Thus, German idealism cannot be a simple, neutral codification but is an active participant in the reality in which it codifies and, by doing so, alters it. Bourgeois Capitalism would be impossible without Liberalism, even though Liberalism is an ideological reflection of the realities of Capitalism (then, the development of liberal discourse gave rise to the moral legitimation of a welfare state and other institution which were necessary for the survival of bourgeois capitalism). Similarly, a fascist state in which individuals are subjected in totality to the state would be impossible without an ideological discourse that makes this process seem not only morally good but natural. Hegel's idea of historical progression makes the subjection to the state synonymous with the natural realization of reason. Subjection to the state, then, is not only rational but the end-state of history. It is both good and natural/inevitable.
To think otherwise would be a retreat into vulgar materialism and determinism.
I agree...to an extent. I agree indeed 1) that German idealism cannot be a neutral
codification. Rather it is a biased
codification towards particular interests within culture. I also agree 2) that philosophy, in particular German idealism, is an active participant upon the socio-economic reality, just as all cultural production is
; philosophy is simply a particular kind of discourse that garners a particular kind of legitimation towards a particular audience, but it alone is not carrying the weight of cultural production--not even close. The discourse that legitimizes the state is not just philosophical discourse, but religious discourse and, what is often overlooked, the discourse of popular culture. In all these places there is also space for critical reflection and digression from the dominant point of view. 3) I agree that economic determinism is both crass and vulgar, but this does not change that fact that philosophy is usually along the coat-tails of a historical situation. In other words, philosophy is not the sole producer of culture and neither is it the slave to mere economic reality. Philosophy is, as I mentioned above, a particular kind of discourse for a particular audience--and part of the built in asssumption of philosophical discourse is its assumed universal importance. It is this built in assumption that often causes philosophy to obscure political reality and the mult-faceted causes of certain historical conditions and events--such as German Nazism. If philosophy has anything to do with German anti-semitism, then I think the more intersting, and perhaps more important question is not whether philosophy caused this; but what were the conditions that made philosophy so conducive, attractive, and complicit to anti-semitism?
Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs 'pass,' so long as nothing challenges them, just as banknotes pass so long as nobody refuses them.