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Archive for the ‘fascist worldview’ Category

Note: This is an urgent guest post by one of our readers we are sharing this immediately given that this is threatening tolerance of Christian beliefs of the Bible.

By B Dub

Freedom of religion is a central feature of our liberties as Americans.  It is a right affirmed in the First Amendment.  Once a society starts stripping its citizens of their essential freedoms, including religious liberty, it cannot long survive as a free society.  There is a bill in the California assembly numbered SB1146.  It could potentially be very bad for California Christian Colleges and Universities.

As of the Time of this writing it has passed the California Senate and is making its way through the California Assembly and is being review in committees.  As it is written now, it could cause real problems for religious institutions in California.  Once it makes it to Jerry Brown’s desk, he is likely to sign it.

The advocates of the bill claim it as a non-discrimination policy, but it disallows religious institutions to uphold their beliefs.   In this way it is in fact discriminatory. It says that religious requirements must be approved by the state. It could be a problem for a college enforcing their moral beliefs stemming from the religion.  For example they wouldn’t be able to talk against homosexual marriage or abortion.   This section in particular is biggest issue:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including the perception that the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics.

As you can see, by the wording it claims to not be discriminatory.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.   By not allowing religious institutions’ freedom of conscious, it discriminates against their ability to enforce principles in accordance with their beliefs.

The whole text and history of the bill can be found here for reference and context.
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1146#content_anchor

Here is what several religious institutions in California are saying and how it affects them:

Concordia University Irvine: http://www.cui.edu/aboutcui/sb1146

Biola: http://now.biola.edu/news/article/2016/jun/08/preserve-faith-based-higher-education/

Western Baptist University: http://www.opposesb1146.com/

As well as another blogger talking about it.

 

What can be done?

Those of you in California contact your representatives.  Even if you are not you can still contact them.  Urge them to vote no.

If you don’t know who your representative is, you can find out here.
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Tell your friends about this.  Let the word get out about this and why this bill is bad news.

Also, prayer is always encouraged.

Here is a site with more suggestions on what to do.

https://wcbc.edu/oppose-sb-1146

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This is part of our worldview dilemmas in movies and comics series.

Magneto Testament

Greg Pak. X-Men: Magneto Testament.  New York, NY: Marvel Publishing Incorporated, June 10th, 2009. 152 pp.

In the world of the X-Men in which mutants with special abilities are fighting for survival among regular humans and other mutants, Magneto is known as one of the X-Men’s biggest foe.  Here in this graphic novel it tells of the origin of Magneto and the story takes place in the 1930s when Magneto was just a young Jewish boy in Nazi Germany name Max Eisenhardt.  I think this story is compelling and would be interesting even for those that don’t typically read comics or care about superheroes.  Matter of fact, one of the thing I like about this book is that it’s really not a story of supervillains and superheroes.  There’s no use of superpowers (there are subtle hints of young Magneto’s interests with metals).  It’s more of a historical graphic novel about the Nazis, their persecution of minorities and the injustice of society targeting those who are different.  This is a story of a young boy growing up into a young man in one of the most horrible chapter in history.

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Hitler's Philosophers

 Available on Amazon

I’m glad that Yale Press published this.  When I first saw this book I knew I had to read it for two reasons:  As someone who enjoys intellectual history, this book will no doubt touch on the ideas and philosophy that influenced Hitler (or to be more charitable, it would point out the ideological capitals Hitler used to persuade people to his policies).  Secondly, we see an increase in the last fifteen years of historical works addressing the question of how did a mad man managed to lead a civilized people towards barbaric policies with the focus of the complicity of various institution, from the Pope, the church, scientists, social sciences and the universities.  In the same vein, this works show the intersection of philosophy/philosophers with Hitler/Nazism.  The book definitely fulfilled the initial reasons for why I wanted to read the book.

The author divided the book into two parts. The first section focused on Hitler and philosophy, and on the philosophers who collaborated with the Nazi’s ideological vision.  The second section concentrated on German philosophers that the Nazi opposed.  It is a big endeavor the author pursued since each section of the book can easily be the focus of a book-length treatment.

Chapter one was a mini-ideological biography of Hitler and what philosophers he liked and who and what influenced him.  I appreciated the chapter’s focus of the early years of Hitler before political opportunism seasoned his rhetoric and when he was passionately frank about what he believed during the lowest point of his life in a German prison.  The author worked through materials not only from Hitler’s writing and speech (he tend to brag about his intellectual prowess) but also sources from early supporters and friends.  I think chapter one definitely establishes the Nietzsche influence in Hitler’s worldview.  Chapter one also indirectly contributes to the debate of whether Hitler was a Christian or not, and what degree he was a Christian if he was one.  If one understands Hitler’s philosophy its very hard-pressed to see how his atheistic Nietzschean beliefs is compatible with Christian theism.

Chapter two looked at the historic philosophers and philosophies that Hitler invoked in his ideology.  For those familiar with philosophy the main idea of these philosophers are nothing new.  What is interesting and new to many is the thread of anti-Semitism among these philosophers, some of them who are important canons of Western philosophy.  The author is nuance in describing how these philosophers are not “Nazis” and many of these philosophers would probably be surprised with how someone like Hitler would invoke their name and thoughts.  I do think that these philosophers do project a trajectory that Hitler later borrowed and build his own philosophy upon.

Chapters three through five focused on the collaborators with Hitler’s Germany, with chapter three being specifically about the Nazi figures who controlled academia and German philosophy while chapter four and five look at the specific example of philosopher of jurisprudence Carl Schmitt and existentialist Martin Heidegger respectively.  Most interesting of this section is the author’s argument that Heidegger was more than an opportunists but one who embraced Hitler’s Nazi’s ideology wholeheartedly.  I think the author presented an excellent case.

Chapters six through nine focuses on philosophers the Nazis opposed.  We read of the tragic story of the Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin who committed suicide when he was unable to flee from the Nazis and the exile of Theodor Adorno.  The best known of the philosophers in this section is Hannah Arendt, a Jewish woman who managed to escape from the Nazis.  In juxtaposition to Arendt is the story of Kurt Huber who as a philosopher spoke out against Nazi beliefs in the classroom and involved with the White Rose resistance movement that led to his execution.  Here is a heroic philosophical martyr who dared to oppose the Nazis.  The author laments of how Huber is little known today because of his resistance to the Nazis.

 

What I learned

This book re-affirmed to me the maxim that ideas have consequences.  Though it is a bit tangent from the book, there is no political systems that are philosophically neutral: there is some kind of worldview driving one’s political theory and at minimum we can say some philosophers will be willing mercenaries for political agendas in order to advance their academic careers, their school of thoughts, etc (Kuhn’s theory of the structure for scientific revolution is applicable in evaluating social sciences and the humanities as well).

From this book I learned of the composer Richard Wagner and his influence upon Nietzsche.   From there the book also show how Nietzsche’s idea shape other influential members of the Nazi party.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was Heidegger’s adulterous affair with Hannah Arendt.  In one of history’s incredibly ironic moments, we see this famous philosopher whom the Nazis earned great intellectual credibility with him on their side, being caught up with a Jewish woman.   One sees how personal affair can shape one’s philosophy in the instance of Hannah Arendt beliefs in the war and after.

What I want to look up more on

I love looking through the endnotes and the bibliography of the book for it provides a treasure trove of references for further studies.  It is a wonderful way to acquaint oneself with the primary sources and scholarly secondary sources.

This book also made me realize I need to study more of certain philosophers.  Martin Heidegger is someone that I want to look up more beyond the few selected readings from my days in undergraduate.  I have always heard the name Schopenhauer but don’t really know what he believes.

Drawback

I wished the book would have adopted Chicago style format since it was rather annoying for me as someone who reads all the endnotes to turn from the page I’m reading to the end notes and then again to the bibliography.  I don’t find this kind of format being conducive to readers’ attention to the sources (why give citation anyways when your format discourage its use?).

Conclusion

Excellent work.  I wholeheartedly recommend it and I think those acquainted with philosophy would get the most out of it.

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The Road to Serfdom

( Available on Amazon)

This is a classic political economical work that I finally got around to reading.  What made the book interesting even before I read the work is the story of its author, Friedrich von Hayek.  Hayek was at one time a prominent academic defender of socialism in his home country who later became an outspoken critic against socialism, communism and fascism.  An Austrian who experienced firsthand the rise of socialism and fascism in his own country, this book has a prophetic tone directed towards its English readers.  Hayek wrote this book from 1940 to 1943 during the height of World War Two to warn the English against adopting the same ideologies of the fascists they were fighting against; apparently fascists ideas have made inroads among some British elites.  Interestingly enough, the book’s prophetic flavor remains relevant today with its warning against statist economic policies.

Many things could be said about the content of this book.  A lengthy review would be impractical so what follows are some of the highlights.  One thing I appreciated from the book is Hayek’s discussion of planned economies.  “Planned economies” is truly a misnomer.  Hayek makes it clear that he’s not against planned economies per se, for instance in the case of individuals making rational economic decisions for themselves;  rather he is against the type of planned economies made by the government that comes with force from the rule of law.  His chapter on the relationship of planned economies and totalitarianism tells us one chief reason why government planned economies is bad.  I also appreciated the book’s discussion of Nazism’s socialistic roots which challenges the modern myths today that the Nazis were truly conservatives and right wingers in their values.  Readers who want to see the arguments further developed that the Nazis were socialists and left-leaning should consult the book Liberal Fascism, a wonderful work I read simultaneously with this book.  I also enjoyed Hayek’s last chapter which dealt with the suggestion offered by some that a global controlled economies is a great economic goal but Hayek argues that if planned economies can’t take off at the level of the state what makes one think it will work at a larger scale?  It will only make matters worst.  Great book!

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