[Guest poster and friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit, posts an extended response to Donald Sturgeon’s “Daoist Nazi Problem” below.]
Can There Be a Nazi Dao?
By Mark Saltveit
Of all the religious philosophies, Daoism is the one most concerned with practical, daily life. Seeking and practicing the pure, perfect way to do something is itself a spiritual practice, a small Dao that may lead you to the Big Dao. That’s why there are so many books with titles like “The Tao of Tool Crafting” and “The Tao of Large Animal Husbandry.”
Last October, Donald Sturgeon wrote a piece on Warp Weft and Way that raises a fascinating question: does every task, no matter how “wrong” or unDaoish, have its own Dao? Specifically, can there be such a thing as “The Dao of Nazism”?
This is one of the few topics I have some actual academic knowledge about. I studied the Nazis for a while as an undergraduate, in my multidisciplinary social science major at Harvard. (After a year, it got too grim, and I changed my focus to a much cheerier topic – the Vietnam War.)
I think the short story is that, if you choose to pursue Nazism, there are some less effective and more effective ways to pursue it; the more effective ways might be considered a sort of Dao of Nazism. However, both the goals of Nazism and the techniques you would use to pursue it inevitably corrode your ability to act in Dao, so it would prove quickly self-defeating. Continue reading “Daoist Nazi Problem – a response”