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Historical/Philosophical Connections

Reader comment on item: "At War with Islamic Fascists"

Submitted by Ed Halper (United States), Aug 15, 2006 at 11:28

It seems to me that there are significant historical and philosophcial connections between the Islamists and the Nazis. The meeting between the Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler seems to have had a real impact in shaping thought in the area. One big Nazi theme was moral decadence. Hitler organized a traveling exhibit of "decadent art" and he campaigned for family purity. This is a major theme for Islamists, one that resonates with the majority of Muslims. The Nazis were also influenced by the philosophies of Nietzsche and Heidegger. Nietzsche's ideas of power and glory resemble some of what we hear from Islamists. Certainly, pride is a major theme of Islamists. Some of bin Laden's letters have seemed to me to repeat some of Heidegger's criticism of our relation with technology.

There is also an anti-rationalism that pervades Heidegger's writings and resonates with Islamists. Ironically, a number of Catholic writers have also turned to Heidegger for his critique of materialism and his endorsement of a transcendent Being. If Christians can be inspired by someone like Heidegger, I do not see any reason why Islamists cannot adapt his ideas, and I think that they have done so. Let me remind you also that Heidegger was a Nazi until he resigned on the ground that the party had deviated from the path and was no longer properly Nazis. It is obvious that we need to defend liberty against the Islamists, but some of the criticism leveled against western materialism may be justified.

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