Authentic Heidegger vs. Inauthentic “Fake” News, Part 2

Martin Heidegger, 1889–1976

Go to Part 1.

The expression “fake news” has a generic purpose whose meaning varies with each individual user. This phrase, alongside a number of other phrases describing language manipulation in the media, can be ranked in the category of Heidegger’s “idle talk.” The political effects of idle talk and its related word “newspeak” were also well illustrated by the novelist and essayist George Orwell.[14] Attempting to grasp the meaning of liberal political propaganda while skipping over the study of Heidegger’s idle talk, or Orwell’s newspeak, is a nonstarter. Orwell had done a revolutionary work by demystifying idle talk and fake news by exposing frequent falsehood in modern political communication.

Needless to say a White nationalist in Europe or in America today will define differently Orwell’s description of newspeak than his globalist-minded liberal or antifascist counterpart. Blaming only Joseph Goebbels, the former National Socialist minister, for being the first to launch fake news in Germany, or for that matter for being the first in standardizing political lies and self-deception in public discourse, is false.  Ironically, it was Goebbels himself, much earlier than Orwell, who had pointed out in his books and his speeches the rising tide of idle talk or fake news in the liberal media: “And if we are to tell the truth, then we must simply confess that we are slowly getting sick of this idle talk (“Gerede”) about morality and humanity that is travelling, column by column, through the English press today.”[15]

The event which has acquired lately a historic importance and which makes modern opinion makers in the US and EU extremely worried is that charges against fake news media are being levelled by a man who represents the most influential and the most liberal country on earth—Donald Trump, president of the United States. If Trump doesn’t shy away from calling out mainstream news as fake news, he might someday start calling out the names and describe the ethnic origin of major fake news distributors in America. Trump’s labeling of major news outlets as providers of fake news is an  unprecedented indictment in the entire history of Liberalism — all the more so because the much-lauded so-called free press is viewed as the main pillar of liberalism or for that matter of the official, i.e., “deep state”  America today.

The Poetics of the Political

Heidegger only scantily discusses language manipulation in politics and only within the framework of a retrieval of Being from inauthenticity by comprehension of his much discussed German poets.  Some of his rare yet important remarks on language within the context of ongoing, mechanization and commodification of human life, which he later described as the process of  “enframing,“ are nevertheless quite revealing:

Meanwhile, there rages round the earth an unbridled yet clever talking, writing, and broadcasting of spoken words. Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man. When this relation of dominance gets inverted, man hits upon strange maneuvers. Language becomes the means of expression. As expression, language can decay into a mere medium for the printed word.[16]

Heidegger’s remarks about language becoming “a master of man” and not the other way around bear witness to the loss of authenticity of liberal politicians who often, unknowingly, utter palaver that has no meaning whatsoever. Idle talk and fake news in political communication today are nothing new; both were used in the official communist propaganda in former Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The official speech in communist countries consisted of menacing or promising phrases spiced up with foreign words that were meant to give their authors an aura of intellectual sophistication. In terms of syntax, each sentence measured the size of an entire paragraph, occupying a quarter of a newspaper page. For such linguistic torture French anticommunist intellectuals some fifty years ago invented the expression  “wooden language” (langue de bois). The expression “wooden language” has by now become a popular catchword in France, with citizens ridiculing as unintelligible the talk of politicians and media outlets.[17] Likewise, during the cold war, dissidents in communist Eastern Germany coined the word “Betonsprache” (cemented talk) when critically referring to the state-sponsored fake news.  Similar communist-like speech, albeit dressed up in far more elegant and insidious signifiers, has entered in full force the EU and US media and higher education today. Fake talk can be best observed in the introduction of abstract and criminalizing phrases such as “hate speech” or “white supremacist” which originated on US campuses  in the early 80’s of the previous century and which have by now become widespread in the judiciary of the EU and USA. Someone’s free speech is always someone else’s hate speech.

No European language is immune to idle talk or fake news. Both idle talk and fake news are the logical results of the descent of liberal society into inauthenticity. Heidegger maintains that only poets can help us in re-appropriating our Being from inauthenticity, and that “the poetic is the basic capacity for human dwelling.”[18]

Such pessimistic musings by Heidegger, however, can hardly preordain the rich German language and its culture to become an important transmitter of authenticity — at least not according to many non-German speakers, let alone Heidegger’s enemies.

To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet in the time of the world’s night utters the holy. This is why, in Hölderlin’s language, the world’s night is the holy night. [19]

Worth recalling is that before World War II the German language was a “lingua franca,” that is, a common idiom in higher education and in civil service among cultivated non-German citizens all over Central and Eastern Europe. After the war, the German language became the subject of political ostracism and of frequent “Hollywood-Nazi” derision. Even Heidegger’s poeticized words and sentences, when translated into the English or the French languages, resonate differently, often oddly, and often incapable of retaining the nuances of Heidegger’s wording or of capturing the German spirit. Unlike other European languages, the German language gives free reign to its speaker to craft as many compound nouns as he wishes, which can be seen all the time in Heidegger’s own text. Yet the modern German language can also give birth to grotesque fake news compounds, such as the modern legal scarecrow featured by the German Criminal Code, Section 130, carrying the heading “Volksverhetzung.” This scary  newspeak construct, has been awkwardly translated into official English with a clumsy and inaccurate expression: “incitement of popular hatred.”[20] This German noun, however, had been conceived deliberately by the German postwar authorities as a shut-up word for the so-called German racists or Holocaust deniers. Smartly enough, German legal workers had made sure that the words ‘Holocaust’ or ‘Jew’ would never show up, neither in this legal construct nor in the entire corpus of German legislation. This heavy-handed compound noun has landed nevertheless hundreds of Germans in jail over the last several decades.

Given its extraordinary etymological richness the German language is best suited for philosophical speculations. German verbs, often surfacing at the end of each subordinate clause, force a reader or a talker, to take a big breath beforehand. The German language might be described as a “slow motion” language, ideal for pensive loneliness and the best tool for cultural pessimists and dark romanticists who abound in German literature in the early nineteenth century. Unlike the French language, with its huge number of homonyms, or unlike the American English with its tricky phrasal verbs, the German language has a concise and disciplined normative grammar that forbids verbal escapades. It cannot be ruled out that Germany lost World War II because its language, unlike the French language, forbids political ambiguity. French homonyms frequently allow French diplomats to weasel out of an embarrassing situation while providing them with a ready-made disclaimer: “No, I didn’t mean it!” The German language, however, with its clear- cut and audible syllables doesn’t  provide its speaker with margins of  diplomatic maneuvering.

The stark German language has not produced any erotic literature as has the Italian language and its Renaissance author Giovanni Boccaccio, whose prose teems with sexually-charged scenes. Also, the founding father of French satire and colloquial French, the Renaissance author Rabelais, could hardly find his match in Germany.  When his young fictional prankster, a giant boy named Pantagruel urinates from the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, drowning out bypassers, Rabelais announces a new literary genre that would bypass Germany. The most popular modern French novelist, Louis Ferdinand Céline, whose  satires about communists and Jews are  banned in France (termed wrongly by modern censors as “anti-Semitic pamphlets”) managed to  put together a large number of obscene French slang expressions that could hardly find their equivalent, let alone their German translator in the German-occupied Vichy France (1940–44).[21]

The French and the English each have half a dozen vulgar words for a Jew, whereas the Germans have none.  Hence the reason the Germans again resort to vulgar and clumsy compound nouns like “Scheissjude”  or “Saujude” when voicing their displeasure or hatred of Jews. Even the American Henry Miller’s sexed-up novels when translated into the German sound odd to German ears.  Neoclassical sculptures of naked women by the German artists Arno Breker or Josef Thorak that once adorned public buildings in National Socialist Germany, always sporting on their faces a look of the tragic, can hardly arouse sexual fantasy among onlookers like the paintings of naked women by the French Gustave Courbet or by the eccentric Spanish anti-communist artist Salvatore Dali.[22]

Despite its pietistic language, ideal for a sober philosophical inquiry, the German people of all European peoples, has never fallen prey to Catholic or Protestant religious fanaticism that rocked other European nations for centuries. In fact, Germans are the least Judeo-Christian-inspired nation in the West.  Obsessive political moralizing or Bible thumping, which has been the trade mark of many public figures in America, has been largely ignored by German poets, thinkers and politicians.  Only with the political caesura that occurred in 1945, with new German “Being in the world” setting in, most German politicians and savants have willingly transformed themselves into self-hating and meek creatures. Germany’s angst for not stepping out of political line has resulted since 1945 in citizens’ mutual mimicry which Heidegger called long ago “theyness,” (das Man). “Theyness” of an anonymous crowd can be observed today in the deliberate self-dumbing down of the German populace who after World War II was obliged to accept self-censorship and self-reeducation, and whose practice has spread to all White peoples the world over by now.  What Heidegger specifically meant by his  concept of “theyness,“  as opposed to his description of individual authenticity,  has been a subject of endless scholarly debates. Modern high-tech society, operating like a giant preprogrammed computer skeleton, a process Heidegger calls “ enframing”  (Gestell),  removes gradually any quest for Being, making every person a pliable creature and a perishable commodity that Heidegger labels  ” standing reserve.” When these human biomasses or the standing reserve, renamed today by the liberal idle talk into marketable  “human resources” arrive at their expiration date, they are due to be discarded. [23]  This apocalyptic vision of the West offered by Heidegger can no longer be dismissed.

The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has already affected man in his essence. The rule of Enframing threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth. Thus, where Enframing reigns, there is danger in the highest sense.[24]

Fake news in politics is just one of the segments in the giant state-enforced enframing process. It can best be seen in the unstoppable rise of hygienic language forced upon citizens in America and Europe. Modern heretics in Europe and America, in order to professionally survive and avoid political demonization, need to resort to their own coded language, similar to the coded language of dissidents in former communist countries.

Fake news does not only transpire in the mainstream media and among corrupted politicians,  but also spreads to other realms of  the written word, especially in modern historiography. If most media outlets lie, then we must conclude that most media experts, most college professors, and most advocates of liberalism are obligated to lie as well.

Dr. Tom Sunic’s has written several books, the latest of which, Titans are in Town (Arktos, 2017), consists of a novella and essays on ancient and modern myths.    


[14]  Georg Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Secker & Warburg, 1949). See also:

https://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/1984.pdf

[15] Joseph Goebbels, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel;  Reden und  Aufsätze  aus den Jahren  1939/40/41. “Aussprache unter vier Augen mit der Demokratie”, (München; Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1941) p.82.  See also:

http://www.thule-italia.net/sitotedesco/Vari/Goebbels/Goebbels,%20Joseph%20-%20Die%20Zeit%20ohne%20Beispiel.pdf

[16] Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, transl. Albert Hofstadter ( 2001 N. York: Harper and Row, 1971),  p. 213. See also:

http://ssbothwell.com/documents/ebooksclub.org__Poetry__Language__Thought__Perennial_Classics_.pdf

[17]  See T. Sunic, “Le langage « politiquement correct » Genèse d’un emprisonnement”,  Catholica (summer 2006) Nr. 92. Also:

http://tomsunic.com/?cat=24

[18]    M. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought p. 226

[19]  Ibid, p. 92.

[20] T. Sunic , „The Liberal Doubletalk  and its Lexical and Legal Consequences,”  in Posmortem Report;  Culturally Examinations from Postmodernity, preface K. MacDonald  ( London:  Arktos, 2017), 146-160. Also: http://tomsunic.com/?p=253

[21] Alain de Benoist, Céline et l’Allemagne, 1933-1945: Une mise au point (Bruxelles:  Le bulletin Célinien,  1996). Also: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/Sunic-Celine.html

[22] T. Sunic, “Art in the III Reich,”  in Postmortem Report, pp102 -110. Also: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/10/08/art-in-the-third-reich-1933%E2%80%931945-part-1/

[23] M.Heidegger,  The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays.  transl. with an Introduction by W. Lovitt  (New York & London: Garland Publishing  Inc.  1977), https://monoskop.org/images/4/44/Heidegger_Martin_The_Question_Concerning_Technology_and_Other_Essays.pdf

 

[24] Ibid. 28


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