Friday, May 13, 2011

Mile Marker 206 (Beyond Good and Evil)

The time for petty politics is past; the next century will bring the struggle for the dominion of the world—the COMPULSION to great politics.

…………..Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (2008). Beyond Good and Evil (Optimized for Kindle) (Kindle Locations 1686-1687).

A great work of art or thought ought induce some indignation, otherwise how could it challenge or add to your insight. Only if it survives that indignation does it deserve to be paid attention to. Nietzsche at least passes the first test of being profoundly irritating.

At least he now makes a little sense. Am I reading a bad translation, or is he really this obscure. I understand him better and like him less. Yes, he saw many things that lesser minds missed. My problem is that I really can’t forgive him his consequences. He liked the old morality where consequences counted for more than intentions – and so he should be judged. I see him brewing so many of the evil spirits that possessed Germany in the twentieth century and nearly destroyed the world. If I could be objective in my judgment – a quality Nietzsche despised – I might like him better, but I can’t.

Racism, misogyny, blaming the Jews, worship of cruelty, power, slavery and bloodthirsty leadership, hatred of democracy, and above all the cry for the destruction of the weak and unfit all seep evilly from this little book. One can argue quite plausibly that he didn’t mean it that way, but the fact is that what he wrote can be very directly so interpreted, and as history demonstrated, was so interpreted.

Did Hitler misunderstand Nietzsche? Do I? It doesn’t matter, because Hitler did think he understood him, and it’s hard to disbelieve that Nietzsche prepared the way for the murderers and salved their consciences.