A Very German/Fascist Transition Prefiguring the Socialist International Conversion from Communism to Post Modern Multiculturalism & Identity Politics
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics died an ugly death in the 1990’s so that it has little or no chance of recovering. Yet, such an ugly political collapse proved to be very opportunistic for many communist leaders throughout the Soviet Union who hated the Marxist ideology that actually placed some restrictions on their behavior. Many of them privatized state companies to themselves and thus became the biggest mafia the world has ever seen. Putin, as a former KGB spymaster, is now in relative control of this mafia in spite of all the clans competing with one another from the Ukrainian Crimea to the Russian Far East.
As has been recently demonstrated on a grand scale in Ukraine, Russia is a strong geo-political player in world events today, but it’s very real threat is not a Bolshevik one. While President Reagan’s anti-Communist drive is in now in the process of being reversed in Eastern Europe, the Russians are not coming back with more Marxism, but with a dark and shadowy mafia lawlessness and virtual nihilism that appears to have no ideology whatsoever to restrain them.
Classic Marxism was based on humanistic social science and economics, industrialism, and state ownership of the means of production, which few Leftists today, if any, really take seriously. Even Communist China these days has mixed in capitalism with its communism. What the Left propagates today is not state ownership of companies, but rather the strict regulation of them instead. This, however, has not made the business community any better. It has, in fact, resulted in an unholy corporatist alliance, if not fascist wedding, between big business and big government in both Europe and North America that squeezes out small businesses and the middle class since they are less able to pay for such onerous rules.
In other words, in the same way that Germany finally abandoned their leftist forefather, Karl Marx, in the 1920’s and 30’s for fascism, so many leftists today have done likewise by adopting post-modernism, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. Through heavy regulation, businesses are effectively collectivized or nationalized in the name of post-modern multicultural and environmental ideals, which seldom can stand under the scrutiny of common sense, sound judgment or reason.
Germany’s communist prophet, Karl Marx (1818-1883), believed he had stringently analyzed all of the political and social pitfalls of Industrial Capitalism. He was therefore convinced that capitalism would eventually produce its own negation through the rise of the socialist proletariat. Incredibly, Marx believed this would ultimately usher in a classless utopia of eschatological humanism free from worker oppression and the division of labor that alienates one man from another. Due to the dialectical laws of social change and historical evolution, Marx believed modern industry and technology would advance so much that class society will become obsolete in the future communist eschaton of proletarian freedom.
Marx’s social scientific prophecy, of course, did not materialize. Worse, what did arise was an extremely repressive Soviet Union and Communist China that produced an apocalyptic body count that became increasingly difficult to defend intellectually throughout the 20th century. In his book, Explaining Post-Modernism, Dr. Stephen Hicks points out this placed the Left in a great political bind, “Confronted by the continuing flourishing of capitalism and the brutality of socialism, they could either go with the evidence or reject their deeply cherished ideals – or stick with their ideals, and attack the whole idea that evidence and logic matter.” As such, rather than admit they were wrong, the Left, of course, adopted post-modern madness as its new political whore.
Hicks then goes on to argue that in the same way the great German master Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) limited reason in the late 1700’s in order to save religion, in the 20th century, shockingly enough, it was Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who became a “godsend” for the Left by advocating an existentialist philosophy that valued existence, nature and emotion over reason. Industrial progress and the communist utopia have thus been replaced with a view of history that is rooted in the existential and/or political realities of everyday life and nature rather than upon a humanistic rationalism that strives to rise above both.
Surprisingly enough, Heidegger’s fascist philosophy became the political bridge between National Socialism and post-modern multiculturalism. Multiculturalism celebrates the indigenous or ethnic differences against the background of an amorphous and homogenous global capitalism where cultural identity is presumed lost and/or extinct. Heidegger deconstructed the successes of western capitalism by delegitimizing it as inherently artificial, inauthentic, and alien to the indigenous countries in which it was exported into. Heidegger criticized capitalistic western values that allegedly worshiped reason, global technology, and money as alien to German culture rooted in the German soil.
Heidegger originally considered such western excesses as an international “Jewification” of society. Heidegger rejected the universal values of the Judeo-Christian worldview wedded to western capitalism as a forced ethic contrary to the existential sentiments of Germany. Such overarching western values alien to the fatherland thus need to be eradicated from Germany. This explains why Heidegger was even involved in book burning bonfires during the early years of National Socialist rule.
Shockingly enough, after World War II, the Left was not only quick to forgive Heidegger’s Nazi past, but they rehabilitated him by developing his existential deconstructionism into a multi-pronged attack against western capitalism in general. This was accomplished by promoting a global multiculturalism steeped in identity politics that overemphasized many other political concerns beyond the restrictions of Marxian class warfare to include environmentalism, racism, ethnicity, and gender where many groups felt artificially repressed by industrial capitalism and its universal Judeo-Christian ethic. In so doing, Heidegger’s existentialism also downgraded the importance of the intellect in the face of other existential facets of life like willpower, emotion, and natural existence itself, particularly with regard to one’s own “local only’ culture and environment.
It is here where the modern Left made its transition away from communism into a post-modern existentialism. Dr. Hicks strongly argues that post-modernism is rooted in the Counter Enlightenment movement featuring German superstars such as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger. According to Hicks, post-modernism favors subjectivity over objectivity, the inadequacy of language to communicate over reason and truth, various collective multicultural groupings over individual identity and autonomy, willpower over realistic experience rooted in rational analysis, communalism and solidarity over individualism in values, markets and politics, and finally, suspicion, if not hostility, toward science and technology.
As such, the Post-Modern critique of capitalism has replaced the original Marxian critique of capitalism. The universalist Marxian socialism has been exchanged with identity politics mixed in with an inverse racism that emphasizes white guilt in particular over its colonial and capitalist sins. International communism thus was converted into a multicultural form of modern fascism that accentuates cultural dissimilarities. Such sentiments also stand very opposed to the classical American melting pot based on the universal values of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Thus Heidegger’s philosophy has been twisted into a leftist deconstruction program in order to undermine the dominance of western classical liberalism that originally extolled the virtues of individual liberty, free market capitalism, religious freedom, and a democratic republican form of government. The ever-increasing madness of the post-modern age where the political left and right continually talk past each other in America is hardly surprising. However, continuing to confuse Marxism with Post-Modernism will not clear the air, but only cloud up the issues even further. In short, Post-Modernism means Post-Marxism.
Mark Musser is a Pastor/Missionary. He is the author of Nazi Oaks: The Green Sacrifice of the Judeo-Christian Worldview in the Holocaustand Wrath or Rest: Saints in the Hands of an Angry God. Mark has written articles for national media websites, andis a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance, which is a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.