‘A specter haunts the post-Cold War liberal order—the specter of radical spiritual malaise. This discontent with or downright opposition to the Western-originated, universalist claims of the broadly liberal cultural, economic, and political order takes diverse forms. One can detect it among Iranian revolutionary theocrats, Russian imperialist ideologues, white supremacist “Identitarians,” European neo-fascists, identity-politics partisans, and anti-foundationalist intellectuals of many stripes. But standing behind some of the leading intellectual and political figures in this mélange of counter-liberalism is one animating mind, that of Martin Heidegger.’
Is it any surprise that this essay should appear at The American Interest? Heidegger is the new philosophical enemy and his intellectual ‘ghost’ just happen to hold sway in Russia and Iran. Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the enemies of the moment- the argument that Professor Duff presents is quite complex, as Heidegger is a complex,confusing and hermetic in the way of political romantics: whose central concern is with a radical nostalgia for an imagined past, and an ideological re-reading of the philosophical tradition.
Heidegger and Strauss share those two political/ philosophical imperatives. But the political point of this essay is to take the focus of criticism away from Strauss, the Strussians/Neo-Conservatives. Because it serves the purposes of propaganda, not of critical inquiry for its own sake. This essay is an exercise in political hysteria mongering, using an analysis of the thought of Heidegger as its central theme and the Russian and Iranian thinkers who have used some of the insights offered by Heidegger in their own thinking. Yet Rorty offers the idea that the Heidegger corpus of ideas can be part of a philosopher’s tool box , while not overlooking the horrific/catastrophic character of some of the political thoughts, ideas and practices of Heidegger. Does any thinker/writer/philosopher need permission to borrow ideas and concepts from a world tradition?