Published on February 23rd, 2013 | by msalt


Can There Be Such a Thing as a Nazi Dao?

Back in October, Donald Sturgeon posted a provocative essay to Warp, Weft and Way, a top-notch academic blog of Eastern philosophy. A Daoist — specifically someone who follows Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) — rejects convention as a basis for morality, and has a radically relativistic point of view, accepting that Confucians and Hindus might have their own different Dao that they follow. So Sturgeon asked, is there any consistent way that the Daoist could reject or criticize one that’s more offensive, such as a Nazi Dao?

Today, I added a sizeable response at Warp, Weft and Way that reframed the question: Can there even be such a thing as a Nazi Dao? There are a lot of complicated facets that I address there, but here’s my conclusion stated simply: there are more effective and less effective techniques that a Nazi could use to pursue their goals, and you could describe the more effective methods as a sort of Nazi Dao.

But Daoism focuses on process, how your actions and goals affect your ability to function. And both the goals and techniques of a Nazi Dao would be so destructive to you that any successes would be short-lived, and sew the seeds of your inevitable defeat. In fact, this is essentially what happened in World War II with the real Nazis.

It’s a fascinating and complicated topic; I’d love to see your perspective either here, in the comments below, or over at Warp, Weft and Way.

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About the Author

Mark Saltveit is a writer, standup comedian, skimboarder and dad based in Middlebury, Vermont. His improv show "Palindrome Fight!" will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Aug. 5-29th 2022 at the Kilderkin Pub, 67 Canongate, at 7:30pm each night except Tuesdays.

One Response to Can There Be Such a Thing as a Nazi Dao?

  1. Pingback: Taoish | Spiritual but not pretentious

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