobbesian social contract). So, yes, there must be social bonds that emerge and bind the allegiances of a body-politic together, (though the priority of some such political community to the individual doesn't necessarily assume, result from, nor require any sovereign form, which itself isn't unchangeable).

IOW far from Hobbesian mechanism having defined the sovereign "social contract" once and for all, he could be seen as the precursor of technocratic rule, politics as a "science" of administrative power, which invites the very dissociation of the individual, (as both subject and object of administration), from collective allegiances and communal bonds that you seem to deplore. Vico, as the last remaining exponent of the classical conception of practical reason, of politics as the "practice of prudence", would have been his opposite number, which is why he initiated the philosophy of history as a "new science".

But I just don't think you're making any useful argument by citing OBL. Religious nihilism vs. sovereign totalism, if not totalitarianism, isn't any sort of inviting prospect.

On “Osama Bin Laden’s Interesting Argument (1)

Hamas and OBL are not the same "thing" and it's maybe surprising that those who want to criticize current Israeli aggression make that conflation. (There's lot's of twisted pretzel logic here in "justifying" anything.) Hamas, though Islamicist and having engaged in "terrorist" methods, (as did the elements in the Yishuv), is attached to a national-ethnic project. (And it's not quite beside the point that they were assisted in their formation by the Israeli security apparatus in the 1980's as a counter to the P.L.O.) OBL was a sheer religious nihilist, and his "global" agenda was not a means to any possible end, but the obliteration of any political rationale. Hence while there is a clear asymmetry of power between Hamas and Israel, there is a certain symmetry of "justifying" arguments. I don't think Netanyahu quite understands the alternative nihilism he is courting.

On “The De-Civilization of Gaza

The problem there is that it is the very same logic that Hamas used to "justify" their suicide bombers during the late Oslo period and the second intifada: aren't all Israeli citizens bound to serve in the IDF and therefore (sic!) aren't they all really part of the Israeli military? (Leaving aside that the 2006 Palestinian elections were sponsored by the U.S., among others, and then deliberately overturned when the wanted results failed to materialize, and that Hamas took over in response to an attempted Fatah coup, sponsored by the U.S., Egypt, etc.) It also assumes that states, by virtue of their establishment within a "liberal international order", are incapable of perpetrating terrorism, and that a people has no right to struggle for their independence within that established order, to claim sovereign power for themselves.

Some recourse to simple facts, rather than abstruse and twisted arguments might be in order as well. The population density of Gaza: 13,000 per square mile. To put that into context, the population of the municipality of Shanghai in Red China: 9900 per square mile. To claim that Hamas is hiding behind civilians as a shield is a military absurdity; does the IDF really expect them to stand out in the few open spaces available to be machine-gunned down? Similarly, if the IDF chooses to launch airstrikes and artillery or tank fire into such a dense population, them must take responsibility for the "collateral" casualties that they inflict, as at least partly deliberate and intentional.

It seems to me that the intransigence and bad faith are equally on the Israeli (and American and Egyptian) side as on the side of Hamas, (aside from the fact that Netanyahu deliberately manipulated this current conflict into existence, to destroy the Palestinians' unity government deal.)

On “Climate Change vs Moderation

This is a poor post. All paranoid fantasizing and hand-waving; no attention to fact and function, on a scientific, technical and economic basis.

To start with, coal, on a cost-price basis, is still one of the best sources of energy, with a couple of centuries of supply and an EROEI generally estimated around 40. But that is precisely the problem. "Clean coal" is an unproven technology and likely would yield a far lower return on an EROEI basis and on a financial ROI basis. (Geo-engineering schemes are certifiably insane, and virtually no independent scientists would advocate them. Globally, ecological crises are running rampant, independent of AGW, which is an intensification and not a sublation of them, and the ecological consequences of such geo-engineering scheme are incalculable). And nuclear, aside from all its other problems, has proven very costly to build and has very long lead times, aside from the various vapor-ware proposals about breeder reactors or thorium reactors.

If you don't understand how the alternative universe of think-tank hackery is constructed to moot numerous "alternative" proposals to obfuscate matters in favor of vested interests, you might consult Mirowski's work on the "neo-liberal thought collective":

http://www.amazon.com/Never-Serious-Crisis-Waste-Neoliberalism/dp/1781680795/ref=la_B001IXO1OO_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399332794&sr=1-1

Constructing a clean, green renewable and sustainable electrified energy system is perfectly feasible, using a "smart grid" to overcome intermittency/storage problems with wind and solar, given a balancing agency for the grid, most likely hydro. And it would be a far more distributed/small scale system of power generation. Land transport would be electrified too, (since that is vastly more efficient than ICEs), with electric mass transit systems, (which under current technology could be highly "personalized), replacing private autos, wherever population densities permit.

Along the lines proposed by Arjun Makhijani:

http://ieer.org/resource/reports/carbon-free-and-nuclear-free/

Or Mark Z. Jacobson:

http://www.amazon.com/Air-Pollution-Global-Warming-Solutions/dp/110769115X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399318227&sr=1-1&keywords=mark+z.+jacobson

From the perspective of individual "freedom", as well as generalized social welfare or quality of life, such a system would be a large enhancement over centralized systems of energy production and distribution.

A first crucial step is a carbon tax-and-rebate scheme, which, once implemented, should both buffer the population against rising costs and disruptions and bring along public support and engagement for energy transformation:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/british-columbia-carbon-tax-sanity

After that, a good deal of public investment and a publicly guided indicative industrial policy would be required, (because of the realization and coordination problems of building new capital stocks and infrastructure, while writing down older investments faster than "normal" depreciation), as well as, restoring the public status of institutions of science and research, from their private, corporate capture under neo-liberal auspices.

But other than coal, fossil fuel resources and efficiencies are already declining. Peak oil has arrived, and fracking and other "extreme" practices yield poor EROEI and ROI returns. If continued, eventually they would just yield a massive amount of stranded sunk-cost investment losses, and, if in the meanwhile, an alternative energy system isn't developed, the result would just be a massive depression and collapse. And then, of course, the likelihood of tyrannous authoritarian "total state" politics emerging would be vastly greater, even if also vastly less productive and capable of equitable distributions.

So why the claim for a "total state" rather than just a differentiated one? And why the concern for "liberal democracy", in the light of its transformation long since into "post-democracy":

http://www.amazon.com/Post-Democracy-Colin-Crouch/dp/0745633153

Surely, you, of all people, can't be opposed to the sovereign authority and coercive power of governments? And, given the finitude of human agency, aka "freedom", on both the individual and collective levels, why would you want to uphold the noli mi tangere, often rather infantile attitudes of American right-libertarians?

This is surely an issue on which "theological" speculations hold no pride of place.

On “The Hebraic Heidegger (Another Discussion Not To Be Held)

I typed out a brief response at CT, somewhat in a hurry, since I had to attend a local environmentalist meeting, but it failed to register, (likely because I failed to press send). But it might make more sense to respond here, because, ya know...

I didn't mean to recommend "Heidegger's Silence", if that was the exact title and I don't even remember when I read it. It was just an example of a certain sort of tendentiousness, in twisting his thought-themes to pre-conceived purpose.

I might take up you recommendation of the Rosenzweig/Heidegger book, if I can locate a cheap copy sometime. (Since I've never read Rosenzweig).

As to Levinas, he explicitly cited Rosenzweig as one of his principal precursors/influences. But I read a Levinas essay on Buber, which made plain to me how much more incisive a thinker Levinas was.

As an aside, I once read an essay by a then young Canadian scholar (Rebecca? Cornay?), which made a convincing case that Walter Benjamin, who was also strongly influenced by Rosenzweig, was a critic of Heidegger avant la lettre, anticipating the latter's future "positions". One curious fact uncovered was that early on, in 1916-17, in his early "theological" writings, Benjamin cited an article by Heidegger, when they both were equally obscure, as the foremost representative of the "historicism" that he was bent on criticizing.

It certainly is a "misfortune" that one of the most central and seminal philosophical thinkers in the 20th century, and the founding figure of existential phenomenology and hermeneutics was a Nazi, which is always to be taken under advisement in approaching his work. Equally that doesn't vitiate the quality or validity of his work or the questions and themes it raises. Those issues are to be criticized on their own merits, as are the works of his various "progeny", who didn't labor under such a dark cloud of suspicion.

But we're now due for another go-round on this issue. (Why Heidegger exactly preserved his private journal and thus allowed for its belated publication is itself a question. But it's "black", because it was bound in black). As of now, before the polemics have died down and the actual contents are combed over, dated, and contextualized in a more "scholarly" manner, I think it shows what was already known, that Heidegger was prone to a certain self-aggrandizing solipsism and a "coldness" toward worldly events, (as merely "ontic"), while pursuing his obsessive project of thinking. If some of it might reflect anti-semitic prejudices, some of it likely reflects the stresses of a disastrous war, which the Nazis had precipitated, (hence, e.g., Nazi propaganda about FDR and the Jews reflected some measure of real trepidation, as with the Morgenthau Plan). And it's also worth keeping in mind that Jews were not the only targets of "Aryan" racism. Probably, the Nazis murdered more Slavs than Jews, (and I'm not talking about direct combat). Even as Germany itself and its "Volk" were succumbing to self-incurred destruction and ruin. If Heidegger withdrew into the "purity" of thinking, it might have been all he could bear, (on the assumption that he wasn't a stupid man).

But I would like to suggest another "reason" why Heidegger was never able to issue any apologia for his actions, other than that he remained an anti-semitic "true believer" or that he had a "peasant" stubbornness, whereby he wasn't going to deny what he'd done, (which didn't amount to having planned and intended it all), but he also wasn't going to kow-tow and pretend it hadn't happened. The Shoah (and much else) was an historical black hole, of inconceivable horror beyond any conception hitherto of evil. And as such, it can't be "recuperated", in any way rationalized or "justified", subjected to any order of "reason", least of all to be instrumentalized for subsequent purposes. But for Heidegger to continue on his "ontological" path of the thinking of Being, (even if it had nothing to do with what traditionally was meant by ontology), and then to attempt to "comprehend" that black hole as an E-vent of Being, could only have resulted in some sort of monstrous gnosticism, that would defy all worldly intent. When Levinas opposed his "fundamental ethics" to Heidegger's "fundamental ontology", he was precisely avoiding any such imprisonment of thinking.

On “again as to the irrational underestimation by rationalists of the rationality of irrationalism

Oddly, the thread is still open. I don't know why, because I'd thought threads were usually shut down by timer, while all the above and below threads have been shut down. The second to last comment is by Bruce Wilder, an economist/MBA type, and left-liberal, who gets something of the "contradictions"you're exposing. If you hurry over, you might still get the booby prize, the precious "last word"

jch

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