A debate has resurfaced recently over the philosopher Martin Heidegger, who was as much a Hitler-loving Nazi as he was (and still is) an influential 20th-century thinker. Some pointed salvos have been fired by those who consider that an issue: -source And some Heidegger fans (or admirers of some his work, rather...) have fired back: -source But I don't know much about Heidegger either way, having never read him, or much about his philosophy (beyond that I should read him to get a better grasp on Sartre, who I am somewhat interested in). What I really want to discuss is the extent to which we can separate a man's character and politics from his writing. Should the fact Heidegger was a Nazi deter us from reading his work, or lead us to take it with a grain of salt? Should we be concerned it might turn people into Nazis? I mean, Heidegger sounds like a neo-Luddite to me, and I have nothing good to say about them (Nazi or no); and am inclined to think anti-progressive modes of thought like that are part-an-parcel to a Nazi ideology. What was their ideology about, with its militarism and radical notions of cultural purity, beyond a move towards a mindlessly self-perpetuating Volk? But I also have to take issue with the scathing attacks on Heidegger's work on the grounds of his being a Nazi, as opposed to the content per se. That seems weak, and if his philosophy was garbage, it should be easy enough to attack it without resorting to ad hominems. Maybe it will turn folks towards a Nazi ideology--though many have read it and liked it and walked away thinking the opposite of the Nazis--but it is mere laziness on our part to dissuade thought and study, in order to prevent people from being exposed to dangerous ideas (and ideas are probably the most dangerous things of all), as opposed to encouraging it by challenging those ideas. Should people read Heidegger? People should probably read Mein Kamph.