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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5356/gottfried-dietze-rip/

Gottfried Dietze, RIP

July 21, 2006 by

(This obituary was sent to Mises.org by Sergio Noto, Dipartimento di economie, società istituzioni, Verona, Italy)

Professor Gottfried Dietze, one of the most important scholars of liberal political thoughtm died at the age of 85 in Washington two weeks ago.

Dietze was Prussian through and through and had been both a student and friend of Carl Schmitt, he had studied with Max Weber’s brother in Heidelberg and earned his Ph. D. from Princeton. He was author of the acclaimed The Federalist and In Defence of Property. He was a personal friend of Hayek and was one of the first members of Hayek’s liberal Mount Pelerin Society.

Dietze was a Wehrmacht soldier and friend of Otto Skorzeny and it was probably these reasons that allowed him to emigrate to the USA. After the end of the Second World War, Dietze taught at John Hopkins University in Baltimore where he was Director of the Political Science Department during the years of the students’ rights movement; at this point his popularity was at an all-time low and he could have returned to Berlin.

He was a friend of the powerful but completely indifferent to power. A friend of the current Pope, (who at that time was a professor), Dietze was President Nixon’s advisor. Gottfried Dietze was a pure intellectual whose academic life followed the principles of his beloved Immanuel Kant, “… the starry heavens above me and moral law within me…”. Perhaps this is the reason why he faced so much hostility at his university and why he died alone only to be found days later. There was no funeral for Professor Dietze, no commemoration yet we wish to pay our respects to this great man and trust him into the hands of the God of Scholars.

Adieu Gottfried.

{ 13 comments }

Dennis Sperduto July 21, 2006 at 5:42 pm

Please excuse my lack of knowledge, but can someone explain what it means to say that an individual was “a Prussian through and through”. In more instances than not, when the term Prussian is used to describe someone’s nationality, it is not meant in a complimentary manner, although that is obviously not the case here.

George Smith July 21, 2006 at 7:36 pm

According to Wikipedia: “Even today, a certain kind of ethic is called “Prussian virtues”, for instance: perfect organization, sacrifice, rule of law, obedience to authority and militarism, but also reliability, thriftiness, modesty, and diligence. Many Prussians believed that these virtues were part of the reasons for the rise of their country.”

I’d like to know more about “the God of Scholars.”

In any event, rest in peace Dr. Dietze.

eugenio furio July 22, 2006 at 1:42 am

Dietze was a good friend of both Hayek and Mises. after Mises passed away, his wife invited Machlup and Dietze to go through the many paper her husband had left behind.
the question about the God of the In tellectuals.
but i have a different one: Dietze had close ties with Hayek, Mises, Leoni, Machlup, he knew Kirtzner and so on. Some of his work (the federalist, in defence of property, two concepts of the rule of law) are relevant for any well-read “Austrian”, yet i somehow have the impression that even the Austrian neglected Dietze. why?

sergio noto July 22, 2006 at 2:10 am

God of Scholars?

It is just a hope. A rhetoric hope that also scholars, somehow, somewhere, could get what they worked for.

Dennis Sperduto July 22, 2006 at 7:01 am

George, thank you for the response.

jeffrey July 22, 2006 at 8:19 pm

Mises.org would welcome a more extensive essay on his work. The poster might be correct that he has been unfairly neglected.

jeffrey July 22, 2006 at 9:09 pm
Tom DiLorenzo July 23, 2006 at 11:11 am

Dietze’s greatest work, in my opinion, was his book “America’s Political Tradition: From Limited to Unlimited Government.” It is a refreshingly factual work of political philosophy written from the perspective of a man who was never brow beaten with political correctness by American academe as a graduate student or junior faculty member. He does not glorify “the Union” and its military adventures, like most others, but tells it like it is. He sees the American “Civil War” as the breaking point, after which economic intervention ran rampant at an ever-increasing pace. He understood federalism and divided sovereignty as Jefferson did, and understood the dangers of centralization, as all classical liberals did, but as many modern “libertarians” do not, having given in to political correctness and careerism. This book would be a good complement to Felix Morley’s Freedom and Federalism.

lee swift October 6, 2006 at 9:45 pm

I was a student to Dr Dietze 50 years ago at Hopkins.

We stayed in touch through the years – our last meeting was lunch at Brookings in March 2006 – where he was pleased to show me a note from the current pope on papal stationery – he stated that their correspondence began after he read one of Rathzinger’s books and “found it very well reasoned,” wrote Rathzinger so stating, and sent along one of his “31″ books. Thereafter they exchanged each book either wrote.

After many years he insisted that I begin calling him Gottfried.

Many of our meetings were at noon on Sunday in the underground cafeteria of the National Gallery of Art: “the food is good, the waterfall restfull, and many pretty ladies pass by”

On Sunday my young daughter was with me. When we prepared to leave so she could ride the merry-go-round on the Mall, Gottfried wanted to join us – he said watching children play on it reminded him of his youth in Silesia.

When I turned down UVA Law and chose to return to Texas he was distraught.

The next Christmas we lunched at Hopkins. He asked how I liked Texas. I told him it was home. He said “I once knew a Texan.” I asked him “Who” He said “Amon Carter, Jr.” (at that time the most powerful man in Fort Worth) I asked how he met Mr. Carter. His reply: I was in guard in a POW camp!

Years later I confirmed this with Mr. Carter – he said they had met twice since WWII.

He joined with Milton Friedman in advising the Pinochet regime.

He had a decades-long friendship with the Hapsburg Pretender, as well as Wagner’s widow.

He loved, inter alia, opera.

When he died he was the senior (in years of service) faculty member at Hopkins.

His politics were anachronistic, not “correct,” but valuable.

When I studied under him he was on a faculty that offered students every extreme of political thought (e.g.: a communist run out of State, Ike’s speech writer, and a German soldier). A Jesuit Seminary sent its students to our seminars. We were challenged to find our way.

Today there is no room for thinking, just “learning.”

lee swift October 6, 2006 at 9:45 pm

I was a student to Dr Dietze 50 years ago at Hopkins.

We stayed in touch through the years – our last meeting was lunch at Brookings in March 2006 – where he was pleased to show me a note from the current pope on papal stationery – he stated that their correspondence began after he read one of Rathzinger’s books and “found it very well reasoned,” wrote Rathzinger so stating, and sent along one of his “31″ books. Thereafter they exchanged each book either wrote.

After many years he insisted that I begin calling him Gottfried.

Many of our meetings were at noon on Sunday in the underground cafeteria of the National Gallery of Art: “the food is good, the waterfall restfull, and many pretty ladies pass by”

On Sunday my young daughter was with me. When we prepared to leave so she could ride the merry-go-round on the Mall, Gottfried wanted to join us – he said watching children play on it reminded him of his youth in Silesia.

When I turned down UVA Law and chose to return to Texas he was distraught.

The next Christmas we lunched at Hopkins. He asked how I liked Texas. I told him it was home. He said “I once knew a Texan.” I asked him “Who” He said “Amon Carter, Jr.” (at that time the most powerful man in Fort Worth) I asked how he met Mr. Carter. His reply: I was in guard in a POW camp!

Years later I confirmed this with Mr. Carter – he said they had met twice since WWII.

He joined with Milton Friedman in advising the Pinochet regime.

He had a decades-long friendship with the Hapsburg Pretender, as well as Wagner’s widow.

He loved, inter alia, opera.

When he died he was the senior (in years of service) faculty member at Hopkins.

His politics were anachronistic, not “correct,” but valuable.

When I studied under him he was on a faculty that offered students every extreme of political thought (e.g.: a communist run out of State, Ike’s speech writer, and a German soldier). A Jesuit Seminary sent its students to our seminars. We were challenged to find our way.

Today there is no room for thinking, just “learning.”

Chris Wilson December 13, 2006 at 9:03 pm

Dietze had two sisters living in Germany, a bit older than himself. Does anyone know if they are still alive?

Heinz Pechstein December 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Sehr geehrter Herr Lee Swift, als Verwandter (mütterlicher Seite) des Verstorbenen Gottfried Dietze interessiert mich oben aufgeführter Internetbeitrag. Ich lebe in Ostdeutschland und hatte zur Lebzeit des Verstorbenen keine Möglichkeit ihm zu begegnen oder mit ihm zu kommunizieren. Ich wollte gerne eine Foto oder weitere Informationen zur Lebensweise des Verwandten. Würden Sie mir Quellen nennen können?

Im Voraus herzlichen Dank.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Heinz Pechstein

Tony Lumpkin January 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Sehr geehrter Heinz Pechstein

Gottfried war ein Freund von meinen Großvater. Er gespeichert meine Großvaters Leben in Polen während des zweiten WELTKRIEGES und mein Großvater halfen ihm erhalten Sie in die USA, nach dem Krieg. Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut, aber senden mir wird Ihre e-Mail-Adresse und ich Sie ein Bild von Gottfried senden.

Meine e-Mail-Adresse ist: tlumpkin@austin.rr.com

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Tony Lumpkin III

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