The legacy of Heidegger's membership in the Nazi party has consumed almost every aspect of continental philosophical thought and is in many ways "the" philosophical question of the twentieth century. Yet many recent books have placed Heidegger the National Socialist before Heidegger the Philosopher. "Heidegger and the Political" is a balanced yet incisive account of why Heidegger saw in national socialism the possibility of reawakening Germany to its lost essence, and how this resulted in a catastrophic "failure of thinking."
In an intelligent and nuanced rethinking of the Heidegger "affair," Miguel de Beistegui argues that it is Heidegger's philosophy that provides clues to his political activism. If we are to understand the absence of a systematic political philosophy in Heidegger, we must trace the thinking in his major philosophical work, "Being and Time" and his later writings on technology and global nihilism before we can reveal the roots of his political involvement.
Even if it was for a short time, the question remains, however, why Heidegger embraced Nazism so enthusiastically. de Beistegui asserts Heidegger's involvement was subordinated to a philosophical enterprise at retrieving power from the beginning. The revolution was to revive the origin, and politics was to become archaic; though this does not excuse Heidegger's commitment, it questions what in his thought allowed for the failure to see reality.
It is precisely Heidegger's failure of thinking that constitutes one of the most decisive philosophical events of this century.