Until the Unite the Right rally and deadly riot in Charlottesville in 2017 and then the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, American society, media, and politics had not taken the so-called “alt-right” particularly seriously, and even now, it has barely begun to do so. American academia, and particularly philosophy, has devoted scant attention to the intellectual roots and ideological ecosystems of the alt-right, perhaps mistakenly judging it an entirely anti-intellectual movement. In this talk, I will do four things: First, I will provide a rough taxonomy of the alt-right and its global filiations, which I call the white nationalist international. Second, I will examine some of the main ideas, rhetorical strategies, and networks of alt-right thought leaders in the US and abroad. Third, I will examine what it is about Heidegger’s thought that has led intellectual leaders of the white nationalist international to embrace and deploy Heidegger as a key philosophical touchstone for the movement. Fourth, I will discuss the distinction between ideology and philosophy and reflect on what responsibilities teachers of philosophy bear in addressing the upsurge of white nationalism in American politics, as well as what responsibilities we bear to students in our classrooms, both those who may be susceptible to white nationalism and the alt-right, and those who are the targets of white nationalist, alt-right, and neo-fascist politics.
See Gregory Fried’s report here:
Gregory Fried is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Boston University, and California State University LA, and Suffolk University. His research focuses on defending the liberal-democratic tradition against its critics, most particularly Martin Heidegger. Fried is also Director of The Mirror of Race Project (mirrorofrace.org) exploring the meaning of race in America’s history. He is the author of Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics. Together with his father, Charles Fried, he is the author of Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror. His most recent book is Towards a Polemical Ethics: Between Heidegger and Plato.