DANGEROUS MINDS: NIETZSCHE, HEIDEGGER, AND THE RETURN OF THE FAR RIGHT By Ronald Beiner


Steve Bannon, once Trump’s Chief Strategist, announced, “We are witnessing the birth of a new political order.” (p. 122) Ronald Beiner, a professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, claims that the rise of the Far Right in the United States and Europe result from the ideas of Frederick Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Victor Hugo once wrote, “There is nothing more powerful that an idea whose time has come.” Both Nietzsche and Heidegger admired “Strong Leaders”–Nietzsche even labeled these individuals “Supermen” or “Overmen.” Both men didn’t believe in democracy. Both men had contempt for the Masses. Heidegger joined the Nazi Party. Beiner shows how the Far Right uses the ideas of Nietzsche and Heidegger to justify their actions in America and Europe against immigrants and groups who are “different.” This slim little book explains a lot of what’s going on. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction. Nietzschean Ideologies in the Twenty-First Century 1
Chapter 1. Reading Nietzsche in an Age of Resurgent Fascism 15
Chapter 2. Reading Heidegger in an Age of Resurgent Fascism 65
Conclusion. How to Do Theory in Politically Treacherous Times 121
Notes 135
Acknowledgments 167

14 thoughts on “DANGEROUS MINDS: NIETZSCHE, HEIDEGGER, AND THE RETURN OF THE FAR RIGHT By Ronald Beiner

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, there’s an old saying: Freedom isn’t free. It has to be defended against groups hostile to individual freedom and civil rights.

      Reply
  1. Patti Abbott

    I always think of my father who was a meek, gentle and kindly man who for some reason admired strong alpha males. And voted for them, I fear.

    Reply
  2. Michael Padgett

    It’s ironic that our chief Fascist has probably never heard of Heidegger or Nietzsche and rarely reads anything more demanding than the National Enquirer. But he certainly knows how to appeal to goobers with three teeth and an IQ in the mid-two figure range. These people are much more dangerous than the people they want to keep out of the country with their wall.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Michael, Steve Bannon was whispering all kinds of Nietzsche and Heidegger ideas into Trump’s ear…before Bannon got bounced out of the White House.

      Reply
  3. wolf

    I have to admit that my friends and I also read and discussed Nietzsche – while still at school.
    But then we realised that his concept of “├ťbermensch” (is that where Uber gets its name from? :)) was too similar to Nazi ideas – never readd him again, thought he was crazy.
    And of course he was crazy after contracting syphylis at least …
    In a way I’m very happy that at least most uf us Germans have learnt from WW2 – the US assistance after 1945 instead of the Morgenthau Plan surely helped with this.
    Just an example:
    In the state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, home of the Schwabs, the strongest party is now the Greens! Not only our local prime minister, the mayors of most of our big cities are Greens – and this in the home of Mercedes, Porsche, Bosch etc.
    When we old geezers meet at a class reunion e g we often talk about our horrible school time – most of our teachers were “Clerical Fascists”, the “Christian” party had an absolute majority (which is not the rule in a multi party system) and many laws from Nazi times were still valid!
    That only changed in the 60s when I was a student – and we had to fight fot this!.

    PS:
    I’ve heard the name of Bannon mentioned often in discussions on Hungarian politics but his ideas of constructing a “United Front” on the extreme right got into trouble quickly, partly because of the Nationalist aspect there. The right wingers in Austria e g want to reduce the amount of “child money” that workers from Eastern Europe get.
    And they are having problems with Italy too because of South Tyrol which was a part of Austria until 1918.
    Of course there’s always a certain number of people willing to acceopt these ideas (though they probably wouldn’t be able to read Nietzsche …:)) but in the civilsed parts of Europe with democratic tradition it’s 10 to 15% max. Only in the former Communist countries (where Leader Stalin was an example) the acceptance of a “Leader” is still higher imho.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Wolf, many of these far right groups pick and choose writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger to support their causes. Many people in the United States don’t believe in Global Warming or Climate Change despite the scientific evidence.

      Reply
  4. Robert Napier

    Every movement stems from opposition to the previous movement. When things get too far left they swing right, and vice versa. I don’t sweat it.

    Reply
      1. Todd Mason

        However, the rightwing and pseudo-leftwing (Leninist and such) swings do tend to kill a lot of people…as do such centrists as Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.

        We don’t get much leftward swing in the US, since the various sorts of hostility to the actual left leading up to WW2, and the mixed bag of the FDR welfare state (and resettlement camps). I am somewaht cheered by the leftists among the Frosh Class in the US House. That Pelosi resents them about as much as Trump does doesn’t dampen that at all.

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