Humanism as the Ideology Behind Nazism

Cicero: The Founder of Humanism (1)

The Radio Four program, In Our Time, explores the key ideas of our century and of our existence; it is also a fantastic resource for students, because it covers topics from Philosophy to Shakespeare, and being an English student with an interest in Philosophy, consider it to be one of the corner stones of research. Today, I was preparing for an essay with a grounding in humanism and oppression, and so turned to the website and found http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00547bk. The program, including the writer of one of the most important humanism texts, Tony Davies, went on to completely change my perception of humanism. It covered the complete history of the ideology from the founder, Cicero, to the somewhat convoluted version we have today.

Humanism is essentially the study of the self, and of human behaviour, and sought to change religious external ceremony from being entirely focussed on a higher authority to focussed on reflection and the understanding of the internal self. Cicero, who was a Roman politician, philosopher and academic in his own right, translated Roman texts alongside the Greek ideologies, and produced a less rigid, dogmatic approach to literature. He sought to produce a model of education that was complete and rounded, and focussed on the study of the self in relation to everyone else. He focussed on the study of poetry, philosophy and even gymnastics. He therefore created the Ciceronian tradition; however this wasn’t an easy, because as a part of this, he had to redefine terms such as “humanitas” to mean something pragmatic, that the Roman psyche could understand. Nevertheless, he managed to associate this new ‘humanist’ approach with a political basis, and thus formed the basis of Renaissance humanism. His published letters regarding the subject created the ‘public’ approach the classical education that he sought; and therefore brought the new style into a public arena.

The rediscovery of Cicero’s letters in the fourteenth or fifteenth century can be considered the motor of the Renaissance movement across Europe. The movement was composed of teachers who declared they were in support of the Ciceronian education. They alluded that this would lead to a more sophisticated man and a thoughtful individual, who can obey and support the political system promoted. Italian humanism was increasingly mystical and allegorical. In Northern Europe however it takes on a more Roman character, and the development of an active civic humanism. It produced a sense of belonging to a nation and to humanity as a whole, which was particularly important in the early age of empire.

Our human need to constantly reinvent tradition and investigate our genealogy led to the German fascination with Ancient Greek society; they constructed their own narrative, their own history, and their own education in line with the Ancient Greek tradition. Preserving the integrity of the person and self-reflection led to the perception of humanism among German academics as being very much about preserving the perfect world. However, at some point in the 19th and 20th century, this became far less focussed on the preservation of yourself as opposed to the preservation of humanity as a whole, and in the case of Germany and Nazism, in preserving the ‘perfect’ race.

At this juncture we can suggest that there would have been two approaches here; either to go back, and examine each person, reinforcing a philosophical, Ciceronian education so that they can react from an intellectual viewpoint to culture and influence, thus creating an intellectually sound race, or to eliminate those who they thought would threaten the ‘purity’ of such a nation. And at this point, Nazism became a dominant political ideology and felt that the destruction of perceived threats would be the most efficient way to preserve the nationalistic narrative that they had created for themselves.

It is possible to suggest then, that Humanism was corrupted by genocide in the 20th century. However now, after de-nazification, and the general rejection of Nazism as a viable political system, we can take the idea of humanism back to its roots, simultaneously confronting the tainted history it now carries (or that we can allude to it carrying) and return to the idea of the individual, a philosophical education, and perhaps most importantly of all, the independence of the mind. It is this that is perhaps the most defining feature of “pure” humanism which differs radically from that of Nazism; that humanism promotes independence of the mind. It is however this independence that leads to the politicizing of any educational ideology; it is inevitably linked to power structures because through education comes the new leaders, and therefore education cannot ever be mutually exclusive to politics.

I think I shall be spending much more time listening to radio four instead of Ed Sheeran, because I seem to like to absorb strange thoughts such as this. With thanks to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00547bk.

If anyone is wondering what to do on the long winter evenings, try listening to In Our Time on BBC Radio Four; there’s a topic I think for everyone (there’s literally hundreds!)

(:

(1) http://www.philosophybasics.com/photos/cicero.jpg

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5 thoughts on “Humanism as the Ideology Behind Nazism

  1. You mention the connection between education and politics/ political leaders.

    Here’s a fascinating video about that very subject.

    I’m not sure if the national socialist (AKA Nazi) ideology is dead at all. The main difference between the corporate fascism of the WW2 Germany and the corporate fascism we see in the ‘west’ today seems to be that in Germany the state took over the corporations. Today the corporations are taking over the state. (My brain is saying “Like, whatever….”)

    Don’t forget that the Nazi’s were funded by elite bankers such as the Rockefellers and even GW Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush. To understand why they would do this we just need to look above the school history textbook (or mass media/ Hollywood) version of history and realise that the banking and political ‘elite’ sit above nation states and have no particular allegiance to any of them. Not only do they fund and profit financially from war (from human death, let’s be honest), but they use war as a means to affect the geopolitical landscape in order to consolidate their power.

    Their motto is ‘Order out of Chaos’. They first create or manipulate the chaos into being (a war, an economic crash, a terrorist act etc) and then while the world is in disarray and the traumatised public are desperate for their leaders to “do something”, it’s much easier for them to steer society towards their desired objectives, towards their new order (towards their ‘new world order’).

    The strategy is all around us. David Icke, although much ridiculed for some of his theories, sums it up perfectly in the phrase: Problem – Reaction – Solution.

    After the elite funded WW2 was over, hundreds of Nazi mind control and rocket scientists were imported to the US, pardoned of their horrific crimes and integrated into the US military industrial complex, including universities. Many of the propulsion scientists (such as Von Braun) ended up working for NASA.

    As researchers like bestselling author and journalist Jim Marrs have pointed out, the Nazi’s didn’t really ‘lose’ WW2…. they just had to relocate to somewhere else ie America. In reality, America was hijacked by these globalist elite and their psychopathic frontmen long, long ago. The people who run America today are all CFR members (an organisation well worth researching), including Obama (not that he really runs America – he is just a wall street puppet like most presidents).

    It all makes a lot more sense once you realise their agenda for world domination actually requires an end to the ‘superpower’ (ie any nation strong enough to actually stand up to them!). IOW the very people who run America today are intent on destroying it! That is why they are happy to start war after war after war costing trillions …… or sell off all America’s industry to China ….. or destroy the constitution with the Patriot Act and NDAA….all at a time when the economy is so bad even middle class Americans are losing their homes and living in tent cities.

    While the Bush family were busy promoting flag waving patriotism in order to send young boys to war (see also: Hitler) they were busy buying up hundred thousand acre ranch in Paraguay sitting on its own aquifer, ready for when America finally collapses and/ or turns into a fully fledged police state / ‘failed state’ under martial law.

    Both Bush and Blair were found guilty of war crimes for Iraq under the Geneva Convention in a recent tribunal. And this didn’t even make the mainstream news such is the control the ‘elite’ have over the media these days (just five corporations own nearly all the main media networks in the US…. and the BBC is just as controlled).

    Preemptive wars of empire, genocide of innocent civilians, foreign threats and terrorism blown out of all proportion and used to provoke fear and xenophobia, torture, false flag attacks, FEMA concentration camps, the erosion of civil rights, outlawing of basic freedoms and the creation of surveillance society based on fear and perhaps most importantly of all: a complacent, brainwashed public who can’t see it all for what it really is ……. has anything really changed since the days of Nazi Germany?

    Have things in fact gotten worse?

    Was that OK? … I can rant for longer if you want? 😉 (well you’ve got to laugh…)

    • Thank you so much for reading, I really enjoyed reading your take on the situation! I definitely take your point about media control, and the news is something that ought to be freely shared, however in practice, it most certainly isn’t. I suppose however that complete freedom is something of an ideological supposition; it couldn’t ever exist in organised society, because fundamentally for a society to exist, it has to be organised.

      I’m definitely going to research the CFR, because I don’t know much about it at all, and I suppose it’ll prove extremely interesting.

      I think you’re right about Nazism not actually being dead. It’s more disguised, and made to look liberal, however the idea of power structures and elitism is something that pervades society. I loved your take on this, thank you very much for your input!

      Thank you for reading!

      • >>>I’ve had some problems with askimet (now solved) and I think this comment got lost or ended up in your spam folder. Anyway here it is again. Juts delete the other one in your spam if it’s there. Ta 🙂

        Hey, you’re welcome. I’m really glad you appreciated the comment (not everyone does!). And I’m honoured to have, in some small way, inspired your latest post 🙂

        A few more random thoughts RE news and media…. I think it’s easy to forget that it’s not a one way service, it’s a two-way relationship. As much as they ‘force feed us lies’, it is also true that for generations we have chosen to go to them naively expecting to be told the truth (who’s really to blame?). In the end I think it boils down to: “What on earth did we expect?”

        Expecting corporate media giants to tell us what we need to know is rather like leaving a nice juicy steak in a room with a dog and expecting it to be there when we get back. LOL

        I’m really not interested in forcing mass media to mend their ways. But I am interested in *exposing* the big corporate media machine for being biased, inaccurate, deceitful or even complicit covering up essential information, by promoting far more reputable, independent (and varied) sources.

        In the age of the internet we really don’t need giant media corporations. The fact that they lie is really not a problem as long as we have a free internet. In a sense it is almost better that they keep churning out their garbage so that people can clearly see who’s side they are really on.

        One of my favourite news sources is The Corbett Report which is basically a Canadian English teacher living in Japan making podcasts and videos in his spare time. And he literally runs rings around the billion dollar news media industry!!! (The pen is mightier than the sword indeed!)

        Lastly, I think part of the reason why the world looks so grim at the moment is that we ARE now able to bypass the mass media which until recently could control all information. Now that we can bypass this filter the rather horrific agendas that have always existed, but which we could never see before, are now being exposed for all (who can be bothered) to see.

        It often feels very demoralising – and even terrifying at times – to know what’s really going on in the world…. but it’s actually very positive for this simple reason: To expose evil is to defeat it 🙂

        BTW my own attempt at promoting good (video) journalism and documentaries etc can be found at abandonTV. The project is only about a week old. Have poke about if you want 🙂

      • I think there’s a definite balance to be found between extremism and discovering the agendas behind different organisations, but it certainly provides a different perspective on the situation! Thank you for providing your thoughts, it’s interesting stuff!

        Sarah Alice (:

  2. Pingback: War Crimes Convictions? But Katie Price Just Had Her Nose Done… « The Adventures of an English Student

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