Gerhart Niemeyer: His Principles of Conservatism (Reconsideration)
Modern Age 2007, Summer, 49, 3
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IN THIS YEAR marking the hundredth anniversary of his birth, it is appropriate to reconsider the contributions of Gerhart Niemeyer (1907-1997) to political theory in general and the American conservative movement in particular, and it is especially appropriate to offer it in one of Professor Niemeyer's favorite and favored journals. Indeed, it has seemed to this writer that over the past few decades nothing has demanded the attention of thoughtful and intelligent students of politics, culture, and religion so much as an initial consideration of Niemeyer's work. His name should be included in any college course reading list that includes writings by Oakeshott, Berlin, Hayek, or Rawls. Apart from the general academic aversion to conservative scholars, one reason for this neglect is the difficulty of selecting representative readings. Niemeyer, like Eric Voegelin, did not write a particular monograph or essay that could be characterized as "Gerhart Niemeyer's political philosophy" or his "theory of politics." As he wrote in an article assessing the last volume of Voegelin's Order and History, "Ask not, 'what is Voegelin's philosophy?,' meaning, 'what is Voegelin's political system?' [Philosophers'] 'systems' in modern times have been one of the chief causes of man's loss of reality, as bodies of abstract propositions were mistaken for reality itself." (1) Niemeyer's 1971 book, Between Nothingness and Paradise, out of print for many years before it was reissued by St. Augustine's Press in 1997, comprises a searching analysis of the foundations and consequences of the Marxist ideology and "a first move" in the direction of the "philosophy of limits" suggested by Albert Camus in The Rebel, and it indicates the direction in which Niemeyer's subsequent work proceeds. But if Between Nothingness and Paradise constituted his first step toward a comprehensive philosophy, never did he construct or attempt to construct a philosophic system.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: 22 June 2007
- Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute Inc.
- Print Length: 28 Pages
- Language: English