Georg Lukács on Irrationalism & Nazism:
The Unity of Cynicism & Credulity

Just as Hitler came to political and military grief not through individual—and hence avoidable—errors of judgement, so irrationalism as a world-outlook received a corresponding practical form in Hitlerism, and it perished in a similarly appropriate form. In revealing the nihilistic cynicism of Hitler and his henchmen and in showing that they did not themselves believe in the doctrine they demagogically proclaimed—thereby translating it into practice—, our studies do not refute these facts of the matter; on the contrary they confirm them. For it is just here that we find the perfect expression of that dialectical unity of cynical nihilism and speculative, uncritical credulity and frivolous superstition which every irrationalism contains implicitly and which simply acquired a matching figure in Hitler. We underestimate the historical significance of the German destiny (embracing that of the destiny of irrational philosophy) if, in assessing Hitler, we put the accent solely on his low intellectual and moral standards. In itself, to be sure, such an assessment is correct. But it was again historical necessity which caused the lowering of standards. It is a steep descent from Schelling and Schopenhauer—via Nietzsche, Dilthey, Spengler, etc.—to Hitler and Rosenberg. But in its very steepness, it sufficiently expresses the character of irrationalism and the necessity of its development.

SOURCE: Lukács, Georg. The Destruction of Reason, translated by Peter Palmer (London: The Merlin Press, 1980), pp. 751-752.

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