Some historians have spoken of Hegel's influence as represented by two opposing camps. The Right Hegelians, the allegedly direct disciples of Hegel at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, advocated a Protestant orthodoxy and the political conservatism of the post-Napoleon Restoration period. The Left Hegelians, also known as the Young Hegelians, interpreted Hegel in a revolutionary sense, leading to an advocation of atheism in religion and liberal democracy in politics.
The article implies that there is distinct left / right split in the Hegelian tradition. I believe that this split was influential in the left / right split that came to dominates American politics.
Aspects of American Conservatism seem to come from Hegel.
The first American Conservatives were the Tories who supported the English crown in the revolution.
An odd historical fact is that King George III was of the House of Hanover. The Kingdom of Hanover was in the general area of the modern German State of Saxony (Saxony as in Anglo-Saxon).
Wikipedia says the Hanoverian dynasty in England ran from 1714 to 1901. Interestingly, King George I (1660-1727) was established as King of England because Queen Anne's direct relatives were Catholic.
King George II founded the Georg-August-Universität in Gottingen in 1737. This royal charter university sported professors from Gauss to Hilbert and was the center of the German Romantic movement producing writers like the Bothers Grimm. During the 18th century,
During the American Revolution, conscripted Hessian soldiers fought for the British. Hesse is just south of Hanover. Germans and English were later allies in the Napoleonic Wars.
There was an immediate and direct connection between English royalty and the German intellectual community.
The monarchy was in chaos after the American and French Revolutions. I contend that, during the tumultuous period, the intellectuals in both England and Germany were spinning in circles trying to figure out how to reframe the arguments of the monarchy and the power structure (including the universities) that surrounded the monarchy.
Enter Hegel. Hegel was a master of philosophy, he knew how to spin a philosophy to the interest of his patrons.
He would draw on philosophers from Plato, Machiavelli, Kant and more to spin a philosophy that would justify the actions and desires of his patrons.
Hegel miraculously created a new philosophy of history (and of logic) that was sympathetic to the royalist cause.
For example, the during the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers fought for liberty which they saw as self-rule. To the founders, kingdom meant rule by a king. Freedom meant self rule.
Hegel spent a great deal of time redefining freedom. Hegel studied the master/slave relation and came up with all sorts of arguments to claim that freedom was slavery and slavery freedom.
The modern definition of "liberalism" clearly comes from Hegel and not from the US Founders.
Hegel's philosophy of history was a foolish thing claiming that the world spirit evolved through thesis/antithesis conflicts on the world stage. The American Revolution was just a hissy-fit and the people would soon come back to a centralized totalitarian state.
Hegel's logic was this foolishness where you would hold paradoxes at the foundation of reason and conflicts at the surface.
The cause of freedom is rife with paradox. Does a free person have the ability to deny freedom to another?
The founders believed in freedom of religion. But what happens if a religion demands political domination as a tenet of its faith?
The original Hegelian right favored radicalized religions that pushed paradoxical definitions of freedom and demanded individual subservience to the collective.
Hegel lived in a day when the monarchy was in crisis and spoke words that was immensely popular to the halls of power and to the reactionary forces that opposed the American and French Revolution.
Oddly Hegel was called an idealist, when in actuality, Hegel adored Napoleon and echoed Napoleon's hatred of ideology.
THE KINGS OF ENGLAND WERE GERMAN! The rise of Hegelian (modern) dialectics was not something taking place in a remote and foreign land. This stuff was direct and immediate.
Back in the states, we find that the founders were dealing with an ugly issue. They had inherited slavery from colonial days. Many founders had borrowed against their slaves, and people were looking for ways to justify the continuation of slavery.
The newly formed states were eager to import new ideas from Europe and the newly formed United States was fertile grounds for Hegelian dialectics in the early 1800s.
The tell-tale signs of Hegelianism is a belief that history progresses through conflict. Adherents to this position love to produce fantastical histories with great conflicts centered on thesis/anti-thesis. Early Hegelians favored radicalized religion and were prone to produce mythologies blatantly false claims such as the claim that Blacks were the descendants of Cain (thus deserving slavery) or that the American Indians were a lost tribe of Israel.
The final tell-tale sign of Hegelianism is a paradoxical redefinition of freedom.
The Hegelian Right came first. The generation after Hegel produced a number of people called "Young Hegelians" which defined the Hegelian Left. This group includes folks like Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) and later Karl Marx (1818-1883).
The Hegelian Right used radicalized religion. Feuerbach created a radicalized anti-religion. Marx used oppositional dialectics to create a fantasy history in which history evolved through class conflict. In Marxian dialectics, the intelligentsia would unite with the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie and bring about a new stage of evolution called Communism.
In this Hegelian tradition, there is a very ugly Left/Right split with both sides being power mongering rogues.
Hitler typifies the Hegelian Right, Stalin typifies the Hegelian Left.
I should point out that there is also a dialectical center. The dialectical center claims that they are the fair and balanced center between clowns on the left and jokers on the right.
The Left/Right split that dominates political discourse did not come from the Founding Fathers. The left/right split appeared in the early 1800s.
The split appears to have come from the French Revolution. The logic of the partisan split appears to fall along the Hegelian Left/Right split. The Hegelian split uses ugly thought processes based on paradoxical thinking with conflict on the surface.
The Hegelian Right came before the Hegelian Left. Both lead to bad ends.
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