I commend to our readers David Bentley Hart’s article, A Philosopher in the Twilight, in the February 2011 First Things. Dr. Hart muses over Martin Heidegger’s late philosophy, especially his views regarding the connection between the Western intellectual tradition and nihilism.
I admire and respect Dr. Hart greatly. His new articles is, as usual, full of thought provoking insights displaying his all-too-rare combination of deep learning, wisdom and the ability to write engaging prose. The following passage from the article is puzzling to me though:
It simply cannot be denied that the horrors of the last century were both conceptually and historically inseparable from some of the deepest principles of modernity’s founding ideologies. The ‘final solution’ was a kind of consummation of all the evils of European history, perhaps, but it was possible as a conscious project only in an age in which humanity itself had first been reduced to a technology (the technology of race).
Dr. Hart’s statement is exactly correct. That is not the puzzling part. The puzzling part is that Dr. Hart seems unwilling to take his conclusion the next logical step. The Nazi’s reduction of humanity to technology would have been quite impossible apart from Darwinism, which, based on other articles I have read, Hart appears to accept without reservation (at least in its TE form).