The Heidegger in All of Us

ID_IC_MEIS_HEIDE_AP_001 Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

Every 10 years or so, Heidegger's Nazism bursts into public consciousness again. Often, this happens with the publication of a book. The most cataclysmic of these bursts was probably the publication of Victor Farías' Heidegger and Nazism, in 1987. Farías' book took the Nazi accusations to a new level. Previously, it had been possible to discuss Heidegger's Nazism as a political misstep, the naïve blunderings of a philosopher trying to deal with the real world. Farías showed that the relationship was far deeper, that Heidegger's thinking was infected with Nazi thinking and that Heidegger was well aware of that fact. Admirers of Heidegger accused Farías of oversimplifying and conducting a witch hunt. Fancy persons in France wrote elegant essays explaining the importance of Heidegger's thought and the infinite complexity of the relation between thought and politics.

A boring war raged on for decades. But let us be honest, friends — Farías was more or less correct. Over time, the fact of Heidegger's Nazism and its integral relationship to his thinking has sunk in. This brings us to the present, and to the English-language publication of Emmanuel Faye's Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. If Farías provided the nails to Heidegger's coffin, Faye has come along in the role of Big Hammer. Carl Romano, in his essay “Heil Heidegger!” in The Chronicle Review, sums up the situation following the publication of Faye's book with the following:

How many scholarly stakes in the heart will we need before Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), still regarded by some as Germany's greatest 20th-century philosopher, reaches his final resting place as a prolific, provincial Nazi hack? Overrated in his prime, bizarrely venerated by acolytes even now, the pretentious old Black Forest babbler makes one wonder whether there's a university-press equivalent of wolfsbane, guaranteed to keep philosophical frauds at a distance.

The coffin is sealed.