About the author: Jules Steinberg is a Professor of Political Science at Denison University. He received his PhD from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is the author of two previous books, Locke, Rousseau and the Idea of Consent and The Obsession of Thomas Hobbes.
2000 0-7734-7760-8 The unique contribution of this study consists in the discovery and presentation of concrete textual evidence of a major shift in Arendt’s political thinking between 1951 and 1958, textual material that has been ignored by all Arendt scholars, because it presents Arendt endorsing a radically inegalitarian and anti-democratic doctrine called “the rule of masters,” which Arendt discovered in “ancient political theory.” On the basis of this evidence, the book explains why Arendt’s The Human Condition rehabilitates the pattern of antiliberal and antidemocratic thinking that formed one of the major ideological premises of fascist political thinking. It demonstrates comprehensively that Arendtian antiliberalism shares a great deal in common with the right-wing German tradition of “antisemitic antiliberalism” that arose in the immediate aftermath of 1789 and 1806, where modern liberalism was ridiculed and rejected as Jewish “slave morals” The study contends that the key to deciphering Arendt’s Holocaust scholarship lies in the recognition that scholars are wrong to portray Arendt’s thinking as highly original, and that the most conspicuous feature of Arendt’s thinking is its systematic lack of originality. This leads to the central claim that we can understand the Nazi hatred of the Jews and the ensuing mass murder by reading Arendt’s accounts of these matters in order to figure out how and why she got these matters wrong, even though we find evidence of the truth in her own writings, which Arendt suppresses dishonestly in order to reconcile her interpretation of Nazism with her own defense of a right-wing Nietzschean-Heideggerian pattern of antiliberalism, of the precise kind endorsed as the central premise of Nazi ideology.