Friday, 27 April 2012

Self-Assertion of an English Garden (After-Life Topoi of Nazi Desire) Chapter 6.1.

1.     Il faut cultiver notre jardin   
2.     Pêcheurs de lune
3.     Iterability of the Nazi State (Economy of Genocide)
4.     Growth (and Form/Morphe)
5.     Decay
6.     Pompes Funèbres
6.1.  Type (Model, Example, Tupos)
6.2.  Usus Tyrannus (Interlude)
6.3.  The Ageing of a Note
7.      Critique of Beginnings
8.      Demonology of Defeat 

6.     Pompes funèbres

6.1.  Type (Model, Example, Tupos)

The university is a topos like the compound – equally a nomos of the modern – the university is also a nomos of the ancient.  The universitas had the status of an autonomous city in medieval Europe – even before the establishment of the juridical-political form of communitasCommunitas achieved such a distinct form only from the 12th century onward when it became a body literally having the property of itself – belonging to itself.  Like the monastery or other similar exceptional bodies or corporations, the university has always enjoyed the privilege of immunity or its semblance – and perhaps its nemesis ‘auto-immunity’.  All such closed bodies with their self-conceived rules, entities that are ‘laws unto themselves’, dedicated to a certain kind of self-preservation of the founding stock structurally resemble ‘the camp’ and vice versa.  Like the ‘camp’ they are descendents of the ‘household’ or oikos – the extended blood family and their goods and chattels including slaves ruled by despotic lines of absolute obedience to a head. The supreme master or patria potestas was the sole rationale of the household.  He alone determined what constituted its biological survival.
The nomadic household metamorphosed into the colony.  The SS camp-system was the way the Nazi entity territorialized itself and colonised the east – the slave-and-death camps were its colonies.

Biological selection was the norm in the household – such that the exposure of infants and sale of children was nothing unusual; these practises were “unforbidden” throughout antiquity, lasting until as late as A.D. 374 (see Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, Chicago, 1998, p. 29).   
Biopolitics or the biopolitical paradigm is itself an offspring of the ancient oikos and, as Derrida insists in The Beast and the Sovereign   (Vol. I, Chapter Twelve), – “nothing new”.  The politics of the ‘West’ has always been biopolitics – hence biopolitics is both ancient and modern – certainly not specifically modern, nor the “decisive event of modernity” (Agamben).
I do not say the nomos of the modern university is fascist or Nazi-ist – but ask what are the characteristics of the ‘type’, Gestell or Gestalt of the university – its cosmological implications as a ‘technique’ (techne) – like Kafka’s Gericht (court).  Is the university a theatre – a metaphysical theatre as opposed to a nature theatre?  A Theatre of Penance?  Or is it better described as an ‘ontological-hysterical theatre’ with its long running drama of ‘immaculate succession’ in the canon of western metaphysics and all its subplots of priapism, castration, sodomy, bestiality, passive obedience, sovereign madness, impossible love and circumcision neuroses?  The staging of the incestuous duel between the ‘partisans of desire’ and the ‘partisans of the Law’ - its still untitled spectacle?  As an acting out of the “ontological need” (Adorno)?  Or should one rather speak of a “biopolitical need”? (Note: Many thanks to Johan Siebers (IGRS London) who coined this felicitous phrase in a conversation with the author.)   
How is fascist or Nazi desire intrinsic to the formation of the authority of the contemporary ‘discourse of the university’?  Or how is Nazi desire constitutive of the law of this formation?  In other words, what are the possible relations of Nazi desire to this discourse or ‘nomos’ in the sense elucidated by Foucault in The Archaeology of Knowledge: “(…) discourse may in fact be the place for phantasmatic representation, an element of symbolization, a form of the forbidden, an instrument of derived satisfaction (this possibility of being in relation with desire is not simply the fact of the poetic, fictional, or imaginary practice of discourse: the discourses on wealth, on language (langage), on nature, on madness, on life and death, and many others, perhaps, that are much more abstract, may occupy very specific positions in relation to desire).” (Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, London, 1974, p. 68)

In the word ‘university’ one can hear universal, a universe, a world.  The preoccupation with a ‘new’ universalism in political-philosophical thought of today flows almost subterraneously into the project of fascist/Nazi worldliness or its “transcendental” (Badiou)  – or at the very least an urgent farming of “the legacy of “totalitarianism””, for effects of modernity, whereby Nazism and Heidegger, its chief philosopher, is mainly intended (see Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, “Transcendence Ends in Politics”, in Typography, Stanford, 1998).  Nazism has a philosophical body – philosophy does not have a Nazi-brain.
In the pose of the ‘naïf’ Lacoue-Labarthe asks the deceptively ‘simple’ question: “Is there a possible “politics” that would take account of the thought of Heidegger?” (ibid., p. 270)  He even asks this leading question twice  – having begun his essay with a slightly different formulation: “Is any politics possible that could take into account Heidegger’s thought?” (ibid., p. 267)  The simple answer would be yes – it was Nazism for Heidegger – for Lacoue-Labarthe it assumes the form of an unknown extrapolation of Heidegger’s Nazi commitment projected into the future.  But that would be too simple.  Although since Lacoue-Labarthe poses this question on the basis of documents of Heidegger’s Nazism, especially the “Rectoral Address”, his question becomes almost self-answering.  But he does not mean just what sort of politics were possible then for Heidegger – but what politics in the wake of Heidegger are possible now for us.  ‘Our politics’ is even more tightly knitted to Heidegger and ‘his politics’, because, says Lacoue-Labarthe, only Heidegger even allows us to ask the question – “Under what conditions can the political sway the philosophical?  Is there an unavoidable political overdetermination of the philosophical?  And to what point is the political more powerful than the philosophical?” (ibid., p. 268)  Lacoue-Labarthe’s form of asking the general question of ‘the political’ and its necessary relation to the philosophical can and must, in his view, only be thought through Heidegger’s philosophical politics of Nazism – as if for him Nazism is the only possible form of the relationship between the political and the philosophical.  The model or type of the relation of the philosophical and the political is that unknown x in Heidegger’s thought, “(…) that made possible – or more exactly, (…) did not forbid – the political engagement of 1933?” (ibid.)  Quite obviously it is Lacoue-Labarthe’s hypothesis and conviction that Heidegger’s ‘politics’ is absolutely immanent to his philosophy – and the inaugural address is to be seen in a continuity with the inaugural lecture “What is Metaphysics?” of 1929 and Sein und Zeit.  [In the case of “What is Metaphysics?” – Heidegger emphasizes the continuity of his pre-1933 and post-1933 thought in a quite literal fashion.  The last sentence of the 1929 lecture is the very first sentence of the lecture course Einführung in die Metaphysik from 1935: “Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?” (“Why is being(s) at all and not just nothing?”)]
Interestingly (adding to the confusion), another Heideggerian, Esposito, sees Heidegger as being ‘impolitical’ – “(…) Heidegger’s (philosophy) isn’t a political philosophy but, more specifically, the deconstruction of a political philosophy in the thought of community.” (Roberto Esposito, Communitas The Origin and Destiny of Community, Stanford, 2010, p. 92)
Whether Heidegger’s philosophy is political or not – he has become a model for the ‘the political’ for a certain incarnation of philosophy – Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe, Nancy, Agamben, Badiou etc.  But what sort of political?  Considering the seminal text is his inaugural address as rector of the Freiburg University coinciding with the beginning of the Nazi Reich – Heidegger’s ‘politics’ is primarily the politics for and of the university - the self-asserted politics of Geist (Spirit) identified by Heidegger with Being and the State.  In fact only Spirit, in Heidegger’s sense, can guarantee the endurance of the Nazi state beyond the present generation – his most urgent political-philosophical enterprise.  The only need and use of philosophy (and metaphysics) is to reflect upon the state of the “metaphysical people”.  (It is left to the ingenuity of the respective post-Heideggerian thinkers as to how to adapt/translate what Heidegger considered the exclusive ‘spiritual mission’ of the German people and German universities – its hegemonic founding of ‘world’ – to the non-German case.  This asymmetry gives rise to an errant bastard ‘universalism’ ensuing from Heidegger’s Nazism.)

Although it was the dogma of the time – that the state was born in struggle – Heidegger, pointedly citing the “ancient Greek wisdom” of Plato’s Republic at the end of the address, contends that only ‘spirit’ meaning philosophy can perpetuate it: “All that is great stands in the storm …” (Martin Heidegger, The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/1934: Facts and Thoughts, Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985:Mar.) p. 480)
The ‘birth’ of the Nazi state is the impetus for Heidegger’s restoration of metaphysics – as the surrogate enduring abode of that state.

One wonders how in some quarters the rumour that Heidegger ended metaphysics still persists.  And what dialectical purposes it serves?  Rather Heidegger re-founded metaphysics with a vengeance.  This refoundation was constitutive of his Nazism and revealed itself in the ontologizing of what Heidegger saw as its ‘dwelling’ – the State.
Lacoue-Labarthe’s major thesis in “Transcendence Ends in Politics” is precisely that “Heidegger’s politics in 1933” and consequently his “Rectoral Address” are absolutely rooted (standing in “a direct line”) in his philosophical project which is: “(…)“the destruction of the history of ontology”; (…) not within the enterprise of a de-limitation (or, even less, of deconstruction) of metaphysics, but within the project of its fundamental instauratio or refoundation.  Heidegger’s politics in 1933, are a clear consequence of the “repetition” of the Kantian “foundation” — and thereby of the resumption of the (Greek) question of the sense of Being.”(ibid., p. 268) 

By way of a ‘diversion’ through Nazism and an immersion in “the national and the social” - the metaphysical becomes ‘the political’ (and vice versa) in Heidegger’s philosophy.  The metaphysical is also the site of the ‘return to the origins’ – to the Greeks – to the ‘greatness of the beginning’ or the supposed archaic inseparability of thinking and being, which Heidegger refers to with the Greek names of logos and physis.  His question of the sense of Being is to determine how all forms of beings/appearings (Seiende) including logos open out undialectically from one origin – Being – thus eliminating ‘at the source’ the separation between subject and object, concept and the non-conceptual.  Nothing is further from ambiguity than Heidegger’s obsession with metaphysics as the permanence and repetition of the ‘great beginning’ of Greek pre-Socratic philosophy.  His aim is to return metaphysics to the moment (in his interpretation) before logos and physis were separated – thus obviating the hegemony of a metaphysics grounded in reason – what Heidegger also calls “intellectualism” (See Martin Heidegger, Einführung in die Metaphysik, Tübingen, 1998 p. 93).
He contrasts these two positions of metaphysics as one of end (in Hegel’s Science of Logic) and of beginning in his own myth of originary Being.  These two points in the history of metaphysics are summarized in two axioms: “Das Ende zeigt sich in der Formel: ανθρωπος = ζωον λογον εχον: der Mensch, das Lebewesen, das die Vernunft als Ausstattung hat.  Den Anfang fassen wir in eine frei gebildete Formel, die zugleich unsere bisherige Auslegung zusammenfaßt: ϕυσις = λογος ανθρωπον εχον: das Sein, das überwältigende Erscheinen, ernötigt die Sammlung, die das Menschsein (acc.) innehat und gründet.” [“The end shows itself in the formula: ανθρωπος = ζωον λογον εχον: man, the living creature/being, equipped with (having the capacity of) reason.  The beginning we summarize in a freely formed formula, which is at the same time a summary of our interpretation so far: ϕυσις = λογος ανθρωπον εχον: Being, the overpowering appearing, compels the gathering (logos, sm), that is immanent to and founds being-human.” (ibid., p. 134)]  Beginning and end become even more elusive as distinctions – because the end is also a part of the Greek beginning – the elevation of logos over being is the movement of Greek philosophy itself.  Heidegger’s ‘beginning’ is all the more ‘free’ – it is a beginning that as such never was.  More Greek than the Greeks – he constructs not a return to the Greek beginning, but a new alternative beginning in which the ‘original sin’ of logos would be cleansed/purged – that it could assume “power over Being in the beginning of Greek philosophy”: “Wie kommt dieser λογος als Vernunft und Verstand zur Herrschaft über das Sein im Anfang der griechischen Philosophie?” [ “How does this λογος as reason and understanding come to hegemony over Being in the beginning of Greek philosophy?” (ibid., p. 94)]
[Commentary: Derrida discusses this passage at length in the 12th Chapter of The Beast and the Sovereign Vol. 1 with the usual servile/obsequious awe (“Seinshörigkeit”: obedience to Sein) he reserves for Heidegger’s pronouncements – elaborating upon the brutality suffered by Being at the hands of Logos as if it were an outstanding atrocity of the ancient world (on a par with the ‘bloodless annihilation’ of Korah).  But just a few pages before that – at the end of the preceding chapter he ‘forgets’ himself (Seinsvergessenheit: forgetting of Being) in his ‘Cartesian’ other when speaking of the “logic of castration”.]

A certain kind of contemporary university ‘militancy’ has its origins in the self-assertion model sketched in the inaugural address.  A militant not of everyday political revendications – but a militant of being and its knowledge – an ontological militant of the state-to-come qua spirit – a militancy corresponding to the “ontological desire/need”.  Itself a labyrinth of reification (Verdinglichung) “ontological desire/need” is, as Adorno says – a reified metaphysics of a reified consciousness: “Reified consciousness is a moment in the totality of the reified world; the ontological need its metaphysics, even when according to its doctrinal content, it exploits the same critique of reification, nowadays grown cheap.” (Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, translated by Dennis Redmond, pdf online, p. 102) [“Verdinglichtes Bewußtsein ist ein Moment in der Totalität der verdinglichten Welt; das ontologische Bedürfnis seine Metaphysik, auch wenn diese, ihrem Lehrgehalt nach, die selber wohlfeil gewordene Kritik an Verdinglichung exploitiert.” (Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik, Frankfurt, 1982, p. 102)]

The university-militant ranks higher than the mere worker-militant – despite Jünger’s influence, Heidegger does not cede any ground to the ‘worker’: “(…) for the Gestaltung, in the Address, the figural conferring of sense, is never for a moment “work” but is “knowledge”—and knowledge as techne.  In the same way the Gestalt is not the Worker but the Philosopher (…)” (Lacoue-Labarthe, ibid. p. 296) Heidegger’s is the thought of the political that allows the School Philosopher (“the Philosopher-Tyrant” of Heidegger’s Plato) to conceive of himself qua School Philosopher as the militant of knowledge (“essence of science”) or as Badiou would say ‘truth’.  Badiou regularly, habitually speaks of “Heidegger’s thought in its militant national-socialist dimension” – as if wishing to inculcate in the reader the normality of such a ‘militancy’ – he does not really call any other philosopher-politico besides Heidegger a ‘militant’ – with the poignant exception of Paul, Badiou’s archetypical ‘militant’.  Badiou’s other two “dispositions” of the last century have no personal representative -  “Stalinist Marxism” (Russia) and “Anglo-Saxon analytic philosophy” (the United States) – certainly no ‘militant’ of their own.  Thus, according to Badiou’s theory of the truth process – only Heidegger, the “national-socialist militant”, representing Nazi Germany (the third place), is a subject of truth.  His ‘militancy’ was his ‘wager’ or ‘belief’ that “Hitler’s advent” was “the moment at which thought had finally confronted the planetary reign of technology, or the moment, as he put it in his Rectoral Address, in which ‘we submit [ted] to the distant command of the beginning of our spiritual-historical existence’.” (Alain Badiou, “The (Re)Turn of Philosophy Itself”, Conditions, London/New York, 2008, pp. 8-9)
This moment could be seized in a ‘dialectical image’ – Heidegger’s Nazi militancy is the head of Hitler on the body of Heidegger – but not the head of Heidegger on the body of Hitler.

Such ‘militant’ politics though is not of the university as an institution among others – but the university, transporting/catapulting itself to the world stage (or stage of ‘world’), is the medium of the political on its highest level (‘archi-political’), that of Heidegger’s Nazi ‘polis’ – and as such is the guardian of the continuity of the Führerstaat – the ‘race’ to come (like Derrida’s à venir).  Lacoue-Labarthe is seduced by what appears to him as the mood and mise en scène of ancient tragedy in the rhetorical dramaturgy of the “Rectoral Address”: “The University campus could almost be seen as the desert where prophecy takes place, and its rector, if I may be forgiven this redundancy, as the Tiresias of a political tragedy.” (ibid., p. 278)  One would better compare Heidegger with a grand inquisitor addressing an ecclesiastical tribunal.

[Commentary: Führer should be seen as a generic concept – Heidegger alludes to the ‘Führer-principle’ (enshrined in the “New Student Law” of May 1st 1933), one must educate ‘führerische Menschen’ (führer-ish people) – he was called during his rectorship – the Rektor-Führer.  In his lecture series “Hegel, über den Staat” from 1934 Heidegger warns his listeners:  “Unser Staat wird in 60 Jahren bestimmt nicht mehr vom Führer getragen, was dann aber wird, steht bei uns.” (“In sixty years, our state will surely no longer be led by the Führer; therefore what it becomes then will depend on us.”, from Martin Heidegger, Hegel, über den Staat, unpublished lecture, cited in Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935, Yale University, 2009, p. 212 and p. 386)
Heidegger did at least allow for the possibility of Hitler and himself becoming centenarians.] 

Derrida connects Heidegger’s ‘metaphysics’ and ‘politics’ in a slightly different manner – Nazi self-assertion is itself spirit or ‘spiritualized’ – so the originary concept of the political, prior to its ‘descent’ or bursting forth into the State, is itself spirit.
Universalism presumes or posits a world where differences no longer matter or what Badiou refers to as ‘one world’.  Somehow this world is identified with one (world) state and its sovereignty – or an ideal state in the Platonic sense (Badiou’s ontological state which coincides irredeemably with the historical state) – the pure immanence of a ‘world state’ or ‘empire’.  Nothing can subsist outside of this state/empire/world – it tolerates no exteriority.  In the concept of ‘one world’ resistance is also abolished at the ‘ontological’ level. 

Although a Heideggerian like Granel, sounding almost like Adorno, acknowledges a “desperate resistance (of) the singular (…) to its death sentence in the concept.”  Commenting on Reiner Schürmann’s Broken Hegemonies he writes: “(…) but this attraction of the universal is always compounded by a kind of reverse pull, due to the fact that we can never entirely blind ourselves to the desperate resistance the singular puts up to its death sentence in the concept. (…) The aim is to show that the singularity’s refusal to let itself be absorbed into the concept “belabours”, “works at” the latter at the very heart of its operation, destabilizes it, and ends up wrecking it.” (Gérard Granel, “Untameable Singularity” in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Vol. 19, No 2–Vol. 20, No 1, 1997, p. 215-228) 

How inconceivable today in the age of ‘the political’ under the auspices/protection of a world hegemony of Being – is the ‘cosmopolitanism’ of the Renaissance ‘l’uomo universale’ – for whom exile held no terror – quite the opposite: the Renaissance individual experienced the world as Ubi bene, ibi patria.  Cosmopolitanism is the highest development of the Renaissance individual – Dante who himself was punished by exile and refused to return to Florence under dishonourable conditions wrote: “My homeland is the world as a whole!” (cited in Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, Stuttgart 1988 (reprint of the edition Leipzig, 1869), p. 102)
The mournful ontological ‘homelessness’ (Heimatlosigkeit) conjured up so dolefully by Heidegger in his Letter on Humanism is the condition when beings are abandoned by Being and are thus not unsurprisingly oblivious of Being. The only ‘cure’ he prescribes for the “Weltschicksal” (worldfate) of homelessness is a penitent acceptance of the vows of poverty as a “shepherd of being”.  The world historical background of this ‘homelessness’ in 1949, year of the publication of The Letter on Humanism is most obvious.  In it he predictably condemns Renaissance ‘humanism’ as a return to the Roman (romanitas) – Roman civilization and the Renaissance is as anathema for him as it was for Ruskin of The Stones of Venice.  Heidegger’s “Greek-ness” is also closer to “Gothic scholasticism” and homo barbarus than it is to any sort of Hellenism. 
He distances himself from Winckelmann, Goethe and Schiller and their idea of imitating the Greeks (‘in order to make ourselves inimitable’) in favour of Hölderlin.  “The worldhistorical thinking” Hölderlin, his designated poet of Being, shows in his poem “Andenken” (Remembrance) is more of the beginning and of the future than the “mere cosmopolitanism” of Goethe.  Hölderlin had another relation to Greek-ness (Griechentum) (although the poem “Andenken” speaks not of Greece but of memories, of France – “the gardens of Bordeaux” and the sea) – essentially other than humanism – and it is this other relation which caused those “young Germans” who knew him, when “confronted with death” to think or be something other than what was held to be “typically German” – the image is borrowed from the first World War when every German soldier was supposed to have had Stefan George in his ‘Tornister’ (knapsack). (See Letter on Humanism, in Pathmarks, translated by Frank A. Capuzzi, 1949, p. 258)  The Wehrmacht soldier or SS presumably had Hölderlin or Heidegger in his.  When Heidegger speaks of Greece he seems to mean not a place nor even a civilization but a certain kind of holiness – the numinous – the mysterium tremendum et fascinans  - which he calls “das Heilige des Vaterlandes” (the holiness of the Fatherland).  The poet, in Heidegger’s interpretation, although he stays at home in Swabia, has not forgotten Greece, but has received a sign from afar (the spectral return of a greeting) to call to the holiness of the fatherland and under its highest protection to make himself at home (heimisch).  The ‘holiness of the fatherland’ becomes simply ‘the holy land’ or the homeland of fidelity in Badiou’s devotional text in Being and Event (Meditation 25) on Heidegger’s ‘master’ interpretation of Hölderlin.  As a revenant of Jargon der Eigentlichkeit (Adorno), Badiou echoes Heidegger who ventriloquizes Hölderlin, in lighting up the faded sacrality of the German “homeland” with Greek ‘fire’.  Drawing from this fake portmanteau-religiosity (the chimera of Greek-German soil-rootedness) – Badiou finds a primitive source for his own idea of fidelity – “native loyalty”.  Hitler did in fact briefly consider using the ancient chemical weapon ‘Greek Fire’ in the final defence of Berlin.  Badiou could have just as easily quoted the SS motto - Meine Ehre heißt Treue (my honour is loyalty) – or the slogan of ‘Nibelungentreue’ so essential to Nazi propaganda towards the end of the war, for a more recent historical appearance/manifestation of German fidelity.  Contemporary European thought has entrapped itself somewhere in an eternal interwar Europe – so that again one could say, as did Döblin in an introduction to Heine’s Germany, A Winter Fairy Tale, “Der “Faust” geht schrecklich um.  (Nennt sich auch “Hölderlin”.)
[“Faust” is haunting terribly.  Also calls himself “Hölderlin”. Einleitung von Alfred Döblin (1923), Deutschland, Ein Wintermärchen, Hamburg, 1844, p. XVI]
One wonders what this holy German homeland and its “German fidelity” are to the French Badiou?  What is the ‘evental site’ to which the Greeks are made to give their blessing?

But do the historical Greeks really substantiate Heidegger’s or Badiou’s claims about them or those of Hölderlin’s unique affinity with them?
As Burckhardt remarks – the Greeks (to whom Heidegger appeals) did not recognize this malaise of ‘homelessness’, nor were they overly attached to the ‘homeland’ – the ‘golden age’ of classical Greece tended more toward cosmopolitanism:  “Übrigens ist der Kosmopolitismus ein Zeichen jeder Bildungsepoche, da man neue Welten entdeckt und sich in der alten nicht mehr heimisch fühlt.  Er tritt bei den Griechen sehr deutlich hervor nach dem peloponnesischen Kriege; Platon war, wie Niebuhr sagt, kein guter Bürger und Xenophon ein schlechter; Diogenes proklamierte vollends die Heimatlosigkeit als ein wahres Vergnügen und nannte sich selber απολις, wie man bei Laertius liest.” (“By the way, cosmopolitanism is a sign of every cultural epoch in which new worlds are discovered and one no longer feels at home in the old ones.  It was noticeably present amongst the Greeks after the Peloponnesian wars; Plato was, as Niebuhr says, not a good citizen and Xenophon was a bad one; Diogenes proclaimed emphatically that homelessness was a true pleasure and called himself απολις as one can read in Laertius.”, Jacob Burckhardt, ibid., p. 427)  If that was true of the ancient Greeks, why should one still long today to be in “the homeland of this historical dwelling” which is “nearness to being”? (See Heidegger, Letter on Humanism, ibid.) 
The unspoken or euphemistically phrased questions of contemporary thinkers of ‘political ontology’ (a ‘master-discourse’ of today’s university), revolve about the conscious and unconscious aim to reformulate the history of Western metaphysics and Western politics (of the State), (which they tend to collapse into one), so as to make Nazism (to a lesser degree Italian fascism) appear intrinsic to the movement of logos of world(s), or as a historical necessity, an agent and inevitable consequence of ‘modernity’.  Although defined variously as a “state of exception” (Agamben), “the unnameable” (Badiou), or myth (Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy) – Nazism is paradoxically normalized within the continuity/continuum of ‘the political’ or genealogy of states – de-exceptionalized, made nameable, a norm. 

Jean-Luc Nancy presents this proposed continuity in one of the most extreme forms.  In his conception, the perpetrators of Auschwitz, the defenders of “super-representation”, were not Nazi Germany and its collaborators, but quite simply “the West”:  “At Auschwitz, the West touched the will to present itself that which is outside presence.  Hence it also touched the will to a representation without remainder (…) This means that it was right in the midst of our Western history — once again, without one having to pose it as a destined or mechanical necessity — that this “exact opposite,” this contorted and revolting contraction, suddenly appeared and unleashed its fury. (…) at Auschwitz, the West was exacting revenge upon itself and upon its own opening — the opening, precisely, of [re] presentation.” (Jean-Luc Nancy, “Forbidden Representation”, in The Ground of the Image, Fordham University Press, 2005, p. 43)
According to Nancy’s ‘vision’, Auschwitz ultimately had nothing to do with the genocide of the European Jews carried out by Nazi Germany, with the complicity of the conquered vassal populations of Europe (like the Vichy French, Croatians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians etc), nor with the abortive Nazi empire; – from his ‘non-Hegelian’ ‘non-mechanical’ world historical perspective, this particular German physical historical genocide conducted within and behind their geopolitical militarized expansion drive vanishes into the internal settling of metaphysical accounts of ‘the West’ with itself.  Quite simply the material object of this particular history has been erased – and with it history itself. 
In other words, for Nancy Auschwitz is a universal character-type in the history of Western metaphysics.  Or perhaps its deus ex machina?  Nancy’s ploy is doubtless a triumph of non-representation. 

Another name for this ‘new’ genealogy (dating variously from the 18th century or from time immemorial) incorporating Nazism as its ‘apocalyptic culmination’ (Esposito) is ‘biopolitics’.  Positing a trajectory issuing forth/beginning from Nazism, Esposito introduces a third ‘mediating’ element into the conjunction of bio(logy) and politics – that of technology or technique.
Nazism is politics, which is immediately also technology:
 “(…) the modification of bíos by a part of politics identified with technology [tecnica], was posed for the first time (in a manner that would be insufficient to describe as apocalyptic), precisely in the antiphilosophical and biological philosophy of Hitlerism.”(Roberto Esposito, Bíos Biopolitics and Philosophy, Minneapolis, 2008, p. 11)  One hears echoes in Esposito of Heidegger’s salute to the “inner truth and greatness of the movement” interpolated in his Introduction to Metaphysics from 1935 – “What today is bandied about absolutely as the philosophy of National Socialism, but has not the slightest to do with the inner truth and greatness of this movement (namely the encounter between technicity on the planetary level and modern man) (…)” (Einführung in die Metaphysik, ibid., p. 152).

[Commentary: The view that technology was a peculiar destiny of the Nazi dictatorship must have been a commonplace of that time.  Speer uses the same argument, but as extenuating circumstances for the effective brutality of the regime – in his final address as an accused to the Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1946.  Speaking as the “most important representative of the technocracy” – he speaks not of his personal guilt nor of the guilt of the regime but offers his ‘objective’ analysis of the use Hitler and his dictatorship made of technology. “Die Diktatur Hitlers war die erste Diktatur eines Industriestaates dieser Zeit moderner Technik, eine Diktatur, die sich zur Beherrschung des eigenen Volkes der technischen Mittel in vollkommener Weise bediente…Durch Mittel der Technik, wie Rundfunk und Lautsprecher, konnten achtzig Millionen Menschen den Willen eines Einzelnen hörig gemacht werden.(…)Die verbrecherische Geschehen dieser Jahre war nicht nur eine Folge der Persönlichkeit Hitlers.  Das Ausmaß dieser Verbrechen war gleichzeitig darauf zurückzuführen, daß Hitler sich als erster für ihrer Vervielfachung der Mittel der Technik bedienen konnte.” (
Hitler’s dictatorship was the first dictatorship of an industrial nation of this time of modern technology, a dictatorship, which used technical means in a perfect fashion for the purpose of ruling its own people…Through the means of technology, like radio and loudspeakers, eighty million people could be made to serve (obey) the will of one single individual. (…) The criminal events of these years were not just a result of the personality of Hitler.  The extent of these crimes was at the same time attributable to Hitler being the first to have used the means of technology for their multiplication.”, Albert Speer, Erinnerungen, Frankfurt-Berlin, 1969, pp. 521-522)

The means of technology also made it possible, according to Speer, to hide the enterprise of mass murder ‘in the open’ amidst the humdrum whirring of the Big Machine. 

Missing though in Speer’s causal chain of dictatorship - technology (radio) – absolute subservience of the will of 80,000,000 Germans to the will of one – is the prior attunement of those Germans to what was conveyed in those radio broadcasts and their willingness to carry out the implicit and explicit commands.  The entire question of agency of the individual is shifted to the sphere of the operation of a vast machine.  Speer makes it seem as if technology itself compelled the German mass to obey the will of its Führer and the immensity of crimes that this entailed.  Strange that the Nuremberg Tribunal judges representing the victorious powers – all highly industrialized nations – should have been impressed by such a technological determinist excuse for the functioning mode of the Nazi state.  If technology alone had been the cause of this anomalous bondage of Führer and Volk – why did this form of absolute obedience of the mass and their register of mass crimes not arise throughout the whole industrialized world?

As one is not quite sure when Heidegger added this parenthesis to Introduction to Metaphysics – it is not impossible he knew Speer’s speech to the war crimes’ court, especially since it was broadcast on the radio.]

Strikingly, in the “encounter between technicity (…) and modern man” in Heidegger’s phrase, technicity comes first, as if prior and dominant of “modern man”.  Esposito follows a typical Heideggerian strategy (exemplified in his Bremen lectures of 1949) of dissolving Nazism and whatever politics it was or is within/into a general overpowering ‘planetary’ paradigm of technology.
Heidegger’s name for this solution of Nazism suspended in technology is techne or Ge-stell.   By turning Nazism into a branch (or quintessence, inner truth) of technology, Esposito (like Heidegger) opens it a path of contamination to the culture at large.  Nazism’s supposed ‘originality’ (being the first of its kind), in this scheme, is at the same time identical with what makes it the ‘rightful heir’ of the Enlightenment – science, modern forms of governance and (bio)policing.  Nazism is neutralized as the objective will of technology.  Its ‘paroxysms’ become an essential conjuncture in the history of metaphysics, now equated with techniques of policing or administration (Derrida’s “spirit of the police”), a ‘scientific’ model of government.  Heidegger leads the way in showing how technology (Technik) is itself a “form of truth (…) grounded in the history of metaphysics” equated with “the history of being”. (Heidegger, Letter on Humanism, ibid., p. 259). (Horkheimer would refer to this “form of truth” as inferior “subjective reason” – one could also call it ‘equipmental’; see The Eclipse of Reason, 1947)  Imitating the procedure of Jünger in Der Arbeiter – but apparently paraphrasing Hegel, Heidegger reifies the subjective activity of ‘labour’, as conceived in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, through which the real is objectified in labour experienced as subjectivity – first as the “essence of materialism” which he then in a second fetishizing moment hides in “the essence of technology” (reminiscent of the “essence of science” in the Rectoral Address).  Labour is something technology qua being has objectified rather than technology being the objectification (alienation) of labour.

“The modern metaphysical essence of labour” and its subjectivity, whereby all beings (Seiende) appear as the material of labour, vanishes without remainder into the “essence of technology” – and as such is dignified with the status of a “destiny within the history of being” (seinsgeschichtliches Geschick) and from there traced back to the Greek paradigm of techne and then to aletheia meaning the rendering manifest of beings (Seiende) – with the reflux of beings the circle of the “unconditioned production” of Being is closed. (ibid.)  

‘Biopolitical’ domination or hegemony takes the direct (immediate) form of the ‘technological’ subsumption or seizing of the biological matter (bíos) of the population.  The population in this model is reduced to the status of biological raw material/data at the disposal of government in particular hegemonic medicine as the sovereign arbiter of life and death.  Biopolitics becomes thus a variation of both the myth of Nazi ‘science’ and Nazi ‘politics’. 

[Commentary:  In a lucid moment Esposito demonstrates his awareness of what such Nazi ‘science’ or ‘medicine’ was worth.  Referring to an implicit confusion in the designation of what biology specifically means in so-called Nazi biopolitics, he offers a crucial elucidation:  “As long as we speak of biology we remain on a level of discourse that is far too general.  In order to get to the heart of the question, we need to focus our attention on medicine.  We know the role that Nazi doctors played in the extermination effected by the regime. (…) I am not speaking solely about experiments on “human guinea pigs” or anatomical findings that the camps directly provided prestigious German doctors, but of the medical profession’s direct participation in all the phases of mass homicide: from the singling out of babies and then of adults condemned to a “merciful” death in the T4 program, to the extension of what was called “euthanasia” to prisoners of war, to lastly the enormous therapia magna auschwitzciense: the selection on the ramp leading into the camp, the start of the process of gassing, the declaration of being deceased, the extraction of gold from the teeth of the cadavers, and supervision of the procedures of cremation.  No step in the production of death escaped medical verification. (…) If ultimate power wore the boots of the SS, supreme auctoritas was dressed in the white gown of the doctor. (…) In the no-man’s-land of this new theo-biopolitics, or better theo-zoo-politics, doctors really do return to be the great priests of Baal, who after several millennia found themselves facing their ancient Jewish enemies, whom they could now finally devour at will.” (Bíos, ibid., pp. 113-114)]   

All of this assumes that man is a strictly ‘biologically defined species’ (and that biology is restricted to the ‘human’).  Biopower then acts without resistance upon a ready-made passive biological/genetic aggregate, which is neither human nor animal (but prior to and beyond both), has neither drives nor desires nor ‘plasticity’ – it is ‘mere life’.  ‘Life’ becomes a metaphysical concept for biopower, itself a singular mutation of positivism: “(…) the process by which, (…) man (or the State for him) in modernity begins to care for his own animal life, and by which natural life becomes the stakes in what Foucault called biopower.” (Giorgio Agamben, The Open Man and Animal, Stanford, 2004, p. 12)

For Badiou Nazism is necessary to a concept of a ‘limit’ for truth under the condition of politics – this despite his apparent refusal to grant it the status of an ‘event’ – tacitly Nazism is as much an event for him as ’68 if not more so.  Nazism figures as an example of the “unnameable” – one of the essential four axes of the “becoming” of a truth.  Hence Nazism for Badiou is not just a particular truth – it is one of the constituents of the becoming of any ‘political’ truth.  The “unnameable” of Badiou’s truth process is also indispensable for the “ethics of truth” which must recognize the unnameable as a limitation of its path.
Badiou groups Nazism most insouciantly with other extreme limit points of his designated truth processes:  “Finally, the unnameable is the central motif of the thought of the political that wishes to submit Nazism to thought; as it is of the poet who explores the limits of the force of language; as it is for the mathematician who looks for the undefinables of a structure; as it is for the person in love tormented by what love bears of the sexual unnameable.”(Alain Badiou, “Philosophy and Truth” Infinite Thought, London, 2004, p. 68)

The combination of the first and fourth unnameables yields something, which might be called a Badiouist version of unrequited “Nazi desire”.   
The biological body concealed/sequestered in the unnameable of the political thought of Nazism is not just the body of ‘mere life’, will-less object of sovereign power - it is a sexually tormented one, a body with desire. The protagonist’s sexual hallucinations of Hitler whilst masturbating or dreaming in Genet’s Pompes Funèbres and his real phantasm of feasting upon the corpse of his dead lover, the Résistance hero, are poetic evidence of this truth of the sexually unnameable or Nazi desire.   Where the unnameable of the political or Nazism converges with the unnameable of the sexuated body it brings to light a matrix of the biopolitical residing in Badiou’s axis of “becoming a truth”.

Agamben expresses his perceived necessity of Nazism for political thought most saliently at the conclusion of his Homo Sacer.  His final thoughts bring him to the parallel questions of politics and metaphysics.  Using the Greek term on haplon for Being – he refers at the end to the “Heideggerian definition of Dasein”, concluding that one is compelled to see in this definition the key to the inner relatedness of politics and metaphysics.  “Here attention will also have to be given to the analogies between politics and the epochal situation of metaphysics.  Today bios lies in zoē exactly as essence, in the Heideggerian definition of Dasein, lies (liegt) in existence.” Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford, 1998, p. 188)
But what is Agamben’s prime example of the “interlacement of zoē and bios”, so determinate of our contemporary life as “animals whose life as living beings is at issue in their politics (Foucault)”(ibid.)? 
What are the historical precedents of this union of bios and zoē appearing to us now as our political ‘fate’?
“Yet how can a bios be only its own zoē, how can a form of life seize hold of the very haplos that constitutes both the task and the enigma of Western metaphysics?” (ibid.) The prototype answering the riddle posed by Agamben does not come as a surprise – he supplies the answer only a few pages before the question.  The form of life that fulfils these ‘Oedipal’ requirements is the Führer:  “The Führer’s body is, in other words, situated at the point of coincidence between zoē and bios, biological body and political body.  In his person, zoē and bios incessantly pass over into each other.” (ibid., p. 184)  
[Commentary: How does Agamben’s biopolitical Führer-body differ from the body of royal incest characterized by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus?  The body of royal incest is also intensely exposed, a nakedness beyond the body, and must glue to itself not just all bodies of subjects but all organs of these bodies to his own incest body.
“(…) the despotic signifier aims at the reconstitution of the full body of the intense earth that the primitive machine had repressed, but on new foundations or under new conditions present in the deterritorialized full body of the despot himself.  This is the reason that incest changes its meaning or locus, and becomes the repressing representation. (…) all the organs of all the subjects, all the eyes, all the mouths, all the penises, all the vaginas, all the ears, and all the anuses become attached to the full body of the despot, as though the peacock’s tail of a royal train, and that they have in this body their own intensive representatives.” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis, 1983, p. 210) 
As the despotic signifier the royal incest body is also the body of the command (Führerwort hat Gesetzeskraft).]

A Nazi university is the inversion (of signs) and complement to the Nazi mass.  Movement-Party-State.  Between all three.  (Although the integrity of the fascist/Nazi ‘Total State’ is rather a phantom (spectral) wish of the ‘school’ discourse of political ontology – the ontological block – than a historical reality.)  The pedagogical militant or the mastered master.  Mussolini was the grand educator – il duce.  He admired Lenin whom he considered an artist – whose material was people.
Mussolini is himself a type – of the fascist leader – example and type.

He expresses, testifies to the fascist desire (conatus) to form (fashion) the type of the mass – the mass is not just a quantitative aggregate as found in situ (this would be some kind of philistine democratic heap) – each particle of the fascist mass must bear the type, be the type of that which as a whole (never complete, always open to more mass) will eventually be (given infinite time or future – this is the rule ‘und so weiter’/and so forth of the mass) one type of the same or the same type.
The fascist desire of the leader inscribes itself upon the body of the mass – so that their desire becomes “the desire of the despot’s desire” (Deleuze/Guattari).  And by extension – their body becomes his ‘new’ full body of desire.
The electoral democratic mass is constructed quantitatively – by counting, not as a congregation of bodies in a place.  Nazism and fascism in their cult of the movement and the adulation of the leader corporealizes the mass – and the idea of the mass.  The movement then must come to rest and be fixed in its place.  Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the Nuremberg ParteitagTriumph of the Will shows the ideal of the mass congregated in one place and in univocal simultaneous worship of the leader.  It is not enough for the mass to be biologically racially identical – this is potentially also merely a countable quantity – sine nomine vulgus.  The Nazi/fascist mass must be disposable, visible and movable and presented in one place.  Film was an ideal medium for this presentation of the Nazi mass as the “common place” in the sense of Paul’s interpretation of Aristotle’s koinonia.
The congregation of the faithful in Mecca is another example of one single mass body gathered in one place of ecstatic worship.

These phenomena would seem to correspond to Foucault’s second phase of the “seizure of power over the body” identified as the “technology of power” or biopolitics, entailing a “massifying” of the body.  “So after the first seizure of power over the body in an individualizing mode, we have a second seizure of power that is not individualizing but, if you like massifying, that is directed not at man-as-body but at man-as-species.” (Michel Foucault, “Society must be Defended” Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76, New York, 2003, p. 243)  But his definition of biopolitics here as a technology of power in other words sovereignty over a passive massified species is not yet able to grasp the fascist/Nazi mass as a sovereign technology of power for itself.  Power (for Foucault) finally is always directed from above to below – that those below – the biopolitical mass – are the impetus/engine of power (not resistance) cannot be thought with such a concept.  Perhaps one could speak then of a third seizure of power over the body – when the massified body of man-as-race fuses with the technology of subjugation in the Nazi entity – to become not passive objects of power, but the operatives of a totalizing ‘will to power’.  This would be the mass or Volk as envisioned by Heidegger seen through his interpretation of Ernst Jünger’s “type” of the worker.  As “self-assertion” Dasein becomes the equivalent of ‘pure energy’ – an energy immanent to the Nazi strategy for acquiring or transforming power.  It is the Nazi ‘physics’ (physis) of power of the ‘metaphysical people’.  Such a physics of power has abandoned any conventional notions of governance or self-governance.  There is no time for that.  Nazism constitutes (in its absolute sense) – an absurd impossible physical-spiritual apparatus – an undifferentiated body of power without any resistance, invalidating Foucault’s maxim – where there is power, there is resistance.  The congenital flaw of this apparatus – such a resistanceless body of power rapidly converts to total stasis or inertia.  Self-assertion of the selfless mass is the utopian expression for the Nazi body of power situated beyond resistance – or that absolute (total) body of power, which ‘gives’ itself the gift of resistance.  If one can speak of mythology – the “Nazi Myth” is a myth of physics (physis).

In a rather unlikely place in his writings, where Heidegger attempts to press the work of art into the service of his philosophy of being – he confirms this miracle of resistance-less power, or in his term ‘self-assertion’ which belongs to being and not to self.  Speaking of the Ur-binary of world and earth and their quarrel, Heidegger locates ‘self-assertion’ – a word implying resistance at least to what is not self - ‘deep’ in enclosure (Verborgenheit), authenticity (Ursprünglichkeit) and origin (Herkunft).
Im wesenhaften Streit jedoch heben die Streitenden, das eine je das andere, in die Selbstbehauptung ihres Wesens.  Die Selbstbehauptung des Wesens ist jedoch niemals das Sichversteifen auf einen zufälligen Zustand, sondern das sich aufgeben in die verborgene Ursprünglichkeit der Herkunft des eigenen Seins.” (Martin Heidegger, “Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes” in Holzwege, Frankfurt, 1977, p. 35)   [“In essential strife, however, the opponents raise each other into the self-assertion of their essences.  This self-assertion of essence is, however, never a rigid fixation on some condition that happens to be the case, but rather a surrendering into the hidden originality of the source of one’s own being.” “The Origin of the Work of Art” in Off the Beaten Track, Cambridge, 2002, pp. 26-27]
Heidegger performs a typical switch in which self-assertion turns into its opposite (or rather the semblance turns into its opposite semblance) – self-assertion becomes surrendering of self to the hidden authenticity of the origin of one’s proper being – all three terms (hidden authenticity, origin and proper being) form a crescendo of the same.  Such surrendering of self within essential conflict translates into the “presencing” of rest – or it brings presence to rest.  Self-assertion diffuses through turbulence of strife to presence of rest.
The stasis overcoming this turbulence of strife as its essence Heidegger calls the “resting-in-itself” of the work (“Insichruhen des Werkes”, “Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes” in Holzwege, ibid. p. 35).
If fascism/Nazism is an event constructed by the obscure subject – in the view of Adorno there is not a beyond from which to interpret this event.  It is at no time representable.  Fascism/Nazism in its ‘oscillation’ is excluded from its own site.  Here is where it shows its origins, that it has a cyclical or non-specific negative character like capital – the being that is always what it is not at any particular moment in its cycle – also a kind of immaterialism.  Capital like its fascist/Nazi spiritual other produces not only commodities and value, but both produce and reproduce their cyclical being itself.  The fascist/Nazi cycle is at the same time the destruction of value as a primary immaterial commodity.  Is the destruction of value also a destruction of meaning – or the meaning (sense) of being?  The name forces (imposes) an amorphous sameness on whatever it denotes – even the meanings, which exceed the body of signifieds.  The despotic signifiers ‘fascism’ or ‘Nazism’ denote more than what one historically associates with them, although it is a material complex arising in history; once the bodies of the signifiers fascism and Nazism exist they readily move beyond (exceed) all their own historical limitations.  By going beyond these historical limitations they also tend to destroy their historical meanings. 

In a passage in his “Talk on Jünger” – Heidegger both invokes and discounts the demographic inert quantity of the population – 80 million Germans. 
“The question of who the eighty million [Germans] are is not to be resolved on the basis of what their ancestors created but according to what they themselves are able to know and want as a mission for the future, on which basis only then can it be assessed whether they are worthy to invoke their ancestors.  In the next zone of decision, the struggle concerns world power alone, and not so much in the sense of the mere possession of power, as in the capacity for maintaining, within power, power as essence of reality, and that always means: to increase it.” (cited in Faye, ibid., pp. 291-292)

The quantity of the mass (80 million Germans) is a mere facticity – but does not of itself count as power.  Power in this epoch of Heidegger’s thinking was one of the numerous (perhaps numberless) synonyms of being.  Obviously for the Nazi/fascist mission of the conquest of ‘world power’ it is not sufficient to situate power in the state alone – the power, which fulfils “a new truth of being”, is prior to and constitutes the possibility of any state “technology of power”.  The mass for Heidegger is both quantitative and a body of will to power – in its quantitative aspect it represents a race, an aggregate of physical characteristics, an approximation of what could be regarded as a national demographic and genetic pool.  But in this phase it is most distant from world power.  It is also distant from world power as such because it is not the decision of the masses, which is crucial – rather the “premonitions of a few important warriors” (Heidegger writes this in January 1940) about a “change in the way of possessing world power” which have launched the epochal contest with the English and American “democratic “empires”” (no mention of the Soviet Union – the real threat, or France – considered an eclipsed power).  The masses ‘know’ and ‘want’ their mission only through knowing and wanting what has been decided in the ‘zone of decision’ of their leaders (Heidegger includes himself no doubt).  By synchronizing their wants with those of their leaders they gather themselves within the formation of the new truth of being/power.  The future of the new power or being is not short.  Heidegger envisions a span of “a century or more” – it is for this future that the German Volk is embarking on its “struggle”.  As opposed to the “Western powers (who) fight to save the past: we struggle for the formation of a future.” (“Talk on Jünger”, January 1940, cited in Faye, ibid.)  The power, as it comes directly as a “gift or a privation of Being itself” will have also been preceded by “(…) the certainty that a change in the way of possessing world power (Weltmachthaberschaft) was being prepared.” (ibid.)  Heidegger’s neologism Weltmachthaberschaft shows that for him world power is a kind of title of ownership, which passes, from one owner or ‘keeper’ to the next – like the registration of used cars.  The future owners (Inhaber) – the German Volk as trustee of Being - will though change the manner of this possession of power – as it will be a direct gift of Being to itself managed via its sole embodiment – the racially purified self-asserted German Volk.  Presumably once in German hand – world power will rest in itself like “the work”.

As no particle of the mass is a subject in its own right, but only as a quantitative/will-to-power following of the Führer – there is in the strict sense only one militant (subject) of the event – the Führer, who is the guarantee for the perpetuity of the mass, not as a collective subject – but as a count-as-one multiple – a multitude.
But is that enough?  The perpetuity of the mass is not identical with the longevity or perpetuity of the state.  Quite the opposite.  Both Heidegger and Carl Schmitt become quite entangled/mired in the difference between the two – ‘movement’ and ‘state’. 

Axiom:  There is a natural relation between Führer and Volk alias masses – but no natural relation between Führer and state – rather a non-relation or a mutual exclusion.

Peter Sloterdijk spoke of the “shameful contract” (naturally ‘Faustian’) between Führer and Volk in an episode of his television program “Philosophisches Quartett” (Youtube) in 2005 devoted to the German film Der Untergang (The Downfall) on the last days of Hitler in the Führerbunker.  None of the participants (the philosopher Rüdiger Safranski, the poet Durs Grünbein and the historian Jörg Friedrich) in their attempt to render intelligibility to the media figure of Hitler – mentioned the Nazi state with one word – let alone the ‘sovereign exception’.  Sloterdijk spoke of “Adolf Hitler – superstar”; Safranski insisted Hollywood could make the best film about the Nazi era – because it was all about one man and the German people who loved him and whom he later spurned, not about any “Systemzwänge” (system dictates), - and Hollywood is the world champion in “personalising”.  Friedrich seemed to agree – the essence of Hitler’s shamanic charm for the German people – was his promise of a psycho-historical miracle, the ‘cure’ – a promise magically compressed and ever present in the obligatory greeting formulae ‘Heil Hitler’ (Salvation Hitler) and ‘Sieg Heil’ (Victory Salvation).  Hitler, the people’s chosen charlatan, promised himself as the miracle cure able to turn a slave people (das Knechtvolk) who had been conquered and subjugated by foreign powers throughout its history, and again after losing the First World War – into the masters of the world.  Neither side could keep the promise.  Durs Grünbein thought now “the historians are finished (fertig) with Hitler”, which prompted Sloterdijk after some delay to say Sebastian Haffner’s Anmerkungen zu Hitler (Notes to Hitler) had given him at one time the hope one could finish with Hitler.  From such a program one can only conclude the Germans will never be finished with Hitler. 

The dictum “Führerwort hat Gesetzeskraft” (The Führer’s word has force of law) was a flimsy faux legalistic construction to disguise the non-relation between the Führer Hitler and a juridical state.  For both Heidegger and Schmitt – although with some subtle ontological differences – the political implies and presupposes the State – thus their ‘Hitlerian state’ is a non-being, a phantasm.
The Führer in the figure of Hitler had no successor.  A lack the Nazi state shared with the genre of all ‘sultanist’ states – as one can observe today in the Arab world, with the great difference that the German people/Volk did not engage in a mass uprising against their sultan.  On the contrary, the posthumous bonds of Führer-Eros have become sempiternal, passed on like a secret religion from one generation to the next, as constitutive for the contemporary German ‘oversoul’ as the ‘magic of the monarchy’ for the British national psyche – and yet the state if it is a state cannot end with the biological ending of one man.  This dilemma exercised Heidegger quite early – in fact the essential repeatability (iterability) of the ‘resolute choice’ appears already in paragraph 74 of Being and Time.  Repetition is almost the sine qua non of Dasein’s historicity as its expanded temporality.  The ‘ecstatic openness’ of Dasein to the future is grounded in its “inheritance” (Erbe) – in tradition (Überlieferung) or what is handed down and repetition (Wiederholung).  History is therefore weighted towards what has been (Gewesenheit).  Consequently in the Rectoral Address he will anticipate the beginning of the Nazi enterprise as already located in the future – as an ‘automatic’ tradition summoning the people to repeatedly commence towards their own and the ‘Greek’ past or beginning. 

[Commentary:  Is Foucault’s fascination with the anachronistic temporality of the Iranian movement – as something so apart from ‘Western’ modernity, itself not also a reflection of the pattern of the ‘great beginning’ Heidegger found in the ‘bursting forth’ of the Nazi movement?  Foucault went east and found a revival of something – a “political spirituality” and “an absolutely collective will” - ‘lost’ since the Renaissance in the west.  In the article “What are the Iranians dreaming about?” he attempts to interpret the phrase “Islamic government” in view of this eccentricity of time: ““A utopia,” some told me without any pejorative implication.  “An ideal,” most of them said to me.  At any rate, it is something very old and also very far into the future, a notion of coming back to what Islam was at the time of the Prophet, but also of advancing towards a luminous and distant point where it would be possible to renew fidelity rather than maintain obedience.  In pursuit of this ideal, the distrust of legalism seemed to me to be essential (…)” (Michel Foucault in Le Nouvel Observateur, October 16-22, 1978) Foucault was attracted to the Iranian uprising against the Shah in the way Genet was drawn to the Palestinian movement – but Genet, more true to his own law of perversity found the highest spirituality in betrayal – the revolt against fidelity.] 

Freedom for Heidegger is not to be taken singularly, but only as part of a dreadful quintet including death, guilt, conscience and finitude all housed or hosted by Sorge (Care) – it is the freedom to choose what has been.  Dasein though is not alone in his choice – or rather if Dasein has a fate or is fate – then most likely Dasein is in Being-With (Mitsein) and then all that happens to him is a happening-with and is elevated to a higher level of fate called “Geschick”.  Whatever happens to the community, to the people is designated as Geschick.  The fatefulness of Geschick though is opened (erschlossen) expressly by repetition, in its attachment (Verhaftung) to handed down traditions.  Presaging what he will say about the “Kampfgemeinschaft von Lehrer und Schüler” (the battle-community of teachers and pupils) at the conclusion of his Rectoral Address, Heidegger describes Dasein’s ‘freedom’ as “Treue zum Wiederholbaren” (fidelity to the repeatable) – sounding like a species-ancestor of Badiou’s “fidelity to the event”:  “Die eigentliche Wiederholung einer gewesenen Existenzmöglichkeit – daß das Dasein sich seinen Helden wählt – gründet existenzial in der vorlaufenden Entschlossenheit; denn in ihr wird allererst die Wahl gewählt, die für die kämpfende Nachfolge und Treue zum Wiederholbaren frei macht.” [“The proper repetition of a past existence possibility – that Dasein chooses its heroes – has its existential principle (reason, base) in the previous resoluteness; for it is in resoluteness that one first chooses the choice, which makes one free for the militant discipleship (succession, following) and the fidelity to the repeatable.”, (Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, Tübingen, 1986 p. 385)]  “The fidelity to the repeatable” is one of the many instruments Heidegger uses in his ontological reconstitution of the Christian parousia.
Despite Heidegger’s fervent Hitlerism and advocacy of the Führerkult when he lectures to beginning students on the state and its people – the project for the longue durée – he hardly mentions the Führer – as if there were now an unspoken secret resolute choice awaiting - of either/or – Führer or State.  In a lecture of 1934 “The Present State and the Future Task of Philosophy” he sees the ontological difference immediately materialized/ontologized/reified in the relation of state as historical Being (Sein) and the people (Seiendes) as individual being(s): “Ein Staat ist nur, indem er wird, wird zum geschichtlichen Sein des Seienden, das Volk heißt.” (“A state is only while it becomes, becomes the historical being of individual being, which is called the people.”, cited in Faye, ibid., p. 85)

Mussolini was a witness and archive of the future type.  The Nazi/fascist university is implicitly connected to what Lacoue-Labarthe calls the humanism of Nazism.  The human as defined by the Nazi/fascist university – the type of the human.  Is this humanism also identical with the ‘ideology of the subject as another name for fascism/fascist’ – as proposed in “The Nazi Myth”?
“It would be (…) necessary to rigorously demonstrate how the Total State is to be conceived as the Subject-State (whether it be a nation or humanity, whether it be a class, a race, or a party, this subject is or wills itself to be an absolute subject), such that in the last instance it is in modern philosophy, in the fully realized metaphysics of the Subject, that ideology finds its real guarantee: that is to say, in the thought of being (and/or of becoming, of history) defined as a subjectivity present to itself, as the support, the source, and the finality of representation, certitude, and will. (…) The ideology of the subject (which, perhaps, is no more than a pleonasm) is fascism, the definition holding, of course, for today.”
(Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, “The Nazi Myth” Critical Inquiry 16, University of Chicago Press, Winter 1990, pp. 293- 294)  If then, ideology requires modern philosophy as its “real guarantee” of the thought of being and/or becoming of history, defined as subjectivity etc and this ideology is fascism – then one is led to conclude that for these authors – modern philosophy is also fascism.

Self-assertion as a mode of augmenting the power of the state is the fascist/Nazi novum in the technologies or techniques of governance.  This self-assertion could be seen as the ‘humanism’ of Nazism.  The self-asserted Volks-singularity is its ‘ideology of the subject’. As Adorno writes – “Dasein is merely a German and ashamed version of the subject.” (Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik, ibid., p. 114)

But Heidegger cautions his reader that “Dasein istje meines; dies bedeutet weder: durch mich gesetzt, noch: auf ein vereinzeltes Ich abgesondert.” (“Dasein is “respectively mine”; this means neither: posited by me, nor: isolated in a singularized I.”, Einführung in die Metaphysik, ibid., p. 22)  What does that mean?  Mine but not I?  But a subject - at least in a modified or reduced sense?  If Dasein in Sein und Zeit is a “deutsche und verschämte Variante von Subjekt” (Adorno, ibid.) – Dasein in Einführung in die Metaphysik presupposes a racial community of Mitsein (being-with) from which it projects its subjecthood.  This is the succession of Heidegger’s thought of being from Dasein to the racially determined self-assertion.  Racial thought for Heidegger is the fulfilment of metaphysics or (what is the same) the metaphysics of the subject.  If Dasein was ultimately only viable within the ‘historicity’ of a people (the German people, Volk) the figure of self-assertion presupposes the experience of being as race.  Race is the crucial nexus in Heidegger’s thought between being and “the political”.  A self-asserting Dasein within the limits of race – is more fundamental and yet in turn presupposes the political.  Race, Dasein, self-assertion and the political can barely be disentangled.  This is also where Heidegger criticizes Carl Schmitt’s “concept of the political”. 

[Commentary: Heidegger’s self-assertion is affirmative and is the original determination of the political prior to the friend/enemy distinction of Schmittian provenance.  The friend/enemy dichotomy, a negative distinction according to Heidegger, presupposes self-assertion and is only an essential consequence of the political. (Heidegger, “Hegel, On the State”, winter 1934-1935, cited in Faye, ibid., pp. 240-241) But Heidegger’s insistence on the sequence within this row sounds more like quibbling about nuance than any fundamental sort of correction.]

Hence sovereignty does not capture the political ‘essence’ of the Nazi entity – the distinction between governed and governor is dissolved/sublated in self-assertion.  In the terms of Heidegger’s Rectoral Address – this delicate balance between governors and governed is precisely defined by a highly regulated/ritualized ‘polemos’ (battle).  The university is paradigmatic of the state – master and pupil confront one another as governor and governed, leader and follower.

It is the “scene of “hegemony”” (Lacoue-Labarthe) in the Rectoral speech.  Hegemony is the result of the battle of their two ‘wills to essence’ – so that hegemony miraculously becomes through a progression of self-examinations – “self-governance”.  The battle though is self-contained, the outcome foregone.  There is really only one side to this ‘agon’ – it is the familiar static block (stasis) of Mitsein (being-with or the absence of any ‘alterity’) transformed in keeping with the jargon of the times into a “Kampfgemeinschaft der Lehrer und Schüler” (battle-community of teachers and pupils).  Although leading and following is an opposition of essence (Wesensgegensatz) – ‘leading granting following its strength, and following having its resistance within’ – all of this remains steadfastly incestuously bracketed in the circularity of Nazi state and German people. 
It is the calculated battle of the people who wills itself, who decides with – and that has already been decided elsewhere.  “We do will ourselves.  For the young strength of the people, which already reaches beyond us, has by now decided the matter.” (Martin Heidegger, The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/1934: Facts and Thoughts, Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985:Mar.) p. 480)  For the “knowing battle of those who question” (ibid.) conjures up a field of imminent danger threatening ‘the battle community’ from which they must rescue themselves - but risk and danger hold themselves in the balance.  The ‘battle’ is an effect of a ‘decision’ of the power, which lies already beyond the ‘accomplices’ of science (Mitwissenschaft) – who will them to will themselves.  The ‘revolt against that which is’ is identical with ‘what is’.  

How disturbing it must have been though for Heidegger that the longevity and repeatability (iterability) of the Nazi state or historical Being (geschichtliches Sein) dangled on the fragile life thread of one ephemeral ‘hero’ even if he were the people’s, individual being’s (Seiendes) resolute choice.     
Besides the biopolitics of sovereign power and ‘life’, there is another equally crucial biopolitical void within sovereign power itself, mostly overlooked by philosophers of biopolitics, though far more real than the fictive relation between sovereign and subject biologicals.  The historical dilemma of “the two bodies of the king” encompasses the abyssal distance between ‘bare life and sovereign power’ in the figure of the sovereign himself.  Just as the mortality of dynasties (Ibn Khaldun), dynastic mating and inbreeding (the Habsburg chin) reflect how this insurmountable difference of the ‘two bodies’ is handed down from one generation to the next.  The dynasty (also state, party) is simply the trans-generational ‘two bodies of the king’ over a finite period of time.  The ‘two bodies of the king’ are an aporia within sovereignty.
Hitler invaded the pattern of the ‘two bodies of the king’: – the destructible negligible vehicle – the physical king – who must be sacrificed in each generation on the eternal altar of the monarchy (the striking dramatic exposition thereof is Shakespeare’s Richard the Second): to prove that le roi se meurt jamais (the king never dies).  The biological-political body of Hitler is not just the shared location of zoē and bios (Agamben) but also the repository of mass polymorphous sexual desire – known as Führer Eros or “Liebe zum Führer” (love of the Führer).  In the “austere monarchy of sex” – his rule is grounded in the sexual dispositif, the mystical authority of sex, that Foucault discovers as the premise and (‘archaic’, original?) rhythm of biopolitics (see Michel Foucault, La volonté de savoir).  In that sense Hitler does not rule, he is a body-mask, a contingent historical regent of ‘king sex’.  His form of rule exemplifies a major axiom of Anti-Oedipus: “(…) desire is part of the infrastructure.” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis, 1983, p. 104)

[Commentary:  Is Nazism’s form of power – unburdened of the juridical scaffolding – positioned more immediately in the field of sexual desire than the conventional juridical form of sovereignty?  Does Nazism’s non-juridical, non-state power enter with its commands and biological dictates more directly into a relation to sex and desire than law based models of sovereignty?
More directly sexual in other words?  Is that what Foucault means by biopolitics?  If that were the case though – given his claim that biopolitics has become the totality of politics, then the libidinal economy would, in his eyes, surpass even the money and capital economy – that other vast and ubiquitous form of non-juridical power situated nowhere and everywhere – certainly not in something as insignificant as a state.  One can see today during the present economic crisis (in the sense of eternal presence and return) how the power of money and capital is shaking one state sovereignty and government after the other.]  

The measure of the longevity of the Third Reich though was Hitler’s political-sexual body - the time remaining to his own mortal shell.  Thus the haste and speed with which events evolved in Nazi Germany.  Hitler had to have his war by a certain age, the tempo of the Third Reich, its occupations, invasions, the extermination of the Jewish people, were synchronized with his physiological rhythms.  The body of state (the Reich) became the ephemeral negligible vehicle of Hitler’s immortality-undertaking to impose (write) his biological “lifetime” on “worldtime” (see Hans Blumenberg, Lebenszeit und Weltzeit, Frankfurt, 1986).  For that certain period of twelve years give or take - the flesh and sex of Hitler became the biological clock of the world.  If he and his sexual vassals, the Nazi Volk, had no time, the world should have no time either.

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