What to take from the fact that Heidegger was a Nazi.

It may seem surprising that so many books continue to be written debating Martin Heidegger’s Nazi affiliations, since the fact that Heidegger was a Nazi has never been in dispute. How could it be, when the great philosopher took office as rector of Freiburg University in April 1933 specifically in order to carry out the Gleichschaltung, or “bringing into line,” of the school with Hitler’s new party-state? Didn’t he tell the student body, in a speech that November, that “the Führer and he alone is the present and future German reality and its law”? After the war, didn’t he go out of his way to minimize Nazi crimes, even describing the Holocaust, in one notorious essay, as just another manifestation of modern technology, like mechanized agriculture?

"what makes Heidegger’s Nazism a challenge — as opposed to merely a scandal — is the fact that he did not drift into evil, but thought his way into it. And once we acknowledge the powerful attraction of his work, we are morally and intellectually bound to explore what part of that attraction is owed to ideas with a potential for evil. Neither Faye nor Maier-Katkin embarks on that more difficult questioning, which asks us to confront not just Heideg­ger but ourselves." -ADAM KIRSCH