It took centuries and a brain-stopping chain of falsehoods to bring a whole
people to the state of Hitler-worship. Modern German culture, including its
Nazi climax, is the result of a complex development in the history of
philosophy, involving dozens of figures stretching back to the beginnings of
Western thought. The same figures helped to shape every Western nation; but in
other countries, to varying extents, the results were mixed, because there was
also an opposite influence or antidote at work. In Germany, by the turn of our
century, the cultural atmosphere was unmixed; the traces of the antidote had
long since disappeared, and the intellectual establishment was monolithic.
If we view the West’s philosophic development in terms of essentials, three
fateful turning points stand out, three major philosophers who, above all
others, are responsible for generating the disease of collectivism and
transmitting it to the dictators of our century.
The three are: Plato—Kant—Hegel. (The antidote to them is: Aristotle.)