Martin Heidegger & Nazism: Only a God Can Save Us

The Fuhrer's Fuhrer, Martin Heidegger, Heildelberg 1933

Presented with the kind permission of Jeffrey Van Davis

About this documentary:

Martin Heidegger is considered by many to be the most profound thinker of the 20th Century.

His magnum opus, Being and Time, was published in 1927 and had the equivalent impact on philosophy that Einstein’s theory of relativity, published in 1906, had on physics; and Freud’s theories of personality, published in 1902 had in the field of psychology.

What Heidegger did was to overturn the whole history of philosophical thought that went back 2,500 years to the Greeks and re-examine the question of being and to challenge the whole of Western Metaphysics that prevailed up to his time.

He went back to the Pre-socratics, specifically Heraclites, to begin to redirect the path of thinking, to redirect the years of philosophical inquiry in order to put us back “on the right track.”

A student of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, at the University of Freiburg Germany, Heidegger would break with his great mentor and charge forth into a new direction, building on phenomenology, but going his own quite original way.

His wish was to make philosophy the Queen of the Sciences.

Heidegger’s monumental task would have a powerful impact on 20th Century philosophy and influence some of the century’s most important thinkers — Jean Paul Sartre, Karl Jaspers, Jacque Derrida, Karl Löwitz, Hans Jonas, Michel Foucault, Hans Georg Gadamer, Richard Rorty, Herbert Marcuse, and Hannah Arendt.

In May of 1933, Germany’s most famous philosopher, joined the Nazi Party and became the first Nazi Rector of a German University.

He enthusiastically supported the new revolutionary movement in Germany and made known his admiration for Adolf Hitler and his desire to be the philosopher of the Nazi revolution, to be the Führer of the Führer.

Although one of the most influential thinkers of our time, much of Heidegger’s philosophy is shrouded in confusion and controversy. His support for National Socialism poses some serious questions about Heidegger’s thought in particular and philosophy in general. Was he a profound thinker or was he a petty bourgeois from the province whose thought sprang from the Blut und Boden of the humble origins of his arch-conservative Catholic youth? Or both?

We now know that Heidegger’s “flirtation” with Nazism was actually a life-long commitment propelled by ideas in his own philosophy.

In his “Introduction To Metaphysics” published in 1953, one cannot fail to notice his incriminating insistence on the intrinsic “saving power and greatness” of National Socialism.

More scandalous than his backing of Hitler, however, was his silence about the Holocaust.

Karl Jaspers and Herbert Marcuse made attempts to get Heidegger to refute his Nazi past.

In 1947, like the poet Paul Celan, Marcuse travelled to Heidegger’s hut in Todtnauberg in the Black Forest, against the advice of his fellow German-Jewish émigrés, in search of a “single word” of repentance.

Heidegger refused to respond.

Many scholars have displayed dangerous failures of political judgement by promoting uncritically Heidegger’s thought. This film offers an extraordinary response and radical challenge to Heidegger’s rejection of democracy and his support of Nazism.

In the 1976 interview with Der Spiegel, Heidegger reiterated his distaste for democratic society, his aversion of things modern, his complaint about hardships he had to suffer, yet he was able to live in a villa in Freiburg from 1945 till his death in 1976 in relative peace and comfort under the protection of the new democratic Germany.

One only has to think about the millions who died in World War II, a war started by the Nazi regime he openly supported, and one’s patience with his petulance begins to grow thin.

His final words of despair in Der Spiegel interview make it clear that he had no faith in democracy or for that matter liberal democratic government of any kind.

The only hope? There is none. “Only a God can save us.”

Featured in this film …

  • Kardinal Karl Lehmann, Bishop of Mainz
  • Alfred Denker, Heidegger Biographer
  • Hugo Ott, Freiburg University
  • Victor Farias, Free University of Berlin
  • Tom Rockmore, Duquesne University, USA
  • Richard Wolin, City University of New York, USA
  • Ted Kisiel, Northern Illinois University, USA
  • Rainer Marten, Freiburg University
  • Emmanuel Faye, University of Paris
  • Bernd Martin, Freiburg University
  • Iain Thomson, University of New Mexico, USA
  • Jürgen Paul, Dresden University
  • Silke Seemann, Freiburg University
  • Rangvi Wesendonk
  • Axel Graf Douglas, Schloss Langenstein

Some of the topics covered in the documentary …

  • Heidegger’s concept of Being and the “turning” from Dasein to Sein
  • His humble beginnings and staunch Catholic education.
  • The Rectorship and his denunciation of teachers such as Nobel Prize winner Staudinger. His enthusiasm for Gleichschaltung of Frieburg University.
  • His highly manipulative love affair with Hannah Arendt.
  • His relationship to Edith Stein.
  • His refusal to give a word of reconciliation to Paul Celan who visited him in his hut at Todtnauberg.
  • The denazification process and his refusal to recant his support for Hitler.

Jeffrey van Davis, Filmmaker, Writer, Jazz Drummer

Do As I Say (Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy)

DO AS I SAY: A documentary by Nicholas Tucker & Lucas Abel

Presented with the kind permission of Nicholas Tucker

Hypocrites come in all shapes and sizes. And when it comes to politics, hypocrisy is just part of the game. But the press only tends to cover half the story. For decades, the American people have benefited from the media’s meticulous investigation of hypocrisy among conservative leaders. Meanwhile, liberal hypocrisy gets a free pass.

But not any more.

These days, you can’t turn on the television or open a newspaper without finding liberal politicians, professors, pop stars, and pundits blaming the world’s problems on America’s free enterprise system, its democratic tradition, and its core values of individualism and self-reliance. But how sincere are they about their beliefs? How do they live? The answers will shock you.

In a film that will forever change how we see America and its leaders, filmmakers Nicholas Tucker and Lucas Abel take us on an unforgettable journey through a political landscape filled with hypocrites and humbugs.

Along the way, they reveal a disturbing national truth: that the two-faced mantra “do as I say, not as I do” has become the unwritten golden rule of some of our most prominent liberal leaders.

Former vice president Al Gore has won an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize for his crusade against global warming. But while he insists that average Americans must slash their carbon footprint or face a planetary catastrophe, Gore still flies around the world in a private jet—and burns thirty thousand dollars’ worth of electricity and natural gas each year in his Nashville mansion.

During her presidential campaign, Senator Hillary Clinton declared war on mortgage lending abuses. But she didn’t remind voters that she and her husband were once involved in a predatory lending scheme that took advantage of teachers, farmers, laborers, and other ordinary Americans, leaving them with no equity and nothing to show for the money they invested. In fact, more than half the people who spent their savings buying land from the Clintons in Whitewater never received a property deed.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, a self-styled “working-class boy from Flint, Michigan,” claims never to have owned a single share of stock. But don’t be fooled by his scruffy jeans and baseball cap. Moore, who lives in a lavish lakeside mansion with Eminem and Kid Rock as neighbors, owns a sizable investment portfolio through his foundation—including stock in Halliburton, Pfizer, Merck, Tenet Healthcare, and other companies he vilifies in his films.

Senator Ted Kennedy, enemy of tax shelters and vocal advocate of the estate tax, maintains an elaborate network of trusts and foundations to ensure that his own wealth will pass on to his heirs largely tax-free. Kennedy is also an avid environmentalist—as long as he doesn’t have to make any personal sacrifices. He strongly opposes the nation’s first offshore wind-energy project because it would interfere with his sailing hobby.

MIT professor Noam Chomsky is famed for denouncing free markets, private enterprise, and the American government. But he doesn’t come cheap—he charges $12,000 for each speaking engagement. His books berating capitalism have become hot commodities in their own right. And despite his oft-stated opposition to the U.S. military, property rights, and tax havens for the wealthy, he has turned a tidy profit as a Defense Department consultant, owns two million-dollar homes, and has set up an irrevocable trust to protect his sizable fortune for his heirs.

These figures and many like them populate Tucker and Abel’s Do As I Say, an eye-opening exposé of the thinly veiled hypocrisy defining some of today’s leading liberal figures. Based on Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book, this funny, fast-paced film reveals how icons of the left have fully embraced capitalist ideals while simultaneously discouraging others from doing the same.

To make the film, Tucker and Abel drove across the country on a quest for hypocrites in liberal clothing. An intrepid two-man investigative team, they traveled to Michigan to confront Michael Moore about his Halliburton and Honeywell stock, talked politics with college students at UC Berkeley, visited Arkansas to reconstruct the Clintons’ shady real-estate dealings, and searched for the Pentagon employee who signed Noam Chomsky’s paychecks. Living lean on a shoestring budget, single-mindedly hunting for answers, Tucker and Abel took their camera where no hypocrite wants it to go.

The results are enough to compel millions to choose between their ideals and their leaders. Because if there is one thing Americans can’t abide, it’s a hypocrite.

THE FILMMAKERS

Nicholas Tucker, the award-winning director of Do As I Say, has crafted a filmmaking career marked by bold moves and innovative production solutions.

His first feature-length film, Fandom: A True Film, is currently in distribution and has broken ground as an experimental documentary.

His second feature film, The Strange Case of Carl Weber: A Vampire in America, is currently competing in film festivals nationwide.

Both films helped change the way that digital films are made, utilizing the newest technology and pioneering cutting-edge techniques for planning, shooting, and editing.

While studying film at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, Nicholas produced numerous films and projects, including Fandom, and was the only member of his graduating class ever to direct a feature film – let alone sell one for distribution. His other recent projects include short films, several commercials, and two documentaries commissioned by the California Highway Patrol. He has earned a reputation as an innovator, and has been a featured speaker at several film festivals and the Macworld conference.

Lucas Abel, the cinematographer and editor behind Do As I Say, has been editing film and video for over a decade. His feature film credits include Fandom and The Strange Case of Carl Weber: A Vampire In America, both of which received critical acclaim for their editing. Lucas’s ability to create stunning visual explorations of story and character is second to none, and is well complemented by his skills as an illustrator and musician. Lucas graduated in 2004 from the Academy of Art University with an emphasis in film editing.