Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and demise of the Soviet Union, prominent Western thinkers began to suggest that liberal democracy had triumphed decisively on the world stage. Having banished fascism in World War II, liberalism had now buried communism, and the result would be an end of major ideological conflicts, as liberal norms and institutions spread to every corner of the globe. With the Brexit vote in Great Britain, the resurgence of right-wing populist parties across the European continent, and the surprising ascent of Donald Trump to the American presidency, such hopes have begun to seem hopelessly naïve. The far right is back, and serious rethinking is in order.
In Dangerous Minds, Ronald Beiner traces the deepest philosophical roots of such right-wing ideologues as Richard Spencer, Aleksandr Dugin, and Steve Bannon to the writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger - and specifically to the aspects of their thought that express revulsion for the liberal-democratic view of life. Beiner contends that Nietzsche's hatred and critique of bourgeois, egalitarian societies has engendered new disciples on the populist right who threaten to overturn the modern liberal consensus.
The book is published by University of Pennsylvania Press.
"Staggeringly impressive and deeply needed...elegantly structured and beautifully written. It will be widely read and debated in this frightening age of fascist resurgence." (John P. McCormick, University of Chicago)
"This is a great book. If it proves anything, it's that ideas have consequences, often profound and dangerous ones." (Steven Smith, Yale University)