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3 Fate, Community, and Society
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Fate, Community, and Society

A. Fate, Community, and Society

All political concepts, images, and terms have a polemical meaning {einen polemischen Sinn}. They are focused on a specific conflict and are bound to a concrete situation; the result (which manifests itself in war or revolution) is a friend-enemy grouping, and they turn into empty and ghostlike abstractions when this situation disappears. Words such as state, republic, society {Gesellschaft}, class, as well as sovereignty, constitutional state, absolutism, dictatorship, economic planning, neutral or total state, and so on, are incomprehensible if one does not know exactly who is to be affected, combated, refuted, or negated by such a term. [1]

These sentences in Carl Schmitt's The Concept of the Political , published in 1927, by no means mark an extravagant insight, difficult to come by, and peculiar to Schmitt. Rather, he explicitly formulated and generalized a common practice and self-understanding of many authors of his time. In this chapter of the book, I will deal with a cluster of notions, one of which occurs on Schmitt's list of examples, namely, Gesellschaft, society. Already by the end of the eighteenth century, the notion of society and the one Heidegger uses in section 74 of Being and Time , namely, that of Gemeinschaft, community (BT 436; SZ 384) had entered a constellation that became more and more polemical. From the perspective of fight-wing authors, society was a realm, or a form of a synthesis of individuals, in which isolated persons act for the sake of their selfish interests. In this view, the only bond between individuals in society is the common assumption that each individual acts on behalf


of his or her selfish interests, while regarding other individuals exclusively as a means in the pursuit of his or her interests. Thus, this bond is not a «real» bond, since the individuals are connected only in a superficial or—as it has often been put—in a mechanical way and are therefore not really united at all. Right-wing authors at Heidegger's time maintained that liberal parties, left parties, and labor unions do not transcend the realm of selfishness, but are merely means to pursue selfish ends more efficiently. In contrast to society, community and the different communities—family, the village or small town, the Volk, the nation, for some also the state—provide individuals with a stable identity through traditions, customs (Sitte), and feelings uniting individuals on the «deep» level of «positive» emotions. These feelings and attitudes enable the individual to transcend selfishness and to regard himself or herself as part of a larger whole that is not mechanically put together but, like an organism, has a life of its own, exists «prior» to the individuals, and enables them to display «positive» emotions—trust, love, care, awe—both toward the community as well as toward the other members of the community. [2] Related to the notion of Gemeinschaft is that of Volk, people. In section 74 of Being and Time , Heidegger identifies «Gemeinschaft,» «community,» and «Volk,» «people», which are designated by the concept of Geschick, to which that of Schicksal is related:

But if fateful {schicksalhafte} Dasein, as Being-in-the-World, exists essentially in Being-with-Others, its historizing is a co-historizing and is determinative for it as {bestimmt als} destiny [Geschick ]. This is how we designate the historizing of the community {Gemeinschaft}, of {the} people {des Volkes}. Destiny is not something that puts itself together out of individual fates {Schicksalen}, any more than Being-with-one-another can be conceived as the occurring together of several Subjects. Our fates have already been guided in advance, in our Being with one another in the same world and in our resoluteness for definite possibilities. Only in communicating and in struggling does the power of destiny become free. (BT 436; SZ 384) [3]

In right-wing discourse, the notion of Vorsehung (providence) is related to Schicksal (fate) and Geschick (destiny). Gesellschaft, Gemeinschaft, Volk, Volksgemeinschaft, Geschick, Schicksal, Vorsehung—each of these concepts has its specific history in which it acquired different meanings and polemical functions. However, in the 1910s and 1920s a peculiar constellation of these notions emerged that was exclusively used by authors on the political Right. For my purposes, I can proceed, so to speak, according to the German saying, «Rechts ist, wo der Daumen links ist» (the right side is [that hand] where the thumb is [on the] left [side of the hand]). In the first two decades of this century, authors were «politically Right» if they explicitly argued against (classical) liberals and if, at the same time, they also argued against leftist authors. «Liberals» were all those authors who advocated a liberal


society, in other words, those who—relying on Adam Smith's «invisible hand»—proposed a free capitalist economy, in which the state did not interfere, and who also argued for parliamentary democracy. All those authors who maintained that the capitalist economy and society had to be transformed, either by a peaceful evolutionary process or by a revolution, into a socialist economy and society, whose major feature was the absence of private property of the means of production, were «leftists.» (In between liberals and leftists were those who wanted to keep the capitalist economy and society but also wanted to integrate the institutions of social welfare, etc. into it. Early in the century, many people maintained that the actual politics of the social democrats clearly showed that this was their intention.) In arguing against liberals and leftists, rightists made the following assumptions: (1) It is not reason or the development of the means of production that «governs» or «rules» history, but rather Geschick, Schicksal, or Vorsehung; (2) One must break with liberal society, because liberal society is either not «good» in itself or it is not «good» because, sooner or later, it will lead to a socialist society; (3) Liberal society is an aberration from, or has done away with, the «real» forms of life, with Gemeinschaften or with Gemeinschaft; (4) The Gemeinschaft can be rerealized through a destruction of liberal society.

As the song of the Social Democrats ("Brüder, zur Sonne, zur Freiheit!" [Brothers, onward to the sun, onward to freedom!]) already indicated, for social democrats as well as for liberals the development of society—the enormous advance of the means of production in capitalist economy and the progress of parliamentary democracy—was a step upward and forward. For right-wingers, however, this advance was actually a fall, even a downward plunge, that had to be «corrected» by canceling society and by rerealizing community. To cancel society meant to eliminate parliamentary democracy, but for many rightist authors it did not mean to exclude but rather to keep private possession of the means of production, that is, a capitalist economy. Canceling society, as far as its economy was concerned, meant purifying the Gesinnungen, the mentality, attitudes, and sentiments of all individuals involved in the capitalist economy of their alleged selfishness, since it was only this Gesinnung that was harmful and produced crises. Once that Gesinnung is removed, it will be clear that private property and modem technology are not a hindrance but rather the best means for promoting the development of the community. While some right-wing authors, among them the nostalgic, or conservative, romantics wanted a return to a pretechnological community, those I am interested in here adhered to the scheme outlined above. I will illustrate these assumptions with reference to two authors, Adolf Hitler and Max Scheler, who explicitly and in public declared themselves politically on the Right. However, authors who did not explicitly argue against liberals and leftists also must be considered rightists if they shared the above-


mentioned premises that enabled rightist authors to condemn the liberals and leftists and if one finds in their works no premises or passages that could identify them as advocates for liberals, social democracy, or communism or from which one might be led to either of the latter positions. It is along these lines that I will infer from the fact that Heidegger's notion of historicality is identical with the positions of Scheler and Hitler that Heidegger's concept of historicality is also politically on the Right. In chapter 4, I will present leftist notions of decision in order to illustrate more concretely both concepts of decision, that of the Right and that of the Left.

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf consists of two volumes. The first, published in 1925, has 406 pages and includes his autobiography from his youth to the first successes of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in Munich in 1920. In the second volume, published in 1927 and 376 pages long, Hitler explicates the program of the party in the context of his interpretation of history in general and of political history in particular, especially from the Kaiserreich up to November 1926. He presented the main points of the second volume already in the first one since he believed one had to repeat the main points again and again to hammer them home. In both volumes, it is Schicksal (fate), Vorsehung (providence), and God that govern history. In the first volume, fate is present from the first sentence on. He thanks fate for having allocated to him Braunau on the Inn as his birthplace:

Als glückliche Bestimmung gilt es mir heute, daß das Schicksal mir zum Geburtsort gerade Braunau am Inn zuwies. Liegt doch dieses Städtchen an der Grenze jener zwei deutschen Staaten, deren Wiedervereinigung mindestens uns Jüngeren als eine mit allen Mitteln durchzuführende Lebensaufgabe erscheint! (MK 1)

Today it seems to me providential that Fate should have chosen Braunau on the Inn as my birthplace. For this little town lies on the boundary between two German states which we of the younger generation at least have made it our life work to reunite by every means at our disposal. (MKe 3)

Reading the English translation, one could get the impression that Hitler by himself made up as his life's work the reunification of Germany and Austria and that fate comes into play only as a power placing the individual into circumstances that are either favorable or not favorable for the individual's realization of the lifework he has set for himself. In the first case, he will deplore fate, in the latter, however, he will thank fate, as Hitler does here. At that time, however, German readers would have read those two sentences differently. They would have taken for granted that fate, in the first place, has given Hitler his life's work, and that Hitler thanks fate for having placed him into circumstances that made it relatively easy for him to recognize what task fate


has given him. [4] Still, to become aware of such an extraordinary mission as his is not easy, and he had to go to some lengths before he was able to recognize his fate. [5] The young Hitler wanted to become a painter and later on an architect. However, as he realized in November 1918, it was his fate to become a politician. He had been wounded at the western front in France in World War I and had been brought to a hospital in Pommern, East Prussia, where he heard of the revolution in Germany:

In the days that followed, my own fate became known to me {wurde mir auch mein Schicksal bewußt}. I could not help but laugh at the thought of my own future which only a short time before had given me such bitter concern. Was it not ridiculous to expect to build houses on such ground? At last it became clear to me that what had happened was what I had so often feared but had never been able to believe with my emotions.

Kaiser William II was the first German Emperor to hold out a conciliatory hand to the leaders of Marxism, without suspecting that scoundrels have no honor. While they still held the imperial hand in theirs, their other hand was reaching for the dagger.

There is no making pacts with Jews; there can only be the hard: either—or. I, for my part, decided to go into politics {Ich aber beschloß, Politiker zu werden}. (MKe 206; MK 225) [6]

It is not quite clear whether his suspicion or fear, now vindicated, refers to Kaiser William II, the revolution, or his decision, or to two or all three of them. If it refers to his decision too, the passage also testifies that his fate is hard, but that it is only a great «person» («Person») that can have a great fate because the tenets of Marxism and liberalism to the contrary notwithstanding, history is made by the great person and the great race (e.g., MKe 382ff.; MK 419ff.). At any rate, this passage is one of the shorter examples among many statements in which he expounds upon what he considers crucial in his life and his understanding of world history. His decision to become a politician does not come about as the culmination of a process in which, independent of anything or anyone else, the individual has freely imagined and considered several possibilities for his life and then, for this or that reason, adopted one of the options. Rather, here the individual simply becomes aware of his fate, which is not produced by him, or the individual—to use a formula of Heidegger's in regard to Plato—«only responded {entsprach} to what addressed itself to him {was sich ihm zusprach}» and what the individual himself «did not bring about» (BW 299; VA 21). The individual does not create his fate. Instead, his fate exists prior to him and, at some point, explicitly raises its voice. It is in this moment that the individual becomes conscious of his fate and has the choice to obey, take on, and realize his fate or not to do so. This choice, however, is not an arbitrary one. The individual does not express his personal freedom by deliberating on his own whether or not he


should take on his fate. On the contrary, he proves his freedom by obeying the compelling call of fate, for it is his «sacred duty {heilige Pflicht } to act in this way » (MKe 640; MK 725).

There is no choice, for I can't not do what is my duty. This in no way diminishes the greatness of the individual—quite the contrary. Obeying the call proves the greatness of the person who is capable of recognizing the enormous duty to save the Germans and the entire world. Only a coward, or an inauthentic Dasein, shies away from the task fate has ordered him to carry out. Obeying the call, however, is also already the first step toward the rerealization of the Aryan race, for the strong sense of duty and the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the community of the people and the race are both indications and effects of the superiority of the Aryan race, whose political domination over the entire world has to be reestablished (e.g., MKe 296ff.; MK 325ff.). The «Jew» is the opposite of the «Aryan.» While the Aryan's blood was originally pure but later became contaminated, the Jew kept his blood pure and contaminated the blood of other people. While the Aryan has the strongest sense of self-sacrifice for the sake of the Volksgemeinschaft, the Jew has the strongest sense of individual self-preservation, and he always acts for the sake of his selfish interests (MKe 300ff.; MK 329ff.). In liberalism and parliamentary democracy, it has become manifest that the Jew has spoiled the blood of the Aryan. Social democracy and Marxism are just means for the Jew to achieve dominion over the entire world. One of the leitmotifs of Hitler's book is the often repeated assumption that, no longer guided by the common good but rather by their selfish private interests, the bourgeois individuals and their parties—the liberals as well as the conservatives—compromise and «bargain» with the political enemy to the extent that they are no longer capable of seeing the enemy as enemy, just as in the passage quoted above, their emperor was no longer able to do. Hitler characterizes this as «the steadily increasing habit of doing things by halves {Halbheit in allem und jedem },» no «sense of joy in responsibility {Verantwortungfreudigkeit},» no «will,» no «force of decision {Entschlußkraft}» (MKe 236f; MK 258). Caring only about themselves and having only one God, namely, «money» (MKe 406; MK 449), these bourgeois people want to avoid any clear either-or; they don't want to have fate for fate in decisive moments does not operate like merchants and moneymakers. The bourgeois and the social democrats in their internationalism try «to deny the entire past . . ., to make it bad or worthless, which shows either inferiority or even an evil intention,» since the meaning and the purpose of revolutions does not lie in the destruction of the works of the past but in the effort «to remove what is bad or unsuitable and to continue building on the sound spot that has been laid bare» (MKe 261; MK 286). [7] Having no sense for and actively denying the only source of a meaningful future, that is, the past, and lacking force of decision, the bourgeois certainly has no sense for the future (e.g., MKe 29, 398; MK 29, 440). [8]


The second and crucial chapter of the first volume is entitled "Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna" (MKe 19; "Wiener Lehr- und Leidensjahre," MK 18). The title is an allusion to Goethe's famous novels Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre and Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre . In fact, the first volume follows the pattern of a Bildungsroman, a novel about a character's intellectual or spiritual development, in style, organization, and also in Hitler's efforts to imitate the language of such novels. In other words, here too the individual leaves his place of birth, goes out into the world to experience all the Mächte des sittlichen Lebens, powers of the ethical life, to which he has to establish a relationship. The ideal of the bourgeois Bildungsroman was, as Hegel put it in a formulation that is as polemical and ironic as characteristic of his entire philosophy, the «Einbildung» («building of . . . into»).[9] The free individual bildet sich, forms or molds himself by, so to speak, molding, or merging, himself into the powers of the ethical life. In this process, the individual transcends his particularity and abstract freedom and becomes general or universal. By the same token, the powers of the ethical life bilden the individual by bilden themselves ein into the individual, that is, by molding themselves into the individual. In this way, the powers of the ethical life realize and affirm their actuality in the free individuals. Hitler rejected this model of the Bildungsroman. For he did not acknowledge the powers of the ethical life prevalent during his time. However, he also rejected the second type of the Bildungsroman, namely, that the individual, either triumphantly or in resignation, does not recognize himself in the powers of the ethical life, withdraws from them, and leaves them as they are. For Hitler was serious about the demand that individuals have the right to recognize themselves in the powers of the ethical life as well as about the demand that the powers of the ethical life must be proper manifestations of the ideal common good. In his view, none of the powers of the ethical life in existence at that time could live up to these standards. Thus, all of them had to be thoroughly transformed or pushed aside. Therefore, the title of the first volume is utterly un-bourgeois, namely, "A Reckoning" (MKe 1; "Eine Abrechnung," MK n.p.). In the course of his Bildung, Hitler encountered all the powers of the ethical life prevalent in the literature on community and society, and he encountered them in the order in which they are discussed there. Hitler begins with the small-scale communities of the family and the villages or small towns, in his case Braunau. He was privileged by fate to be able already there to encounter the large-scale communities, especially the people, for he experienced the Slavic people and the threat they posed to Germany. He then moves on to society, the big city, in his case Vienna. Here he encountered capitalist society and the associations related to it, such as the unions and the political parties. In Vienna he also got to know more thoroughly the large-scale communities, namely, the nation, the people, the race, and the state. Later on in the book, he also discusses the issue of the different German Stämme, tribes. [10] However, in none of these societies and communities can he find the common good realized. Society is the realm of self-


ish interests, more or less openly in the hands of the Jews. The large-scale communities have fallen prey to the modus operandi of society. For because of their inability to make decisions and their creeping liberalism the bourgeois and the social democrats in their internationalism have fallen prey to the Jews who use them to pursue their dominion of the world. Thus, all these groups have to be canceled or thoroughly transformed in order to make room for the rebirth of the proper community, namely, the Volksgemeinschaft, the community of the people, of the Germans, acting as the proxy of the Aryans whose dominion over the world has to be reestablished.

Duplicating the pattern of the literature on Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft, however, Hitler's position in it is a distinguished one not only because he makes a case for something not all of the literature advocated, namely, the Volksgemeinschaft, but also because, in contrast to most of the literature on Gemeinschaft, Hitler depicts the small-scale Gemeinschaften not so much as a stable realm threatened only by society. Rather, according to him, they are threatened and about to dissolve first and foremost because of the Slavic people and their blood, who are in the process of taking over the Hapsburg monarchy. This is the epistemological and emotional advantage fate gave him so as to facilitate his task of becoming conscious of his enormous fate. For, outside the Kaiserreich and having lived under the threat of the Slavic blood already as a child, Hitler could learn a lesson that, being busy with making colonies and building up a navy, the Germans of the Kaiserreich were in a position to learn only after World War I, namely, «what it means to be forced to fight for one's nationality {für sein Volkstum kämpfen zu müssen}» (MKe 11; MK 9). Already as a kid he «became a nationalist.» And, in addition, already as a kid he «learned to understand and grasp the meaning of history {Geschichte ihrem Sinne nach verstehen und begreifen}» (MKe 10; MK 8). Throughout his political career, he would unpack the notion of history he had learned from Dr. Leopold Pötsch:

Even today I think back with gentle emotion on this gray-haired man who, by the fire of his narratives, sometimes made us forget the present; who, as if by enchantment, carried us into past times and, out of the millennial veils of mist, molded dry historical memories into living reality. On such occasions we sat there, often aflame with enthusiasm, and sometimes even moved to tears. (MKe 14; MK 12f.) [11]

The way back into the past is not such that it can lead one to forget the present. Rather, Dr. Leopold Pötsch taught his students the relevance of the past for the present, and that transformed Hitler into a revolutionary:

What made our good fortune all the greater was that this teacher knew how to illuminate the past by examples from the present, and how from the past to draw inferences for the present. As a result he had more understanding than


anyone else for all the daily problems which then held us breathless. He used our budding nationalistic fanaticism as a means of educating us, frequently appealing to our sense of national honor. . . . And indeed, though he had no such intention, it was then that I became a little revolutionary. (MKe 14f.; MK 12f.)

To be a fervent nationalist already as a little kid was the gift of a fate that ensured that Hitler on his way through life would not fall prey to Gesellschaft. After the death of his mother, Hitler could not live on his orphan pension. Thus, he moved to Vienna to earn a living. Fate itself sent him there. Already prior to his settling in Vienna, fate removed one obstacle on his way to recognize his fate, for he had already failed to receive admission to the art school. Thus, the first sentence of the second chapter reads: «When my mother died, Fate, at least in one respect, had already made its decision {Als die Mutter starb, hatte das Schicksal in einer Hinsicht bereits seine Entscheidung getroffen}» (MKe 19; MK 18). It was a hard time in Vienna, «five years of hardship and misery» (MKe 21; MK 20), with «hunger» as the only «faithful bodyguard» (MKe 21; MK 20). However,

what then seemed to be the harshness of Fate {Härte des Schicksals}, I praise today as wisdom of Providence {Weisheit der Vorsehung}. While the Goddess of Suffering took me in her arms, often threatening to crush me, my will to resistance {Wille zum Widerstand} grew, and in the end this will was victorious.

I owe it to that period that I grew hard and am still capable of being hard. And even more, I exalt it for tearing me away from the hollowness of comfortable life; for drawing the mother's darling out of his soft downy bed and giving him 'Dame Care' {Frau Sorge} for a new mother; for hurling me, despite all resistance, into a world of misery and poverty, thus making me acquainted with those for whom I was later to fight. (MKe 21; MK 20)

As the context and the other quotations in this section show, with «my will to resistance grew,» Hitler does not at all mean that his will to resist fate grew. Quite the opposite. Fate puts to the test the one it has chosen for higher ends in order to bring to the fore his ability to live up to his fate and to harden him for the mission before him. As one says in German, «sich seines Schicksals würdig erweisen» (to prove oneself worthy of one's fate), or «sich einer Aufgabe würdig erweisen» (to prove oneself worthy of a task) is what persons of character or what «Kämpfer » (MK 10; «fighters, » MKe 12) do, while only cowards or «die Lauen » (MK 10; «the lukewarm, » MKe 12) lose heart in face of the odds fate confronts them with. [12] Thus, his «will to resistance» and the hardness he has achieved are the will to resist the odds fate tests him with and also the will to resist the future odds he will have to overcome to carry out his life's work fate will reveal to him. The will to resistance is part of the training of his capacity to listen to and to comply with fate so as to


prove himself worthy of fate when fate will reveal his life's work to him. He came to know those for whom he would fight later on, namely, the betrayed German workers, and he came to know their enemies, whom he would fight against, for he got to know «Marxism and Jewry» (MKe 21; «Marxismus und Judentum,» MK 20). Hitler maintains that on his arrival in Vienna he was unbiased toward society and the powers of ethical life related to it. He even enjoyed the struggle of the social democrats for the general right of the secret vote, as this seemed to contribute to the breakdown of the Austrian state. He also appreciated the social democrats' and the unions' pretension to work for the improvement of working conditions (MKe 37f., 46f.; MK 39f., 48f.). As for the Jews, he had adopted the attitude of his father, who in the course of his life «had arrived at more or less cosmopolitan views . . ., despite his pronounced national sentiments» (MKe 51; MK 54). He did not even recognize Jews as Jews (MKe 52; MK 54), and at the beginning of his time in Vienna the tone of the Viennese anti-Semitic press still seemed to him «unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation» (MKe 52; MK 56). Moreover, he had «a certain admiration» for the English parliament as «the most sublime form of self-government of a people» (MKe 76; MK 82). Thus, «it required the fist of fate {Faust des Schicksals} to open my eyes to {all the} betrayal of the peoples» (MKe 38; MK 40). Or, as he put it, in Vienna «fate itself became my instructor» (MKe 46; MK 48). As to parliamentarism, he felt he had to «be more than thankful to Fate for laying this question before me while I was in Vienna.» For if he had first encountered «this absurd institution known as 'parliament' in Berlin,» he might just have become a regular follower of the emperor (MKe 79; MK 85). All this is supposed to convey the idea that it was truth itself that forced him to cleanse his soul of the prevalent misjudgments and attitudes and to develop into the gift of fate and divine providence. Fate enabled him to see the truth. In the third book, he summarizes his political experiences and thinking of his time in Vienna. The penultimate paragraph reads:

I do not know what my attitude toward the Jews, Social Democracy, or rather Marxism as a whole, the social question {soziale Frage}, etc., would be today if at such an early time the pressure of destiny {Druck des Schicksals}—and my own study—had not built up a basic stock of personal opinions within me. (MKe 125; MK 137)

Even prior to the first chapter, readers are informed that Hitler's philosophy of history is one of a «wieder» («re-»), of the return of a vanished past. In his "Dedication," he lists the names of all those who fell «on November 9, 1923, at 12.30 in the afternoon, in front of the Feldherrnhalle» (that is, during the unsuccessful putsch through which Hitler and his party wanted to take over the rule of Bavaria). They did so «with loyal faith in the resurrection of their people» (MKe n.p.; «im treuen Glauben an die Wiederauferstehung ihres


Volkes,» MK n.p.). Probably, there is no other book with as many occurrences of «wieder» («re-»). Just consider this example, representative of numerous similar passages:

Through his physical strength and dexterity, he must recover {wiedergewinnen} his faith in the invincibility of his whole people. For what formerly {einst} led the German army to victory was the sum of the confidence which each individual had in himself and all together in their leadership. What will raise the German people up again {wieder emporrichten} is confidence in the possibility of regaining {Wiedererringung} its freedom. (MKe 411f.; MK 456f.)

The pervasive terminology of bodily infection, from which the Volkskörper, the body of the people, has to be cured drives home the same point. The body had been healthy, but then it fell ill. The sickness must be removed to restore the body to its healthy state. Sickness is a fall from health, and this fall must be reversed. At the very beginning of the chapter "Causes of the Collapse" (MKe 225ff.; "Ursachen des Zusammenbruchs," MK 245ff.), in which Hitler examines the causes of the defeat of Germany and Austria in World War I, he writes:

The extent of the fall of a body is always measured by the distance between its momentary position and the one originally occupied. The same is true of nations {Völker} and states. A decisive significance must be ascribed to their previous position or rather elevation {Höhe}. . . . This is what makes the collapse of the Reich so hard and terrible for every thinking and feeling man, since it brought a crash from heights which today, in view of the depths of our present degradation, are scarcely conceivable. . . .

So deep is the downfall of the Reich and the German people, . . . . so blinded by the sublime {of the former Reich} {are the people} that they forget to look for the omens of the gigantic collapse which must after all have been somehow present.

Of course, this applies only to those for whom Germany was more than a mere stop-over for making and spending money, since they alone can feel the present condition as a collapse, while to the others it is the long-desired fulfillment of their hitherto unsatisfied desires. . . .

The cure of a sickness can only be achieved if its cause is known, and the same is true of curing political evils. (MKe 225f.; MK 245f.)

For many conservatives, the «re-» of history was about the reestablishment of the Kaiserreich. However, for Hitler the very fact that it had lost the war is sufficient indication that fate has something different in mind. [13] At the end of the chapter, he repeats that the «deepest and ultimate cause» was the «failure to recognize the racial problem and its importance for the historical development of peoples» (MKe 283; MK 310). This is the myth of the original purity of the Aryan race and its dominion over the world. This past has to be


rerealized. For when the Aryan race conquered other people, its blood no longer remained pure but became mixed with inferior blood. This is the infection that has dragged mankind into the fall. Liberalism and parliamentary democracy are its latest steps in the downward progression. However, the fall is by no means already at its end. Rather,

the Western democracy of today is the forerunner of Marxism which without it would not be thinkable. It {Western democracy} provides this world plague with the culture in which its germs can spread. In its most extreme form, parliamentarianism, it created {In ihrer äußeren Ausdrucksform, dem Parlamentarismus, schuf sie sich noch} a 'monstrosity of excrement and fire' {quote from Goethe's Faust , part 1, v. 5356}, in which, however, sad to say, the 'fire' seems to me at the moment to be burned out. (MKe 78; MK 85. Instead of «In its . . . created,» it should read «In its {democracy's} outer manifestation, namely parliamentarianism, it {democracy} even/at the end created. . . .»)

Marxism, in turn, culminates in bolshevism. Both are the means for the Jews to dominate the world, and bolshevism is the most advanced of the two (e.g., MKe 621ff; MK 700ff; Marx wrote Capital to provide the practice of the Jews with a theory, e.g., MKe 215; MK 234; even the social democrats are already lead by Jews, MKe 60; MK 64). Once bolshevism has taken over Europe entirely, everything will be lost.

However, prior to the end of the downward plunge—at a time when it is still possible to reverse its course—fate, arranged by God, interferes. Or it changes its mode of guiding history and adds thunderstorms and the call to reverse the downward plunge to its constant silent presence in history. For many, World War I was such an occasion. Prior to 1914 Hitler had felt that the entire world was becoming «one big department store» with the English as merchants, the Germans as the administrative officials, and the Jews as owners (MKe 157; MK 172). The fact that he was born into this period and not a hundred years earlier, at the time of the Wars of Liberation against the French, the fact that his «earthly pilgrimage . . . had begun too late,» in a «period 'of law and order',» he regarded as «a mean and undeserved trick of Fate» (MKe 158; «eine unverdiente Niedertracht des Schicksals,» MK 173). In this situation, the Boer War was «like a summer lightning,» and the Russo-Japanese War found him «considerably more mature» (MKe 158; MK 173). Still, fate, or rather Heaven, had decided to take some years to clean the air and to provide the Germans with an opportunity to get rid of the mentality of department stores and of their supposed owners:

Since then many years have passed, and what as a boy had seemed to me a lingering disease, I now felt to be the quiet before the storm. As early as my Vienna period, the Balkans were immersed in that livid sultriness which customarily announces the hurricane, and from time to time a beam of brighter light flared up, only to vanish again in the spectral darkness. But then came the


Balkan War and with it the first gust of wind swept across a Europe grown nervous. The time which now followed lay on the chests of men like a heavy nightmare, sultry as feverish tropic heat, so that due to constant anxiety the sense of approaching catastrophe turned at last to longing: let heaven at last give free rein to the fate which could no longer be thwarted {der Himmel mäge endlich dem Schicksal, das nicht mehr zu hemmen war, den freien Lauf gewähren}. And then the first mighty lightning flash struck the earth; the storm was unleashed and with the thunder of Heaven there mingled the roar of the World War batteries. (MKe 158; MK 173) [14]

However, the war was lost. World War I and its outcome could not merely be the deplorable end of the Kaiserreich. It had to have a deeper meaning. Hitler maintains that fate brought about World War I and its consequences so as to make the disease visible and thus warn the Germans while there was still time for them to cure themselves and the world:

For the German people it must almost be considered a great good fortune that its period of creeping sickness was suddenly cut short by so terrible a catastrophe, for otherwise the nation would have gone to the dogs more slowly perhaps, but all the more certainly. The disease would have become chronic, while in the acute form of the collapse it at least became clearly and distinctly recognizable to a considerable number of people. (MKe 232; MK 253)

«Man» was able to master the plague because it comes in terrible waves. «Man» was not able to master tuberculosis because it comes along slowly and stealthily (MKe 232; MK 253).

Exactly the same is true of diseases of national bodies. If they do not take the form of a catastrophe, man slowly begins to get accustomed to them and at length, though it may take some time, perishes all the more certainly of them. And so it is a good fortune—though a bitter one, to be sure—when Fate resolves to take a hand in this slow process of putrefaction {wenn das Schicksal sich entschließt, in diesen langsamen Fäulnisprozeß einzugreifen} and with a sudden blow makes the victim visualize the end of his disease. For more than once, that is what such a catastrophe amounts to. Then it can easily become the cause of a recovery beginning with the utmost determination {Ursache einer nun mit äußerster Entschlossenheit einsetzenden Heilung werden}. (MKe 232f.; MK 254)

He continues:

But even in such a case, the prerequisite is again the recognition of the inner grounds which cause the disease in question.

Here, too, the most important thing remains the distinction between the causes and the conditions they call forth. This will be all the more difficult, the longer the toxins remain in the national body {Volkskörper} and the more they become


an ingredient of it which is taken for granted. For it is easily possible that after a certain time unquestionably harmful poisons will be regarded as an ingredient of one's own nation or at best will be tolerated as a necessary evil, so that a search for the alien virus is no longer regarded as necessary. (MKe 233; MK 254)

In the mixing of blood, that of the German people did not retain a unified racial nucleus and did not achieve another unity, even a lower one. This is a disadvantage, as it has prevented the Germans from confronting the common enemy in the moment of danger as a «solid front of a unified herd» (MKe 396; «geschlossene Front einer einheitlichen Herde,» MK 437). [15] However, this was, so to speak, the cunning of fate, as it is this very fact itself that makes the recovery possible:

Today our people are still suffering from this inner division; but what brought us misfortune in the past and present can be our blessing for the future. For detrimental as it was on the one hand that a complete blending of our original racial components did not take place, and that the formation of a unified national body was thus prevented, it was equally fortunate on the other hand that in this way at least a part of our best blood was preserved pure and escaped racial degeneration. (MKe 397; MK 438f.)

In contrast to the widespread ignorance, especially in the era of liberalism, and the commonly held assumption that all human beings are of equal value («in völliger Gleichwertung»),

today we know that a complete intermixture of the components of our people might, in consequence of the unity thus produced, have given us outward power, but that the highest goal of mankind would have been unattainable, since the sole bearer, whom Fate had clearly chosen for this completion {den das Schicksal ersichtlich zu dieser Vollendung ausersehen hat}, would have perished in the general racial porridge of the unified people.

But what, through none of our doing, a kind Fate {ein gütiges Schicksal} prevented, we must today examine and evaluate from the standpoint of the knowledge we have now acquired. (MKe 397; MK 439)

The «highest goal of mankind» is «ca peace . . . based on the victorious sword of a master people, putting the world into the service of a higher culture» (MKe 396; MK 438).

Once upon a time, the Aryans had been pure. Fate allowed for or even arranged for their fall. At a certain point in their fall—when it was still possible to restore purity and the lost supremacy—fate interfered in order to allow the Germans to become aware of the fallenness. For fate has chosen the Germans as the saviors of mankind. At the same time, fate has provided them with the means to restore their purity. Fate has brought about World War I


and the Weimar Republic in Germany for the purpose of creating a crisis or a «great turning point» (MKe 406; «große Zeitenwende,» MK 450). Now it is possible to «halt the chariot of doom {Wagen des Verhängnisses} at the eleventh hour» (MKe 373; MK 409). Or, as Hitler put it regarding himself and his fellow Nazis, «today we are a reef; in a few years Fate may raise us up as a dam against which the general stream will break, and flow into a new bed» (MKe 667; MK 758). It is, as he says of the beginning of World War I, the site «where all playing is at an end and the inexorable hand of the Goddess of Destiny { die unerbittliche Hand der Schicksalsgöttin} begins to weigh peoples and men according to the truth and steadfastness of their convictions {Gesinnung}» (MKe 163; MK 178). It is the moment of the either-or: «And assuredly this worm is moving toward a great revolution. The question can only be whether it will redound to the benefit of Aryan humanity or to the profit of the eternal Jew » (MKe 427; 475). Or, as he puts it close to the end of the book, «Germany will either be a worm power or there will be no Germany » (MKe 654; MK 742).

Indeed, at this point what individuals do really matters. It depends on their reactions whether fate will be realized or not. The fate of the German people, Russia, and, ultimately, the entire world, is in their hands. In this sense, the individuals or people become fate, or agents, on whose behavior the «fate» of all people depends. Many don't want to hear the call of fate, as, for instance, in spring 1923: «With the occupation of the Ruhr, Fate once again held out a hand to help the German people rise again. . .. When the Frenchman carried out his threats, . . . a great decisive hour of destiny had struck for Germany {eine große, entscheidende Schicksalsstunde geschlagen}» (MKe 675-677; MK 767-769). For no one in Europe had an interest in a stronger France and would have opposed if the Germans had fought back. However, the parliamentarians missed the opportunity of resolute resistance and of building up military power (Mke 677ff.; MK 769ff.). Those who listen to the call realize that it will take centuries to restore the purity of blood and race (MKe 562; MK 629). However, it needs only six years of resolute National Socialist education and gymnastics to ready the Germans for war (MKe 633; MK 716). This is important, since the Germans need land and should take it from Russia, as Hitler explains at length in the last two chapters. «Here Fate itself seems desirous of giving us a sign» (MKe 654; MK 742), for the Russian revolution, lead by «the Jew,» has done away with the «intelligentsia {Intelligenz}» that built the Russian state. This intelligentsia, however, goes back, not to the Slavs, but rather to the Germans (MKe 654f.; MK 742f.). Indeed, in the «great turning point» (MKe 406; «große Zeitenwende,» MK 450) the «hand of the world clock . . . is loudly striking the hour in which the destiny of our nation must be decided in one way or another {in der unseres Volkes Schicksal so oder so entschieden werden muß}» (MKe 663; MK 752).


The fate of the Germans, and thus, of the world, depends on the individual Germans. Indeed, the «great turning point» brings freedom, action, and responsibility for the individuals. As it has become clear, however, the freedom of the individual does not consist in freely choosing among possibilities he has created by himself. Nor does it consist in freely choosing among several possibilities that the past, having become multiplied under the eyes of authentic Dasein and its utopian ideal, offers to authentic Dasein. And it does not consist in authentic Dasein breaking with the past or with all the possibilities in the past. Rather, in the «great turning point» all the different possibilities in which Dasein has lived so far become null and void in relation to the one fate imposes on the Daseine. Their freedom is the freedom of either not listening to fate or doing so, that is, submitting to fate, and realizing the command fate reveals. The first means that the chariot of history will irrevocably go down the drain, the second might lead it back to former heights, which fate has revealed in the «turning point.»[16] It has already become clear that the logical structure of Hitler' s concept of history and the «turning point» is identical to that of Heidegger's concept of historicality. Thus, in Hitler one finds numerous sentences showing the same logic as Heidegger's sentence on erwidert and disavowal (BT 438; SZ 386). For Heidegger, in the moment of crisis authentic Dasein erwidert, responds to, the call for help of fate and of a past world which is being pushed aside but which demands to be repeated. Authentic Dasein hears the message that, in order to repeat the past world, it has to push aside what is now pushing the past aside or has already done so, that is, authentic Dasein must cancel, or widerrufen, Gesellschaft. Consider, for example, just the following two quotes: «If we understand that the resurrection {Wiedererhebung} of the German nation represents a question of regaining {Wiedergewinnung} our political will for self-preservation, it is also clear that this cannot be done by winning elements which in point of will at least are already national, but only by the nationalization of the consciously anti-national masses» (MKe 333; MK 366). The antinationalism of the masses (and the indecisiveness of the bourgeois parties) has pushed aside the German nation. Authentic Dasein erwidert the call for the Wiederholung of the German nation. Hearing the call, authentic Dasein realizes that it cannot wiederholen the German nation without a Widerruf of that mentality, that mode of the «they,» that has pushed aside the German nation. The «wider-» of the Widerruf cancels the «wider-,» that is, the «anti-» of the antinationalism of the masses or, in general, of the alleged hostile stance of society against community. Or, as Hitler put it on the next page:

Historically it is just not conceivable that the German people could recover {noch einmal einnehmen} its former position without settling accounts with those who were the cause and occasion of the unprecedented collapse which


struck our state. For before the judgment seat of posterity November, 1918, will be evaluated, not as high treason, but as treason against the fatherland {Landesverrat}.

Thus, any possibility of regaining {Wiedergewinnung} outward German independence is bound up first and foremost with the recovery {Wiedergewinnung} of the inner unity of our people's will. (MKe 334; MK 367f.)

The reestablishment of the inner unity of the people's will is achieved by a Widerruf of the mentality of those who have destroyed it or—in terms of Hitler's architectural metaphor quoted above—by the demolition of what they have built in order to lay bare the sound foundations for the rebuilding of the National Socialist state.

As to the political aspect of Gesellschaft, it has already become clear from the few passages I have quoted here that Hitler develops an antiparliamentary and thoroughly illiberal domestic policy and an imperialistic foreign policy agenda that foreshadows the policy put to work in 1933. Of course, nothing else can be expected from someone who constantly stresses that peoples as well as individuals belonging to one and the same people are unequal and of different value, as for instance in the following passage:

In the state the folkish philosophy {völkische Weltanschauung} sees on principle only a means to an end and construes its end as the preservation of the racial existence of man. Thus, it by no means believes in an equality of the races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated, through this knowledge, to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will that dominates this universe. Thus, in principle, it serves the basic aristocratic idea of nature and believes in the validity of this law down to the last individual. It sees not only the different value {den verschiedenen Wert} of the races, but also the different values of individuals. From the mass it extracts the importance of the individual personality, and, thus, in contrast to disorganizing Marxism, it has an organizing effect. But it cannot . . . for in a bastardized and niggerized world. . .. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord {i.e. the Aryan race, the Germans, and their leader} commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise. (MKe 383; MK 421; see also MKe 442ff.; MK 492ff. and passim)

Moreover, a person who maintains that already in August 1914 it was the duty of the German government to «exterminate mercilessly» (MKe 169; «unbarmherzig auszurotten,» MK 185) the leaders of the Social Democratic Party and the Jews, was probably ready and willing to use violence, even to the point of physical annihilation, against all those who refused to exchange their mentality for that of National Socialism or who had been declared the eternal racial foe of the Germans.


As to the economic aspect of Gesellschaft, Hitler's diagnosis is that, indeed,

in proportion as the economic life grew to be the dominant mistress of the state, money became the god whom all had to serve and to whom each man had to bow down. More and more, the gods of heaven were put into the corner as obsolete and outmoded, and in their stead incense was burned to the idol Mammon. A truly malignant degeneration {Entartung} set in; what made it most malignant was that it began at a time {in the Kaiserreich} when the nation, in a presumably menacing and critical hour, needed the highest heroic attitude {heldische Gesinnung}. (MKe 234; MK 256)

However, this is not a result of private property and capitalism. Rather, it is a result of the fact that through international finance and stock exchange capital, the Jews have taken over the German economy and initiated class-struggle (MKe 313; MK 344f. and passim). One has to distinguish between capital itself and the Jewish international capital. This distinction «offered the possibility of opposing the internationalization of the German economy without at the same time menacing the foundations of an independent national self-maintenance by a struggle against all capital» (MKe 213; MK 233). In fact, private property and competition is the best means to promote the Volksgemeinschaft and the Aryan race since it is in accordance with the general law of nature, namely «Kampf» («struggle») as «Auslese» («selection») of the strongest and best (MKe 245; MK 267 and passim). To put the economy into the service of the Volksgemeinschaft will renationalize capital by a Widerruf of its denationalization, and it will restore the sense of duty and sacrifice in the capitalists as well in the workers by a Widerruf of their deheroification. In this way, private property and competition will contribute strongly to the flourishing of the Volksgemeinschaft (MKe 596; MK 670ff.).

I have mentioned several ways in which fate becomes active in the moment of crisis. There is, however, one more. The last paragraph of the third chapter, following the one with «the pressure of destiny» as quoted above, reads:

For if the misery of the fatherland can stimulate thousands and thousands of men to thought on the inner reasons for this collapse, this can never lead to that thoroughness and deep insight which are disclosed to the man who has himself mastered Fate only after years of struggle {der selber erst nach jahrelangem Ringen Herr des Schicksals wurde}. (MKe 125; MK 137; the phrase «der selber . . . Herr des Schicksals wurde» is literally «who has himself become master of Fate»)

Just as the phrase «the will to resistance» does not mean «the will to resist his fate,» the phrase «Herr des Schicksals» or master of fate does not mean that he has successfully resisted fate and even has become its master in the sense that it is now he who rules over and determines fate. In its brevity,


«Herr des Schicksals sein oder werden» (to be or become master of fate), the phrase is somewhat unusual. The phrase, «Er ist sein eigener Herr» (he is his own master) refers to a person mature enough to take care of himself or if used ironically, to a stubborn person. The phrase «Er ist seines eigenen Schicksals Herr» (he is the master of his own fate) is used—though not very frequently anymore—to refer to a mature, independent, and autonomous person. As the insistence on «own» shows, probably this expression goes back to atheist liberals, just like the saying «Jeder ist seines eigenen Glückes Schmied» (everyone is the smith of his own fortune = everyone is the architect of his own fortune). However, «Er ist (wurde) seines Schicksals Herr» (he is [became] master of his fate) describes someone who managed not to break down under «the pressure of his fate» but endured in dignity and thus realized his fate properly. Similarly, «Er wurde der, Aufgabe Herr» (he mastered/became master of the task) means that someone managed to properly carry out a task given to him. It is with a view to these latter usages that Hitler says of himself that he became «master of fate.» Only cowards and the lukewarm break down under the test of fate and don't want to, or are not able to, take over their fate. For English readers, it might perhaps be surprising that Hitler uses a word of mastery and domination to describe what is actually a being subsumed by fate. However, he is not alone in the usage of expressions of mastery for acts of submission. It is one of the strategies of the right wing to polemically redefine for its purposes the liberal vocabulary of autonomy and freedom.[17]

In this case two additional ideas made it very easy and expedient for Hitler to use this formulation. By proving worthy of his fate and by anticipating the accomplishment of the task fate has given him, Hitler has become the master of the fate of Germany and the world. By listening to fate, he is going to reverse the downward course of Germany and the world and thus be their fate in the sense mentioned above. This leads to the idea that he is the «master of fate» in the sense that he is the «master» of Germany and the world, sent by fate to save them. It is precisely the brevity of the phrase «master of Fate» that allows it to take on the sense of «the master whom Fate has sent» («Eine gute Gabe Gottes» = a good gift of God = a good gift God has given). Hitler is fate's Geschenk or its Gabe, fate's gift, to the word in the moment of crisis, and to him the world must submit. Hitler explicitly says so more than once. In the chapter "The Strong Man is Mightiest Alone" (MKe 508; "Der Starke ist am mächstigsten allein," MK 568, a quote from Schiller's play Wilhelm Tell , act 1, scene 3), he writes:

Yes, it can come about that centuries wish and yearn for the solution of a certain question, because they are sighing beneath the intolerable burden of an existing condition and the fulfillment of this general longing does not materialize. Nations {Völker} which no longer find any heroic solution {heroische


Lösung} for such distress can be designated as impotent while we see the vitality of a people, and the predestination for life guaranteed by this vitality {die Lebenskraft eines Volkes und die durch sie noch verbürgte Bestimmung zum Leben}, most strikingly demonstrated when, for a people's liberation from a great oppression, or for the elimination of a bitter distress, or for the satisfaction of its soul, restless because it has grown insecure—Fate some day bestows upon it the man endowed for this purpose, who finally brings the long yearned-for fulfillment {wenn ihm . . . vom Schicksal eines Tages der dafür begnadete Mann geschenkt wird, der endlich die lang ersehnte Erfüllung bringt}. (MKe 510; MK 570; see also MKe 116, 581, 606; MK 126f, 651, 682)

B. Scheler in War

Scheler was one of the very few contemporary philosophers whom Heidegger appreciated. In fact, «Max Scheler was, aside from the sheer scale and quality of his productivity, the strongest philosophical force in modem Germany, nay, in contemporary Europe and even in contemporary philosophy as such,»[18] as Heidegger said when he interrupted his lecture course, The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic , in summer 1928 to give an obituary on Scheler shortly after the latter's death. In 1915 Scheler published a book entitled Der Genius des Krieges und der Deutsche Krieg (The genius of war and the German war) (in PPS). Before the end of 1915 a second edition came out, followed by a third edition only one year later. The book's dedication reads, «Meinen Freunden im Felde» («For my friends in combat»), and its motto is a verse by Friedrich Schiller: «Aber der Krieg hat auch seine Ehre,/der Beweger des Menschengeschicks» («War also has its honor/the mover of the Geschick of humans»).

In World War I several German philosophers and intellectuals wrote for the cause of the Germans. Some of them perhaps felt some sort of social pressure to do so. However, to have finished a book of 443 pages (in its editions in the 1910s) as early as «the first half of November 1914» (PPS 10; the date of the preface), that is, three months after the beginning of the war, was more than, so to speak, even the German Emperor could have asked for. I will discuss only the three features of Scheler's hymn on the war and the Germans that are pertinent to my purposes here, namely, the contrast between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft, the step out of Gesellschaft into Gemeinschaft, and the status of Schicksal.

Scheler has two visions. The first is «the most horrible imagination can depict» (PPS 153). There are three empires, the Japanese regime in Asia, the Russian empire that has expanded to the West, and a «more or less mechanized America» (PPS 153). England is the servant of Russia. Germany, France, and Italy have been pressed down to the level of Spain (PPS 153). In his second vision, Scheler conceives the victory of Germany and Austria (PPS 153)—like


Hitler—with a metaphor of bodily disease caused by a virus from outside that has entered the body: «A Europe that expels from its blood like a foreign poison Anglo-American capitalism and the concomitant Calvinistic-puritanistic devastation of Christianity, and at the same time turns the expansion from east to west back into an expansion from west to east» (PPS 153; «ein Europa, das englisch-amerikanischen Kapitalismus und dazugehörige calvinistisch-puritanische Verödung der Christlichkeit aus seinem Blute wie ein fremdes Gift ausscheidet und gleichzeitig die ost-westliche Expansionsbewegung in eine west-östliche wieder zurückverwandelt»). This Europe will «keep forever the spiritual leadership of the world» (PPS 217)—«under Germany's military leadership against the East» (PPS 216f.). For Scheler, England is the main enemy in Word War I since it has been the vanguard of capitalism—a mentality he calls «English cant.»[19] Liberalism, Enlightenment, and «English cant» are all the same. In addition, social democracy, Marxism, and socialism by no means represent a mentality that has overcome «English cant.» Rather, it is the same mentality developed further, and it is the «truth» behind Enlightenment and «English cant.»

Let me begin with a passage that includes all three relevant aspects. Scheler has pursued his reflections to a point where he can reveal «the core of the great ethical paradox of war» (PPS 76). Those who argue against the war—the «modems and liberals» (PPS 76)—do so «in the name of "universal love for mankind," in the name of "humanity"» (PPS 76; «Im Namen einer "allgemeinen Menschenliebe," im Namen der "Humanität"»). In Scheler's view, however, by doing so the modems and liberals «abuse the noble name of "love"» (PPS 76; «mißbraucht man den edlen Namen der "Liebe"»). Indeed, they use the notion of love for what has been the modem project of liberal capitalist society, namely, for the «clever dovetailing of private interests such that the promotion of each of their parts also promotes the other parts» (PPS 76; «solche kluge Verzahnung der Privatinteressen, daß die Förderung jedes ihrer Teile die anderen Teile mitfördert») to the effect that this system «economically "saves," puts aside, what is divine in man, namely, love, sacrifice, duty, even spirit itself to the point that all spirit becomes superfluous» (PPS 76; «was die edelste Kraft im Menschen, das Göttliche in ihm, was Liebe, Opfer, Pflicht, ja am Ende Geist überhaupt so lange ökonomisch "spart", bis aller Geist überflüssig wird.» «Saves» here in the sense of, as it were, «to take money out of circulation, to put it into a savings account, and thereupon to forget about the existence of this savings account,» or «to maximize profit by downsizing,» that is,—in Heideggerian terms—to de-cide, to sort out, to eliminate love, etc.). The modems and liberals reduce man to what he has in common with animals. They deny love, sacrifice, duty, highest values, religion, art, philosophy, Sittlichkeit, state, right, and essence. In brief, they deny that the idea of man «represents itself only in a multitude of characteristically different national units and units of Volk» (PPS 76f.). The attempt to isolate


and universalize any one specific and personal value amounts to a blindness concerning the totality of highest spiritual values and reduces all values to the lowest level of values, the one of sensual pleasure and pain (PPS 77). Thus, here we have the paradox of war, which is a paradox only for moderns and liberals, for true love of mankind and humanity one finds «not prior to the war, neither after the war, but precisely only in war itself» (PPS 77). Thus, according to this reversal of the relation between peace and war, Scheler maintains that if in history there is progress in regard to the «soulfulness and depth of the unity of mankind,» it is due to «not peace of the world, but rather to war and the everlasting moral effects on the human soul that accumulate and flow out of war's traditions and deep memories» (PPS 77). It is not peace but war that is «the constructive force of this uniting process» (PPS 77).

Scheler continues in this vein, but I will quote only three more sentences from this context. The fact «that war counteracts the forces that separate the minds and disintegrate Gemeinschaft and that are at work in the civilization and Gesellschaft of peacetime only {die gemüterscheidenden und gemeinschaftszersetzenden Kräfte, die in bloßer Friedenszivilisation und -gesellschaft wirksam sind}, can be regarded as the vehicle of ethical progress» (PPS 77). The pacifists forget that the nations as we know them are the results of war. They forget «that the nations have been welded together by wars, and that the common memory of war is at the core of their community of fate {Kern ihrer Schicksalsgemeinschaft}» (PPS 77). To be sure, peace also develops unions. However, except for matrimony, family, and some sects, all these unions «are always only associations for particular ends and interests , organized according to laws and contracts, but not communities of life united by love {durch Recht und Vertrag geordnete Zweck- und Interessengesellschaften , nicht aber durch irgendeine Art der Liebe zusammengefaßte Lebensgemeinschaften }» (PPS 77).

Another passage concerns the issue of a «(just war» between England and Germany. Again Scheler points out that the war did not occur as a result of intrigues or mistakes by some diplomats. Rather, England's colonial politics and imperialism and the building up of the German navy all were «a necessity» (PPS 121). «We» rightfully no longer adhere to Fichte's and Bismarck's politics, and «we» began a politics with regard to colonies that was meant to provide «us» with that «"place in the sun"» («"Platz an der Sonne"») that is demanded «peremptorily» («gebieterisch») «already by the rapid growth of our population and by the lack of space for expansion in our own country» (PPS 121).

In doing so, we have followed the call of a fate that is as unshakable and as firmly built into the entire German history up to now as England's fate is into England's history! The fates of both people had to clash! They can be decided ultimately only in an all-out war. {Da sind wir dem Rufe eines Schicksals


gefolgt, das genau so ehern und festgefügt ist in der ganzen bisherigen deutschen Geschichte wie das Schicksal Englands! Diese Schicksale beider Völker mußten zusammenstoßen! Sie können nur in einem radikalen Kriege entschieden werden.} If the current war does not decide them, it will be another war, or an entire series of such wars. (PPS 121)

An individual, or a group, does not create its fate. Rather, its fate exists already prior to it and calls upon the individual and the group in a situation in which the individuals, the moderns and liberals, want to forget about fate. The pacifists, moderns, and liberals want not to have fate. Scheler goes on:

In a letter to Gerhart Hauptmann, Mister Romain Rolland wrote: "The French man doesn't believe in fate. Fate is the excuse of the weak ones." In this sentence he unknowingly uncovered the principle of the impudent and unholy arbitrariness that has governed French history from the French revolution on, when it became classical. The opposite is true: Only the strong and great man has a true "fate." Similarly, only that Volk has a true fate that is strong and great and that has deep respect for the inner necessities of its history and follows the profound orders of its inner makeup beyond all transient opportunistic ends and the possible arbitrariness of its government and its diplomats. (PPS 121; Wie nur der starke und große Mensch ein echtes "Schicksal" hat, so auch gerade das starke, große vor den inneren Notwendigkeiten seiner Geschichte ehrfürchtige, und den tiefen Weisungen seiner inneren Konstitution über alle momentanen Opportunitätszwecke, etwaige Regierungs- und Diplomatenwillkür hinaus folgende Volk.)

This is what justifies the war and makes it a «just war»: «Precisely the fact that the war between England and Germany is ordained by fate {Schicksalsmäßigkeit} makes this war a "just" war» (PPS 121).

For Plato, Aristotle, and the philosophers of the Middle Ages the basic axiom of causality was that the cause of an effect must be at least as great as the effect. Modern physics has challenged this axiom and its metaphysical presuppositions. Thus, modern philosophers joke about small causes having great effects—the notorious fly that in the morning harasses the king who at noon declares war on this or that country. Scheler follows the medieval way in his thinking: «What is boundless requires a source that is boundless» (PPS 99).[20] This war is a great and sublime event; indeed, the «most sublime {erhabensten} event since the French revolution» (PPS 9), and therefore, its cause must be great and sublime as well. With this notion he rules out chance, mistakes, or intrigues on the part of this or that government or its diplomats as well as the usual suspect adduced by the Marxists (PPS 106ff. and often elsewhere). Thus, what remains as the only possible cause of war and what definitely is the cause, is fate. He quotes Dostoyevsky who spoke concerning the Russians of the

necessity of remaining steadfast on the problem of the Orient {that is, to conquer Constantinople in order to control access to the Black Sea and to gain access to


the Adriatic Sea} and of pursuing with determination this politics, which our entire history has set before us as our duty {die uns unsere ganze Geschichte zur Pflicht gemacht hat}. . .. In this question lies our definitive clash . . . with Europe . . .. {To conquer Constantinople} is almost our entire fate {unser ganzes Schicksal} for the future. . .. Is it possible that Europe already understands the significance for our entire life, ordained for us by fate, that lies in the resolution of this question {diese ganze, uns vom Schicksal bestimmte Lebensbedeutung, die für uns in der Entscheidung dieser Frage liegt}? (PPS 108f.)

Two pages later, Scheler summarizes: «As great and as all-encompassing for all the spheres of Russia's life the push {Drang} toward Constantinople is, so great and all-encompassing is also the power of fate that pushes us {Germans} to resist it» (PPS 110; «die Schicksalskraft, die uns zum Widerstande dagegen treibt!»). In fact, Scheler uses the concept of fate throughout, beginning with the very first line of his introduction. I quote only the following passage as a summary. The introduction begins with this sentence:

When, at the beginning of the month of August, our German fate {unser deutsches Schicksal} took its stand before us like a single immense dark question {wie eine einzige ungeheure dunkle Frage} and shook each individual to the core—the same fate that only a few weeks ago lay before us like a straight and well-built path and that simply embraced us without being noticed {unempfunden} and with the insouciance and self-evidence of the space around us—it was just one single answer that echoed from all German souls {nur eine Antwort, die aus allen deutschen Seelen zurucktonte[*] }, one raised arm {ein einziger erhobener Arm}: Forward to sword and to victory! {Zu Schwert und zum Siege!} (PPS 11)

Making its demand, fate does away with all the previous disagreements and separations. Scheler continues:

In the holy demand of the hour {In der heiligen Forderung der Stunde} along with all the quarreling of the parties {Parteiengezänk} the greatest differences between our worldviews have also been drowned. With the amazement of a generation for whom the state of peace had gone as unnoticed as the atmosphere, we all saw and felt that the call for serious deeds {Forderung emster Tat} unifies anything and anyone formerly separated by their opinion on war and the interest in war and peace. (PPS 11)

Fate leaves the individual no choice and does not allow any «bargaining.» Scheler continues:

{We all saw and felt}, clear as daylight and without any ambiguity, how a conscience confronted with a deed can and must answer {ein vor die Tat gestelltes Gewissen antworten kann und muß} in a situation where only a moment before the thoughts on war in general and the avoidability of this war in particular differed widely and were worlds apart. (PPS 11)[21]


In these hours, we realize that it is fate that has brought about everything, and that determines each individual. Scheler continues:

The fact that in these hours we actually perceived that a specific national fate reaches down into the core of each individual, of the lowliest and the grandest, and that by this fate it is preordained and codetermined what each of us is and what the value of each of us is, and what will become of each and his life's work—this fact was the most public and universal and at the same time the most intimate {das Heimlichste} and the most individual of what these generations of peace could experience. (PPS 11)

We are no longer alone, we are no longer isolated bourgeois subjects; as Scheler puts it in the following sentence:

All of a sudden, the wide and great path of the world and the most intimate aspiration of each soul saw each other tied together and in a miraculous way interdependent in their development. We were no longer what we had been for so long: alone {Allein}! All of a sudden, the living connection between the individual, the Volk, the nation, the world, and God, which had been torn asunder, was reestablished, and the powers {of the individuals, the Volk, the nation, the world, and God} swing to and fro {between the individuals, the Volk, the nation, the world, and God} more powerfully than previously any poetry, any philosophy, any prayer, and any cult could evoke. However, . . . this miracle best remains unspoken and in the heart alone. (PPS 11)[22]

With this tactful remark, Scheler concludes this passage and introduces the «paradox» (PPS 13) he will solve in the 438 pages to come.

C. Scheler's Formalism in Ethics

For liberals, World War I was the breakdown of everything they believed in and fought for.[23] For Scheler, however, World War I is the proof that his ethical theories as already developed prior to World War I are true. In modernity, «English cant» has taken over. For Scheler, World War I proves that things cannot go on that way and that the «real» forces in history are the powers of Schicksal, Gemeinschaft, and love as they have reemerged in World War I. In the preface of Der Genius des Krieges , he points out that he often refers to his other writings to allow readers to inform themselves about the «basic notions and axioms» («Grundbegriffe und Grundsätze») he uses in Der Genius des Krieges (PPS 10). In 1915 Scheler published a collection of essays, Abhandlungen und Aufsätze , in the preface to which he emphasizes that all the essays were written prior to Word War I (UW 7) and comments as follows: «In what way the enormous event in the moral world occasioned by the war, which now overshadows and shapes the new thoughts of the time, seems to powerfully pull the European forms of Dasein precisely into the


direction of development that prior to the war these essays {in Abhandlungen und Aufsätze } have conveyed the author has recently shown in his book Der Genius des Krieges und der Deutsche Krieg » (UW 8).[24] Similarly, in the preface to the first edition of The Formalism in Ethics , published in 1916, Scheler stresses that its first part was already published in 1913 and that the second part was already finished in manuscript form in the same year (FEe xvii; FE 9). Even in the preface to the second edition of The Formalism in Ethics , written in 1921, Scheler simply states without further comment: «Concrete application of my principles of general ethics to a number of specific problems and to questions concerning our own time will be found in my books Vom Umsturz der Werte (2d ed. of Abhandlungen und Aufsätze ) and Genius des Krieges , in my essay Ursachen des Deutschenhasses , and in my forthcoming book Schriften zur Soziologie und Weltanschauungslehre » (FEe xxii; FE 14).

Thus, Scheler maintains that what he wrote prior to World War I was proven true by the war. World War I and his argument in Der Genius des Krieges are the desired and logical consequences of his philosophy. In the preface to Der Genius des Krieges , Scheler makes use of Plato's simile of the cave:

While the first part {of Der Genius des Krieges , "The Genius of War," the part on war in general} proceeds in such a way that what appears is only the shadow of the war that surrounds us, the shadow the war projects by virtue of the light from the eternal world of ideas, onto the wall of Being; the second part {"The German War"} shows the very same ideas completely immersed into concrete life, into action {Tat} and dictates of the hour {Forderung der Stunde}. (PPS 9)

This is a convenient metaphor for the relationship of his prewar writings to Der Genius des Krieges . The prewar writings deduce the «necessity» of war and anticipate its occurrence, the first part of Der Genius des Krieges gives a fuller picture of the deduced idea of war, and the second part shows the realization of the idea. The metaphor is analogous to the sentences with «erwidert » and «Widerruf » (SZ 386; BT 438) in Heidegger's Being and Time . Prior to the war, liberals stare at their phantasms of liberal society on the walls of their caves. A shadow falls onto those walls and phantasms, but liberals are unable, or unwilling, to recognize what is heralded by this shadow and instead try to cover up the shadow by the work of ambiguity in order to keep those liberal phantasms alive. However, the authentic Daseine see through this work of ambiguity. They erwidern the call of the ideas, which announces itself in the shadow, and they widerrufen the phantasms of liberal society. They extinguish those phantasms and replace them with a proper realization of the ideas that have announced themselves in the shadow and that now take over the place formerly occupied by those liberal phantasms, or as


the war approached, by the twilight of those liberal phantasms and the shadow of war. The realization of these ideas is a rerealization. Actually, what is at stake, as Scheler puts it in the preface to the second edition of Abhandlungen und Aufsätze , is the «resurrection of the eternal order of the human heart, which has been toppled by the bourgeois-capitalist spirit {Wiederaufrichtung der durch den bürgerlich-kapitalistischen Geist umgestürzten ewigen Ordnung des Menschenherzens}» (UW 9).

For Scheler there is no question that modernity is a turning away, or falling away, from the realm of objective values, to which the communities and Christian philosophy in early Christianity as well as in the Middle Ages had been properly related. In the unfinished essay "Christliche Demokratie" (Christian democracy), written in 1919 (PPS 698), Scheler uses a gesture one could call the foundational gesture of metaphysics proper and which allows one to dismiss entire epochs with one fell swoop. Distinguishing between two kinds of «democratism of sentiment» («Gesinnungsdemokratismus»), which in itself has nothing to do with political freedom and equality (PPS 679), he writes:

The first {kind of Gesinnungsdemokratismus} is present in the combination of the Christian idea of love with the theory of objective ranks of values and—corresponding to this theory of objective ranks of values—with the theory of estates {Stand} and professions formulated by Christian philosophy and teaching ("ordo amoris"). The second {kind of} democratism of sentiment has been, in my mind, the root of all those humanitarian movements that pit the love of humankind and the love of God against each other and the love of humankind against that of the fatherland; this second kind of democratism of sentiment wants to promote the welfare of human beings by renouncing the acknowledgment of an objective world of values and truth {unter Verzicht auf die Anerkennung einer objektiven Güter- und Wahrheitswelt } that has to be recognized and actualized within the human realm, that is, {in contrast to early Christianity up to the Middle Ages, modernity maintains that} no longer is the salvation of a person to be placed above his or her spiritual education and morality, and no longer do these two values have to be ranked above health, strength, and welfare, or the vital values above utility and pleasure; rather, {in modernity} the material happiness of the greatest number (Bentham) replaces the objective world of values. (PPS 680)

As is known, in Formalism in Ethics Scheler presents a realm of values that exists independently of human beings. Unlike the Marburg Neo-Kantians, Scheler maintains that human beings don't produce the values but only partake in them; in other words, human beings are only the «bearers of values» (FEe 85; «Wertträger,» FE 103). Values do not exist in their realm in an undifferentiated conglomeration. Rather, they are placed in a clear hierarchic order: «In the totality of the realm of values there exists a singular order, an "order of ranks " {"Rangordnung "} that all values possess among themselves. It is because of this that a value is "higher " or "lower " than another one. This order lies in the


essence of values themselves, as does the difference between "positive" and "negative" values. It does not belong simply to "values known" by us» (FEe 86f.; FE 104). We actualize the differences with regard to the level of the values in a specific act; Scheler calls this «preferring » (FEe 87; «"Vorziehen ",» FE 105), and this must not be confused with «conating, choosing, and willing» (FE 87; «Streben, Wählen, Wollen,» FE 105). The fact that the «being higher» is given «in» our preferring must not lead us to infer that «being higher» means «to be preferred.» For «if the height of a value is given "in" preferring, this height is nevertheless a relation in the essence of the values concerned. Therefore, the "ordered ranks of values " {"Rangordnung der Werte "} are absolutely invariable , whereas the "rules of preferring" {"Vorzugsregeln"} are, in principle, variable throughout history (a variation which is still very different from the apprehension of new values)» (FEe 88; FE 105f.).

Different values are grouped according to what Scheler calls systems of «value-modalities» and their «a priori relations of rank» (FEe 104ff.; «apriorische Rangbeziehungen zwischen den Wertmodalitäten,» FE 122ff.) Scheler develops four such modalities. The lowest system are the values «ranging from the agreeable to the disagreeable » (FEe 105; «Angenehmen und Unangenehmen ,» FE 122). The second lowest are the values of «vital feeling » (FEe 106; FE 123). Above them are the «spiritual values » (FEe 107; FE 124), and at the top of the hierarchy are the values of the «holy» and «unholy»:

4. Values of the last modality are those of the holy and the unholy {des Heiligen und Unheiligen }. This modality differs sharply from the above modalities. It forms a unit of value-qualities not subject to further definition. . .. "Faith" and "lack of faith," "awe," "adoration," and analogous attitudes are specific reactions in this modality. However, the act through which we originally apprehend the value of the holy is an act of a specific kind of love . . .. The order is this: the modality of vital values is higher than that of the agreeable and the disagreeable; the modality of spiritual values is higher than that of vital values; the modality of the holy is higher than that of spiritual values. A more detailed attempt to found {nähere Begründung} these propositions cannot be undertaken at this point. (FEe 108-110; FE 125f.)

One can easily see what, according to Scheler, has happened in modernity. But first let me add further distinctions in Scheler's Formalism in Ethics , which are also important for his use of the terms Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. After distinguishing between several kinds of values, he adduces the distinction between

g. Individual Values and Collective Values. . .. If one turns to values of oneself, such values may be individual values or collective values proper to one as a "member" {"Mitglied"} or "representative" of a "social rank," "profession," or "class"; or they may be values of one's own individuality. This holds also for values of the other. [74] . . . {In the case of the individual values} we have differences among


bearers of values that lie in the whole of an experienced "community ," {"Gemeinschaft "} by which we mean only a whole experienced by all its "members" {"Gliedern"}. Such a life-community is not a factually existing (more or less) artificial unit of mere elements which act among each other objectively and conceive their unit as a unit. We shall call this latter unit of human beings a society {"Gesellschaft "}. Now, all "collective values" are "values of society ." Their bearers form not experienced "wholes" but majorities of a conceptualized class. Life-communities {"Gemeinschaften"}, however, may also function as "individual " vis-à-vis "collectives," e.g. an individual marriage, a family, a community, a people {Volk}, etc., as opposed to the totality of marriages or families or communities of a country or the totality of peoples, etc. (FEe 102f.; «only» in «we mean only» has the force of «exclusively»; instead of «rife-community» and «rife-communities» read «community» and «communities»; FE 119f.)

The accompanying note 74 reads:

Thus love (in the Christian sense) is always individual love , both as self-love and love of the other , which is also called love of one's neighbor, but not as love for one who is a member of the class of workers, for example, or a "representative" of a collective group. The "social consciousness" of the working class {für den Arbeiterstand} has nothing to do with "love of one's neighbor." The latter pertains to the worker, but only as a human individual . (FEe 102, n. 74: FE 119f., n. 1)

As so often in Scheler, these sentences also lack a «more detailed attempt to found» them, which is to say there is no attempt to give them a foundation. In fact, in these passages Scheler has hardly given any reasons for any of his propositions, and in German the formulation, «A nähere Begründung of these propositions cannot be undertaken at this point» (FEe 110; FE 126), is most often used as a euphemism for cases in which the author hasn't made the slightest attempt to present arguments for his statements. As often in the literature on Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft, such sentences represent the crossroads between the political Right and Left. For right-wingers, the realm of society is no longer an object of erotic and reasonable interests. Rather, «marriage, a family, a community, a people» have become the exclusive object of love, and society is experienced as a threat to family, community, and people. As will become even clearer in what follows, Scheler's statements amount to two theses. The first is that the material circumstances of the proletarians are not the top priority for those believing in authentic Christian love of one' s neighbor. The second thesis is that the individuals engaged in the parties of the working class—at the time mainly. social democrats who had fought for and won minimal social security, voting rights, and education for the workers-by no means transcend their selfish interests and move toward love for their neighbors or other higher values but are just as selfish and concerned about the lowest values as the liberal bourgeois subjects. Scheler's claims are


simply a more abstract formulation of a thesis he still maintained in his writings after the war, for instance, in the essay "Christlicher Sozialismus als Antikapitalismus" (Christian socialism as anticapitalism), written in 1919:

Thus, we have to state as a matter of principle {grundsätzlich}: In none of its variants does the Marxist socialism of the fourth estate represent a true opposition against capitalism, against capital and its root, namely, the capitalist spirit. Instead, it merely represents the material interests of its class within the capitalist society, the interests of the manual laborers, and these only insofar as those laborers are ensouled by the same capitalist spirit as the entrepreneurs and the bourgeois. (PPS 634f.)[25]

At the end of the chapter on value-modalities, Scheler poses the question

how one can obtain from {the four kinds of value-modalities} . . . the pure types of communal forms of togetherness {die reinen Typen der Gemeinschaftsartenen }, such as the community of love {Liebesgemeinschaft} (plus its technical form, the church), the community of law {Rechtsgemeinschaft}, the community of culture {Kulturgemeinschaft}, and the life-community {Lebensgemeinschaft} (plus its technical form, the state), and the mere forms of so-called society {der sog. "Gesellschaft"}. (FEe 109f.; FE 126)[26]

Scheler gives an answer in the chapter entitled "The Person in Ethical Contexts" (FEe 476ff.; FE 469ff). In it, Scheler distinguishes between four kinds of social units. The «lowest» one is the «mass » (FEe 526; FE 515 «"Masse "»). With regard to the other three units, he follows a scheme familiar in its general outlines since Hegel (who did not use it for rightist purposes). There are the small Gemeinschaften, in the first place, as in Hegel, families. Furthermore, there are, so to speak, large-scale Gemeinschaften, the state, people, nation, and the church, and there is Gesellschaft. The second social unit after the mass is the «life-community » («"Lebensgemeinschaft "») (FEe 526-528; FE 515-517). Following that is the Gesellschaft. Scheler defines it negatively as that unity in which, in contrast to «life-community ,» there is no primordial «"living-with-one-another"»:

3. The social unit of the society {Gesellschaft } is basically different from the essential unit of the life-community. First, the society, as opposed to the natural {natürlichen } unit of the life-community, is to be defined as an artificial {künstliche } unit of individuals having no original "living-with-one-another" {"Miteinandererleben"} in the sense described above. (FEe 528; FE 517)

Instead, in society each individual is the center of his or her experience, and the individual's relationships to others are contractual:

Rather, all relations among individuals are established by specific conscious acts that are experienced by each as coming from his individual ego, which is


experientially given first in this case , as directed to someone else as "another." . . . Moreover, common cognition, enjoyment, etc., presuppose some criteria of the true and the false, the beautiful and the ugly, which have been agreed upon beforehand. Every kind of willing together and doing together presupposes the actus of promising and the phenomenon [Sachgebilde ] of the contract that is constituted in mutual promising—the basic phenomenon of all private law. (FEe 528f.; FE 517f.)

Due to the nature of synthesis in society, trust, for instance, is not possible: «Just as boundless trust in one another is the basic attitude in the life-community, unfathomable and primary distrust of all in all is the basic attitude in society» (FEe 529; FE 518). Finally, at the top of the hierarchy is the «love-community,» which has been preferred for the first time in history in early Christianity:

4. From the essential types of social unity thus far mentioned, namely, mass, society, and life-community, we must distinguish the highest essential type of social unity, with whose characteristics we began this chapter: the unity of independent, spiritual, and individual single persons "in" an independent, spiritual, and individual collective person {Die Einheit selbständiger, geistiger, individueller Einzelpersonen "in" einer selbständigen, geistigen, individuellen Gesamtperson }. We assert that this unity, and it alone, is the nucleus and total novelty of the true and ancient Christian idea of community, and that this Christian idea represents, so to speak, the historical discovery of this unity. In quite a peculiar manner, this idea of community unites the being and indestructible self-value of the individual "soul" (conceived in terms of creation) and the person (contrary to the ancient theory of corporation and the Jewish idea of "people") by means of the idea of the salvational solidarity of all in the corpus christianum , which is founded on the Christian idea of love (and which is contrary to the mere ethos of "society," which denies moral solidarity). (FEe 533; FE 522)

As this passage already shows, the love-community—though not a result of the life-communities and society but having priority over them—preserves the main features of both life-community and society. In life-community, each individual has coresponsibility for the whole, and its self-responsibility is based on that coresponsibility because in this kind of community the individual is not yet valued in its own right (FEe 529f.; FE 518f.). In society, however, all responsibility is based on self-responsibility, and there is no longer any coresponsibility (FEe 526ff.; FE 515ff.). The love-community gathers together several collective persons (Gemeinschaften, so to speak, above society), and here we find both individual persons and responsibility for the whole:

If one takes a look at the relation of this idea of the highest form of social unity—as the idea of a solidary realm of love of individual, independent spir-


itual persons in a plurality of collective persons of the same character (this unity of collective persons among themselves, as well as the unity of the individual person and the collective person, is possible in God alone)—to the ideas of life-community and society , one can see that life-community and society as essential forms of social unity are subordinated to this highest essential social form, and that they are determined to serve it and to make it appear, but, to be sure, in different manners {ways}. Although the idea of the highest form of social unity is not a "synthesis" of life-community and society, essential characteristics of both are nevertheless co-given in it: the independent, individual person, as in society; and solidarity and real collective unity, as in community. (FEe 538f,; FE 527)

In the realm of values the lowest values, those of the agreeable and the useful, are relegated to the level of society. The values of the noble and vulgar, the spiritual values, etc., belong to the domain of various small-scale and large-scale communities, while the values of the holy and unholy have their place in the highest community, the love-community, which is, however, also concerned with all values, as the lower social units are subordinated to the highest unit and serve the latter (FEe 551ff, FE 539ff.).

Scheler writes: «As a whole, the essential social unit of society is not a special reality outside or above individuals. It is simply an indivisible {unsichtbares} fabric of relations that represent "conventions," 181 "usage," or "contracts," depending on whether they are more explicit or more tacit» (FEe 529; FE 518; read «invisible» instead of «indivisible»; the accompanying note 181 reads: «Hence conventions {Konvention} and mores {Sitte resp. Brauch}, like fashions {Mode} and costumes {Tracht}, must be sharply distinguished. Conventions and fashions belong entirely to society; mores and costumes, to the life-community.»). This is the crucial difference between society and the small-scale Gemeinschaften and the large-scale Gemeinschaften, as communities of both types do indeed have a reality above and beyond the individual (FEe 523, 527, 544; FE 513, 517, 532). This is another expression for the basic assumption that in society there is no solidarity' and no responsibility except for oneself (FEe 529; FE 518). At the same time, this statement supports the thesis that, empirically, there is no society without community whereas communities can exist without a society:

Yet there are interconnections of a quite determinate character between society and life-community {Gemeinschaft} (as essential structures of social unity). The basic nexus is this: there can be no society without life-community (though them can be life-community without society). All possible society is therefore founded through community. (FEe 531; instead of all three occurrences of «life-community» read «community»; FE 520)

Scheler illustrates his thesis by maintaining that the duty to keep a contract «does not have its source in another contract to keep contracts. It has its


source in the solidary obligation of the members of the community to realize the contents that ought to be for the members. A so-called contract without this foundation would be nothing but a fiction» (FEe 531; FE 520). The thesis that a society is impossible without being grounded in communities is not new. However, what is distinctive about the way rightist authors use this thesis is their distorted notion of society. In modern times at any rate, the concept of society has been closely connected to that of reason, Vernunft. The universality of reason as posited in Enlightenment thinking and in Kant allowed for the procedures and processes of Bildung, education, formation, of one's will and person so that one transcends the limits of the self and can see oneself from the viewpoint of others and see each other individual not only as a means but also as an end in himself or herself. Classical liberalism assumed that the pursuit of one's own self-interest would simultaneously promote the interests of the others and that this was the best way to promote the common good. After the waning of classical liberalism, the assumption of the universality of reason still served as the imperative to realize consciously what, as Adam Smith called it, the invisible hand by itself could not realize, that is, reason grounded classical liberalism as well as later liberalism and social democratic politics.

Like many others who would like to rerealize the «original spirit» of Christianity, Scheler downplays the role of reason. In fact, the concept of reason as developed by Kant is his main target from the outset. Unlike Kant, Scheler maintains that human reason is by no means synthetic and productive. Moreover, according to him, the other faculties and activities—to will, to love, to hate—do not become ethical only by virtue of being determined by reason (FEe 63ff.; FE 82ff.). Thus, in Scheler reason is no longer a faculty that determines others but only accompanies their activities. Certainly to regard reason as fruitful and indispensable in the realm of politics does not require subscribing to a strong concept of reason. Scheler, however, rejects both the «strong» as well as the «weak» concept of reason. As he points out regarding Kant, Hume, Spencer, and Comte, one misses the «peculiar nature of community as an essential kind of social unity,» if one refers to the idea of contract in order «to explain the origin . . . of all social structures of the spirit . . .; and in order to have a standard by which to assess the legal order and the degree of the development of any extant social structure» (FEe 539; FE 527). Or, some pages earlier: «We must reject the theory of a contract in any of its three possible forms: as a genetic theory, as a theory of origin, or as a theoretical standard (according to which only the type of order of a community is to be assessed against the idea of a contract)» (FEe 524; FE 513f.).

It is only this step of ruling out reason as a relevant faculty that allows Scheler to dismiss classical liberalism as well as social democracy and to maintain that both are identical to or further developments of what he calls


«English cant,» which in Scheler's view is nothing more than a theory of the selfish individual, regarding himself or herself as free of any responsibility for others and looking upon others as mere means to his own ends. With this step, Scheler participates in the process of—in Carl Schmitt's terms—intensifying a tension or an opposition by destroying any possibility of mediation between the opposites. Anticipating the scenario Schmitt develops in the last part of the Political Theology , Scheler writes on reason in the essay "Soziologische Neuorientierung und die Aufgabe der deutschen Katholiken nach dem Krieg" (Sociological reorientation and the task of the German Catholics after the war):

{Reason} only has the choice between a subordination to that meaning {Sinn} which the whole of religious revelation {religiöse Gesamtoffenbarung} gives to life and thus to reason itself—a subordination that is free and that results from reason's insight into its own dependency and limits—or an enslavement, slowly progressing and compulsory, to the life of the instincts and drives {Triebleben}, which darkens and sultries the light of reason more and more. (PPS 409)

As was already indicated, Scheler's overall project, which places him on the political Right, is the revitalization of the proper «order of the human heart,» that is, of the original Christian community by means of the destruction of «English cant,» that is, of society, which has taken over in modernity and which therefore has to be destroyed or to be expelled «from {Europe's} blood like a foreign poison» (PPS 153) to make room for the revitalization of the Christian community. This is the same gesture as in section 74 of Being and Time . Both «Schelerians» and Heideggerian authentic Daseine repeat something—original Christianity or Volksgemeinschaft—by redeeming it from its state of fallenness, of being impure or destroyed; that is, both perform an Erwiderung. Both Schelerians and Heideggerian authentic Daseine do so by canceling society, as society has toppled original Christianity or Gemeinschaft. In other words, both perform a Widerruf. This is a de-cision in Heidegger's sense. In order to separate the two opposites the mixture must be purified through a purification of both opposites. In order to be reduced to its supposed original and pure state the «good» opposite, Christianity, must be cleansed of any of its later developments. The «bad» opposite, society, is purged of any reason and is reduced to, as Scheler puts it, «English cant» (PPS 218ff. and often). These two purifications «expel» any possibility of mediation between the opposites, and they also expel any dialectical tension within one opposite—as, for example, the dialectical mediation between universality and individuality in classic liberalism—that makes possible a process of self-reflection resulting in such institutions as social welfare.[27] The two reductions provide the ground for the cancellation of the «bad» opposite in


order to rerealize the «good» opposite as the last and crucial step in the decision. In Scheler this motif represents his general political agenda and also forms the heart of his book, Formalism in Ethics . Scheler quite literally reifies the thinking, prevalent at his time, in terms of the methodological device of ideal types, Idealtypen. He reifies the ideal types insofar as they become the ideal social units existing independently of human beings in the realm of values.[28] The social units, then, are used in order to reduce each empirical phenomenon, such as a political movement, to just one principle. Liberalism and social democracy can have only one principle, just as Christianity can have only one principle, and this one principle has to be cleansed of any impurities it has acquired over the years. In these reductions, Scheler is partial. In his criticism of Nietzsche in Ressentiment , Scheler admits that in its history Christianity was often an expression of ressentiment (RE 67, 71, 99; UW 57, 61, 84). However, in the realm of values and also in the first instance when it was preferred in history, Christianity, though only for a short time, was the proper and unadulterated realization of the highest values. Thus, in Scheler Christianity is «upgraded.» Liberalism and social democracy, however, are «downgraded» even though from the outset active reason was part of them. This move is already a decision, and it alone allows for the final decision between Christianity on the one hand or liberalism and social democracy on the other, for the purification of Christianity from any liberal or social democratic elements, for the purification of liberalism and social democracy from any reason, and for the cancellation of society in order to revitalize Christianity. However, as Tillich emphasized in 1933, each individual as well as each political group lives—prior to the fact that each of them partakes in several social units and prior to the problems of compromises and alliances in everyday politics—in tension between several principles or demands. In other words, each principle is never simply one principle. As Hegel realized when he turned away from his aspirations to revitalize «the Greeks» or early Christianity and, finally, developed a «theological» as well as a «reasonable» justification of bourgeois society, it is theoretically wrong and morally unjust to reduce a phenomenon to one principle whose purity one has established by a decisive reduction. In this way, Tillich deploys principles in a way one could label post-metaphysical; in contrast, the authors on the Right reinvent a reductive metaphysics of a primordial state, a falling, and a return and apply it and all its reductions to the realm of human politics.

Scheler completely instrumentalizes reason. However, the Christian community preserves the «individual person, as in society» (FEe 539; FE 527). Thus, a liberal might assume that in Scheler's idea of a love-community there is nothing that speaks against liberal purposes. As long as the individual person is preserved in the love-community, any addition to Gesellschaft might sim-


ply be welcomed. Furthermore, historically freedom and equality of the individual has been an achievement of modem reason. However, it may not be necessary to ground these two values in reason. Given Scheler's sloppy standards of providing evidence and arguments for his statements and the. complete absence of any reasoning at crucial points, another philosopher might have assumed, just for the sake of the argument, a realm of values independent of human beings and might have easily found freedom and equality not only among those values but indeed at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of values. However, Scheler does not even see equality as one of the values. In Scheler, equality is not a value but a criterion that God and «we» use when «we» assess individuals and peoples or nations in their acts of preferring values. Scheler's notion of a person not only allows for but indeed explicitly demands that persons are unequal as far as the higher values are concerned. He begins with a more factual statement: «Every man is, as we saw, an individual and therefore a unique being, distinct from all others to the same degree that he is a pure person. And, similarly, his value is a unique value» (FEe 508; FE 499). According to Scheler, this holds true also for people: «This, of course, also pertains to both the individual person and the collective person, e.g., the Greek or Roman people» (FEe 508; FE 499). At the latest, postmodern sensibility would recommend resisting any effort of ranking individuals and people in their respective values. However, for the metaphysician and premodern Scheler the sheer fact of differences implies different ranks and inequality: «Hence all ultimate bearers of moral value, to the degree that they are conceived as pure persons, are different and unequal not only in their being but also in their value» (FEe 509; FE 499). This is simply true, independent of our capacities to recognize the persons and peoples in their different values: «It remains to be seen how and to what extent the extant differences and differences in value among persons can be shown as given or even be "established." If this were not possible, such differences would in any case be present before the idea of an all-loving and all-knowing God» (FEe 509; FE 500; note that Scheler means that it remains to be seen whether we individuals down here on earth can recognize the different values of different empirical persons and peoples). For it is a misunderstanding to assume that before God we are all equal: «Persons and their individual values must be considered different precisely "before God." We must not assume any so-called equality of souls before God, which some interpret to be the teaching of historical Christianity—though, we believe, without justification.147 » (FEe 509; FE 500; the accompanying note 147 reads: «Such a doctrine could be explained as a distortion produced by Stoic philosophy,» ibid.).

This principle has important implications. The values the state is concerned with are higher than those of society. Thus, Scheler demands that the state must no longer remain liberal with respect to the economy. Rather, from the


a priori relationships between value-modalities it follows that the person as social person and as «subject of private law » as well as the person as «economic subject » must be «subordinated » to the person as citizen «because the state achieves the highest meaning of its existence in the rational regulation of the will to live and the reasonable distribution of the goods of life (of a community, of a people {einer Volksgemeinschaft})» (FEe 511; FE 501f.).

In this generality, social democrats would agree with Scheler. However, liberals and social democrats would not link this thesis to the assumed inequality and to the notion of Volksgemeinschaft. In particular, they would strongly disagree with Scheler's second formulation of this thought. He maintains that with regard to the lowest level the tasks and goods «ought to become more equal for men. They ought to become more equal, for precisely because of this , men's differences do not remain concealed and hidden with regard to absolute or less relative values of being and with regard to the higher goods and tasks connected with faculties of higher value» (FEe 510; FE 500)[29] In the accompanying note, Scheler explains that he «cannot develop the many important applications of this principle to theories of society, politics, and law» (FEe 510, n. 148; FE 500, n. I).

However, already here it becomes clear that these applications are illiberal as well as anti—social democratic, that is, that they are rightist. Scheler states that philosophers during the Enlightenment said precisely the opposite. For,

men and their values are to be regarded all the more equal, the more their being approaches the absolute level of being (as "rational entity") and the more their values are compared to values of the highest rank (salvation and spiritual values); and they and their values should (or at least may) appear all the more unequal , too, the more their being approaches sensible states of the lived body and the more their values are compared to values of the lowest rank. (FEe 510; FE 501)

This assumption is the «exact opposite » of Scheler's, and it has its philosophical basis «in the premise of one so-called supra-individual transcendental reason» (FEe 510; FE 501). Liberal theory has assumed the equality of all human beings, and it has assumed that the participation of all human beings as equals in the political realm, as in parliamentary democracy, would provide them with the possibility to discuss freely and rationally all the political and social problems, including existing inequalities in the economic sphere. Scheler rejects the presupposition, namely, the unity of reason in all human beings, and he rejects political equality as well. At a later point, in a discussion of the task of the state with regard to culture, he writes that

the state will do a better job in its task, which belongs essentially to it, of realizing culture, the less it claims autonomous guidance and leadership in cultural


activities, the less it claims to inspire this activity, the less it follows a direct cultural policy (instead of a policy of power) toward other states, and the less it orders the relations of power among people living in its life-communities according to cultural points of view (propagation of education) rather than the point of view of justice. (FEe 553; in German «rather than the point of view of justice» is in parentheses; FE 541)

The occurrence of the word «justice» in parentheses is remarkable, for in Scheler's entire book of no less than 659 pages, the word itself hardly shows up more than a handful of times. It is an amazing phenomenon that in an extremely long and systematic book on ethics the author makes not the slightest effort to develop at least a basis for a theory of justice, not to mention a theory of justice itself. It is all the more amazing since, in this book as well as in his other writings, the author addresses social and political questions, and since, due to the full emergence of capitalism («the social question»), social and political problems have developed into a form previously unknown. The only theoretical statements on justice occur in passing during his discussion of reprisal and punishment, in which he argues mainly against Kant: «Therefore "reprisal" does not follow as a consequence from the demand that justice ought to be. Justice orders and governs only the impulse of reprisal by adding the idea of proportion, like for like, to the demand for reprisal (in some more determinate way)» (FEe 361; FE 361). Two pages later, he says that one «falls victim to another basic misconception of the essence of the idea of reprisal and the idea of punishment when one attempts to derive them from purely moral values and demands, especially the demand for "justice"» (FEe 363; FE 363). For «insofar as the pure essence of justice is understood, justice does not require the repayment of evil with evil. Only from that part of the essential core of justice according to which it is good and proper that under the same value conditions the same behavior of willing persons should occur does it follow that—if there is to be retaliation—this retaliation must be the same for deeds of equal value. However, the demand for "retaliation" as such does not follow from justice.» .[30]

As to the old distinction between arithmetical justice and proportional justice, in the first of the three quotes Scheler seems to use the terms «justice» and «like» either as «proportional justice» or in such a way that they cover both arithmetical and proportional justice. In the third quote, he says that arithmetical justice is demanded by only one part of the essence of justice. This statement allows for and even requires a continuation such that in all the other parts of the essence of justice, proportional justice is required. Stated in this way, arithmetical justice has always been a special case of proportional justice. According to proportional justice, persons of different values (e.g., a slave and a freeman) are punished differently for equal wrongdoings, that is, in inverse proportion to their values, or political honors and rights are distributed in proportion to the different values of the individuals and groups (with the result


that, for instance, slaves don't have any political honors and rights). This entails that persons of equal values (e.g., two free citizens) are punished for equal wrongdoings equally, and that persons of equal value have equal political honors and rights. Scheler seems to assume proportional justice as the essence of justice. According to Scheler, arithmetical justice is appropriate with regard to the low values. Equality with regard to the low values even enhances the process of manifestation of inequality of different persons with regard to higher values. Political values are higher values. Liberalism has always stood staunchly behind the tenet that all persons are free and equal, that is to say, all persons have to be treated according to arithmetical justice. Scheler revokes this. In fact, in the note to the sentence on state and culture quoted above Scheler explains: « I.e., the state must give life-communities equal or unequal {political} rights {gleiche, resp. ungleiche politische Rechte} according to their degree of significance with respect to the whole of the state» (FEe 553, n. 222; FE 541, n. I). This sentence clearly presupposes proportional justice with regard to the political, as the phrase «equal or unequal {political} rights» can only mean «equal rights to groups of equal value, and unequal rights to groups of unequal value,» if this distribution is supposed to be just. Again, one might wonder why in a huge book on ethics at the beginning of the twentieth century an author refers to such an important issue only in a dismissive way. However, one might also say that Scheler need not expound further on this issue. Once one assumes that a realm of values exists independently of human beings, that there are a priori relations between the values such that there are higher and lower ranks of values, that the sphere of the political embraces relatively high values, that persons and peoples are not only different but of different value and are themselves ranked according to the rank of the values, that not only God, but humans too are in a position to recognize the different values of persons and peoples, and that in our social and political organizations we have to «mirror» the ranking of the different persons and peoples, then it follows that we have to abandon arithmetical justice in the realm of the political. Scheler makes all the above-mentioned assumptions. Thus, it is only logical that he abandons arithmetical justice in politics. Probably the above quoted note immediately refers to the topic, much debated at the time, of the rights of the churches in the educational system. However, the statement is a general statement. In 1919, that is, during and after the establishment of the Weimar Republic, Scheler fervently attacked parliamentary democracy, as I will show in the following section.

D. Scheler on the Genesis and Future of Capitalism

A history of the «historical variability and differences in moral value-estimation among different peoples and races {volks- und rassenmäb ige Verschiedenheit } » (FEe 295; FE 300) in the spirit of Scheler's project does not pri-


marily investigate the different notions of, say, «love and justice» at different times in different peoples and races. Rather, the crucial dimension for Scheler' s project are changes taking place in peoples' and races' empirical acts of preferring in regard to the ranking of the values themselves. Thus, a history of ethics will investigate «the great typical forms of ethos itself i.e., the experiential structure of values and their immanent rules of preferring, which lie behind both the morality and the ethics of a people (primarily those of the large racial groups) . . . {it will investigate} the rules by which such values themselves were preferred or placed after» (FEe 302; FE 306). Such a history does not succumb to relativism. It is just the opposite. According to Scheler, the assumption of the realm of values existing independently of human beings combined with the assumption of individuals, peoples, and races of different values, who realize these values down here on earth, is the only theory that can avoid relativism. Scheler compares the moral history of the different peoples and races to a huge canvas. All other theories can see in it only a «palette daubed with paint.» His theory, however, enables one to look at it «from a correct distance and with proper understanding» such that one sees «the interconnection of sense of a grandiose painting, or at least of the fragments of one. And in this painting, one =will be able to see mankind, mixed as it is { so bunt gegliedert sie (= die Menschheit) ist}, beginning to take possession, through love, feeling, and action, of a realm of objective values and their objective order, a realm that is independent of mankind as well as of its own manifestations; and one will be able to see mankind draw this realm into its existence, as happened in the history of knowledge, e.g. the knowledge of the heavens» (FEe 297; FE 301). .[31]

This history is the «inner history of the ethos itself i.e., the central history in all history» (FEe 305; FE 309), which is to say—as he develops in the book Formalism mainly with regard to liberalism, and as he develops with regard to Marxism, social democracy, and liberalism as well in his other writings—that, with respect to its causes, it cannot be explained by the means offered by liberalism, Enlightenment, or Marxism, but only in terms of peoples, races, and their different blood. According to Scheler, a history of «the central history in all history» has to take into account «five strata,» of which I mention only the first and the second:

First, there are variations in feeling (i.e., "cognizing") values themselves, as well as in the structure of preferring values and loving and hating . Let us take the liberty of calling these variations as a whole variations in the "ethos. "

Second, there are variations which occur in the sphere of judgment and the sphere of rules of the assessment of values and value-ranks given in these functions and acts. These are variations in "ethics" (in the broadest sense of the term). (FEe 299; FE 303)

(The variations in the first stratum make up «the great typical forms of ethos itself » mentioned in a passage quoted close to the beginning of this section;


they «lie behind both the morality and the ethics of the world of the peoples,» that is, they determine, most of the time unconsciously, the contents occurring in the strata 2 through 5, though it might happen that conscious assumptions on the level of stratum 2 are not in accordance with the preferences on the level of stratum I; a discrepancy between stratum I and stratum 2 that will become crucial in his theory of disavowing capitalism, or capitalistic mentality.) There is a hierarchy of values, which are preferred and ranked by human beings in their acts of realizing them down here on earth. Thus, according to an authoritarian and belligerent Christian, Platonist, and foe of modernity like Scheler, there are two basic possibilities with regard to changes in the ethos. A new ethos, or a new state of the same ethos, either provides an empirical image of the ranking in the realm of values itself that is more proper than the ethos it supersedes, or it provides a worse image. The first can happen either as an adjustment of existing preferences or as the discovery of values ranked higher than the ones preferred so far. A discovery of higher values «occurs in the movement of love ,» and «it is to the moral-religious genius that the realm of values opens up,» Jesus' Sermon on the Mount being the most grandiose example (FEe 305; FE 309). If the resulting image is worse than the former, the ethos is one of «deceptions , » «falsifications , » and «overthrows »:

There are also in history all those forms of value-deceptions {Täuschungen } and deceptions in preferring, as well as falsifications {Fälschungen } and overthrows {Umstürze } which are founded on such deceptions and which pertain to {durch sie begründeter Fälschungen und Umstürze von} earlier forms of ethical assessment and standards that had {already} conformed to the objective rank of values. I discovered one such deception in my study of ressentiment . (FEe 306; note that the German text is more clear and direct than the English translation might sound: value-deceptions in preferring cause acts in which we falsify—or even alter fraudulently—and overthrow earlier forms, etc.; FE 310)

Hitler's notion of history combines two motifs. On the one hand, there is Kampf as the basic phenomenon of life and as the way in which selection is at work. His notion of Kampf is the modem notion of progress cleansed of any implications connected with the modem notion of reason. On the other hand, there are the axioms concerning race. There is a pure race that is the highest race, the Aryan race. In addition, there are other races, less high or noble. At the bottom is the Jewish race. According to Aristotelianism and most medieval philosophers, under normal circumstances each cause produces something similar to itself, that is, no cause can produce something ontologically «higher» than itself. Similarly in Hitler, the pure race reproduces itself as a pure race. Each of the lower races, left to itself—just as every other cause—just reproduces itself. That is to say, it is incapable of producing by itself something higher than itself, or it is incapable of developing itself into


something higher. Thus, progress—or decadence—occurs through mixture, the mixture of races. The highest race loses its purity and its highest state by mixing, or being mixed, with lower races. The lower race gains a higher place, not by reproducing itself, but by mixing with a higher race. In this way, it «partakes in» the higher qualities contained in the higher race, and, at the same time, it drags down the higher race, as now the higher race contains in itself elements of the lower one. In this way, the hierarchy of beings and the axioms concerning causality in medieval thinking are made to serve a modem notion of progress gone astray, and the modern notion of progress deprived of reason is put in the service of medieval thinking; together this amounts to a materialistic Platonism with a perverted idea of the good. The Jews are demonized prime matter. They strive for participation, drag down what they participate in, and at the same time remain in all their activities unaffected by their participation. It is part of the perfidy of the Jews that they don't mix with other races. They don't allow their women to marry non-Jews. However, the male Jews spoil the blood of the other races. Thus, they themselves remain pure while they make impure and drag down the other races (MKe 386ff., 661f. and frequently; MK 425ff., 751f.). The pure is more efficient and «stronger» than the impure. Since only the lowest race has remained pure, it will gain dominion over the entire world. Fortunately, however, God and his hand, fate, interfere and call upon some chosen Daseine to reverse the process and to «halt the chariot of doom {Wagen des Verhängnisses} at the eleventh hour» (MKe 373; MK 409); or, as is said not only by soldiers of almost any sort of rescue mission, «den Karren aus dem Dreck ziehen» (to pull the cart out of the muck, to clear up the mess). Fortunately, God does so at a time when the rescue mission is still possible. Though impure, the Germans are still such that six years of gym will enable them to conquer Russia. Also, there are pure remnants of the pure race, and one can spot them and stop the Jews from spoiling the German blood. It is the combination of these two elements—a certain version of the modern notion of progress, stripped of reason by being reread in terms of the struggle of races, and the Aristotelian and medieval notion of causality reread in terms of the struggle of races—that turns both elements of the mixture—the notion of progress as well as Aristotelianism—into utter violence.

The same logic found in Hitler is also at work in Scheler's writings. There are the highest values, and they were once realized in the proper way, namely in early Christianity up to the Middle Ages. Individuals and peoples full of resentment—due to their race or, in consequence of mixtures, due to infection—act like the Jews. They partake in the higher values by undermining the order of values. In this way, they spoil the higher values and drag them into the muck and do not transform themselves at all through their activities since they use, or instrumentalize, everything as a means in the service of


their low values and do not enjoy the higher values in order to bilden, to educate and transform themselves. I have already pointed to what is perhaps the most obvious and most stunning manifestation of the medieval aspect of Scheler's thinking, namely, his version of Descartes's proof of God's existence[32] Also, I have already shown how the theoretical framework in Scheler's major work, Formalism in Ethics , is tailored to and possibly—in its entirety—hardly allows for anything else but a thinking in terms of dragging-down, of mixture, and the reversal, the de-cision; a thinking of an objective order, which has been properly realized, but thereafter gets spoiled and overthrown by, as he puts it, «English cant,» and which has to be rerealized by expelling the «English cant» out of one's blood «like a foreign poison.» For Scheler, as for Hitler, war is «the constructive force» (PPS 77) of history. As in Hitler, this is due to the expulsion of reason from the notion of development and progress. A distinctive achievement of the modern age was a concept of progress according to which, in contrast to the Aristotelian and medieval notion of causality, the end does not preexist its own beginning. In cosmology as well as in history and morality, this allowed for the assumption, culminating in Freud's notion of sublimation, that an entity, or drive, of «low» value, sexuality or selfishness, can transform itself into a state of «higher» value. Scheler points to the modern notion of development only to dismiss it as utterly wrong (RE 114ff.; UW 99ff. and passim) and to reduce the activity of modernity to acts of overthrowing and deception. According to Scheler, resentment is the result of two opposing factors. On the one hand, there is the incapacity to realize the higher values and the impulse of revenge, hate, and envy toward those who have successfully preferred them. On the other, there is the experience of powerlessness, of the lack of power to immediately take revenge and do away with the «higher» values and their bearers. This tension results in a repreferring of the values. The virtues of premodernity, so resentment says, are bad, one' s own mediocre values are good. Resentment also results in a suppression of one's feelings of revenge, etc. Resentful persons prove their resentfulness precisely because in their understanding of themselves they harbor no resentment (RE 68—72; UW 59—63, and prior). This allows for the logic of suspicion and «revealing.» A person's own statement about the issue and reasons for a judgment do not matter. According to Scheler,

it goes without saying that genuine moral value judgments are never based on ressentiment . This {Nietzsche's} criticism only applies to false judgments founded on value delusions and the corresponding ways of living and acting. Nietzsche is wrong in thinking that genuine morality springs from ressentiment . It rests on an eternal hierarchy of values , and its rules of preference are fully as objective and clearly "evident " as mathematical truth. There does exist an ordre du coeur and a logique du coeur (in Pascal's words) which the moral genius gradually uncovers in history, and it is eternal—only its apprehension


and acquisition is «historical.» Ressentiment helps to subvert this eternal order in man's consciousness, to falsify its recognition, and to deflect its actualization. (RE 72f.; UW 63)

In his essay on resentment, Scheler kills three birds with one stone. He refutes Nietzsche's thesis on Christianity; he refutes Marx concerning the causes of capitalism, and in the process he prepares the ground for his thesis that private property is an important feature of an authentic community. Concerning his criticism of Nietzsche, I just mention in passing two things. Though Scheler cannot but acknowledge that already in Luke (RE 99; UW 84) and also in one sentence in St. Paul (RE 71; UW 61)—not to mention Tertullian (RE 67; UW 57)—resentment takes over, the original idea of Christian love has its roots in a completely different site. Scheler sees the original Christian idea of love as a gesture of self-expression, a spontaneous overflow, which is by no means directed toward the other as its end. This allows for the dismissal of those Christians who allied themselves with the social democrats (RE 83—113; UW 70—93). Modernity is nothing but deception and overthrow. By implication, what preceded the modem era was good. Scheler explains this by means of a simplistic and violent theory of epochs that serves as a means to, and is constituted by the same gesture as, his philosophy of values and modernity, namely, the gesture of producing unity and purity by expelling «the other.» Though, as he stresses, ethics in antiquity differed from Christian ethics, and though Aristotle got it wrong with regard to the value of persons (FEe 524; FE 514), Aristotle can serve as an authority if he fits Scheler' s reactionary bill. Everyone knows that Aristotle maintained that some human beings by their nature are slaves and others by their nature are free. Everyone also knows that, making his case, Aristotle argued against those who had denied the thesis (Politics 1:3, 1253 b 14ff.). Thus, when it comes to this issue Scheler adds the qualifier «true» («echte») to «antiquity.» It is not the case that in antiquity some maintained a and others maintained non-a. Rather, the «true antiquity» maintained a (RE 128; UW 108), and who maintained non-a was simply not part of «true antiquity.» Thereafter, he explicates Aristotle's opinion on slavery in order to then even forget his gesture of exclusion by saying:

For the ancients {Der antike Mensch} it is axiomatic that equal rights are in any case unjust. Only opportunism can bring them about, and they always conceal a "just" inequality of rightful claims by the different groups. It is true that Christianity destroys this point of view, but only by making an even greater qualitative distinction between men, which penetrates much more deeply into the ontological depths of the person. (RE 128; UW 108)

The idea of equality of human beings (equal reason, equal claims for salvation, equal abilities, equal innate ideas) «was added to Christian ideology at an early date, but has not grown from its living roots» (RE 129; UW 109). Indeed,


this idea and the idea of a «reasonable sphere» below the sphere of grace gained full victory in Thomas Aquinas. However, these conceptualizations «represent the first incursion of the young bourgeois ideals into the ideological system of the Christian Church» (RE 188 n. 28; UW 109 n. 1) .[33] This is the same gesture of de-cision as found in Hitler and Heidegger. Instead of prudently balancing demands, promises, and possibilities that have been there from the beginning or have arisen in history, Scheler purifies the mixture by reestablishing the supposed pure entity and by «downgrading» the «value» of the others or completely abandoning them. There are several different phenomena in the modem age. However, those that don't fit into his picture are left out, and all the others are reduced to resentment. Aspirations, intrinsically boundless, and desire for progress («Grenzenlosigkeit des Strebens,» «"Fortschrittsstreben"») as a perversion of means and ends (RE 56; UW 48), «modern universal love of man » (RE 114; «moderne allgemeine Menschenliebe » UW 96), «value of things self-earned and self-acquired» (RE 138; «Der Wert des Selbsterarbeiteten und -erworbenen,» UW 115) as opposed to what one has by nature, race, and tradition, «subjectivization of values» (RE 144; «Die Subjektivierung der Werte,» UW 122) as the denial of the objective realm of values and their hierarchy, «elevation of the value of utility above the value of life» (RE 149; «Erhebung des Nützlichkeitswertes über den Lebenswert,» UW 126) and related phenomena—they all go back to resentment. Before the modern era, in the vertical hierarchy of offices, every individual—«from the king down to the hangman and the prostitute»—was aware that his or her office was fate, that is, assigned to him or her by God and nature, and that to meet the requirements of it was his or her duty. Each individual compared himself or herself only to individuals of the same rank, and each individual was «"noble" in the sense that he considers himself irreplaceable» in his or her office (RE 56; UW 48). In the modem era, all this was overthrown and replaced with limitless motions forward, in which mere means become ends, and in which objective ranking among values in themselves as well as among the empirical human beings is denied. Indeed, as Scheler summarizes right at the end,

the spirit of modern civilization does not constitute "progress" (as Spencer thought), but a decline {Niedergang } in the evolution of mankind. It represents the rule of the weak over the strong, of the intelligent over the noble, the rule of mere quantity over quality. It is a phenomenon of decadence, as is proved by the fact that everywhere it implies a weakening of man's central, guiding forces as against the anarchy of his automatic impulses. The mere means are developed and the goals are forgotten. And that precisely is decadence! (RE 174; UW 147)

Since it is not necessary for my purpose, and since he does not give masons but just appeals to intuitive evidence when it comes to his thesis that all this


goes back to resentment, I won't go into the details, but just present a passage close to the end in which Scheler summarizes several of his themes with the concepts of community and society. In modern times, «the principle of summation» is at work, according to which the whole is nothing but the sum of its parts and is subordinate to them. In the realm of values, the whole is prior to its parts and allots each of them its place:

Thus the principle of summation is in contradiction with the principle of {Christian, not socialist} solidarity. Both in idea and feeling, it entails a fundamentally different relation between the individual and the community {Gemeinschaft}. Under the sway of the principle of {Christian} solidarity, everyone knows and feels that the community as a whole is inherent in him—he feels that his blood is the blood which circulates in the community, that his values are part of the values which permeate the community. Here all values are based on solidarity of feeling and willing. The individual is the community's organ and at the same time its representative, its honor is his honor. This material inherence in the community is now replaced by the notion that the community is only the product of the interaction between the individuals. The communal values are supposedly created by adding up the values invested in the individuals. The individual values circulate merely through conscious communication and instruction, or by conscious recognition and "agreement." To put it more simply: The "community" {"Gemeinschaft"} and its structure is replaced by "society" {"Gesellschaft"}, in which men are arbitrarily and artificially united by promise and contract.

In fact, "society" is not the inclusive concept, designating all the "communities" which are united by blood, tradition, and history. On the contrary, it is only the remnant , the rubbish {Abfall, literally "fall-away-from"} left by the inner decomposition of communities. Whenever the unity of communal life can no longer prevail, whenever it becomes unable to assimilate the individuals and develop them into its living organs, we get a "society"—a unity based on mere contractual agreement. When the "contract" and its validity ceases to exist, the result is the completely unorganized "mass" {"Masse"}, unified by nothing more than momentary sensory stimuli and mutual contagion. Modern morality is essentially a "societal morality " {"Gesellschaftsmoral "}, and most of its theories are built on this basic notion. . .. negation of all primary "co-responsibility. " . . . The state, language, and custom are inventions. . . .

Here again, the feelings and ideas of those elements the old "community" had cast aside (its pariahs) have determined the general image of man and his associations. Even marriage and family . . . were artificially more and more degraded to a matter of civil contract.

Wherever a "community" existed, we find that the fundamental forms of communal life were endowed with a value far superior to all individual interests, to all subjective opinions and intentions. . .. Thus marriage . . . is a "sacrament." Wherever there is a real community, the forms of life have an intrinsic value on which individual interests, joys, and sufferings have no bearing. This


valuation disappears with the rise of "society"! . . . Instead of respecting them, one feels free to change them arbitrarily .

Another consequence of this basic attitude is the predominance of the principle of majority in politics and the state. In the communities, the will of the whole is manifested and revealed in the will of those who are the "noblest" by birth and tradition. Now, however, the will of the majority supposedly constitutes the will of the state.

All this shows the victory of ressentiment in morality. . . . . Such a postulate can only be established by those who feel that they are worthless and who want to pull the others down to their level. Even if a man is nothing at all, he is still "one"! (RE 165—168; UW 139—142)

Resentment is a psychological habit. From the thirteenth century on, it has been at work continuously and in silence in order to eruptively burst out in the French Revolution, «the greatest achievement of ressentiment in the modern era» (RE 196 n. 54; UW 145 n. 2). Due to their nature and social position, some groups, for instance women, are very prone to resentment (RE 60ff.; UW 51ff.), whereas «the soldier is least subject to ressentiment » (RE 65; UW 56). What was it that brought about resentment on a large scale such that resentment could topple the right order? It must have been a change of natures and cannot have been the usual suspect adduced by the Marxists; a change of natures that goes back to an infection. At the time, many German sociologists, philosophers, and intellectuals had already devoted a remarkable amount of intellectual energy to refuting Marx. In Der Bourgeois , Scheler sides with Sombart:

Sombart traces the "bourgeois spirit" ultimately to a bio-psychic type {biopsychischen Typus }, which can be explained only as a result of blood mixture {der nur auf Grund der Blutmischung verstanden werden kann}. It is precisely at this most dangerous place in his work—where it is most open for the attack of those who regard "true" and "demonstrable" as identical—that we must fundamentally agree with him. Those who—-being familiar with many basic types of humankind and having a firm and clear mental picture of them—have seen and felt the spiritual unity of this very type {i.e., the bourgeois type} in all of its manifestations will not let themselves be talked into buying the notion that this type is a product of the "milieu," of "education," of adaptation and habit. Still, even Sombart himself will admit that he hasn't given a strict "proof" of his thesis. (UW 356) .[34]

Such is Scheler's theory on the genesis of capitalism. Capitalism has emerged because the Jews infected the body of the people and spoiled its blood. Scheler's theory of the genesis of capitalism is mirrored in his theory of the future of capitalism. Some readers might be wondering how Scheler can argue against liberals as well as leftists and at the same time demand that Europe «expel out of its blood like a foreign poison Anglo-American capitalism and the Calvinist-puritanistic obliteration of Christianity» (PPS 153). It has already


become clear, however, that the emphasis is on «blood,» «Anglo-American,» and the «Calvinistic-puritanistic obliteration of Christianity,» and not on «capitalism.» Scheler distinguishes between «'capitalist' spirit» and «industrialism» («Industrialismus»). The latter has nothing to do with the former, and it is only from the former and not the latter, that we have to liberate our minds, souls, and hearts (PPS 194f.). If Marx is wrong and Sombart right, «capitalism» is not a matter of the property structures in production, but a matter of spirit or ethos, as Scheler already said in Formalism in Ethics . The values and also their realization here on earth are largely independent of goods and also of relations between individuals mediated by the possession of goods. In fact, once the bourgeois spirit is expelled from our blood, private property of the means of production itself is beneficial to and necessary for the community. In the essay on resentment, Scheler criticizes Locke, Smith, and Ricardo. In their theories, private property becomes a matter of functional expediency. Scheler, however, maintains, again without giving any reason: «But just as all moral activity takes place within the framework of moral existence {Seins }, all labor on objects presupposes their ownership {Eigentum}» (RE 140; UW 118; quite obviously, he is so preoccupied with private property that he does not even notice that the sentence as it stands might equally well serve the workers as a slogan to expropriate the owners of private property). In the manuscript, "Christlicher Sozialismus als Antikapitalismus" (Christian Socialism as Anti-Capitalism), written in 1919 (PPS 697), Scheler maintains that, as a matter of principle, the Christian notion of property forbids socialization of the means of production. Only if certain ends cannot be achieved by private property is socialization allowed. Especially the private property of the middle class has to be preserved (PPS 663ff.). As to the problem of the replacement of the bourgeois ethos with a communitarian ethos, he maintains that private property of the means of production does not exclude social ethos and production for actual needs. Psychologically and sociologically, the entrepreneurial spirit of initiative and free responsibility is independent of egoism and selfishness. It can have other motives such as honor, respect in the community, and «enjoyment of being capable» («Könnensfreude») (PPS 672ff.). One might also assume that, once the Gesinnungen are cleansed of «English cant,» the institution of private property provides individuals with the necessary means to display the different rankings of their values. In this way, private property follows from the aristocratic principle, which he constantly stresses, and which liberalism, in his view, has perverted:

Even the last remnants of a social hierarchy—as a meaningful selection of the best and an image of the aristocracy that pervades all living nature—are cast overboard, and society is atomized in order to free the forces required for doing better business. The "estate" {"Stand"}—a concept in which noble blood and tradition determine the unity of the group—is replaced by the mere "class"


{"Klasse"}, a group unified by property, certain external customs ruled by fashion, and "culture." (RE 159; UW 135)

Still, one has to expel the bourgeois ethos. Scheler's model of the genesis of capitalism out of a mixture of blood and infection and the general framework of his theory of history also determine his thoughts on how to expel it. Though the pure has been overthrown, something of it has remained. For «the core of Christian theory and practice remained free from those phenomena. . . Christian philosophy as well remained basically free from the "dualism" of soul and body» (RE 135; UW 114). Also at the bottom of the hierarchy nothing essential has changed. In all its activities, resentment has not gebildet and transformed itself, and by definition it cannot do so. Rather, it has remained what it was from the beginning. Scheler acknowledges that things have become more complicated than at the time of the emergence of capitalism (RE 172; UW 145). He also insists that one has to distinguish between genetic causes and causes related to the maintenance of the already existing entity (UW 347). However, the former thought is not developed at all, and the latter is adduced only because it fits into Scheler's refutation of Marx. At the beginning of "Die Zukunft des Kapitalismus" (The future of capitalism), written in February 1914 (UW 385), Scheler quotes in Latin a further axiom of medieval thinking on causality that was used especially in the theory of creation and motion and was overthrown by modern physics. By doing so he indicates that, not only concerning the genesis but also the future of capitalism, he adheres to the same reductionism he has practiced with regard to the genesis of capitalism. It is not a matter of prudently working on individual aspects of capitalism in order to somehow overcome its shortcomings. Rather, one has to focus on the one and only cause. This approach allows him to exclude leftist, liberal, as well as conventional conservative politics, and to develop a right-wing position that, in its spirit, is more strongly antileftist and antiliberal than other parties on the Right. In fact, it provides the rationale for a militant anti-Semitism. Since the passage also shows a certain resolute antibourgeois tone typical of antibourgeois bourgeois intellectuals like Scheler (though other passages do so much better), I will quote the entire beginning of the essay:

Capitalism is, in the first place, not an economic system of distribution of property, but rather an entire system of life and culture . This system originated from the objectives and value-preferences of a certain biopsychic type of man , namely, the bourgeois, and it is sustained by the tradition of these preferences. If this assumption is right, which we share with Sombart, then we can—according to the axiom: cessante causa cessat effectus {If the cause disappears, the effect will also disappear}, and to the equally valid one that a change (decrease) of the effect can be expected only from a change (decrease) of the cause—hope for a decline of capitalism only if, and to the extent that, precisely this type of man loses his power, either because he carries the seeds of his extinction in his


own nature and its immanent developmental tendencies or because his ethos at least will lose its power to the ethos of a different type of man. (UW 382)

It is already this «result of the research into the causes of the genesis of capitalism» that excludes the expectation of capitalism's disappearance «from any change, of any kind, of the existing order of property, production, and distribution of the economic goods (as all the socialist parties demand and hope for)» (UW 382). Proletarians and their parties as well as liberals have been deprived of reason by Scheler. Therefore, they cannot bilden, educate, refine, themselves. Thus, they remain selfish. In consequence, the disappearance of capitalism is not to be expected «by a mere increase in number of the proletariat as an economic class and by a corresponding increase of its political power and rights» (UW 382f.).

For the same reason, not even a «lowering» of the capitalist ethos can be expected from social welfare run by the state (UW 383f.). If, by reduction, the proletarians as well as the liberal entrepreneurs are just selfish, one cannot hope for an overthrow of capitalism by allying oneself with them. All that is left is that one might hope for precapitalist residues among the bourgeoisie. Scheler has formulated the ontological presupposition of this in Formalism in Ethics :

Principles of value-judgment in an age, in the sense of a dominant or acknowledged "ethics, " {assumptions on the level of stratum 2} can rest on such deceptions {in stratum I}; and they can be overtaken {nachgeredet} and judged accordingly {nachgeurteilt} by those whose ethos {that is, stratum I } did not fall victim to such deceptions. (FEe 306; FE 310)

The conservatives are «the only groups whose bio-psychic type and historical traditional values can still be expected to put up a resolute fight against capitalism» (UW 385). However, they too have fallen prey to the capitalist ethos (UW 384f.) .[35] At this point, Scheler steps out of the realm of ordinary conservatism, as it were, and opens up the space for an anti-Semitic politics of de-cision and expulsion. He develops the latter along two lines. First, Sombart is praised for having pointed to the «only possible final solution {die einzig mögliche endgültige Lösung} » of the question, namely, the «problem of population {Bevölkerungproblem }» (UW 387). However, in Scheler's view, Sombart didn't pose the problem correctly, for it is not just a matter of the quantity of the population, but rather its «qualitative» aspect (UW 387f.). The proletarians and conservatives don't present the active core of the bourgeois ethos, though they have been so thoroughly infected by it that their politics remain completely in its domain. At the core of the bourgeois ethos, in its active bearers, Scheler discovers its decline. For, it is

an inner law of the bourgeois type itself that, to the degree of their presence, precisely those properties that enable him to succeed as entrepreneur, trader,


etc., in the capitalist order, carry along as their consequence his diminished procreation and, by this, a diminution of the transmission of those characterological hereditary values that make up the aptitude for the capitalist spirit. . .. In consequence of precisely this attitude of calculating {Rechenhaftigkeit } follow at the same time economic prosperity and the diminished will for procreation, that is, the decrease of numbers of children of the calculating elements. According to what was said previously, beyond any doubt the aptitude to this attitude of calculating itself is a hereditary value and is bound to a vital type of lower value. (UW 388)

If, according to what was said previously, the «good old world» was free of capitalism, and if capitalism came about as the result of a mixture of blood, the German liberal entrepreneurs are not the ultimate cause. Rather, their hereditary values themselves are the result of the mixture of blood, which brought about capitalism, and which was initiated by someone else, who smuggled into them the bad genes. The ultimate cause are the Jews, and they should, and will, die out. One can hardly avoid getting the impression that this latter thought silently underlies Scheler's thinking, or that those interested in such a way of reasoning might assume it to be the underlying thought, when Scheler adds to the passage just mentioned: «There is an index, widely visible, of the slow dying out of the bourgeois type, namely, the fact of the dying out of the German Jew , as established recently by F. A. Teilhaber, in proportion to their gaining leading positions in capitalism and, at the same time, stepping out of the mysterious protective sphere of the Jewish tradition of family» (UW 389). As also in other passages, here the «type» is clearly grounded in what one calls «race,» and the view of the Jews is that they should die out. In the next sentence, Scheler adds that they will be the first to die out, and he reminds his readers of Zionism:

It is with regard to this Jewish type—today, with the inner right of the worthiness of being preserved of this great, gifted people the courageous and noble Zionism brusquely confronts it {= this Jewish type} with a different type and presses him deeply down into his honor and his conscience; often bloody and yet justly—that in time first and on a small scale the tragique destiny {das tragische Geschick } executes itself, which will execute itself with the bourgeois type in general; namely, that in the midst of the increasing gaining of capitalist power it {= the bourgeois type } will perish with all of its hereditary faculties, and it will fall prey to the increasing elimination {Ausschaltung} from history. (UW 389)

Certainly, by maintaining that war is «the constructive force» (PPS 77) of history, Scheler is virtually disempowering other elements in his theory, which might prevent those interested in such a way of thinking from speeding up «the increasing elimination» of the Jews «from history» by supporting Zionism or, if the Jews don't want to leave voluntarily, by throwing them out of


Germany. The second line, complementary to the first, relates to «one of the most important tendencies governing the entire world-historical development of this system of culture» (UW 385), and it pertains also to the political aspect of the bourgeois ethos, namely democracy—or, as he puts it, «"democratistic" value-preferences ("demokratistischen " Wertschätzungen )» (UW 385). According to him, democracy is no longer the preference of the majority. Rather, it has become the preference of the ruling minority. This follows from his theories in Formalism in Ethics and the essay on resentment. For, if democracy were still the preference of the majority, one could not speak of democracy as «a slave insurrection.» However, by Scheler's definition democracy is a slave insurrection. Thus, democracy must be the preference of a minority, which somehow for some time managed to give the semblance of representing the majority:

If these democratistic morals had remained the morals of the ruled "large number" and would not have become precisely the morals of the ruling "small number," one would never be entitled to talk of a slave insurrection in morals, that is, of an uprising of the inferior systems of value-preferences above the superior systems of value-preferences. For, always and ever it is the necessarily "small number" of the ruling individuals that determines which systems of value-preferences become the ruling ones. It is only the fact that the ethically and biologically inferior systems of value-preferences become the ones of the ruling minority that renders "revolution" something like a constant feature in the course of the modern development of states. (UW 387)

Only in a state of affairs where by means of democratism the vital type of inferior value has taken over, as in the modern era, does there exist a right of revolution (UW 387). Thus, one must not walk into the trap of taking the actors' words at face value. Rather, one has to hear that they are actually saying precisely the opposite of what they explicitly proclaim, and what they actually say is precisely what follows from Scheler's theoretical construction. Doing so, one hears that the cry for a revolution calls for precisely the opposite of what it explicitly demands. For, actually it calls for a cancellation of the democratic values: «The deepest soul of these movements is not the cry for "freedom and equality," which just lies on the surface; rather, it is the search for a minority which is worthy of ruling {over the members of the movements and the entire Gemeinschaft}» (UW 386).

The various voices are not taken with all their ambiguities and contradictions. Rather, they are reduced to the prejudice of the philosopher. In the movements outside of the economic realm, Scheler sees in the German youth, as well as in the French youth, the emergence of the new that is precisely the reemergence of the vital type that was toppled by the modern era: «In {these movements} a new type of man raises its head—still somewhat diffident—that type that has been suppressed by the epoch of capitalism» (UW 390).


Scheler points to the phenomena of the Youth movement: one turns away from the socioeconomic opposition between «"poor and rich"» and focuses on the questions of «vitality , and psychic and physical health of the Volk and the race» (UW 391). There is a «new love of nature and sport» and other phenomena (UW 391). In the first place, however, there is the concern about «questions regarding the choice of one's partner. . . . Historically, one of the roots of capitalism was the indiscriminate mixing of the noble vital type with the base type, whether for reasons of utility or for the sheer thrill of it» (UW 392). This is the second aspect of possible discrepancies between preferences in stratum I and preferences in stratum 2. According to Scheler, the young people have already realized that they did not mean equality, freedom, and the social question when they talked about democracy, and they have already replaced the old liberal or social democratic judgments in stratum 2 with the ones that conform to their antibourgeois preferences in stratum I and that present properly the reemergence of the old vital type, pushed aside by capitalism and now reemerging in stratum 1.

Scheler dwells on this theme for the rest of the essay (UW 390-395) and links it to «the best» in the countries in Asia. Despite all the noise about the universalization of capitalism, they know that in its center, in Western Europe, the bourgeois ethos «is already in the process of slowly dying out. . . . The time is not far off when {the story of progress in science} is believed only by Australian niggers» (UW 394f.). (Scheler claims of the Youth movement that those changes permeate «all classes with their new spirit» [UW 391]. Certainly it is more accurate to say that the Youth movement was mostly, if not exclusively, a bourgeois phenomenon. However, for the structure of his reasoning this doesn't matter.) Scheler maintains that «each ethical and political orientation concerning the ought, which might speed up the process of the disappearance of the capitalist ethos, can have its meaning only within the frame of this process {= the dying out of the Jews and the active bearers of the bourgeois ethos}, which is necessary , and which is not a matter of our conscious will» (UW 390).

Each political relation to the individuals who are supposed to be the promoters of the bourgeois ethos has to be based on the supposed biological fact that they will die out. The individuals are addressed not with regard to their logos, but with regard to their biology, which makes them die out, and they are not considered as individuals but only in reductive terms of biology and race. Only in some passages does Scheler distinguish linguistically between the ethos and the individuals as bearers of an ethos, though even here the distinction is more implicit (if present at all, for he talks not about the proletarians, but about the proletariat «qua "proletariat"» [UW 383]). However, when the «old world,» the world of capitalism, is toppled by the «new world,» which is the reemergence of the world capitalism had toppled, proletarians


qua proletarians, liberals qua liberals, and conservatives qua conservatives have to disappear anyway. If one considers the entire course of Scheler's essay, one sees immediately that it is the same as in section 74 of Heidegger's Being and Time . Ordinary Daseine live in the mode of the «they»; they live their lives as proletarians, liberals, or conservatives. In the stifling atmosphere of the late Kaiserreich and in the busy noise of the Weimar Republic something else announces itself, and something new arises. Still, ordinary Dasein covers this up and sticks to the «they»-like mode of life. However, a situation arises, for instance, with the beginning of World War I, that definitely calls for a decision. Some evade the call of fate and remain in their «they»-like modes. They become inauthentic. Others see through the work of covering up and obey the call. They become authentic. They realize that they are called upon to leave behind the «they»-like mode of parliamentarism and democracy. They are called into the Kampf, in which they recognize the real agent and the real foe. They realize that they are called upon to rerealize Gemeinschaft, that is, to erwidern its call for help, and they realize that they can do so only by expelling that which has pushed aside Gemeinschaft; that is, they are called upon to make a Widerruf of Gesellschaft.

I have already pointed out that for Scheler to expel capitalism does not mean to expel private property. Rather, if properly put in the service of the Gemeinschaft, private property of the means of production is a vital feature of it. As is already clear, for Scheler parliamentarism and democracy are not a feature of Gemeinschaft. Rather, they have to be expelled. Already in his book Formalism , Scheler indicated this in several passages, some of which I have already mentioned. After the passage on deceptions, falsifications, and overthrows as quoted above, Scheler gives an example of the ramifications of his theory:

Norms that come from vital values alone undoubtedly require in principle {prinzipiell, here a shorthand for «in accordance with the relations between values in the hierarchy of values as they exist independently of human beings»} an aristocratic structure of society, i.e., a structure in which noble blood {das edle Blur} and character-values of heredity belonging to such noble blood possess political prerogatives. But norms coming from values of utility dictate an equalization of biological value-differences among groups. Values of utility taken by themselves at least tend toward political democracy. (FEe 306f., FE 310f.)

Here too, Scheler gives no argument for his thesis. After the war, Scheler takes up this idea, for instance, in the essay "Christliche Demokratie" (Christian democracy) of 1919. I have already quoted a major passage that shows that the logic of de-cision is also at work in this essay. Modem democracy is


the result of the denial of the objective realm of values and, thus, has to be replaced with a revitalized Christian democracy. Christian democracy means that pace their differences in race, etc., human beings are equal before God, but only insofar as they are all children of the same father and thus brothers in the same family of God. This equality does not exclude inequalities in the realm of values and down here on earth. God has offered each human being grace—«though in accordance with the individuality of the soul a different measure of grace to each» (PPS 680f.). The ruler and the ruled have to conceive of their roles as a service to God (PPS 681). The paradigm of Christian democracy is the Catholic Church as the proper realization of the hierarchy of values. Power runs from above downward, not the other way around. It is democratic insofar as no one is excluded from being considered worthy of entering the ladder and moving upward (PPS 681ff.). Modern democracy has perverted the order of values. It regards freedom rather than the realization of the eternal order to be the end of history. It regards all forms in which human beings live together as produced by themselves and, thus, human beings can also dissolve them. This too runs counter to the eternal order. In modern democracy, the order of values is freedom, equality, and brotherliness. In Christian democracy, it is different. First comes truth, second goodness, and third brotherliness. Only then follow freedom and equality. Freedom goes before equality because of the notion of justice as already mentioned (PPS 683). This is in line with Scheler's interpretation of autonomy in Formalism in Ethics , one crucial aspect of which is the following:

But morally valuable obedience {Gehorsam} exists whenever, despite the lack of insight into the moral value of a commanded state of affairs which characterizes obedience as obedience, the insight into the moral goodness of willing and willing persons (or their "office") is evidentially given, the goodness becoming manifest in the making of the commandments or (in concreto ) in the ordering of the orders. In this case there is autonomous and immediate insight into the moral value of commanding, heteronomous and mediate insight into the value of the commanded value-complex, and at the same time complete autonomy of willing in rendering obedience. (FEe 500; FE 491)

The paradigm of this concept of autonomy is obedience to God (FEe 500; FE 491). Of the numerous passages in which Scheler praises the sense of sacrifice suppressed by Gesellschaft, I quote only one from the essay on resentment:

We do believe that life itself can be sacrificed for values higher than life, but this does not mean that all sacrifice runs counter to life and its advancement. . . . We have an urge to sacrifice before we ever know why, for what, and for whom! {Es drängt uns, zu opfern —ehe wir wissen, warum und wofür und für wen!} (RE 89; UW 75f.)[36]


This was written shortly before World War I. Scheler had hoped that World War I was the rerealization of the Gemeinschaft, which had been toppled by modern society and parliamentarism. However, World War I turned out to be disillusioning.[37] In addition, it was lost, and consequently a full-blown modern democratic constitution took over. In February of 1919, the National Assembly released a provisional constitution and elected as president the Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert. In July 1919, the Weimar Republic was inaugurated with a Social Democratic president and the Social Democrats as the strongest party. In the speech, "Christlicher Sozialismus als Antikapitalismus" (Christian socialism as anticapitalism) in April 1919 (PPS 697f.), Scheler summarizes his criticism of Marx and his own theory on capitalism and history (PPS 624f.) and elaborates on the issue in eight points. At the end of the third, he formulates the opposition between Hegel, Marx, and the social democrats on the one hand and himself on the other, again employing metaphors identical to those Hitler used: «Not progress, but development and falling-down-and-away-from and re-naissance» (PPS 628; «Nicht Fortschritt, sondern Entwicklung und Dekadenz und Wiedergeburt»). «Progress» was the catchword of liberals as well as—according to Scheler—of Hegel, Marx, and social democracy. The progressive development of Gesellschaft would realize freedom, for liberals within a liberal, for social democrats within a socialist, and for Marxists within a communist society. For Scheler, this project of liberals and leftists is a falling-down-and-away-from, a de-cadence, which must be countered by a renaissance of the proper order of the human heart, which has to overthrow the capitalism that has toppled it. The «lower» entities are devoid of reason, and too thoroughly infected by «English cant.» They themselves cannot achieve «higher» values. Thus, we are in need of, in Scheler's terms, a new «moral-religious genius.» It is a very moving as well as very frightening passage:

All history of religion and church has its main phases—its soul—in new religious men: Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Francis, Ignatius, Luther, Calvin, etc. History of religion is the soul of history. The soul of history of religion in turn is the history of the souls of the saints. . . . We can only wait and hope, prepare the way and believe that God is gracious and will one day send us such a soul. Again, here one can "do" {"machen"} nothing; very unpleasant for the new-German belief in deed and power, but unfortunately unchangeable. However, as a matter of fact, we see that at the beginning was not the deed, as Kantians and Fichtians believe, but rather the Logos and love; however, not the impersonal Logos, as Hegel believed, but rather the person capable of spirit and love, namely, the man, whom one believes—without reasons; believing first and foremost in his being and the specific nearness of this being to God; the man, who—as we Christians believe—would know to reproduce {reproduzieren} the Savior {Heiland} anew; however, not externally copying him, but rather from within; from the depths of his divine mind and character. We know one thing:


he would have to combine, like no other, and concentrate within himself the entire uncurable illness and sin of this time—just as, on the cross, the Savior "was completely sin." Thus, we definitely will not find him (1.) among the healthy ones, (2.) among politicians, (3.) among the correct bourgeois individuals. In all his utmost concentration of sin in his heart, he must, however, at the same time carry in his heart an equally strong will for salvation {zum Heile} and for recovery—not only for himself, but for all—in the extreme exertion of co-responsibility—such that he only just—I say only just—looked beyond sin; the one who would objectify sin as sin and, by this, would become its free lord and master. Everything else he might be is only his concern, not ours. How could we be in a position to prescribe how he is supposed to be? How could we do so as, indeed, we hope to experience from him what we have to be and do? For the time being, as we have not the slightest idea of such a thing, we Christians believe only one thing, namely, that he would be a Christ {ein Christ} according to the broad and noble definition our faith gives to this word. (PPS 645f.)

E. Heidegger's Being and Time , Section 74

After the last passage quoted, Scheler goes on to say that in order for us to recognize the new savior's arrival when he comes, we must hear the «great preach of recent history with the inner ears of our faith and our love»; we must hear not only the words «but rather the call of God to turn back {diesen Umkehrruf Gottes} in the things, in history itself. Everyone has to try to turn himself, every human being, every family, every group. It is only in a total loyalty {Gesamttreue} that this evil gaze onto the world, which has led to the dominion of mammon, can melt» (PPS 646).

In the context of a concept of history as development, falling-down-and-away-from, and renaissance, one can take all the metaphors literally. People move along with the development of society. Many believe that it will lead upward toward the sun, to a liberal society or to socialism. However, for right-wingers the road leads away from the sun, down into a desert of ice. As in Scheler's formulation of 1915—we have to expel Anglo-American capitalism «from {our} blood like a foreign poison» (PPS 153)—and as in Heidegger's sentence on Widerruf (BT 438; SZ 386), society must be canceled. The political structure of society will simply be expelled when the new Christ comes. As for the economic structure of society, leftists would say of Scheler's proposal that that structure remains unchanged since Scheler does not want the institution of private property to be sublated. For, according to Scheler, capitalism is not a matter of private property. Thus, the expulsion concerns the capitalist Gesinnung or mentality that has to be replaced with a communitarian Gesinnung. «Everyone» (PPS 646) has to be prepared so he does not miss this event. Everyone can prepare himself by listening to the «call of God to turn back» in the things, and in history itself, a call the liberals and


leftists don't want to hear. Umkehren is «to turn back.» I move forward on the road, and then I kehre um, that is, I turn around and move back into the direction I came from. For a Christian, it is at the same time a move upward, toward God. Listening to the call, we realize that we are moving down into a desert of ice, that the promised land is where we came from, what we have fallen away from, and that we have to make an «authentic repetition of a possibility of existence that has been» (BT 437; SZ 385). Since we are already in the icy desert, the repetition is not a simple one but rather an Erwiderung that, as such, is a Widerruf of society (BT 438; SZ 386). In the section on conscience, Heidegger writes:

In calling forth to something, the "whence" of the calling {das Woher des Rufens} is the "whither" to which we are called back {das Wohin des Zurückrufens}. When the call gives us a potentiality-for-Being to understand, it does not give us one which is ideal and universal; it discloses it as that which has been currently individualized and which belongs to that particular Dasein. We have not fully determined the character of the call as disclosure until we understand it as one which calls us back in calling us forth {als vorrufender Rückruf}. (BT 325f.; SZ 280)

We are engaged in some project and move forward on the timeline toward the future. In our project, we happily enjoy, or at least have given in, «to be subsumed under the idea of a business procedure that can be regulated» (BT 340; «Idee eines regelbaren Geschäftsganges,» SZ 294; one of Heidegger's terms for Gesellschaft). The call doesn't stop our forward movement on the timeline, for it does not physically kill us. It does call us back, however, from the project we are engaged in. Calling us back, it calls us «vor auf das Schuldigsein » (SZ 291; «forth to Being- guilty,» BT 337), and by this it opens up «the very possibility of taking action » (BT 340; «die Möglichkeit zu handeln ,» ST 294) for us. Heidegger need not add «authentically.» His emphasis, the entire sentence, and the entire paragraph make sufficiently clear that he is talking about Daseine who, as he says in the last sentence of the paragraph, «hear it authentically » (BT 341; «im eigentlich hörenden Anrufverstehen,» SZ 294). As Scheler's metaphors, Heidegger's can be taken quite literally. The call calls us forth, that is, calls upon us to step out of the crowd that plods forward on the road called downward plunge. Understanding the call, authentic Daseine realize that it calls them back to the site of the call itself, from where the call calls. As one can see already in these passages, Heidegger's notion of the call of conscience is directed against an interpretation of conscience in terms of universal reason. It is also directed against the concept of just exchange, which in the modern era is closely related to that of reason. In fact, what Heidegger criticizes as inauthentic interpretation of conscience, and what he calls upon us to leave behind, is Gesellschaft and a thinking in terms of Gesellschaft. The other aspect of Gesellschaft, the public


sphere, Berlin, Weimar, and the mass media, Heidegger criticizes in the section B entitled "The Everyday Being of the 'There', and the Falling {Ver-fallen} of Dasein," as «idle talk,» «curiosity,» «ambiguity» (BT 210ff.; SZ 166ff.). In society, we are in the «downward plunge » and «turbulence » (BT 223; «Absturz » and «Wirbel ,» ST 178). We have fallen into Gesellschaft out of the world of the craftsmen, the world of the inline image, where we encounter beings as «equipment» (BT 96; SZ 68). In some ways, Heidegger's Being and Time has the same structure as all the literature on Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. We begin in Gemeinschaft and somehow we end up in Gesellschaft. In Gesellschaft, we are lonely, either not caring about others or even antagonistic to them: «Dasein maintains itself proximally and for the most part in the deficient modes of solicitude. Being for, against, or without one another, passing one another by, not "mattering" to one another—these are possible ways of solicitude. And it is precisely these last-named deficient and Indifferent modes that characterize everyday, average Being-with-one-another» (BT 158; SZ 121). However, as was already mentioned,[38] the downward plunge is not yet over. For, somehow, the deficient mode of solicitude turns into a positive mode of solicitude, namely, socialism or social democracy as the «truth» of Gesellschaft. In it, the subjects lose the kind of fake freedom and autonomy they enjoy in the liberal Gesellschaft. «The Other» becomes the object of social welfare work, in which «the Other can become one who is dominated and dependent, even if this domination is a tacit one and remains hidden from him» (BT 158; SZ 122). It is at this point, under the threat of socialism, that it becomes possible to turn around the downward plunge. For, there is another positive mode of solicitude, one Heidegger only hints at darkly after his description of Gesellschaft:

A Being-with-one-another which arises [entspringt] from one's doing the same thing as someone else, not only keeps for the most part within the outer limits, but enters the mode of distance and reserve. The Being-with-one-another of those who are hired for the same affair often thrives only on mistrust. On the other hand, when they devote themselves to the same affair in common, their doing so is determined by the manner in which their Dasein, each in its own way, has been taken hold of. They thus become authentically bound together, and this makes possible the right kind of objectivity [die rechte Sachlichkeit], which frees the other in his freedom for himself. (BT 159; SZ 122)[39]

Though I would disagree, one might say that in the section on conscience Heidegger still leaves open whether the step out of Gesellschaft leads to the political Right or the political Left.[40] Even if, however, the section on historicality stood alone and were not preceded by the sections on falling and on conscience and solicitude, one sees easily that Heidegger' s concept of historicality is identical to Hitler's and Scheler's ideas of history and, thus, politically on the Right. Before I summarize Heidegger's notion and present some


concluding remarks, I would like to address the two general problems of the political Right I mentioned in chapters 1 and 2.

As is already clear from my discussion of Hitler's and Scheler's works, one problem of the political Right was which of the different pasts one had to repeat. Should people just go back to the Kaiserreich and rerealize it? Or, via the Renaissance in Italy—the «country where the lemons grow,» as Goethe had said—could it turn out that the Germans too had the great personalities whom Nietzsche admired so much? Should the world of the knights with their Minnesang, minnesong be repeated? Maybe, however, what ought to be rerealized is the hierarchy supposedly developed by Thomas Aquinas, who had been declared the official theologian of the Roman Catholic Church as recently as 1879. Or perhaps one needs to go back even farther and rerealize the German people of early history when they were still living in the dark forests. Or are the Greeks to be included among the real Germans and Aryans, as Hitler also acknowledged?[41] The other problem was whether the past to be rerealized should be rerealized the way it was lived out when it was present, or whether its rerealization should incorporate the major achievements of modern times, namely, private property of the means of production on a large scale and modern technology? From the viewpoint of Hitler, Scheler had given an answer that was doubly naive. First, Scheler wanted to rerealize the early Christian love community. Second, he wanted the rerealization of this very community he distinguished so sharply from Protestant ethics and even from Luke to incorporate modern technology. For Scheler maintained that the Germans should be prepared for an entire series of wars against England (PPS 121). However, he also has another reason for this. The basic principle of his philosophy is that «for value-personalism, all history {alle Gemeinschaft und Geschichte} has its goal in the being and activity of persons » (FEe 505; FE 496; read «all community and history»). Another sentence seems to be incompatible with this basic principle, however: «in the course of history the driving forces behind historical change were to shift more and more from persons to the masses» (FEe 505; FE 496). However, these sentences don't contradict each other, according to Scheler, but the second one even supports the basic principle (FEe 505; FE 496). This «singular nexus» allows for another principle:

All positive values that can be realized by extra personal and extras piritual powers ought to be so realized. Or, more briefly, everything that can be mechanized ought to be mechanized. Needless to say, this proposition does not coincide with the orientation of thinking in positivistic ethics, e.g., the ethics of H. Spencer, which sees in the progressive exclusion of love, sacrifice, conscience, duty {Liebe, Opfer, Gewissen, Pflichtzwang}—and finally the person and spirit in general—a growing "progress" in history. But this proposition does establish a clear boundary between all truly ethical personalism and idealism and their truly reactionary and "romantic" copies {Scheinformen}, which would


artificially maintain and fix the personal principle at the expense of a possible mechanism, e.g., love and sacrifice at the expense of a possible solidarity of interests, spiritual personal activity at the expense of a possible collective organization and mechanism. These copies do not serve to liberate the personal in men; on the contrary, they serve to maintain the servitude of the personal. Here we will not elaborate on the range of applicability of this principle but will only point out that it is valid for all forms of personal spirit, not only singular but also collective forms, for instance, for nations in relation to the international mechanism of civilization. Increasing mechanization in actualizing values that are at all mechanizable lifts the peculiarity and self-value of personal forms of spirit to ever purer heights; it does not destroy them, as both positivism and false personalism assume, though with opposing assessments. (FEe 506; FE 496f.)

Hitler has only contempt for those who promote «romantic copies.» He polemicizes against those who sport «flowing beards and primeval Teutonic gestures» (MKe 462; MK 517), and praises the Prussian state for having «adapted to the modern world and put into organized form» the «German army's instinct of self-preservation and self-defense» (MKe 647; MK 734). Also, «our» politics must not just repeat old ways. Adherence to the «alliance with the Hapsburg state cadaver» out of «sentimentality for the fantastic conception of the Nibelungen» has been «the min of Germany» (MKe 630; MK 712). In Heidegger's terms, such efforts mix up the third meaning of «world» («that 'wherein ' a factical Dasein as such can be said to 'live'») with the first meaning of «word» («the totality of those entities which can be present-at-hand within the world») (BT 93; SZ 64f.).[42] After the past has been overthrown by Gesellschaft worldwide, or at least in Europe, one cannot just repeat the past in Germany the way it supposedly was at this or that time. The rerealization of the past world in the sense of «that 'wherein ' a factical Dasein as such can be said to 'live'» must abstract from its former realization on the level designated by the first meaning of «world.» Only then is the rerealization strong enough to incorporate modern technology as an achievement of, but by no means identical with, the Gesellschaft that has to be disavowed in order for the past Gemeinschaft to be rerealized. Hitler labels the «romantic copies» a «mechanical restoration of the past» and claims that «with the founding of the NSDAP, for the first time a movement had appeared whose goal did not, like that of the bourgeois parties, consist in a mechanical restoration {mechanischen Restauration} of the past, but in the effort to erect an organic folkish state in place of the present senseless state mechanism» (MKe 534; MK 598; see also MKe 649ff; MK 735ff. and passim).

These thoughts also guide the choice of the flag. One must avoid any allusion to a specific historical state, for this would promote the misunderstanding of reducing the Aryan race to just one, already more or less fallen, his-


torical state. It also would fill people's minds with the concrete modes of that past world, and thus prevent them from being modern and able to cope with the French and the Britons and to conquer Russia. For that reason, the flag of the National Socialists must not be the flag of the Kaiserreich or of some of the individual German states, whether present or past. On the other hand, the flag must contain the colors of the flag of the Kaiserreich, black, red, and white, as they are the German colors and thus are the proper protest against the colors of the flag of the Weimar Republic, black, red, and gold. The spirit of the past, in the sense of the third meaning of «world» in Heidegger, has to be cleansed of any of its former concrete realizations, for each of them would just prevent the rerealization of the past from incorporating the achievements of the modern era. Only if there is no reference to any concrete past, can the rerealization of the past incorporate modern technology and the necessary attitudes. Also, only then is the past sufficiently present in the present time, which has overthrown it, and is sufficiently omnipresent so that it becomes impossible to ridicule it by pointing to, for instance, the «flowing beards» of the old Germans or the mustaches of the officials of the Kaiserreich (MKe 492ff; MK 551ff.). In this way the swastika was chosen: «In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such has always been and always will be anti-Semitic» (MKe 497; MK 557).[43]

It has often been said that Division Two of Being and Time in general and the section on historicality in particular is not well argued and rather unclear. One can say so only if one isolates Heidegger's text from its historical context and fails to recognize, in Carl Schmitt's terms, its polemical situation; both of these moves are an invitation to, and already a part of, deconstructive interpretations such as Birmingham's. Rather, one should acknowledge that section 74 of Being and Time is a brilliant text and also very clear. In just five pages, Heidegger here concisely summarizes the common motif uniting the parties on the revolutionary political Right in their fight against romantic right-wingers, liberals, and leftists. In the mid-1920s, many Germans were no longer enthusiastic about war, but had «fallen» into the Gesellschaft of a democratic republic. It is here that the Daseine are called upon by the Volksgemeinschaft. They have to get out of Gesellschaft. They cannot do so by relating positively to the Other in the way social democrats transcend Gesellschaft. For the right-wingers know that this leads only deeper into Gesellschaft. In addition, any direct collective effort to get out of Gesellschaft would just be too proletarian and heteronomous. The decision must not result from a debate with social democrats, who finally convince people. Rather, it must be the autonomous and eigenste act of the bourgeois subject, alone with himself and with his authentic Dasein. Only then will people not fall prey to


the social democratic society, but will reestablish the true community. Heidegger cannot refer to models such as Augustine's conversion. As he himself would be the first to point out, not everyone on the Right considered himself a Christian and thus not everyone would appreciate this allusion to our Christian values and humanistic traditions. In addition, systematically such references to Christianity don't serve the purpose. Augustine, as well as most Christians, insisted that Christians leave earthly political matters as they are and explicitly forbade themselves to turn back and to widerrufen the respective societies in order to realize heaven here on earth. Furthermore, Augustine's weibisches Geschluchze, womanish sobbing, in the garden in Milan and also his talkativeness is anachronistic and does not allow for the «reticence» (BT 318; «Verschwiegenheit,» SZ 273) and the «hardness of the will»[44] required for the struggle to widerrufen society. Each eigentlicher philosopher has called upon us to distance and detach ourselves from worldly matters, to cleanse our minds of the worldly forms, which shape us in our everyday life. In addition, one of the few motifs Hegel adhered to in the transition from the «young Hegel» to the «late Hegel» was that death—the threat of death, which the soldier takes upon himself—is an appropriate means to de-form oneself.[45] Furthermore, having lost so much property in the war, in inflations and economic crises, people should realize that, indeed, death is the only property no one can take away from a given Dasein.[46] It is not through some collectivity, but rather through what is our ownmost that the turn has to be brought about. Finally, World War I and the remembrance of it was a common cause of all right-wingers, whether they were fighting for the Kaiserreich or for the rerealization of some other community. At the same time, an allusion to World War I already hints at the reward we will finally get for our courageous act of giving up everything and facing what is our ownmost. Thus, Heidegger evokes the «Helden von Langemarck» as the telos of the step out of society: «Resoluteness gains its authenticity {Eigentlichkeit} as anticipatory resoluteness {vorlaufende Entschlossenheit}. In this, Dasein understands itself with regard to its potentiality-for-Being, and it does so in such a manner that it will go right under the eyes of Death in order thus to take over in its thrownness that entity which it is itself, and to take it over wholly» (BT 434; SZ 382).

World War I and the Weimar Republic were experienced by many, if not all, rightists as, in Hitler's terms, the «great turning point» (MKe 406; MK 450). In the preface to the third edition of Formalism in Ethics , Scheler labeled the «great turning point» the «kairos , i.e., the call of the hour of our human and historical being and life» (FEe xxxi; FE 23); the decisive moment in the course of a sickness, at which alone it is possible for the physician to interfere and to restore the body to its healthy state before it is definitely too late. I have discussed passages in Hitler and Scheler that testify to the peculiar


feeling that existed at the beginning of World War I, namely, that something new had raised its voice and was calling upon people to make a decision. Already prior to that, something strange, uncanny, had cast its shadow over people's ordinary way of living, and they have somehow felt that there was something in the air heralding something new. Rightists claimed that people should realize that there was something wrong with the way of life and assumptions they had taken over from their parents and fellow citizens and had been repeating in their ordinary way of Dasein according to the «they.» According to rightists, «we» somehow feel that behind the forms of ordinary Dasein's life, behind Gesellschaft, something else is emerging that is covered up by them. In Scheler's terms,[47] «>we» become aware that under our ethos on stratum 2 a new ethos on stratum 1 is emerging, or has always already been there, and that both do not conform to each other; that underneath our explicit judgments and ways of life of our ordinary Dasein something else begins to raise its voice, our eigentliches ethos. The call of the new tells us that «we» have to cancel our ordinary Dasein and replace it with an ethos 2 that conforms to our eigentliches ethos. «We» should do so because it benefits not only ourselves but all of us to get rid of Gesellschaft, even though those who adhere to Gesellschaft claim the opposite and want us to assume not only that our ordinary Dasein is better than our eigentliches ethos but also that there is no eigentliches ethos behind our ordinary Dasein, and that the conflict between our ethos and our eigentliches ethos is reactionary propaganda. Our ethos has become antagonistic. Some ordinary Daseine want to cover up the new emergence of what-has-been-there. They become inauthentic. Authentic Daseine have to realize the new against the inauthentic Daseine. Heidegger encapsulates this in the paragraph on the work of ambiguity ending with the formula: «The authentic existientiell understanding is so far from extricating itself from the way of interpreting Dasein which has come down to us, that in each case it is in terms of {aus} this interpretation, against {gegen} it, and yet again for {für} it, that any possibility one has chosen is seized upon in one's resolution» (BT 435; SZ 383). Authentic Daseine take the eigentliches ethos «from {aus}» «the way of interpreting Dasein which has come down to us,» because the eigentliche ethos is contained in the latter, though covered up by the ordinary Daseine. Authentic Daseine turn the eigentliches ethos «against» «the way of interpreting Dasein which has come down to us,» because they cancel the latter, that is, Gesellschaft. Authentic Daseine do so «for» «the way of interpreting Dasein which has come down to us,» because they bring ordinary Daseine back to their origin, that is, Gemeinschaft.[48]

Starting in our ethos 2, our ordinary Dasein, and obeying the call of our eigentliches ethos, «we» begin to see that our ordinary Dasein is a forgetting. We realize that our ordinary Dasein is a falling-down-and-away from a past


and that at the same time it has forgotten about the fall and even interprets it as progress. We also realize that our eigentliches ethos draws its identity and strength from the forgotten past. This is the paragraph in which Heidegger states: «If everything 'good' is a heritage, and the character of 'goodness' lies in making authentic existence possible, then the handing down of a heritage constitutes itself in resoluteness» (BT 435; SZ 383). Relating itself to the past, or being taken over by the past, authentic Dasein can step out of ordinary Dasein and the latter's vain possibilities, and can realize that it owes its eigentliches ethos and identity to the past, which was brought down. Thus, it gets snatched back from «the endless multiplicity of possibilities» in society into what it recognizes as «the simplicity of its fate » (BT 435; SZ 384). It recognizes its fate. It recognizes that its autonomy and its pride in what it believed to have acquired and achieved in society by itself are a vain pretension, and that it instead depends on powers and circumstances it has not produced and these determine its life, that is, they are its fate. Its fate is simple, because in contrast to the «endless multiplicity of possibilities» in society, Volk, being an organic entity, does not allow for all the detractions and all the Firlefanz, gewgaws, gimcrackery, of society, and because it calls the Dasein into a situation of a clear either-or and a clear distinction between the foe and the völkische. In this moment, the antagonism becomes an antagonism between all those who recognize their fate, obey the call, and submit to their fate, and those who don't want to do so. The latter don't submit to their fate and don't take it over. They miss the opportunity to become, in Hitler's terms, «master of their fate,» and, thus, they are tossed around and pushed into irrelevance like the liberals at the beginning of World War I. Thus, this part ends with the sentence: «Even one who is irresolute gets driven about by these—more so than one who has chosen; and yet he can 'have' no fate» (BT 436; SZ 384).[49]

Recognizing its fate, authentic Dasein understands that the past, to which it owes its eigentliches ethos and identity, is an entity that was pushed aside by Gesellschaft, and that the past allows for positive relations to the Other in contrast to the loneliness and instrumental relations to the Other in Gesellschaft, that is, in contrast to solicitude in its deficient mode as well as in the first of its positive modes. Regardless of the differences between them, all rightists have used as the term for the past and the real power in Gesellschaft and history the notion of Gemeinschaft. Thus, Heidegger writes: «But if fateful Dasein, as Being-in-the-world, exists essentially in Being-with-Others, its historizing is a co-historizing and is determinative for it as destiny (Geschick ). This is how we designate the historizing of the community, of {the} people» (BT 436; SZ 384).[50] Heidegger need not develop the notion of Volksgemeinschaft. In the polemical and kairos situation of the twenties it is clear that it functions as polemical to Gesellschaft and reason as employed


by liberals and leftists as principles of history. One can give a description of Volk that contrasts it to Gesellschaft and reason, and one can even, as Scheler did, give an account of a realm of values and social units that contains the Volksgemeinschaft. However, one cannot «rationalize» a Volk. In fact, it is part of the rightist polemics against reason and understanding as the principles of «English cant,» Enlightenment, and subjectivity to point out that such entities like Volk cannot be understood by the means employed by subjectivistic thinking or by finite individuals who are part of the embracing entity Volk in its mysterious life. Furthermore, for the same reason Heidegger need not mention the name of the social unit to which Gemeinschaft is polemical, and which, as Gemeinschaft calls upon us to do, «we» have to overthrow, since it earlier ousted Gemeinschaft. For even those who have not read Scheler have learned about this polemical opposition somehow, perhaps from the books of Jünger or Hitler, or just from the atmosphere of the kairos. In addition, in the following sentence Heidegger himself elaborates on both concepts, Gesellschaft as well as Gemeinschaft, in a way that can be found in all books on the topic. According to Scheler, the «principle of summation» guides liberalism and all thinking in terms of Gesellschaft. Liberalism assumes that a social unit is a whole that is not more than the sum of its parts, that is, that the social units are constituted, or «put together» («zusammengesetzt»), by the autonomous subjects so that they can pursue their selfish interests. In reality, however, a Gemeinschaft has priority over the individuals. Again according to Scheler, along with the «principle of summation» goes the assumption that the autonomous subject makes his life by himself, relies only on what he achieves by himself, and does not allow any authority over and above reason to determine his life. In reality, however, it is Gemeinschaft that determines the life course of the individual. Heidegger formulates these two thoughts in the sentences immediately following the sentence on the Volksgemeinschaft:

Destiny is not something that puts itself together out of individual fates {setzt sich nicht aus einzelnen Schicksalen zusammen}, any more than Being-with-one-another can be conceived as the occurring together of several Subjects. Our fates have already been guided in advance, in our Being with one another in the same world and in our resoluteness for definite possibilities. (BT 436; SZ 384)[51]

In the kairos, right-wingers experience that the time of the ordinary way of Dasein—«English cant» in Scheler, «endless discussion» in Schmitt, «'business'» (BT 336; SZ 289), as the ordinary interpretation of conscience, or the era of «reckoning up claims and balancing them off» (BT 328; «im Sinne des ausgleichenden Verrechnens von Ansprüchen,» SZ 283; italics mine, J. F.),[52] as Heidegger correctly summarizes a major principle of parliamentary democracy—is over. As for Scheler at the beginning of World War I,


and as for Hitler in the kairos of the Weimar Republic, fate, or destiny, itself has brought about a situation in which «we» have to replace liberalism with a communitarian ethos in order to rerealize Gemeinschaft, as in the same moment fate has called upon us to do. Up to that point, fate has been silent, either withdrawn or present, but covered up by the liberals' work of ambiguity. Now, it raises its voice to call upon us to expel liberalism and to rerealize Gemeinschaft. It comes to the fore and demands this realization in a resolute fight. Heidegger goes on: «Only in communicating and in struggling {im Kampf} does the power of destiny become free» (BT 436; SZ 384).[53] Obeying the call of fate, «we» become the agents of fate, which in this way steps out of the background, where it has been covered up by the work of ambiguity, and enters the scene explicitly. The task allotted to us by fate, the repetition of the past, is not a simple repetition of the past. A simple repetition of some past is what ordinary Dasein does all the time by just taking over and repeating the assumptions and attitudes «which 'circulate' in the 'average' public way of interpreting Dasein today» (BT 435; BT 383). Also, a «romantic copy» of the past would be a simple repetition, because it does not take into account the changed circumstances in which the eigentliche past, that is, its spirit, or the past in the third sense of «word,» has to be repeated. Thus, Heidegger explains: «The repeating of that which is possible does not bring again [Wiederbringen] something that is 'past', nor does it bind the 'Present' back to that which has already been 'outstripped'. Arising, as it does, from a resolute projection of oneself, repetition does not let itself be persuaded of something by what is 'past', just in order that this, as something which was formerly actual, may recur» (BT 437f.; SZ 385f.).[54] For authentic Dasein repeats the past in a situation in which the past has been overthrown, or is about to be overthrown, and authentic Dasein knows that it must not make a «romantic copy» of the past. Dasein listens to the call for help and defends, rescues, and rerealizes the past against what has already overthrown it, or is in the process of doing so. Thus, authentic Dasein does not repeat, but rather «erwidert the possibility of that existence which has-been-there» (BT 438; SZ 386). As it realizes in the kairos, in the moment of danger and decision, it can rerealize the past only if it makes a «disavowal » (BT 438; SZ 386) of what has overthrown Gemeinschaft; it disavows, cancels, Gesellschaft, the world in which it has lived as ordinary Dasein and in which inauthentic Daseine still live.[55] As I have already mentioned, the «"today"» («Heute») in the sentence, «disavowal of that which in the "today", is working itself out as the 'past' {sich als "Vergangenheit" auswirkt}» (BT 438; SZ 386) is the present as seen by authentic Dasein.[56] In the kairos, authentic Dasein realizes that life is a mixture that has to be purified, that what it has constantly repeated as ordinary Dasein is not the «real» life, and that it is called to enter the struggle for cleansing. In the kairos, authentic Dasein real-


izes that its ordinary way of existence, liberalism, which has developed since the thirteenth century, is a past, but not the real past. Thus, Heidegger puts «past» into quotation marks. The ordinary mode of Dasein, liberalism, goes back to a principle or is a world. Thus, authentic Dasein cancels not the entire present, but rather its principle or its world, that is, «that which in the "today", is working itself out as the 'past' {sich als "Vergangenheit" auswirkt}» (BT 438; SZ 386), in Schelerian terms, the bourgeois ethos, which has to be expelled out of Europe's blood like a foreign poison in order to make the rerealization of Gemeinschaft possible. Thus, «we» are entitled to take over into the rerealization of Gemeinschaft all we regard as indifferent toward Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, or all we regard to be necessary for the rerealization, for instance, private property of the means of production and modern technology. The Erwiderung that is at the same time a disavowal calls us back from our march forward on the road of Gesellschaft and progress and affirms the primacy of the past—or, in Heideggerian terms, of what-has-been-there—pitted by rightist authors against the «denigration» and «falsification» of the past in Enlightenment, liberalism, and on the political Left. Thus, it is only this Erwiderung that «for the first time imparts to having-been {Gewesenheit } its peculiarly privileged position in the historical» (BT 438; SZ 386).[57] Since only such a repetition will be successful in contrast to a «romantic copy,» at the end of section 75 Heidegger can summarize the result of the decision between inauthentic and authentic Daseine just by using the term «Wiederkehr» («recurrence») without any qualifications. Inauthentic Dasein, liberals and social democrats, live in a false past, the ethos of Gesellschaft, and by projecting it onto the past they misinterpret and neglect the «real» past. As in Scheler, authentic Dasein knows of this and keeps itself open for the advent of the «real» past. Even if Heidegger had not extensively used the vocabulary of falling throughout the book, his notion of history is identical with the one in Hitler and Scheler and with formulations in Scheler such as «Not progress, but development and falling-down-and-away-from and renaissance» (PPS 628):

When, however, one's existence is inauthentically historical, it is loaded down with the legacy of a 'past' which has become unrecognizable, and it seeks the modern. But when historicality is authentic, it understands history as the 'recurrence' {"Wiederkehr"} of the possible, and knows that a possibility will recur {wiederkehrt} only if existence is open {offen} for it fatefully, in a moment of vision, in resolute repetition {in der entschlossenen Wiederholung}. (BT 444; SZ 391f.)[58]

It has often been said that, working in his Hütte, the Denker and Gelehrte Heidegger was aloof from politics and didn't know what he was doing when he stumbled into Nazism. According to my interpretation, Heidegger's notion


of historicality is identical with the notions of history and politics as developed by the revolutionary rightists and as exemplified here in regard to Hitler's and Scheler's works. It is hard to imagine that this is coincidental. Heidegger's text is just too excellent a summary of the revolutionary rightist notion to be the result of a somnambulistic thinking whose author didn't know what the significance of his writings would be in the world outside his Hütte and outside his book.[59] In addition, it is not fate—«fate» in the «truly German» sense as I have «repeated» it here by «disavowing» the misinterpretation of the notion in Heidegger under the spell of the spirit of the American self-made man—that drove Heidegger into Nazism. As Scheier observed, at the beginning of World War I the majority of German intellectuals were liberals opposed to the war (PPS 12), and in the twenties Scheier himself changed his politics dramatically and became a liberal after the end of classic liberalism or even a social democrat.[60] The rightists had enough foes—liberals, social democrats, and Communists—among intellectuals. In addition, as the differences between Hitler and Scheler show, there were strong disagreements among the revolutionary rightists themselves in regard to the question of which community had to be repeated. In light of these disagreements, Heidegger's formula of «the community, of {the} people» (BT 436; SZ 384) is truly remarkable, as I will show in the remainder of this section.

Certainly, Heidegger knew Scheler's book Formalism in Ethics and, thus, Scheler's discussion of the four types of social units, that is, Masse (mass, herd), Lebensgemeinschaft (life-community), Gesellschaft (society), and Liebesgemeinschaft (love-community). When it comes to the different large-scale communities, Scheier—as many of the other authors on this topic—takes great pains to explain what he regards as the proper hierarchy. It is at this point that Heidegger builds a very specific option into his excellent summary of the revolutionary rightist notion of history and politics. As to the hierarchy among the various large-scale communities, Scheler uses four criteria. One is the ranking of the value each large-scale community is concerned with (FEe 541; FE 529 and passim). Another is the number of human beings it is concerned with. Furthermore, it matters whether a community is a «collective person » (FEe 543; FE 531; see also FEe 520ff.; FE 510ff. and passim) and the degree to which it comes more or less close to this. Finally, it is crucial whether a community acknowledges the individual as a person in his own right independent of his functional contribution to the Gemeinschaft, and the degree to which it comes close to this (FEe 524f.; FE 513f.). With respect to all criteria, the love-community and its earthly organization, the church, is unambiguously at the top of the hierarchy. It is with regard to the love-community and the church that Scheler reestablishes the universalism he denied to reason as developed by Enlightenment and «English cant.» He


also ascribes to the love-community another capacity he denied reason, namely, to realize its universal ends in a variety of different empirical churches, that is, to abstract from and at the same time acknowledge the differences and to realize its value within the various churches without negating their differences. The church is concerned with the highest value (FEe 554f.; FE 541f.). It cares not only for all living human beings, but also for all dead and future ones and for all finite individual persons (FEe 547f.; FE 535). It regards the individual not as a member of a family, tribe, or Volk, but rather as a «purely spiritual individual person » (FEe 547; FE 535); or, as already mentioned, the individual person as in Gesellschaft is preserved in the love-community. Scheler develops his understanding of the Last Judgment: «Suppose that we find ourselves in a world court. No one alone would be tried by its highest judge; all would have to answer to him in the unity of one act, and all taken together would have to listen to this judge in one act. He would not sentence anyone until he had heard, understood, and valued all others with this one. In each he would cosentence the whole no less than the whole in each» (FEe 535; FE 523). Postmodernss and deconstructionists will probably not acknowledge this court as the institutionalized site of, as it is said, the recognition of «the Other as Other,» and they might be right. The author of Formalism in Ethics definitely belongs to the revolutionary Right, and only those who lack any sense of the «spirit» and the letter of different philosophies mistake Scheler and «Schelerians» for Habermas's theory of communicative action. However, the mentality giving rise to the notion of the court in Scheler definitely enabled him to distance himself from the advocates of the Volksgemeinschaft.

It would take readers too far beyond the scope of this book to go into the details of Scheler's reasoning. At any rate, for him the order below the love-community is that «the state is, in ranks of values, above the people {Volk} but below the nation» (FEe 547; FE 534f.; the «nation» being the Kulturgemeinschaft, community of culture, which embraces several peoples, as for instance, western Europe forms a Kulturgemeinschaft). That is, the ranking is the following: at the top is the love-community; next is the community of culture followed by the state; at the bottom of the hierarchy is the Volksgemeinschaft. The «people» concerns the smallest number of individuals (and, thus, excludes the largest number of other individuals), and it is not concerned about the individual as a value in himself (FEe 546; FE 534). Since all the lower communities and society as well are in the service of the highest community, it follows from this reasoning that the church has a right of intervention in regard to the lower Gemeinschaften. The church does not positively interfere by prescribing specific norms. However, again Scheler ascribes to the church a universalistic function in regard to the community of culture (and—since the community of culture is higher than the community of the


people—in regard to the state and the community of the people), something he had denied reason: «First, there is the essentially negative task of immediately controlling all cultural activity and its works in order to see that the ethos of this activity and the guiding structure of the preferring of the values of the domain in question (style in the arts, the methodological structure of science) do not conflict with the conditions of a possible collective salvation and, if necessary, of issuing an authoritative declaration on the matter» (FEe 551; FE 539).

In the twenties, Scheler became a social democrat and liberal. At that point, as a social democrat, city-dweller, and notorious frequenter of bars and brothels, Max Scheler would definitely not have joined the National Socialists. However, the author of Formalism in Ethics and of the essay on resentment would probably also not have done so. Though, as I have shown, his theories in Formalism and related writings present a paternalistic and hierarchical view of the different nations and states that ascribes to the Germans as the proxy of the Liebesgemeinschaft and the Kulturgemeinschaft the task of an imperialistic and militaristic politics of dominion over the world, the internationalism of the Church (which he was to stress in his writings from 191 6 onward), the insistence on the individual person as a value in himself, and other elements in his theory, such as the emphasis on the «intimate person» (FEe 561ff.; FE 518ff.) and, so to speak, dialectical thoughts such as the one on mechanization and person would have served as a strong means of critique of a movement that places the Volksgemeinschaft at the top, instrumentalizes all the other communities as a means to pursue the interests of the Volk, and explicitly denies that individual persons have value independent of their functionalistic contribution to the politics of the Volksgemeinschaft. From the viewpoint of Scheler's theory, Hitler's preference for the Volksgemeinschaft looks like an overthrow in the realm of the large-scale communities similar to the overthrow of all communities by Gesellschaft. In fact, in the twenties, due to his Catholicism, Scheler identified the real foe, namely, the National Socialists, recognized that rightist politics gravitated toward them, and saw that they would become the strongest force on the Right. As a consequence, Scheler gave up any rightist politics of history as the rerealization of some overthrown community, reviewed his basic notions, and turned toward the center.

In contrast to Scheler, Heidegger joined the National Socialists, and he did so with great enthusiasm. In light of this, in the light of Scheler's theory of the large-scale communities, and also in light of Scheler's later abandonment of any rightist politics, Heidegger's formula of «of the community, of {the} people» (BT 436; SZ 384) is telling. I have mentioned Guignon's assumption that each authentic Dasein can choose the past that fits his respective utopian ideal. Regarding politics, this means for Guignon that Heidegger's


notion of historicality and politics is neutral and does not exclude any political options, whether liberalism, conservatism, social democracy, or communism (see chapter 4, section A). I have criticized his notion of the relation of authentic Dasein to the past. In addition, I have shown that Heidegger's notion of historicality is pro-revolutionary rightist politics and antiliberal and antileftist. One might say, within Heidegger's option for revolutionary rightist politics Guignon's notion emerges. For Heidegger gives a summary of the notion of history and politics of all the revolutionary rightists, and thus, he does not yet exclude any specific option. He does not yet exclude the friends of the Kaiser, the German Renaissance, or the Christian love-community, or the Vikings, provided that they don't want to rerealize a «romantic copy,» but rather present an updated version of the respective past they want to rerealize. In fact, Heidegger would not have excluded anyone of the revolutionary rightists if he had just written «of a community.» For «community» was the catchword among those on the Right, and this would have left open the possibility that this individual opts for the Kaiserreich, another for the love-community, etc. However, he adds «of the people» («of the community, of {the} people,» BT 436; «der Gemeinschaft, des Volkes,» SZ 384). This is a very conscious choice by which he also performs the second step in the debates of the rightists. By developing the common motive of all the revolutionary rightists, he establishes community as the «real» principle in history. In the second step, he adds his option in the debates, or struggles, among the rightists as to which community has the priority. From the viewpoint of Scheler's theory, this is a clear decision against Scheler's option and for the politics of the extreme right, the National Socialists, in the name of the Volksgemeinschaft. (One might add that by proceeding philosophically in the correct way—step by step, first the general notion and then its specification—he at the same time avoids the word Volksgemeinschaft itself, since this might have sounded too blunt in the ears of many of his conservative colleagues or students.) Again, Heidegger must have been aware of the significance of his choice. Even if he had not read any of the many writings of Scheler' s on politics, the political applications of Scheler' s Formalism are all too obvious and intended by Scheler, and even prior to the emergence of the National Socialist Party, in the preface of the second edition of Formalism in 1921, Scheler distinguished his theory not only from the Left, but also from developments on the Right (FEe xxiiif.; FE 15). One might say, the addition of the qualification «of the people» is voluntaristic in the sense that the text doesn't provide any argument allowing for this step. In some sense, this doesn't make things better. Why should one add an unwarranted specification, unless one has a strong interest in it? This interest then might inspire one to bridge the gap, and to concreticize theoretically the general option for rightist revolutionary politics such that it becomes an option for National Socialism. In fact,


however, in some sense he had no need to bridge the gap. His way of criticizing subjectivity and universality of reason placed his thinking on the right side of the political spectrum. It is not only the absence in Being and Time of anything analogous to Scheler's theory of values and social units that removed the possible resistance of, so to speak, regular and extreme conservatives on the Right against National Socialism. Rather, Heidegger explicitly criticizes the theoretical framework that enabled someone like Scheler to keep his distance to National Socialism and finally turn against any rightist politics (e.g., BT 131ff.; SZ 98ff.). As to the other parts of Being and Time , one cannot see anything that might enable its author to resist and criticize National Socialism (which is, of course, not to say that all of Division One and the other parts of Division Two are downright national socialistic). In this sense, one has to regard the addition of the specification «of {the} people» as the author's explicit affirmation that Being and Time and the notion of historicality allow for, and even invite, the extreme party on the side of the revolutionary Right and do not enable one to criticize National Socialism. If he did not want to convey this, he would have left out the phrase «of {the} people,» or he would have developed specifications that would have drawn a line between the National Socialists and other rightists with sympathy for the Volksgemeinschaft as the primary community. However, Being and Time as it stands does not allow for such specifications, and Heidegger even explicitly criticizes possible rightist means to criticize National Socialism. In light of this, one can hardly imagine a philosophical work that leads into National Socialism more directly than Heidegger's Being and Time . Therefore, one should not be surprised that, six years later, on May 1, 1933, Heidegger joined the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei,[61] and that twenty-six days later—on May 27, 1933—he gave his, as Jonas called it, «infamous» (MH 200) rectorate address.

At no point do Scheler and Heidegger feel any need to explain what they mean by «Schicksal.» Indeed, they do not need to explain the notion, for their use of it is completely in line with the everyday one. Schicksal is not something an individual or a group creates in this or that way. Rather, this Schicksal precedes the individual or the group whose fate it is. The question is not as to the need and the way of inventing one's fate, but rather as to whether one—to use one of the later Heidegger' s pet words—«fügt sich in,» complies with, one's fate, or whether one tries to ignore or even to fight against it. According to common understanding as well as in Scheler's and Heidegger's views of the matter, only unwise or inauthentic people try the second path. The only difference between Scheler and Heidegger is that Heidegger replaces «unser deutsches Schicksal» or «ein eigentümlich nationales Schicksal» (PPS I; «our German fate,» «a peculiar national fate») with «Geschick» (SZ 384; «destiny,» BT 436) in order to maintain a terminological distinction between


the all embracing Geschick and the different individual slots allotted by Geschick to each individual, «the lowliest as well as the greatest» (PPS 11).[62] Still, fate does not realize itself automatically. The rerealization of Gemeinschaft depends on Dasein's proper listening and successful fighting. It can no longer be assumed that what is supposed to happen according to fate will happen anyway. Rather, without Dasein's compliance with fate and Dasein's active struggle for its realization, that fate would not be realized. The fate of fate requires that those whose fate it is properly realize it[63] and thus properly rerealize Gemeinschaft. In 1934/35, in his lecture course on two hymns by Hölderlin, Heidegger said that the notion of fate in this sense is «an essentially German notion» (HH 173), and he denounced the «traditional» notion of fate as the «Asian notion of fate» (HH 173), according to which what fate ordains will happen anyway, no matter whether one actively subjugates oneself to it and fights for its realization or doesn't care to do so.

This redefinition, however, required as it is in the moment of crisis, does not do away with the basic meaning of fate as something we do not choose but have to comply with. Indeed, the redefinition even strengthens this basic meaning insofar as we ourselves would not even survive if we did not listen to the call and act accordingly. Also, it makes explicit the normative aspect in the everyday usage of the word fate. Thus, neither Scheler nor Heidegger need to elaborate on the notion, because both of them could rely on everyone understanding what they meant. The redefinition itself, however, might have been a further reason for Heidegger in the passage in Being and Time to use the word «Erwiderung,» as erwidern is often used for answering someone's call for help. Fate calls upon us and demands us to help it. Without our help, fate could not realize itself, but rather would, so to speak, be drowned and disappear. The implication that we ourselves would be drowned if we don't help fate, is evident in the abundant usage of metaphors of falling and downward plunge in the works of Hitler, Scheler, and also Heidegger. Accordingly, in my view the label «empty decionism» for Heidegger's notion of decision is only half of the story. Authentic Dasein is empty insofar as it has to empty itself from the forms of ordinary and inauthentic Dasein. Becoming empty in this sense, however, is already part of the process of facing a decision that is an either-or such that Dasein must obey the call and must not fail to listen to it.[64]

I have identified Heidegger's section 74 of Being and Time as politically rightist on the grounds that it shares with other works unambiguously on the Right the premises of their reasoning against leftists and liberals. In addition, as I will show in more detail in chapter 4, Heidegger's reasoning lacks any of the premises used by leftist authors. One might object that this procedure is unfair and unreliable. However, even those agreeing with this objection will probably


admit that Heidegger's case is a special one. For not only did he some years later join the most extreme of the rightist parties, the National Socialists, but he also said in 1936 that the section on historicality in Being and Time was the basis for his engagement with National Socialism.[65] True, an author's words about his works do not necessarily have to be taken at face value. However, unless there is substantial evidence that the author's assessment of his works is wrong, his statements have to be respected. At the beginning of my book, I mentioned the «Helden von Langemarck» and the «Helden von Verdun.» Scheler's writings provide a good example of the hopes several rightist authors associated with World War I. As the following quote shows, quite obviously in 1914 the same hopes were present in Heidegger, and he saw in the Machtübernahme of the National Socialists in 1933 a «new beginning,» a new opportunity to realize the hopes of 1914 that had then been betrayed by the outcome of the war and by the Weimar Republic. As Jaspers tells in a pretty macabre story, in Heidelberg on June 30, 1933, Heidegger gave a talk entitled "The University in the new Reich":

As to its form, it was a masterly talk, as to its content it was a program for the National Socialist renewal of the universities. . . . Our conversations after the talk were, as far as I was concerned, not frank. I told him that one had expected him to stand up for our university and its great tradition. No answer. I talked about the Jewish question, about the vicious nonsense of the 'Wise Men of Zion,' to which he replied: "As you know, there is a dangerous international connection {Verbindung} among Jews." During dinner, he said in a somewhat furious tone that it was nonsense to have that many philosophy professors in Germany; only two or three should be retained. "Which ones?" I asked. No answer. "How can such an uneducated man like Hitler govern Germany?"—"Education {Bildung} doesn't matter at all," he replied. "Just look at his wonderful hands! {sehen Sie nur seine wunderbaren Häinde an! }"

Heidegger himself seemed to have changed. Already on his arrival a distancing mood had begun to develop. National Socialism had intoxicated the population. I went up to Heidegger's room to welcome him. "It is like 1914," I began, and I wanted to continue, "again the same delusive mass ecstasy." However, faced with a Heidegger who agreed with my first words and beamed, the words stuck in my throat. This radical break left me extremely troubled. With no one else had I experienced something like this. It was all the more provoking since Heidegger seemed not to notice it at all.[66]

F. Scheler "im Weltalter des Ausgleichs"

Quite certainly, Heidegger saw in Hitler «the man» (PPS 646) Scheler had been waiting for after the outcome of World War I and the establishment of the Weimar Republic had disappointed the latter's hope for a rerealization of his version of a Christian love-community through World War I. In the twenties,


however, Scheler changed his mind on the task of politics dramatically, and he did so precisely at the time when Heidegger was writing and publishing Being and Time . If, according to the old theory of opposites, in ethics and politics the state in the middle is the eigentliche extreme to each of the extremes, he became the eigentliche extremist. For Scheler became a post-classic liberal or some sort of social democrat. For an inspired philosopher like Scheler, this turn, or Kehre, perhaps did not exclude a belief in a hierarchy of values independent of human beings. But it certainly did exclude the theory of social units and their hierarchy as developed in Formalism in Ethics . I will not discuss this question nor the development of his change. Rather, I will only present a speech he gave in the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin in November 1927, less than one year before his death. To be sure, in this speech also the author sometimes rhetorically underscores the obvious fact that he is by no means, so to speak, counting peanuts. Rather, as one says in German ironically, «er geht aufs Ganze.» All of his great topics are present in a speech of not more than twenty-five pages; God, religion, metaphysics, capitalism, socialism, Europe, England, Russia, Japan, China, India, the genius, fate, blood and its mixtures, and «man» being «a direction of the movement of the universe itself, indeed, of its ground» (WA 151). However, all are treated from a point of view that is the exact opposite of the one in the writings I have discussed so far and that is already announced in the title of the talk, namely, "Der Mensch im Weltalter des Ausgleichs" (Man in the age of conciliation). Ausgleich is «balance, adjustment, conciliation, equalization, settlement» and thus the opposite of the politics of de-cision he had proposed in his writings discussed in the preceding sections. To be sure, the meaning of fate remains the same, for the process of Ausgleich is «inescapable » (WA 152), that is, it is «fate —not choice» (WA 165), and one who wants to oppose fate will, with an allusion to Don Quixote, «in die Luft stob en» («thrust into the air») (WA 152). However, the task fate imposes on us is precisely the opposite of its gift[67] in the years around World War I. For the cluster of notions I have presented as the hallmark of the rightist notion of history is dissolved. The notion of Gemeinschaft is not even mentioned once. It is not used, because what is at stake is the defense of Gesellschaft, of parliamentary democracy. In his phase of de-cision, Scheler considered class struggle and the various oppositions between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaften a result of the value-falsifying process through which liberalism and Gesellschaft had taken over not only the entrepreneurs but also the workers, but now democracy just «unveils » these oppositions but «does not produce them» (WA 145). What matters is «the free democratic discussion and formation of will in parliament» (WA 146). He says that «in the dangerous crisis, in which today parliamentary democracy . . . finds itself almost all over the world, in its hard struggle, not as in former times against this or that kind of conservative monarchism (today, this opposition is almost dead), but rather


against the dictatorial tendencies from the Right and from the Left, parliamentary democracy will assert itself only if» (WA 145) his—or rather fate' s—recommendations for this struggle are followed. The text is paragraph by paragraph a revocation of his politics of de-cision. The theme of the genius, leader, or saint is taken up as the quest for an elite in democracy. However, the elite is not regarded as the vanguard in the upward movement of authentic valuerealiziation but rather as an effort «to beat the foes of parliamentary democracy at their own game» (WA 145). Scheler' s statement that «the development of human mind and of its forms of activities has become autonomous and independent of its bodily organisation » (WA 148) dismisses all the variants of thinking in terms of biology or in terms of an opposition between the mind and the «deeper» forces of soul, race, etc. (WA 146—150). Distancing himself from the rightist authors, Scheler at the same time comes closer to Marx. To be sure, pace Marx the religious ideas cannot be reduced to economic factors. However, pace the de-cisionistic Scheler they are not independent of them either, for: «still, an inner bond ties them together, an ultimate conception and attitude toward Being, shared by both, even though this bond is hard to perceive and to investigate» (WA 168). The materialism of Marxism is a reaction against the idealistic ideologies, including Christianity, of the ruling classes (WA 167f.). «Man» is different from what the rightists maintain who reduce him to a pre-given identity, from which the moderns have fallen away: «Man is a being whose essence itself is the decision, still open, of what this being wants to be and to become. . . . Thus, allow for man and his movement, infinite by his essence! No fixation on an "exemplary state," on a certain form, taken from either natural history or worm history » (WA 150f.).[68] Clearly it is impossible «to try to renew again {wieder erneuern zu wollen} the "pagan" man, the "early Christian" man, the "Gothic" man,» etc. (WA 152). In contrast to his de-cisionistic assessment of the League of Nations as a means of Anglo-American economic world domination (PPS 382f., 665), here Scheler defends it (WA 166). Certain groups in the Catholic Church are reprimanded for their claim that basic features of the constitution of the Weimar Republic contradict the teaching of the Church (WA 169). Instead of the renovations by de-cision, the name of the new world age is «Ausgleich » (WA 152), Ausgleich in all relevant areas, races, cultures, sexes, etc. (WA 152f.). While in his de-cisionistic phase mixture was the cause of the downward plunge and the movement up again entailed the reemergence of the pure type, now it is mixture that moves forward and upward. In his de-cisionistic phase the supposed causes of mixture of blood were relegated to Israel. Now, the one who wants to expel them out of Germany and the world ought to leave the country: «Without fail, the Ausgleich of races, the mixture of blood, will progress. . . . All those who expect the Heil of the world from the preservation of a "pure" race, in his view the "noble-race" . . . should retreat with his fellow race-nobles to an island and despair» (WA 153). In Scheler's de-cisionistic phase, already by 1913 Germany has


«moved with full sails into the first phases of the socialist state . . . hostile to freedom» (UW 383f.). Also back then he regarded Spencer's assumption that the development of capitalism would cure the damage it initially inflicted as the «basic error» (RE 173; UW 146). Now, Scheler takes recourse to the dialectical formula of progress: «To be sure, {spirit} inflicts wounds. However, it also heals them» (WA 150). The same capitalism that has devastated the environment in the eighteenth century has already developed the means to protect organic natural life, and it will do so better and better (WA 150). The ideal of the nineteenth century, the sovereign national state, is doomed to disappear. The Ausgleich of the different nations, the development of international strata between them, will not do away with their specific identities. Rather, it will produce tolerance, and their spiritual and cultural autonomy will flourish (WA 164f.). In his de-cisionistic phase, he regarded the internationalization in society as a threat against the Gemeinschaften. Now, it is hailed as the vanguard of diversity through Ausgleich and mixture (WA 154). In the new economic politics from 1924 on, Russia has already adopted capitalist elements. The capitalist states, in turn, will maintain private property and, nonetheless, adopt more and more socialist elements to the effect «that, more and more, the realities on both sides will bridge the oppositions of the names and concepts» (WA 166). «Bridging of . . . oppositions» is now the key phrase, a bridging that takes place by processes of mixture, of adaptation of opposing elements. These processes are by no means benign, and the only end of politics is to facilitate them (WA 152f.). Now, politics is about precisely the opposite from what it was in his de-cisionistic phase.

Quite obviously, the causes for Scheler's turn were not the leftists and bolshevism. For the rationale for his de-cisionistic politics had been the liberals and the Social Democrats as the outcome and consummation of liberalism. Also, still in his de-cisionistic phase, in 1919, Scheler had maintained that bolshevism would not last long (PPS 651), and—in his search for precapitalist mentalities—he even recommended a cooperation between Germany and bolshevist Russia against England and the United States in order to prepare for the overthrow of capitalism (PPS 658). The cause of his turn was the emergence of National Socialism. He realized that the National Socialists represented, as it were, the «truth» of the politics of de-cision, one version of which he himself had pursued around World War I, and that they would take over the politics of the Right. This recognition made him completely turn away from any version of rightist politics and instead join his former foes, the liberals and the Social Democrats.

Especially in light of the thesis, again promoted recently in Germany by Ernst Nolte, that knowing that the Weimar Republic would not be able to do anything against bolshevism, National Socialism was an understandable, if not necessary, reaction against the threat of bolshevism,[69] Scheler's philosophical and political career is remarkable. His way led in the opposite direction. Scheler


was, to use a sloppy expression, a Sozialistenfresser[70] only as long as there was not yet any bolshevism and as long as he faced only liberals and social democrats, of whom many said that they had already lost sight of the notorious «expropriation of the expropriators.» When, in the twenties, bolshevism as well as National Socialism emerged, Scheler realized that neither social democracy nor bolshevism was the foe but rather National Socialism. This recognition disabused him of the viewpoint of the rightists and enabled him to reevaluate liberalism after the end of classic liberalism and social democracy and to join the fight of the parliamentary Center against National Socialism.

At the beginning of section B, I have mentioned Heidegger's high praise for Scheler in his obituary on Scheler. Heidegger doesn't talk directly about politics. However, he says of Scheler that, «standing in the midst of the whole of beings, he had an unusual sensitivity for all the new possibilities and forces opening up.»[71] Two things are clear in his obituary. Heidegger highly appreciated the book Formalism in Ethics . His first point after his praise of Scheler is that Scheler «clearly perceived the new possibilities of phenomenology»; he took up phenomenology not «superficially,» but he «furthered it essentially and unified it directly with central problems of philosophy. In particular, his critique of ethical formalism bears witness to this.»[72] However, the Scheler after Formalism in Ethics is not appreciated that much by Heidegger. Heidegger refers to Scheler's Catholicism and his thoughts on man as «God's co-worker,» in order thereupon to pose an incisive question one would not expect after the great praise in the beginning of the obituary. Heidegger asks: «Were his changing views a sign of a lack of substance, of inner emptiness?»[73] His answer is devastating. Logically one is strongly invited to or even has no other choice but add between the question and Heidegger's own comment on it something like «Yes, indeed!» For Heidegger does not answer the question explicitly. However, he comments on Scheler in a way that sounds like an excuse for Scheler's supposed lack of substance: ·

But one recognizes here—something which of course only a few could directly experience in day-and-night-long conversations and arguments with him—an obsession with philosophy, which he himself was unable to master and after which he had to follow, something which in the brokenness of contemporary existence often drove him to powerlessness and despair. But this obsession was his substance. And with every change he remained loyal to his inner direction of his nature in always new approaches and endeavors. And this loyalty must have been the source from which sprang the childlike kindness he showed on occasion.[74]

Thereupon, Heidegger summarizes Scheler's «greatness» again with recourse to a formula of the early, the de-cisionistic, Scheler. It lies in «an encounter with mankind that allows for no appeasement {beschwichtigen } and leveling through a sterile humanism.» He then concludes: «Max Scheler is dead. We


bow before his fate {Wir beugen uns vor seinem Schicksal}.»[75] Especially in the light of Heidegger's question, one might refer the last sentence not only to Scheler's physical death in 1928, but also, or even mainly, to his development. «Beschwichtigung» («appeasement») belongs to the same semantic field as «Ausgleich.» What Heidegger says here about Scheler's way is somewhat ironic, if not even a severe distortion by omission. In the preface to the third edition of Formalism , Scheler says that he does «not wish to see the bond with Kairos , i.e., the call of the hour of our human and historical being and life, severed as completely as it is in Hartmann's work» (FEe xxxi; FE 23). In the manuscript, this is followed by the sentence: «Ultimately ethics is a 'damned bloody affair' {eine "verdammt blutige Sache"}, and if it can give me no directives concerning how 'I' 'should' live now in this social and historical context, then what is it?» (FEe xxxi, n. 14; FE 591).

The later Scheler completely abandoned the political advice given in his book dating from his de-cisionistic phase, and he identified himself with precisely those politics his book had advised people to expel out of the blood. Heidegger either neglects this or even denounces it with his question and his answer. «Sich beugen vor jemandes Schicksal» means «to recognize and accept his fate.» At the same time, however, it often implies also that «it is not our fate; he could not but go his way, and we couldn't prevent him from doing so; however, our way is different.» Though Heidegger always regarded thinking in terms of values as what amounts in his framework, so to speak, to the original sin of philosophizing, namely, as a reduction of Dasein and being to a Vorhandenes, he highly appreciated Formalism in Ethics , certainly because of Scheler's criticism of the modern subject and probably also because of its logic and politics of de-cision which, in its most radical version, Heidegger was about to renew precisely at the time when Scheler abandoned it on account of its devastating political implications. Most certainly, Heidegger's allusion to the «lack of substance» refers to Scheler's Catholicism. Already in Formalism , the internationalism of Catholicism prevented Scheler from identifying his politics with a politics of Blut und Boden, and, some years later, enabled him to identify the foe, to break with his politics of decision and to realize that the promise entailed in Catholicism is preserved by those against whom his former politics of de-cisionism was directed, namely, by the liberals and social democrats.

In the speech "Der Mensch im Weltalter des Ausgleichs," Scheler describes rightist thinking and leftist thinking in a series of several «either-or»-combinations. In one of the pairs, he uses the notion of Angst so prominent in Heidegger:

The praise of the "good old time," combined with Angst of the future, or the directedness toward some utopian ideal, in eschatological hope and expectation,


combined with a fierce critique of the past; . . . both of them are not founded in the things themselves. Both are logical categories, ideologies , that one-sidedly are caused by class myths and that bear witness to the power of interests over reason {Vernunft}. Anyone who, politically, wants to see clearly, has to take off both . (WA 166f.)

In this passage, Scheler gives a clear account of the basic difference of the notion of history and politics on the Right and on the Left. Whether out of Angst or not, the rightists saw the progress of Gesellschaft as the chariot of doom, whose course had to be stopped in order to rerealize the past, this or that Gemeinschaft, which had been overthrown by Gesellschaft. The leftists, however, maintained that it was good that the progress of Gesellschaft liberated us from the different Gemeinschaften in the past. It is in this alternative that in Scheler Vernunft resurfaces, as a faculty of mediation between the two opposites. Politically, Scheler addressed post-classic liberals and the Social Democrats to defend the project of Vernunft against the Right. Five years after Scheler's speech in Berlin, the Social Democrats suffered huge losses, and the extreme Right was about to become the strongest party. In this situation Scheler's successor to his chair in Frankfurt, Paul Tillich, carried Scheler's suggestion of reason as Ausgleich further, and he developed the thesis that the Social Democrats and the Left are the legitimate heirs of the promises entailed in Christianity as well as in liberalism (see section B of chapter 4).


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