Frankfurt School of Philosophy As Nazism Unexamined

Unexamined until now, that is…


Was The Frankfurt School of Philosophy Disguised Nazism?

By 1946, it dawned even on the most obdurate, that German philosophy, viewed as a mass movement, had been a disaster. Its reasons turned out to follies of the greatest infamy, with an appearance of polished intellectual superiority, which foiled the superficially minded, as long as they had a cold heart. This very infamy made those infamous “German” reasons a strong social bond, binding the German masses together, to commit mass murder, and wars of massive aggression,  twice in a generation, under the enlightenment, the sun, of Satan.

Thus, unsurprisingly, some German mini philosophers reached the same conclusion in their Fort of the Franks (Frankfurt). They “wanted to break free from the past“(Adorno). Assuredly. Their past. By denying it. (My point of view on the Frankfurt School of Philosophy will be viewed as an outrage, a counter-sense, by the traditionalists. The present essay is a reply to “How the Frankfurt school diagnosed the ills of Western Civilisation” in Aeon, May 31, 2017. In essence, I believe the Frankfurt School did not have the courage to look at the main discourse of German history. They accused the imperialism of sliding doors (!) and Hollywood movies. I accuse Luther, traditional racism, intellectual fascism, and the plutocratic effect, in other words, Germany.

The German Enlightenment was dominated paradigmatically, pragmatically, and politically, and militarily,  by one state, Prussia, which was hyper militaristic, brutally expansionist, and successful at it, outrageously racist, and a dictatorship.

Berlin In Ruins, 1945: German Philosophy’s Crown of Creation!

The top philosopher of Prussia,  Kant, didn’t just believe in slavery or the tradition of enslavement, he wrote publicly to the highest authorities to encourage them to stand firm, while enabling slavery. Kant also believed that the highest morality was to obey the authorities unquestionably, a theory Nazis were enthusiast to enact while exterminating the sort of people Prussia, and then all of Germany, as early as 1815, discriminated against grotesquely, and criminally.

Herder, another piece of German Enlightenment, sang the praises of tribalism, to a point so extreme, he rejected French style Enlightenment, wholesale (although French style Enlightenment was just a modernized version, as far as eradicating exaggerated tribalism, of the one inaugurated by imperial Rome).

With (German) “Enlightenment” like that, who would not want to reject it? The Nazis?


The “European” Wars of the Twentieth Century were not European wars. They were German wars. That’s a dirty little secret which does not want to be faced, especially in the USA, for obvious reasons (twice the USA stood by, watching, for years, its parents, France and Britain, suffer the brunt of mass murdering German infamy). Germany deliberately ambushed humanity in August 1914, and again by electing an exterminationist racist fascist dictatorship, and obeying it enthusiastically. OK, it was a particular type of Enlightenment, under the Sun of Satan. But it was very German, in the sense “German” had taken after the rise of the satanic Luther (who wrote about torturing the Jews for pleasure) and the monstrous Prussian State. The mass murdering aggressiveness of Bismarck, the Kaiser and Hitler, were no accident, but the fruit of generations, even centuries of very specifically German evolution of the worst type.


To believe that Europe became crazy in 1853-1945 is to confuse “Europeans” (sane and victimized) and Germans (culprit and insane). Nietzsche pointed it out before me, and well before German folly reached the highest heights. So it’s to confuse victims and perpetrators. Nothing to build a deep philosophy on.

To believe that “reason” caused the German atrocity of the period 1853-1945 is inaccurate: what was viewed then as patriotic German reasons caused the German atrocities. It had nothing to do with the Enlightenment in the style of Montaigne, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Sade Lamarck, or even Rousseau.

Aeon claims that:Far from humane liberation, 20th-century Europeans had plunged into decades of savage barbarism. Why? The Frankfurt School theorists argued that universal rationality had been raised to the status of an idol. At the heart of this was what they called ‘instrumental reason’, the mechanism by which everything in human affairs was ground up.

When reason enabled human beings to interpret the natural world around them in ways that ceased to frighten them, it was a liberating faculty of the mind. However, in the Frankfurt account, its fatal flaw was that it depended on domination, on subjecting the external world to the processes of abstract thought.”

To say that the cause dominates the effect is silly. To brandish “abstract thought” as a flaw is also silly. “Abstract” and “thought” have to be defined. If “abstract” means a model the brain created, then most thoughts, defined as neurological activity, are abstract.

In the visual system, modern neurology has revealed more than 90% of the circuitry as re-entrant. Thus abstract, calling on what the brain views as memories of what was experienced. This is assuredly typical.

“The rationalising faculty had thereby become, according to the Frankfurt philosophers, a tyrannical process, through which all human experience of the world would be subjected to infinitely repeatable rational explanation; a process in which reason had turned from being liberating to being the instrumental means of categorising and classifying an infinitely various reality.”

One would expect that Germans brought, educated, and mentally created under dictatorship, would be incapable to perceive what tyranny is, and how one gets there. This is exactly what happened under the Frankfurt School.

Far from being “rationalizing”, reason, in German culture prior to the last few years at best, was extremely irrational. German reason was irrational reason, because it tended to miss all the reason of the heart. Attacking the world in 1914 was a deliberate insanity: the German High Command thought that Russia would be slow to mobilize, and that Great Britain would come to full force no sooner than a year after France, and most of continental Europe had been defeated and occupied.

Moreover the High Command and the Kaiser decided to believe the soporific insanity of a world racial government which President Wilson had offered to share with them. (While not thinking for an instant that the US president and his colonel House may have had an “America First” agenda!)

And, somehow the very “rational” Germans naively believed that the Americans would help circumventing the British and French naval blockade (which they did, for a while, as long as it made them richer).

That set of reasons for launching all of Europe, in the atrocious infamy of World War One was not reason, it was a mad logic. And it was even more insane for average “rational” Germans to goose step behind those six men who had decided to destroy Europe… Just to save their version of German plutocracy.

From there on, it got even worse: because thousands of German war criminals had not been hanged after World War One, they felt free to do it again: surely, it would work better, on an even larger scale. Literally. A war criminal such as Ludendorff, de facto commander of the German army in 1918, never got prosecuted for his mass murdering in Belgium (in particular, Liege). So Ludendorff was probably the most important founder of the Nazi Party, and certainly the most prestigious.

Well, there was a reason: the Anglo-Saxon plutocracy had been very supportive of its German colleague in the Paris negotiations of 1919. Surely, it would happen again? (It did, but not to the same extent!)

Many are the reasons, that’s why we need a heart.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: Instrumentalized rationality consists in adopting specific axioms to get a logic to the ends one wants to achieve… and scrupulously restricting oneself to them. (As it is, that’s not saying much: Euclid did just that, more or less, with plane geometry!)
What the Frankfurt School wanted to express was “Instrumentalized” Reason, not “Instrumental Reason“. Now generally reason is instrumentalized, that’s why we brandish it. So, per se, it’s not saying much. A better notion maybe “Intellectual Fascism“, a type of thinking where an all too-small axiomatic set is used to animate’s one’s logic, while ignoring obviously related and more impactful axioms.

In particular, axiomatic sets ignoring the questions, and solutions of the heart, like basic human love, are symptomatic of Intellectual Fascism. That was, overall the Achilles heel of most German philosophy. Cogent, but blind to more significant alternative logics.
When the Frankfurt School speak of “Instrumental Rationality” in a derogatory way, it really speaks of “Intellectual Fascism” the ends of which are deplorable…







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