Parkhomenko R.N. Between Freedom and Conservatism: Features of Development of Liberal Philosophical Thought in Germany (19th-20th Centuries)


Roman Nikolaevich Parkhomenko

Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies,

Moscow State University of Railway Engineering (MIIT)

Obraztsova St., 9/9, 127994 Moscow, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article analyzes the development of liberal ideas in Germany, which was heavily influenced by German conservative thought and a “conservative revolution” in particular, which united O. Spengler, E. Junger, F. Junger, C. Schmitt, M. Heidegger, W. Sombart, H. Freyer, A. Moeller van der Bruck, O. Spann, E. Nikisch. Common to all the ideas of these thinkers was the rejection of the Treaty of Versailles and the Weimar Republic, the criticism of parliamentary democracy, as well as basic settings of liberalism ideology. Conservative thinkers in Germany emphasized the need for the connection of conservatism and socialism in order to oppose the idea of liberalism to its Anglo-American model. At the beginning of the 20th century German “culture” and the Anglo-French “civilization” are often seen as polar opposites – Germany as a country of high spiritual culture opposed to mercenary spirit of “the West” – the so-called “British spirit.” In Germany the utilitarianism is replaced by the power of spirit, duty, devotion and heroism. Special development of these ideas is present in the works by M. Scheler, W. Sombart and T. Mann. Therefore, if today you try to make sense of the fate of liberalism in Germany, it is not difficult to note that liberalism has long been very unpopular and even “hated” ideology in political circles. This fact, in turn, led to the fact that in the first half of the 20th century in Germany the ideas of liberalism did not have much success and had not received proper development. For completeness, the author relates the German liberal tradition with the Russian liberal tradition, in order to identify similarities and differences in the understanding of the idea of freedom in both countries.

Key words: freedom, conservatism, liberalism, Germany, philosophy, conservative revolution, nation.

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Between Freedom and Conservatism: Features of Development of Liberal Philosophical Thought in Germany (19th-20th Centuries) by Parkhomenko R.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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