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The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism

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"Richard Wolin's superb book is urgent reading for those who would toss the Enlightenment out with Descartes. In this tour d'horizon, as deep as it iswide, Wolin refuses to be impressed by the glamour of extremity. He shines light into many dark corners where intellectual fraud, self-deception, and hauteur passed for liberty during a murderous century. Talk about genealogy! Unreason will never be the same."—Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, author of The Twilight of Common Dreams

"Richard Wolin demonstrates ...

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The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism

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Overview

"Richard Wolin's superb book is urgent reading for those who would toss the Enlightenment out with Descartes. In this tour d'horizon, as deep as it iswide, Wolin refuses to be impressed by the glamour of extremity. He shines light into many dark corners where intellectual fraud, self-deception, and hauteur passed for liberty during a murderous century. Talk about genealogy! Unreason will never be the same."—Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, author of The Twilight of Common Dreams

"Richard Wolin demonstrates conclusively that contempt for liberalism and parliamentary government, whether it comes from the right or the left, whether it is anti-modern or postmodern, is very bad politics. His learned and provocative 'genealogy' of contemporary anti-Americanism should cause deep anxiety among its intellectual purveyors in Europe and here at hometoo."—Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

"I recommend this powerful critique with great enthusiasm. It is that infrequent book that is of enduring scholarly significance while deserving of a broad readership outside the academy. It also offers American readers insights into French and German mentalities at a time of transatlantic irritations."—Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland

"This is a wide-ranging and hard-hitting critique of postmodern thinking—especially of its political limitations and failures—based on broad reading and straight thinking. The author adds relevance to his critique of thinkers by juxtaposing those thinkers with interesting accounts of contemporary European politics."—Jerrold Seigel, New York University

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Editorial Reviews

Ethics
The topic of Richard Wolin's book is the nexus between postmodernism and politics. . . . Wolin's book raises the right questions at the right time. He forces us to think critically about the deepest philosophical underpinnings of our moral and political ideals. We simply cannot rest content with an unmeasured assault on reason.
Magill's Literary Annual
In this impressive book Wolin does for the Left what Bloom did for the Right; he makes a powerful case for a return to moral seriousness.
— Daniel P. Murphy
The Irish Times - John Banville
The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual's abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document. His indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating.
New York Sun - Adam Kirsch
For anyone who has passed through the academic humanities in the last quarter-century and has been exposed to the dubious legacy of postmodernism, The Seduction of Unreason is an indispensable book. It is another important installment in what has become one of the major intellectual enterprises of our time: Richard Wolin's principled defense of liberalism against its most sophisticated enemies.
Magill's Literary Annual 2005 - Daniel P. Murphy
In this impressive book Wolin does for the Left what Bloom did for the Right; he makes a powerful case for a return to moral seriousness.
The Historian - A. James Gregor
This author's excellent study provides the reader with an informed survey of some of the more important intellectual trends of the twentieth century, employing the writings of a selection of Europe's avant-garde authors.
European Legacy - Jeff Mitscherling
Wolin's book will provide much food for thought for the disinterested reader and a veritable feast for critical self-reflection for the post-modern thinker—especially the North American academic who hasn't done his or her genealogical homework.
"Ethics y Wallace

The topic of Richard Wolin's book is the nexus between postmodernism and politics. . . . Wolin's book raises the right questions at the right time. He forces us to think critically about the deepest philosophical underpinnings of our moral and political ideals. We simply cannot rest content with an unmeasured assault on reason.
From the Publisher
"The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual's abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document. His indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating."—John Banville, The Irish Times

"[A] lively, learned, and wide-ranging work. . . . Wolin's subjects have exercised a remarkable impact on certain academic and cultural fields in the U.S. in the last several decades."—Choice

"For anyone who has passed through the academic humanities in the last quarter-century and has been exposed to the dubious legacy of postmodernism, The Seduction of Unreason is an indispensable book. It is another important installment in what has become one of the major intellectual enterprises of our time: Richard Wolin's principled defense of liberalism against its most sophisticated enemies."—Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

"In this impressive book Wolin does for the Left what Bloom did for the Right; he makes a powerful case for a return to moral seriousness."—Daniel P. Murphy, Magill's Literary Annual 2005

"The topic of Richard Wolin's book is the nexus between postmodernism and politics. . . . Wolin's book raises the right questions at the right time. He forces us to think critically about the deepest philosophical underpinnings of our moral and political ideals. We simply cannot rest content with an unmeasured assault on reason."—Andy Wallace,Ethics

"This author's excellent study provides the reader with an informed survey of some of the more important intellectual trends of the twentieth century, employing the writings of a selection of Europe's avant-garde authors."—A. James Gregor, The Historian

"Wolin's book will provide much food for thought for the disinterested reader and a veritable feast for critical self-reflection for the post-modern thinker—especially the North American academic who hasn't done his or her genealogical homework."—Jeff Mitscherling, European Legacy

Choice
[A] lively, learned, and wide-ranging work. . . . Wolin's subjects have exercised a remarkable impact on certain academic and cultural fields in the U.S. in the last several decades.
New York Sun
For anyone who has passed through the academic humanities in the last quarter-century and has been exposed to the dubious legacy of postmodernism, The Seduction of Unreason is an indispensable book. It is another important installment in what has become one of the major intellectual enterprises of our time: Richard Wolin's principled defense of liberalism against its most sophisticated enemies.
— Adam Kirsch
Magill's Literary Annual 2005
In this impressive book Wolin does for the Left what Bloom did for the Right; he makes a powerful case for a return to moral seriousness.
— Daniel P. Murphy
European Legacy
Wolin's book will provide much food for thought for the disinterested reader and a veritable feast for critical self-reflection for the post-modern thinker—especially the North American academic who hasn't done his or her genealogical homework.
— Jeff Mitscherling
The Irish Times
The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual's abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document. His indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating.
— John Banville
The Historian
This author's excellent study provides the reader with an informed survey of some of the more important intellectual trends of the twentieth century, employing the writings of a selection of Europe's avant-garde authors.
— A. James Gregor
Library Journal
Wolin (comparative literature, CUNY; Heidegger's Children) here considers the collapse of reason and the role of intellectuals in the right-wing totalitarianisms that ravaged Europe in the 20th century and in the racist New Right that has recently emerged. From Nietzsche's romantic assaults on enlightenment reason, he works his way to the dizzying excesses of French deconstructionism. He chronicles how he thinks German classicists like Werner Jaeger and philosophers like Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer either joined or played into the hands of the growing nationalist movements and helped to sideline enlightenment reason, tolerance, and democracy. The vacuum left by the intellectual abandonment of reason later helped open a path for the New Right. Unfortunately, Wolin underestimates the crusades of those like Jacques Derrida against legalisms that trample on individual reality and of those like Emmanuel L vinas who have tried to put reason and ethics on a new footing. Nor does Wolin mention that assaults by analytic philosophers on the power of reason to sustain our basic worldviews and relate facts and values have also left a vacuum. And, indeed, the American fundamentalist right also flourishes without very effective philosophical interference. Still, Wolin raises important issues, and as a respected commentator on the Heidegger controversy he needs to be heard. Important for academic libraries.-Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa, Ont. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691125992
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/27/2006
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,024,772
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Wolin is Distinguished Professor of History and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His books, which have been translated into eight languages, include "Heidegger's Children" (Princeton) and "Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption". His work has also appeared in "The New Republic" and "Dissent".

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Read an Excerpt

The Seduction of Unreason

The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism
By Richard Wolin

Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-691-12599-6


Introduction

ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: WHAT IS COUNTER-ENLIGHTENMENT?

IN HONOR of the Enlightenment the eighteenth century was commonly known as the century of lumière, or light. Its advocates viewed themselves as the "party of humanity": they sought to represent the "general will" rather than the standpoint of particular interests, estates, or castes. The champions of Enlightenment counterposed reason as an analytical solvent to dogma, superstition, and unwarranted social authority. Their compendium of political grievances culminated in the cahiers de doléances submitted to Louis XVI in conjunction with the summoning of the Estates General in 1788-a damning indictment of the injustices and corruptions that prevailed under the absolute monarchies of Louis and his predecessor, Louis XV. With one or two notable exceptions (e.g., Jean-Jacques Rousseau), the philosophes were political moderates. They confidently believed that the monarchy could be progressively restructured, and, consequently, put their faith in piecemeal political reform from above. As such, most were proponents of either "Enlightened Despotism" or, in the case of the so-called Anglomaniacs, English-styleconstitutional monarchy. Yet, time and again, monarchical intransigence pushed them in the direction of democratic republicanism. When on June 27, 1789, the deputies representing the Third Estate-whose members had been bred on Enlightenment precepts-took their seats in the National Assembly on the left side of the hall, the modern political left was born.

Of course, the same sequence of events precipitated the birth of the modern political right, whose adherents elected to sit on the opposite side of the Versailles assembly hall on that fateful day in 1789. But in reality the political battle lines had been drawn decades earlier. By mid-century defenders of the ancien régime knew that the cultural momentum lay with the "party of humanity." A new breed of anti-philosophe emerged to contest the epistemological and political heresies proposed by the Party of Reason-the apostles of Counter-Enlightenment. Relying mainly on theological arguments, the anti-philosophes cautioned against the spirit of critical inquiry, intellectual hubris, and the misuse of reason. Instead, they emphasized the need to preserve order at all costs. They viewed altar and throne as the twin pillars of political stability. They believed that any challenge to their unquestioned primacy threatened to undermine the entire social edifice. They considered self-evident the view-one in effect shared by many of the philosophes themselves-that men and women were fundamentally incapable of self-governance. Sin was the alpha and omega of the human condition. One needed both unquestioned authority and the threat of eternal damnation to prevent humanity from overreaching its inherently fallible nature. Unfettered employment of reason as recommended by the philosophes was an invitation to catastrophe. As one of the leading spokesmen of the Counter-Enlightenment, Antoine de Rivarol (one of the major sources for Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France), remarked in 1789, "From the day when the monarch consults his subjects, sovereignty is as though suspended ... When people cease to esteem, they cease to obey. A general rule: peoples whom the king consults begin with vows and end with wills of their own."

Rivarol and company held "philosophy" responsible for the corruption of morals, carnal licentiousness, depravity, political decay, economic decline, poor harvests, and the precipitous rise in food prices. The social cataclysms of revolutionary France-mob violence, dechristianization, anarchy, civil war, terror, and political dictatorship-convinced the anti-philosophes of their uncanny clairvoyance.

In a much-cited essay Isaiah Berlin contended that one could trace the origins of fascism to Counter-Enlightenment ideologues like Joseph de Maistre and Johann Georg Hamann. Indeed, a certain plausibility marks Berlin's claim. For one of fascism's avowed goals was to put an end to the Enlightenment-derived nineteenth-century worldview: the predominance of science, reason, democracy, socialism, individualism, and the like. As Goebbels pithily observed a few months after Hitler's rise to power, "The year 1789 is hereby erased from history." Maistre and his contemporaries were horrified by the specter of radical change. As such, they preferred the "contrary of revolution" (reform from above) to the specter of "counter-revolution," which would merely perpetuate the cycle of violence.

The fascists, conversely, crossed the Rubicon and never looked back. They knew that, in an age of total war, a point of no return had been reached: there could be no going back to the tradition-bound cocoon of the ancien régime. They elected to combat the values of the French Revolution with revolutionary means: violence, war, and total mobilization. Thereby, they ushered in an alternative vision of modernity, one that was meant to supersede the standpoint of the philosophes and the political champions of 1789.

Who's Afraid of Enlightenment?

Surely, one of the more curious aspects of the contemporary period is that the heritage of Enlightenment finds itself under attack not only from the usual suspects on the political right but also from proponents of the academic left. As one astute commentator has recently noted, today "Enlightenment bashing has developed into something of an intellectual blood-sport, uniting elements of both the left and the right in a common cause." Thus, one of the peculiarities of our times is that Counter-Enlightenment arguments once the exclusive prerogative of the political right have attained a new lease on life among representatives of the cultural left. Surprisingly, if one scans the relevant literature, one finds champions of post-modernism who proudly invoke the Counter-Enlightenment heritage as their own. As the argument goes, since democracy has been and continues to be responsible for so many political ills, and since the critique of modern democracy began with the anti-philosophes, why not mobilize their powerful arguments in the name of the postmodern political critique? As a prominent advocate of postmodern political theory contends, one need only outfit the Counter-Enlightenment standpoint with a new "articulation" (a claim couched in deliberate vagueness) to make it serviceable for the ends of the postmodern left. Yet those who advocate this alliance of convenience between extreme right and extreme left provide few guarantees or assurances that the end product of the exercise in political grafting will result in greater freedom rather than a grandiose political miscarriage.

One of the crucial elements underlying this problematic right-left synthesis is a strange chapter in the history of ideas whereby latter-day anti-philosophes such as Nietzsche and Heidegger became the intellectual idols of post-World War II France-above all, for poststructuralists like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze. Paradoxically, a thoroughgoing cynicism about reason and democracy, once the hallmark of reactionary thought, became the stock-in-trade of the postmodern left. As observers of the French intellectual scene have frequently noted, although Germany lost on the battlefield, it triumphed in the seminar rooms, bookstores, and cafés of the Latin Quarter. During the 1960s Spenglerian indictments of "Western civilization," once cultivated by leading representatives of the German intellectual right, migrated across the Rhine where they gained a new currency. Ironically, Counter-Enlightenment doctrines that had been taboo in Germany because of their unambiguous association with fascism-after all, Nietzsche had been canonized as the Nazi regime's official philosopher, and for a time Heidegger was its most outspoken philosophical advocate-seemed to best capture the mood of Kulturpessimismus that predominated among French intellectuals during the postwar period. Adding insult to injury, the new assault against philosophie came from the homeland of the Enlightenment itself.

One of the linchpins of the Counter-Enlightenment program was an attack against the presuppositions of humanism. By challenging the divine basis of absolute monarchy, the unbelieving philosophes had tampered with the Great Chain of Being, thereby undermining morality and inviting social chaos. For the anti-philosophes, there existed a line of continuity between Renaissance humanism, Protestant heresy, and Enlightenment atheism. In Considerations on France (1797) Maistre sought to defend the particularity of historical traditions against the universalizing claims of Enlightenment humanism, which had culminated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of August 20, 1789. In a spirit of radical nominalism, the French royalist observed that he had encountered Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, and even Persians (if only in the writings of Montesquieu). But "humanity" or "man in general," he claimed, was a figment of a feverish and overheated philosophe imagination. "Man" as such did not exist.

An assault on humanism was also one of French structuralism's hallmarks, an orientation that in many respects set the tone for the more radical, poststructuralist doctrines that followed. As one critic has aptly remarked, "Structuralism was ... a movement that in large measure reversed the eighteenth-century celebration of Reason, the credo of the Lumières." In this spirit, one of the movement's founders, Claude Lévi-Strauss, sought to make anthropology useful for the ends of cultural criticism. Lévi-Strauss famously laid responsibility for the twentieth century's horrors-total war, genocide, colonialism, threat of nuclear annihilation-at the doorstep of Western humanism. As he remarked in a 1979 interview, "All the tragedies we have lived through, first with colonialism, then with fascism, finally the concentration camps, all this has taken shape not in opposition to or in contradiction with so-called humanism ... but I would say almost as its natural continuation." Anticipating the poststructuralist credo, Lévi-Strauss went on to proclaim that the goal of the human sciences "was not to constitute, but to dissolve man." From here it is but a short step to Foucault's celebrated, neo-Nietzschean adage concerning the "death of man" in The Order of Things.

For Lévi-Strauss, human rights were integrally related to the ideology of Western humanism and therefore ethically untenable. He embraced a full-blown cultural relativism ("every culture has made a 'choice' that must be respected") and argued vociferously against cross-cultural communication. Such a ban was the only way, he felt, to preserve the plurality and diversity of indigenous cultures. His strictures against cultural mixing are eerily reminiscent of the positions espoused by the "father of European racism," Comte Arthur de Gobineau. In The Origins of Inequality Among Human Races (1853-55) the French aristocrat claimed that miscegenation was the root cause of European decline. The ease with which an antiracism predicated on cultural relativism can devolve into its opposite-an unwitting defense of racial separatism-was one of the lessons that French intellectuals learned during the 1980s in the course of combating the ideology of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front.

Lévi-Strauss's polemical critique of Western humanism represents a partial throwback to J. G. Herder's impassioned defense of cultural particularism at the dawn of the Counter-Enlightenment in Yet Another Philosophy of History (1774). For Herder, a dedicated foe of universal Reason's leveling gaze, it was self-evident that "Each form of human perfection is ... national and time-bound and ... Individual ... Each nation has its center of happiness within itself, just as every sphere has its center of gravity." While Herder's standpoint may be viewed as a useful corrective to certain strands of Enlightenment thought (e.g., the mechanistic materialism of the High Enlightenment; La Mettrie, after all, sought to view "man as a machine"), in retrospect his concerted defense of cultural relativism ceded too much ground vis-à-vis the political status quo. To achieve their ends, the advocates of political emancipation required a more radical and uncompromising idiom. Unsurprisingly, they found it in the maxims of modern natural right as purveyed by philosophes such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and Condorcet.

During the 1960s among many French intellectuals cultural relativism came to supplant the liberal virtue of "tolerance"-a precept that remained tied to norms mandating a fundamental respect for human integrity. When combined with an antihumanist-inspired Western self-hatred, ethical relativism engendered an uncritical Third Worldism, an orientation that climaxed in Foucault's enthusiastic endorsement of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Since the "dictatorship of the mullahs" was antimodern, anti-Western, and antiliberal, it satisfied ex negativo many of the political criteria that Third Worldists had come to view as "progressive." Similarly, Lévi-Strauss's unwillingness to differentiate between the progressive and regressive strands of political modernity-for instance, between democracy and fascism-suggests one of the perils of structuralism. By preferring the "view from afar" or the "longue durée," the structuralists, like the anti-philosophes of yore, denigrated the human capacities of consciousness and will. Instead, in their optic, history appeared as a senseless fate, devoid of rhyme or reason, consigned a priori to the realm of unintelligibility.

The parallels between the core ideas of Counter-Enlightenment and postwar French thought have been shrewdly analyzed in a recent study of Maistre's intellectual legacy. With tact and discernment, Owen Bradley phrases the problem as follows:

Maistre's absence from current debates is a yet much greater surprise given the uncanny resemblance between his work and the dominant trends in recent French thought. Bataille on the sacred as the defining feature of human existence ... Blanchot on the ... violence of all speech and writing; Foucault on the social function of punishment in pre-Revolutionary Europe; Derrida on violence and difference ... all of these themes ... were anticipated and extensively elaborated in Maistre's writing.

In many respects, these suggestive remarks concerning the strangely underresearched affinities between Counter-Enlightenment and the postmodernist credo form the core of the study that follows.

"The Sovereign Enterprise of Unreason"

In the concluding pages of Madness and Civilization Foucault praised the "sovereign enterprise of Unreason," forever irreducible to practices that can be "cured." Foucault's contrast between the exclusionary practices of the modern scientific worldview, whose rise was coincident with Descartes's Discourse on Method, and the nonconformist potentials of "madness" qua "other" of reason, would help to redefine the theoretical agenda for an entire generation of French intellectuals. Even in the case of Derrida, who formulated a powerful critique of Foucault's arguments, there was little disagreement with the Foucault's central contention that Reason is essentially a mechanism of oppression that proceeds by way of exclusions, constraints, and prohibitions. Derrida's own indictment of "logocentrism," or the tyranny of reason, purveys a kindred sentiment: since the time of Plato, Western thought has displayed a systematic intolerance vis-à-vis difference, otherness, and heterogeneity. Following the precedents established by Nietzsche and Heidegger, deconstruction arose to overturn and dismantle Reason's purported life-denying, unitarian prejudices.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Seduction of Unreason by Richard Wolin Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
A Note on Giorgio de Chirico's "Song of Love" xx
INTRODUCTION: Answer to the Question: What Is Counter-Enlightenment? 1
PART I. THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY REVISITED
1. Zarathustra Goes to Hollywood: On the Postmodern
Reception of Nietzsche 27
2. Prometheus Unhinged: C. G. Jung and the Temptations of Aryan Religion 63
3. Fascism and Hermeneutics: Gadamer and the Ambiguities of "Inner Emigration" 89
POLITICAL EXCURSUS I: Incertitudes Allemandes: Reflections on the German New Right 129
PART II. FRENCH LESSONS
4. Left Fascism: Georges Bataille and the German Ideology 153
5. Maurice Blanchot: The Use and Abuse of Silence 187
6. Down by Law: Deconstruction and the Problem of Justice 220
POLITICAL EXCURSES II: Designer Fascism: On the Ideology of the French New Right 256
CONCLUSION: "Site of Catastrophe": The Image of America in Modern Thought 278
Notes 315
Index 369

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2004

    Attacks postmodernism to promote 'the American way'

    In this book New York University Professor Richard Wolin digs up postmodernism in order to kill it yet again. Nicholas Fox demolished it in 1993, Paul Gross and Norman Levitt in 1994, and John O¿Neill in 1995. Now Wolin reprises that postmodernism reprised the counter-Enlightenment, concluding banally, ¿Postmodernism¿s hostility towards `reason¿ and `truth¿ is intellectually untenable and politically debilitating.¿ Postmodernism was just a version of the ancient idealist claim that objective knowledge is impossible. Idealism is a dangerous, reactionary philosophy, whether religious or post-whateverist, because it denies knowledge, reason and truth, and denigrates science, industry, technology, democracy and socialism. It prefers metaphor, myth and magic. Wolin reminds us that Friedrich Nietzsche was a leading counter-Enlightenment writer, who preached, ¿The annihilation of the decaying races ¿ Dominion over the earth as a means of producing a higher type.¿ Naturally, Nietzsche adored the Roman Empire, Alexander the Slayer and Cesare Borgia. Later, Third Way theorists in the 1930s flirted with fascism. Martin Heidegger was an outright Nazi, and Carl Jung was a Nazi fellow-traveller. After the war, post-structuralists, like Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, and postmodernists like Chantal Mouffe were briefly famous. All worshipped Nietzsche. But why does Wolin bother with these discredited poseurs? They have no influence now ¿ who reads Heidegger? Who, apart from his publisher Verso, has ever heard of Mouffe? Wolin¿s attacks on German and French philosophy chime in with the US state¿s attacks on `old Europe¿. So Wolin plays up the German and French New Rights, just as Labour plays up the BNP. He obediently links Al Qa¿ida with Iraq, and sneers at national liberation struggles, absurdly lumping Fidel Castro with Idi Amin, Mobutu and Duvalier. Wolin reveals his hostility to democracy when he writes of ¿the regressive social psychological tendencies displayed by the masses.¿ Finally, he praises the USA¿s ¿breathtaking social mobility ¿ in striking contrast with Derrida¿s tradition-bound, native Europe.¿ Recent research has proved that the USA has even less social mobility than Europe¿s nations, but Wolin, in a postmodernist kind of way, doesn¿t let mere facts get in the way of capitalist dogma!

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