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Johan Herman Carp

Johan Herman Carp

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03/18/2011

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How a Leading Dutch Spinozist became a Nazi:Some Notes on Dr. Johan Herman Carp (1893-1979)
André MommenSynopsis
Congrès Marx International VI : Crises, révoltes, utopies
Université de Paris-Ouest-Nanterre
-
La Défense
200 avenue de la République, Nanterre
 )
22 au 25
SEPTEMBRE 2010
 
1.
Starting point: a confrontation between two theses
1.Zeev Sternhell’s thesis of “Ni droite ni gauche” and the origins of the revolutionaryright superseding the cleavage between the Right and the Left in the 1920s and 1930s;2.Georg Lukács irrationalism thesis in his
 Die Zerstörung der Vernunft 
.The crisis of Dutch philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s reflected a profound political,economic and ideological crisis shaking the Dutch power structures after the decline of  protestant Liberalism, the rise of confessional Parties with the introduction of the popular vote.. The Russian Revolution played the role of catalyser in this process ultimately leading tothe founding of the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (NSB) in December 1931 absorbingmost “revolutionaries of the right” and conservatives looking for an authoritarian“alternative”.One can Johan H. Carp consider as a typical representative of a “politicising” philosopher andlawyer finding his way to the revolutionary Right.By 1921, he obtained at Leyden University his Ph.D. on a study on the Bolshevist phenomenon at the very moment he became an important figure in the world of “organisedinternational Spinozism”. He was, however, a law philosopher acquainted with German philosophy Windelband (and philosophy of law - Hans Kelsen).His basic idea about society was the (re)establishment of the supremacy “law sovereignty” hehad adopted from Prof. Krabbe of Leyden (J.H. Carp, “Krabbe’s leer der rechtssouvereiniteit”, in
 Nederlandsch Juristenblad 
, vol. 11, 1936, pp. 157-160).2.
Career
Dutch higher civil servant at the Province House of South-Holland in The Hague, lawyer (Leyden University), public law specialist, academic anti-communist (Ph.D.).Member of the NSB in June 1940 (No. 106.964).Member of the Political Bureau of NSB; 1941 head of the Section Public Affairs of NSB;Supervisor of the Association of Dutch Cities; President of the Exception Court, etc.Married Anton Mussert’s friend Maria Kerkhoven.1939 member of the editorial board of 
 De Waag 
(fascist periodical).After Liberation in 1945: convicted because of high treason (12 years).3.
Spinozist or opportunist?
Member of the editorial board of 
Chronicon Spinozanum
, yearbook of the international
Societas Spinozana
(1921-1927) in which he published his considerations on Spinoza articles.On 21 February 1927: an international commemoration of Spinoza’s death was organized bythe Societas Spinozana in The Hague, etc. Carp’s keynote speech was about “Essence and
 
value of Spinozism”. However, a competing ceremony was organised at the CommunistAcademy in Moscow. Keynote speakers were A. Deborin and A. Thalheimer (Thalheimer and Deborin:
Spinozas Stellung in der Vorgeschichte des dialektischen Materialismus. Redenund Aufsätze zuer Wiederkehr seines 250. Todestages, mit einem Vowort von Hermann Duncker 
, Wien-Berlin: Verlag für Literatur und Politik, 1928).In 1933: a Dutch section of the international Societas Spinozana was founded: Carp becameits first president. His competitor was the much older theologian and people’s educator J. D.Bierens de Haan with whom (and with C. Roelofsz, H.S. Frenkel and H. F. Torringa) he usedto organize lectures on Spinozism. From 1938 until summer 1940, publication of 
Spinozistisch Bulletin
was realised with some difficulties.In the 1930s Carp would become a prolific Spinoza commentator and propagandist.Meanwhile, Carp did not publish on “law philosophy”.His main publications on Spinoza are:“Naturrecht und Pflichtbegriff nach Spinoza”,
Chronicon Spinozarum
, vol. 1, 1921, pp. 81-90.“Spinoza and Marx”,
 De Tijdspiegel 
, 1921, II, pp. 662-665.“Psychologischebeschouwingen in verband met het wezen van het spinozisme”,
Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte
, 1922, no. 1, pp. 280-301.“Über das Emotionale und Rationale im Spinozismus”,
Chronicon Spinozarum
, vol. 2, 1922, pp. 131-137.“Der Gemeinschaftsgedanke im Spinozismus”,
Chronicon Spinozarum
, vol. 3, 1923, pp. 196-203.“Belgium. Wezen en waarde van het Spinozisme”,
Chronicon Spinozarum
, vol. 5, 1927, pp.3-13.“Die metaphysische Grundlage der spinozanischen Politik”,
Chronicon Spinozarum
, vol. 4,1924-25-26, pp. 68-78.
 Het Spinozisme als wereldbeschouwing: inleiding tot de leer van Benedictus de Spinoz 
a,Arnhem: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1931.With J. D. Bierens De Haan, Leo Polak, J.J. von Schmid and H. W. van der Vaart Smit:
Spinoza, gezamenlijke redevoeringen gehouden bij de Spinoza-herdenking door de Afdeeling- Nederland van de Kant-Gesellschaft op donderdag 29 december 1932 te Amsterdam in de Agnieten-Kapel (Athenaeum-Illustre)
, Haarlem: De Erven F. Bohn, 1933.
God-Wereld-Leven. Gedachten van Benedictus de Spinoza
, The Hague: SocietasSpinozana/Albani, 1935 (with J.D. Bierens de Haan).“Spinozistische en Hegelsche beschouwingswijze”, in
 Feestbundel aangeboden aan Dr. J. D. Bierens de Haan door vrienden, vereerders en leerlingen ter gelegenheid van zijn 70sten

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