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Whitewashing Nietzsche to suit the modern secular ethic

January 5, 2013

Whitewashing Nietzsche to suit the modern secular ethic

There is an argument being asserted by some that Frederick Nietzsche should be considered an anti-Nazi hero rather than the common belief that he was one of its greatest inspirations. One such academic Damon Young goes further and claims that Nietzsche would have opposed Nazism and fascism. In his article ‘Biographical daydreaming’ makes the following assertion:

“Of course, Nietzsche would have loathed Nazism for its vulgar imperialism, technophilia and anti-Semitism.”

Despite there being no historical evidence to support his claim, other than a falling out Nietzsche had with Wagner supposedly over anti-Semitism, he assumes much more than he can prove. However this pales in comparison with what Nietzsche wrote about the Jews.

“Whatever else has been done to damage the powerful and great of this earth seems trivial compared with what the Jews have done, that priestly people who succeeded in avenging themselves on their enemies and oppressors by radically inverting all their values, that is, by an act of the most spiritual vengeance. This was a strategy entirely appropriate to a priestly people in whom vindictiveness had gone most deeply underground. It was the Jew who, with frightening consistency, dared to invert the aristocratic value equations good/noble/powerful/beautiful/ happy/favored-of-the-gods and maintain, with the furious hatred of the underprivileged and impotent, that “only the poor, the powerless, are good; only the suffering, sick, and ugly, truly blessed. But you noble and mighty ones of the earth will be, to all eternity, the evil, the cruel, the avaricious, the godless, and thus the cursed and damned!”

One problem with predicting the future political leanings of person like Nietzsche is that he is not around to verify such claims. Instead we have a person who predates the rise Nazism and is being spoken of as if his choices were automatically decided by his philosophical momentum. Freewill and real world realities are completely missing from this scenario where, as a result, a person can choose something that opposite to what others assume they should do out of pure ideological dogmatism. Arguing that Nietzsche would never be inspired to join the Nazi Party is the wrong question. Nietzsche predates the Nazis. The proper question is whether the Hitler and National Socialists took much of their inspiration from what Nietzsche proposed in his writing.

Getting obsessed over how much Nietzsche loathed ‘vulgar imperialism and technophilia’ has little bearing on the substance of his central thesis which was his greater loathing of the weak, the frail and above all anyone who tried to help them. It was not Christian hypocrites that drove Nietzsche to declare that he was an anti-Christ. It was the Christian concept of mercy that he was totally opposed to.

“The poison by which the weaker nature is destroyed is strengthening to the strong individual and he does not call it poison.” The Gay Science, Nietzsche

“Pity is praised as the virtue of prostitutes.” The Gay Science, Nietzsche

Thus we have his condemnation that:

“Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth.”  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1895)

The above quotes do not so much indicate a philosophy as much as a declaration of opposition. In essence he is merely saying that what his enemy love he hates; whatever they supports he opposes and whatever they are for he is against. Big deal – politicians to this day still recluse to this binary mentality when describing their enemies.

The issue of whether Nietzsche inspired the Nazis is still a burning embarrassment for certain secularists. Nietzsche offers one of largest collection of anti-Christian and anti-religious quotes outside of the now defunct Soviet Union. The problem with Soviet anti-religious propaganda is that its bloody results are well documented. The problem with Nazism is just as obvious because Hitler universally represents all that is bad in humanity. If Nietzsche is still seen by the public as an inspiration of the Nazi ideology his precious rhetoric is worthless. Therefore quoting Nietzsche would be like quoting Mien Kamph and expecting people to take you seriously.

To take seriously any effect that Nietzsche’s ideas had upon Hitler we need to look at the parallels in their ambitions. This how Nietzsche saw the future that he was promoting:

“Man is beast and superbeast; the higher human is inhuman and superhuman: these belong together. With every increase of greatness and height in man, there is also an increase in depth and terribleness.” Will to Power, Nietzsche

How does this compare to Hitler’s consideration of what must be done?

“Only when an epoch ceases to be haunted by the shadows of its own consciousness of guilt will it achieve the inner calm and outward strength brutally and ruthlessly to prune off the wild shoots and tear out the weeds” Mien Kamph, Hitler

When it came to racial purity Nietzsche provides us with an insight that could have easily come out of Nazi doctrine:

“A doctrine is needed powerful enough to work as a breeding agent: strengthening the strong, paralyzing and destructive for the world weary. The annihilation of the decaying races. Decay of Europe.-The annihilation of slavish evaluations.-Dominion over the earth as a means of producing a higher type.-The annihilation of the tartuffery called ‘morality.’ The annihilation of suffrage universel; i.e. the system through which the lowest natures prescribe themselves as laws for the higher.-The annihilation of mediocrity and its acceptance (The one sided, individuals – peoples; to strike for fullness of nature through the pairing of opposites: race mixture to this end). The new courage – no a priori truths…” The Will to Power, Nietzsche

It is not the jackboot of marching soldiers to a symbolic flag that Nietzsche was referring to but a concept that perfectly fitted the eugenic programs that Hitler embraced so willingly. The ‘strengthening of strong’ and the ‘annihilation of the decaying races’. There is no question here that what he is referring to is a master race to lord over the weak.

Much more could be said of Nietzsche’s own deep seated prejudices as he referred to the Jews in so many disparaging terms.

“Christianity, growing from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a product of this soil, represents a reaction against the morality of breeding, of race, of privilege-it is the anti-Aryan religion par excellence.”

“It was the Jews who…dared to invert the aristocratic value-equation…saying ‘the wretched alone are the good ones, the poor, the helpless, the lowly….You who are powerful and noble are to all eternity the evil ones….” Beyond Good and Evil , Nietzsche

In the first quote he blames the Jews being the root of Christianity and being anti-Aryan. In the second quote he condemns the Jews for being merciful to weak and helpless rather than worshiping brute force.

What does it all mean?

The man Frederick Nietzsche should never be taken in isolation from his overriding theme of longing the weak and helpless to be annihilated by the brute force of the powerful. That was his life’s ambition as show through all his writings. Morality just stood in his way and because Christianity and Judaism were the sources of this moral restriction he hated them both. When reading Nietzsche critically, rather than as one of his adoring groupies, there is very little to admire. All he appeared to be seeking was permission to be ruthless, unconscionable and glorified for being so. This moral nihilism is why his works were so loved by the Nazis.

Editorial Note:

I should probably revisit this subject in the future. However Nietzsche is such convoluted read that he becomes tiresome after a while. Yes, yes, yes, I get it. You hate God because he equals morality and you have no place for it. I get it that you hate frailty. I get it that you love bullies. I also get the impression that watching bullies trampling on the frail is what gives you the jollies. Move along folks nothing see here but some crazy guy arguing with a horse. ZZZZZZZZ.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. candydman permalink
    January 6, 2013 2:41 pm

    By way of a footnote, I’m sure it’s significant that Adele Balasingham, the Australian former leader of the female wing of the LTTE, entitled her notorious eology to Velupillai Prabakharan and the LTTE “The Will to Freedom” as an inspiration from Nietzsche’s “The Will to Power”, a book you quote from above. Some of the same thinking relating to the notion that might is right can also be seen in the views of Bruce Haigh, in my opinion.


    • January 6, 2013 5:34 pm

      Thanks for your comments.

      You raise an interesting possibility that will require some research to confirm or dispel.
      However her husband Anton was very much the classic Marxist revolutionary ideologue and Adele the enthusiastic Prabhakaran groupie. Unfortunately she progressed on the conscription of child soldiers.

      Here book from what i have read was little more than propaganda with smattering of shallow feminist justifications for her actions.

      As Bruce Haigh… Who knows what goes on in his head. If it wasn’t for the ABC Drum he would disappear.


  2. candydman permalink
    January 6, 2013 9:14 pm

    Same say, and I suppose I’m one of them, that on the deeper ethical issues Marxism and Fascism share the same contempt for what they call bourgeois morality and values. Both these extremes emerged in during the same period in European history and claimed to offer total solutions to the political and economic problems of Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

    In her book much of Adele Balasingham’s praise is for Prabakharan as the “great leader” who was going to lead his people to freedom. Whilst Haigh’s argument that terrorism is justifiable if it brings an advantage as also typical of the thinking of both the extreme right and extreme left. Still, thankfully, they are all yesterday’s people, although we should be watchful because we humans seem to have a tendency, in certain circumstances, to resort to extremist ideas as offering simple solutions to complex problems. Even though these extreme political experiments all ended as catastrophic failures, the price paid in terms of human suffering was truly gigantic.


    • January 6, 2013 11:00 pm

      I think you have clear understanding of where Marxists and Fascists agree. ie: morality is a bummer when trying to ruthlessly take over the world.

      I read some of Adele’s book online but I found her a bit of a delusional pain. Something like an arts degree undergraduate who just joined a cult. “We love the leader.”

      Haigh is a person who goes out of his way to make a dumb statement. How did he ever get to be a diplomat?
      However he seems to be one of these people who want an open boarder policy for Australia. As a result he sides with anyone who supports his agenda. Personally i think he is far less damaging than Senator Lee Rhiannon’s support for Eelam.


  3. February 4, 2013 2:02 am

    I am on a long shift tonight. Im going to enjoy reading through your blog since I has total disagreement with about 95% of what you have said so far.

    I have read plenty Nietzsche, Dawkins and the Bible. You seem to favor the last. I assume you are very religious.


    • February 4, 2013 6:43 am

      Mark Heath,
      Thanks for your comments.

      I have no problem with people disagreeing with any thing I write. If everyone agreed then it would not be worth writing.

      As for assumptions people draw from what I write? Assume away. It does not bother me either way. After all, assumtions are the mother of all stuffups.


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