Andrew Sullivan calls Hegel “one of the great liberals” (as in classical liberal) today. This is Hegel he’s talking about, theorist of the apotheosis of the State, official Prussian court philosopher and lickspittle to Friedrich Wilhelm III. Hegel, who proved, philosophically, that there was no planet between Mars and Jupiter, that magnetizing iron increases its weight, and that Newton’s theories of gravity and inertia contradict each other. What is Sullivan thinking? But he does provide me with an excuse to quote a mighty stream of invective from Schopenhauer, who knew Hegel personally, which no blogger can match:
Hegel, installed from above by the powers that be, as the certified Great Philosopher, was a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense. This nonsense has been noisily proclaimed as immortal wisdom by mercenary followers and readily accepted as such by all fools, who thus joined into a as perfect a chorus of admiration as had ever been heard before. The extensive field of spiritual influence with which Hegel was furnished by those in power has enabled him to achieve the intellectual corruption of a whole generation.
(Thanks to Karl Popper’s The Open Society for the material.)
(Update: Arthur Silber comments.)
(Another: Eddie Thomas, mirabile dictu, defends Hegel.)