Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2022
Whereas links between Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche and revolutionary extremism are debatable, Heidegger’s commitment to National Socialism is unquestionable. He saw Nazism as a revolution of the German people to throw off the alien values of liberalism and embrace their collective destiny in an encounter with global technology, the culmination of modernity. To a more radical degree than Marx and Nietzsche, Heidegger rejected everything that happened in history between the ancient Greeks and Germany’s destiny as valueless and totally alienating. He urged Germany to revive the pre-Socratic account of existence as violent strife and thereby resist the relentless working out of Platonic metaphysics in the form of technology, a dynamic for bringing all of existence under the control of rational efficiency. When Nazism failed, in Heidegger’s view by itself succumbing to the technological imperative, he abandoned hope in any political movement or people, forecasting instead a looming global encounter with technology in which all mankind would either become fodder for efficiency or emerge into a new epoch of closeness to all that is, the Shepherd of Being, an either/or choice or eschatological reversal resembling Marx’s dyad of bourgeoisie versus proletariat and Nietzsche’s dyad of Overman versus herd morality.