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The Allure of Fascism

September 3, 2014

I have lately been studying the philosophy of Nietzsche. I had heard prior from numerous sources that Nietzsche contributed to Fascist and Nazi ideology (Leo Strauss being one of the most respectable sources, he even appreciated Nietzsche’s philosophy on a certain level). I now have a deeper grasp of why that is so, and I wish to impart it because I feel it is important that the population at large be informed about it, as Nietzsche’s philosophy is very influential in our time, and it is possible that if one is to be a philosopher, in one way or another one must deal with Nietzsche’s philosophy on the deepest level.

This post is an informal continuation of the last one When Life Feels Like Slavery (or, the power to rule) but it is not necessary to read that one beforehand, but if you are concerned or intrigued by what is presented here I recommend checking it out.

I will begin this post with a quote from a recent book by the Professor and scholar Laurence Lampert published by Yale University Press. This quote alludes to much of what I will discuss and expand on. It also clearly evinces how these ideas are in vogue and even respectable at such a prominent university.

Nietzsche is an advocate of slavery […] To understand the corruption and decay of European nobility one must understand what is basic to a healthy aristocracy: the faith that society exists for its sake. Healthy aristocracy “accepts with good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings, to slaves, to instruments.” […] “[L]ife itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker; suppression, hardness, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation, and at least, at its mildest, exploitation.” […] Beyond Good and Evil has argued that humanity matures by learning to live in accord with nature. Politically that means aristocratic rule over slaves — the rule of the philosophers of the future over a human population ordered hierarchically by nature and custom. [Lampert, Laurence, Nietzsche’s Task: Yale University Press. pp. 266-267]

I think the point being made in that paragraph is clear, so I will just elaborate some of the key points of Nietzsche’s philosophy.

Nietzsche felt that Europe was degenerating and he “diagnosed” the cause of the degeneration to be nihilism. For Nietzsche nihilism was a lack of belief in life, a deterioration of the driving force that makes people accomplish “great deeds”. Because he was a philologist (he worked the study of the origins of language and their interpretation, so particularly with the Greeks) he traced this “deterioration” back through history and arrived at the conclusion that it was not so strongly present in the early Greeks (pre-Platonic, Homeric Greeks).

The first main trend that led to this perceived deterioration was Platonic philosophy, which arose in democratic Athens, and needed to pander to the population that was no longer made up of a warrior arisocracy schooled on Homer’s tales of the warrior heroes at Troy. In those legends the gods favored valor, strength and nobility. Plato changed the favors of the gods and told the people if they did “good” the gods would favor them, and those who committed injustice the gods would punish.

The second trend which was one of the main focuses of Nietzsche’s scorn was Christianity, which he called “Platonism for the people”. Plato, in his view, still held some nobility in his teaching, but Christianity on the other hand did away with all that. It reversed the morals completely, advocating things like meekness, and humility. It taught that those who expressed pride and violence were “evil”, thus elevating the weak of society.

Nietzsche felt that by ennobling this moral view of nature, people were succumbing to a delusional view of life. He especially disliked the early teaching of Saint Augustine, who explicitly taught that one should reject the material world and hope for the paradise that comes after death. This, for Nietzsche, was the epitome of nihilism, rejection of life for a delusion. As a consequence people were unable to understand nature truly and it would repeatedly drive them to despair when their idealism would be met with a cruel reality.

Schooled by Darwin, as well as the philosophy of Machiavelli, Nietzsche felt that people must affirm all that is natural, which was exemplified by struggle, the expenditure of power and ultimately dominance. In this way, by seeing nature for what it truly is, people would no longer fall into the despair of nihilism and the species could be enhanced and remain strong.

Nietzsche’s advocated aristocracy and slavery because he saw nature as defined by a natural rank of superior and inferior, the stronger and the weaker, the smart and the stupid, etc. and he felt it was the rightful place of those who were of the highest rank to rule, and those of the lower rank to be ruled, this is the affirmation of nature. (See the post alluded to above for more on that theme.)

The fascisms that have existed in the past incorporated not only Nietzsche’s writings but other philosophies of the time which gave them their own particular colours and characteristics, but this is the underlying similarity, the elevation of the strong because of the demand to see nature clearly and affirm it as it is (exemplified by the struggle of the lion and the gazelle).

This underlying ideology has not died out since the last world war, and in many ways it has gained momentum. It is something that people should be aware of. I have compiled materials and information on this blog to help people understand certain trends current in society as well as to give advice on what can be done. In the shortest terms, my highest recommendation is that everyone should educate themselves and as much as possible work together outside of the dominant social instutions, that way you will be able to acquire learning and ability and independence from structures that increaingly attempt to determine our lives. At least be aware that when you work for institutions your energy and power is being put to purposes and ultimate ends that may not be your own.

Here is an important article about the militarization of the police force in the Us: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/08/14/militarization-u-s-police-dragged-light-horrors-ferguson/

The beginning of this post has a number of links to articles about abusive tacticed used by governments and the police against protests: A New Form of Social Organization— For those who value Freedom

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From → Exposition

2 Comments
  1. Sue permalink

    The strong treading on the weak, no surprise there and the weak are those without money who are forced to work for the corporations to survive.

    • I sympathize with that position — many of those who regard Nietzsche’s philosophy favorably feel that it is the place of the strong to take advantage of the weak and call that nature. In the other post (When life feels like slavery) I indicated how many philosophers have dealt with the issue of slavery, and there were many who felt that if someone was only good for the work of a beast of burden they should be used that way. I on the other hand do not feel the same way, I see work as something that can enhance the human condition, make us stronger and increase our will power, particularly if it is put to the right causes, and those who are working can feel the dignity of their work and improving their lot — not being degraded by false roles and the subordination of the modern corporate climate.

      It is definitely a rough issue of the human condition that it seems one must make sacrifices to secure even small ounces of freedom and security, perhaps even risk it all when you are under pressure from those who wish to take advantage of you, as particularly seems to be the case today with the increasing of corporate and military power bleeding into civil society, in the form of the police force.

      It is because there are these tough issues that I also feel that philosophy can be important as well as working and the dignity of the worker — philosophy which contributes possible solutions. It just seems like there aren’t many working towards these solutions. There is a lot of elitism in philosophy, probably because most philosophers are also partly slaves, they sell their efforts to those already possessing the money and power to support them. That is why I make this blog, because I want to contribute knowledge, understanding and possibilities to those who are doing the most work — I could personally live without today’s elite, but I couldn’t live without those who farm, build houses, and provide other important services.

      It is unfortunate that a lot of what I am learning might bring many to despair, or even cause resentment against me… I honestly would like things to be easier as well, but as I continue to learn it just so happens that much of what takes place in the world is destructive and exploitative, and it is this I feel I must deal with. I used to write idealistic stories and focus on fantasy, but in the end reality always had to return, and the reality always felt like a burden, so instead I set out to find out why, and to see if there is any way to move beyond it.

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