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JonathanBowden,"TheUsesandAbusesofNietzsche"|CounterCurrentsPublishing

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TheUses&AbusesofNietzsche
PostedByJonathanBowdenOnApril15,2016@1:13amInNorthAmericanNewRight|1
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[1]EditorsNote:

ThisisthetranscriptbyV.S.ofRichardSpencersVanguard
podcastinterviewofJonathanBowdenaboutNietzsche.Youcan
listentothepodcasthere[2].
RichardSpencer:Hello,everyone!Itsapleasuretowelcome
backtotheprogramJonathanBowden.Jonathanisa
renaissancemaninourmovement.Heisapoliticaland
culturalcommentator,anovelist,apainter,andanorator.If
youdliketofindoutmoreaboutJonathanyoucanvisithispersonalwebsite,whichis
jonathanbowden.co.uk.
So,Jonathan,welcomeback!
JonathanBowden:Yes,hello!Nicetobeback!
RS:Well,IhopeyouhadajoyfulYuletideandChristmasandNewYearsholiday.
JB:Yes,itwasgood,butyoucantbutnotwanttopickupthereinsagain.
RS:Thatstrue.Todayweregoingtotalkaboutathinkerofimmenseimportanceforourmovement
andtheworldandthatisFriedrichNietzsche.Intheallottedamountoftime,theresnopossibleway
tocoverallofthegroundofNietzschesthought.However,Ithoughtagoodplacetostartforour
purposeswouldbewiththecontemporaryconsciousnessofNietzsche.Thatis,whatdopeoplethink
ofhimtoday,educatedpeopleandmaybeevenaveragepeople,andhowisthatideaofhimfalse
andsoonandsoforth?Ithinkthatsagoodplacetostartandthenmaybewecouldgoalittle
deeperlateronintheinterviewandgetatthecoreofNietzschesthoughtandspirit.
Butjusttoseteverythingup,itsworthmentioningthatNietzscheiscertainlyafamousand
infamous,greatlyadmiredandalsonotoriousphilosopher.Hesalsooneofthepreciousfew
philosophersthatanaverageAmericanwouldhaveheardof,andIthinkitsprobablythesamein
theUKandmaybealittlebitdifferentonthecontinent.ButtheyveprobablyheardofPlatoand
Aristotle,maybeDescartes,buttheyvealsoheardofNietzsche,andtheyknowhimmostlythrough
hismaximGodisdead,whichofcoursemayinspiresomeandinfuriateothers.
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Also,theresaninterestingpointthatJonathanactuallymentionedoffairandthatishesoneofthe
onlyphilosopherswhoonecouldcallaradicaltraditionalistorarcheofuturistorsomeoneconnected
totheNewRightwhoisactuallytaughtandindeedembracedintheLeftistacademy.So,peoplelike
Spengleror,foranexample,LothropStoddardorsomeoftheseinterestingfigureswhosespiritsare
certainlyakintoNietzschesaredismissedorignoredorridiculed.However,Nietzscheissomeone
whoisembracedbyLeftistacademicsasakindofbrotherofFoucaultandDescartesandsoonand
soforth.
AfterIvesetthetablethere,Jonathan,whydontyoutalkjustalittlebitaboutNietzschetoday.
Whatdoeshemeanfortheaverageperson?Whatdoeshemeanforaneducatedpersonwhosgone
throughaNietzschecourseathisuniversity?
JB:Yes,Ithinkthosearetwoveryradicallydifferentthings.Toturnitaroundslightlyandbegin
withtheeducatedechelonfirst,theresaNietzschethatsurvivestodaywhichisinsomewaysa
misreadingofhisactualtexts,becausehisowntextsaresomultipleandbinarypileduponbinary
rhythmthatyouhaveasortofconcatenationofviewpointsandphilosophicaltendencieswhich
makesitverydifficulttograsphimandtopresenthiminawholeorholisticmanner.
ButneverthelessthereisaLeftwingNietzschewhichisaroundtoday,andthiscelebrateshistearing
down,thefactthathetoredownthecurtainofChristianity,thathesnotametaphysical
traditionalistatthelevelofpurephilosophyincertainrespects.ThewayintoaLeftwing
interpretationofNietzsche,asinDeleuzeandGuattarisbookNietzscheandPhilosophy,whichisa
sortofhinttowardsaLeftwingversion,aLeftwingshadowversionofhim,istoconcentrateon
epistemology,whichisthinkingaboutthinking.
YoucouldarguethatNietzscheisaradicalsubjectivistatonelevelandalsothathedoesntbelieve
thattherearetotallyobjectivecosmicstandardsoutsidetime,history,place,andcircumstance.This
rendershimarelativistbysomeaccounts,andhecanthenbeusedtoengageinexercisesofmoral
relativism,particularlyinrelationtotraditionalreligiosity.AllofthisinDeleuzeandGuattaris
versionisfilteredintodiscourseagainstChristianity.Thatsoneoftheirprimarygoals.Itsalmostas
ifChristianityhasntbeenkickedenough,butofcourseinNorthAmericaChristianityisvery
powerfulinawaythatisnotthecaseinEurope,certainlynotinWesternandNorthernEurope.Itsa
bitsacrilegiousinaway.Itsabitlikekickingacorpse.Itsregardedasunfairorslightlylikekicking
amanwhenhesdownonthegroundinafieldgame.
InWesternEurope,thereisthisviewofNietzschethathesoneofthegreatdestructive
philosophers,thathebulldozesanenormousamountofpriorbywhichtheymeantraditionalor
archaicorhierarchicalorconservativegroundandthispreparesthewayforanewsunnyupland
andanewbeginningpostChristianity.So,thisisoneofthemanywaysinwhichhesinterpreted
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now.
Hesseenalsointhelightofcontemporaryliterarytheory,whichisveryfashionableintheWestern
academyandhasbeenforthelast40years.Thesearetheoriescalledpoststructuralismandthe
laterversionofthesamethingcalleddeconstructionwherebymanuscriptsandtextsaretakenapart
inasortofNewLeftscholasticismdrawingonquitealotofthethinkingoftheMiddleAgesabout
languageinastrangesortofway.Thetextisthenconsideredtobeindependentofitsownauthor
andtobeathinginitsownrightandtobestudiedinadeepwaywhichbringsforthallitsmanifold
contradictionstosuchadegreethatnoonecanaffirmanything.ThisisrelatedtoNietzschesforce
fieldwayofwritingwherebyonepointwillleadtoanotherwhichoftenoverturnsit,andthenheflips
backuponhimselfand,althoughthereareconstantreturningthemes,itssometimesdifficultfor
somepeopletograspwhathesactuallytryingtosay,becausehismethodisalwaysoneofattack
ratherthandefense.Attackbeingthebestformofdefense,ifyoulike.
So,thereisthisLeftwinginterpretationofNietzschewhichhasgainedquitealotofgroundandhas
providedashieldtomanycriticsinthecenterandontheLeftwhowouldpointtoNietzsches
unswervingpoliticalincorrectnessinallsortsofareas:hishostilitytofeminism,hishostilityto
humanequality,hisadvocacyofhumaninequalityofquitearadicaltype,thesuspicionthathe
entertainedcertainracialornationalviewswhicharesublimated,inotherwordshesnotaGerman
nationalistbuthesaEuropeanone,andsoon,whichneverquiteleavestheliberalZeitgeistand
alwaysmeanstheresasmellaroundhimofsomesortoranother.Hishostilitytodemocracy,which
isoneofthemostscandalousaspectsofhisthoughtandwhichislargelyoverlooked.Itsjust
thoughtthathewasacreatureofhistime.Thearistocraticattitudesofthelate19thcenturywere
antidemocratic,andhesparceleduphistoricallyinthatway.Thatsbecausepeoplewhowishto
preservehimforotherreasonsoverlooktendenciesinhisthoughtwhichtheywouldntoverlook
otherwise.
So,firstofall,theresthisLeftandcenterLeftinterpretationofhimwhichisareinterpretation.Its
aformofculturalrevisionismactually,althoughnoneofthepeopleinvolvedwithiteversayso.
RS:Imightjustaddrealquicklythattherescertainlyakerneloftruthorabasisforthis
interpretationinthesensethatNietzschedidwanttodeconstruct,ifyouwill,theworldviewandthe
epistemologyofalotofpriorthinking.Hedidsaythingslike,Theresnooneobjectivestandard.
Itsalwaysperspectivesaroundanobjectandsoonandsoforth.So,obviously,thereisabasisfor
that,butIguesstheywanttoholdontothataspectofhimthatyoucanfindinmaybesomeworks
likeTheGenealogyofMoralsandearlierworks,butthentheywanttototallydisregardtheradical
aristocraticnatureofhisthought.
JB:Thatsright.Itslacarte.Itsasmorgasbordwhereyoutakethebitsyoulikeandrejector
silenceorrefusetocommentonthebitsthatyoudetestordontotherwisecarefor.Ithinkthat
interpretationonlygoessofarthough,becausealthoughhetoredownforhalfhiscareerupuntil
aboutZarathustraandmostofhisphilosophicalwritingisaprioridestructiveafterthathe
constructs.Hesveryunusualinthathesaveryconstructivephilosopheronceyougetpastthe
wreckageofwhatheconsideredtobelate19thcenturycivilizationanditsantecedents.So,then
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youhaveconstructiveNietzschewherehebasicallyputsawholenewWesternphilosophyorideology
orsemimetaphysicinplace,whicharehisownteachingsreally.HisownquasiBible,ThusSpake
Zarathustra,whichisasortofcombinationofthePsalmsandthe1611authorizedversionofthe
Bible,theKingJamesBible,totallyreworkedinhisownlanguageandinhisownmetaethicand
usinghisownstyle,butitsmeantinsomewaystobeahereticalholybookwherebythenew
philosophy,thephilosophyofthesupermanandofthefuturewillbelaidout.Withthat,thereare
othercorollaries,otherrunnerssuchasOntheGenealogyofMorals,whichalthoughitappearstobe
aspeculativeandrelativistworkupuntilapointisreallyadesiretoreturntothemoralityofthe
ancientworld,toreturntothemoralityofthepreChristianworldandasortofaristocraticattitude
orlogosthatwascontemporaneouswiththat.
So,heconstructsasmuchashedestroys,whichisratherunusualbecausemostcontemporary
philosophyonlypullsdownorpullsapartpriortotheprospectofjustreconfiguringitasapartof
thatgesture,butitdoesntreallyconstructanything.Therearefewgreatconstructersinphilosophy
today.Infact,therearehardlyany.Structuralismisjustanalyzingthroughvariousmeanswhat
exists.Itsaratherpassiveversionofwhatthecontemporarymediasaysitdoes,whichisjust
reflectsocietyratherthanthe60sideathattherewasanyintentiontochangeit.Thatstendentious
inthecaseofthemedia,butinNietzschescasetheresatotalnewphilosophywhichispushedout
andmadetodoserviceandonawholethatsdealtwithinaslightlyembarrassedsilencebyall
theseLeftwingpoststructuralanddeconstructionistchampions.Theyleavethatononeside.
AstothecommonmansviewofNietzsche,hesthoughtofasthegreatphilosopherofatheismand
of20thcenturyexistentialismwherebymaniscastinananxiousguisewaitingfordeathandnot
knowingifthereareanyultimatetruthsornot.Ithinkinrelationtothissortofcommonperson
whosheardsomeintellectualtalkbutnomore,possiblythroughthehigherendoftelevisionand
radiotypeofmediaandthefewthingstheypartookifnotatcollegetheninhighschoolorthe
equivalentinWesternEurope,theywoulduponNietzscheassomebodywhowasthegreatcoping
stoneof19thcenturydoubtandskepticismaboutpriorreligioustruthsandpossiblycameupwith
somealternativetruthsofhisown,whichisverymuchhowhewaspackagedinthe1950sand
1960swhenpriortopoststructuralismanddeconstruction,existentialism,whichisoneofthe
intellectualvoguesofthelastcenturyandwhichisnotapurelyMarxianvogueatallactually(it
containsstrongelementswhicharereligiousinorigin),lookedtoNietzscheasoneofitsfounding
gods,oneofitsfoundingantigods.
ApersonwhosslightlyskimreadanAlbertCamusnovel,apersonwhosvaguelyawareofthe
currentswhichrunintointellectualatheism,Ithinkthosearethewaysinwhichhesperceivedina
commonwayandalsoinastereotypicalwayasaphilosopherwhoinsomewaylinkedupwith
GermanNationalSocialismorNazismandsomehow,inacomplicatedway,isaphilosopherwhogoes
withthatandyetatthesametimerepudiatesit.Oneandtheother,soheretainsanegative,
demoniccachetbyvirtueoftheaffiliationandyetatthesametimeisntregardedbyeliteopinion
asinanysenseaphilosopherofNationalSocialism.Ithinkthatmlangeofasortofsinisterfigure,
thesurvivingoneofthetriumvirateMarx,Freud,Nietzsche,thethreebigthinkerswhocomeoutof
the19thcentury,early20thcenturyinFreudscase,yetNietzschestheonlyoneleftstanding.
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RS:Thatsquitetrue.Letsactuallyputalittlepressureonwhatyouweretalkingaboutbeforein
termsofNietzschesconstructionofanewphilosophy.IwanttotalkspecificallyaboutmoralityandI
thinkthisalsotouchesonanotherimportantpointthatyoubroughtupwhichisthatyoucanfind
plentyoflinesinNietzscheinwhichherepudiatesGermannationalism.Hethinksitsstupidandfor
beerdrinkersandsoonandsoforth,butanyonewhosreadhim,whosreallyexperiencedhimand
notjustaninterpretationofhimknowsthattheresthisalmostdemonicorradicaltraditionalist,
Rightwing,inacrudemanner,spirittoNietzsche.AristocraticradicalismisoneofthetermsthatI
like.
Maybeyoucouldtalkalittleaboutthatintermsofmorality,becauseinOntheGenealogyofMorals,
certainlyoneofhisbestworks...IrememberreadingitforthefirsttimewhenIwasayoung
person.Iwasprobablyaround20yearsold.Hisdifferentiationbetweentheancientworldsgoodand
badandtheChristianworldsgoodandevil,touseacolloquialphrase,reallyblewmymind.Itreally
mademereconsidersomeofthemostbasicpreceptsofmyownworldview.Maybeyoucouldtalka
littleaboutthat,becauseIthinkitbringsallthesethreadstogetherintermsofsomeonewhois
bothdeconstructive,someonewhoswillingtopulltherugoutfromunderthepostChristian
worldviewofhistime,butthenalsosomeonewhostryingtoreviveandreinventanoldermorality.
JB:Yes,thatsright.Ithinkprobablyintermsofmoralsandethics,thatpartofphilosophythat
dealswiththem,hesoneofthemostrevolutionarythinkersofthelast200,300,400,500years,
andinsomerespectshisviewsonmoralityhavenotbeentotallytakenonboardbecausetheycant
beinaliberal,democratic,humanist,andegalitarianage.Hisviewsonmoralityareregardedas
interestingacademicallyininvertedcommas,butthatsbecausetheymustbekeptratherlikea
germorsomesortofantibodylockedupinthelaboratory.
Hesanantihumanist,andhesaninverseChristian,andhesapagan,withasmallpmaybe,ofa
veryextremesort.HewishestoreturninastylizedwayviatheRenaissanceoftheBorgiastothe
moralityofwhatheperceivesasthearistocracyortherulingclassoftheancientworld,andhe
wishestomissoutcompletelythemoralitythatChristianityputinplaceandwhichisconsidered
evenbymanypeoplewhoverepudiatedChristianitytobethebasisforhumanmorality.Inthe
courseofdoingthat,herepudiatesasignificantproportion,butnotall,ofJewishmorality,humanist
andnotsohumanistatall,andalsoIslamicmoralityaswell.
So,inaway,thethreegreatmorallexiconsoftheAbrahamictraditionarerepudiatedinonefell
swoop,andyouhaveareturnto,putverycrudely,togobacktotheideaofthecommonagainstthe
moreelitereader,amightisrightphilosophy.Butthatsaverycrudewayoflookingatitbecause
themightisrightdoctrineasepitomizedbysocialDarwiniantextslikeRagnarRedbeardsofthat
nameandsoonisthelowestlevelofmoralrealityasfarasNietzschesconcerned,thatofsheer
dominationandwhatisbeingcalledbysomethemoralityofthedosshouse,ofeachagainstall,
andnooneisthemasterofthestrongestman.That,inacrudesense,certainlyinacrudeanti
NietzscheanLeftwingsenseiswhatNietzschesmoraldiscourseamountsto.
Butthatsthelowestformofmoralityasheadvocatesit,butalsoashebelievesitexistsbiologically
andinnature.Whathappensisthemoreadvancedforms,likehumanbeings,sublimatethese
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things,andtheyselfoverbecomethemsothatwhatiscrudeandviolentandsterileandsortof
semicriminalasitcouldbeconfiguredatoneleveliscastadriftandbecomessomethingmorenoble
asitishierarchicalizedandspiritualizedandasitstakenupfromitsmorecrudelylethalandsortof
eachagainstallandHobbesianpointsofdeparture.
Now,whenheconsidersaristocraticmoralityhedoessoagainstalmostallthecurrentsthatwere
thenbubblingawayattheendofthe19thcenturyandwouldbecomedominantandhegemonicin
the20thcentury.Andyethesurvivedhavingdonethisbecauseusuallysomeoneiscondemnedby
theirmorality.Ithinkitsbecausehecasthismoralitynotintermsasareturntobarbarismbutina
returntotheancientworldwhichcontainedabarbaricsliverfargreaterthanthemodernorthe
medievalone.Theparadoxis,ofcourse,thatmuchofearlymodernlife,muchmodernlife,andallof
medievallifewasrunexactlyalongNietzscheanlinesofmoralconstraintortheabsenceofsuch
constraint.ItsaChristianmyth,ofcourse,thattheChristiancenturiesareinaccordancewith
Christianmorality.AsalldeeplymoralChristiansknow,Christianmoralityissohardtoliveits
almostanimpossiblestandardtowhichhumanshavetoaspireandonlyonemancouldeverreach
it,andhewasntamananywayinthecourseofthattheology.
So,Nietzschesmoralsareprobablythemostrevolutionarypartofhisentirediscourse.Ithink
whatshappenedisthatbecausehesperceivedasarelativistinsomewayyoucanadopta
relativisticstandpointabouthismoralsandsay,Oh,well,thatshisviewandhesgotthese
aristocraticandparticularistattitudesandhewantstogobackandhedoesntunderstandthe
progressthatwevemadeinthemoralarea.Therefore,youcantakehisepistemology,andyoucan
takehiscritiqueofmodernity,andyoucantakehiscritiqueofdecadence,andyoucantakehis
critiqueofGermannationalism,andyoucantakehislaudingofWagnerism,andyoucantakehis
extremecritiqueofWagnerism,andyoucantakeallofhisbitsthatyouwant,andrelativizethe
moralityout.
Butmorallyhisviewishierarchicalratherthaneither/or.Jewish,Christian,andIslamicmoralities
tendtobeeither/or,goodorevilorsomesynonymforevil,whereashismoralityishierarchical.It
dependswhatsbeingdonetosomebodyandwhyitsbeingdone,anditdependsonwhotheyare
anditdependsonthelevelofsufferingwhichisengendered,anditdependsonwhethertheywere
bornforahigherlevelofsufferingornot,becauselifeisntequalandsufferingisapartoflife.You
canthavethebirthofachildwithoutintensesufferingonthemothersbehalf.
Therefore,hisattitudetowardsmoralityispartlylesspreconfigured,lessapriori,lesssentimental,
lesshumane,moreaesthetic.Itsanaestheticmoralityasmuchasanythingelse,andthatsdeeply
shocking.Itsstillevendeeplyshockingtoday.Theresalsoelementsofitwhichconfound
conservatismasperceivedandgoesoutsideconservatism.Imthinkingparticularlyaboutthe
chapteraboutthepalecriminalinThusSpakeZarathustrawhenNietzschesaysthecriminalinthe
dockwholookspaleandasceticandwhoisafanaticandisinsomewaysamoralretardandabout
whomeveryoneadoptsamoralizingattitude.Heshouldverypossiblybehangedordoneawaywith
orwhatevertheformofexecutionwouldhavebeenintheGermanyofhistime,butatthesame
timedontmakesuchamoralfussaboutit.Dontcomputethathesadifferentspeciestoyou,that
hesadesperateindividualwhocommittedadesperateactinaparticulartimethathaditsownform
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ofvaingloriouscouragebutthatisantisocialtothedegreethatitcantbetoleratedifhumansare
tolivetogether.
So,thatcomesquiteclosetoarelativistexcuseforcertainsignsofviciouscriminalitythatyouoften
hearontheNewLeftmoreontheNewRight.Andatthesametimeitimmediatelysnapsbackinto
thefactthatbycarryingoutthoseactionstheindividualhasopenedhimselfuptoaferocious
retributionbythestateanditsauthoritarianpower.Heseesnothingwrongwiththat,becausethats
howthingshavealwaysbeen.
RS:Therearetwoimportantpointsthatcometomind.Thefirstoneisthattheresacontinuity
withwhatyouresayingwithNietzschesfirstbookfrom1872,TheBirthofTragedy,andthatisthe
dialecticheestablishesbetweentheDionysianandApollonianworldviews.
Inmanyways,theDionysiancouldbethoughtofasdrunkennessinsomesense,butitspure
frenzy.Itsmaybeeventhedarkestpossibleconceptoflife.Itsbetterthatwerenotevenborn.Life
issufferingandunadulteratedemotionandsoonandsoforth.Maybeevensexualfrenzycouldbe
addedinthere.
ThentherestheApollonianworldview,whichisonewhichheassociateswithsculptureandthatis
involvedwiththingslikethestateandtheartist,butitsawaytogivelifeanorderandameaning.
Togobacktohisimageofthecriminal,Ithinktheybothworktogetherinthesensethateventhe
greatartistwhoisadmiredanddoeslifeaffirmingworksofart,hehastohavealittleofthatfrenzy
underneathitthathecancontainandmaybeevenchannelintomoreproductiveaspects.Buthes
notfundamentallydifferentthanthecrudercriminalwholacksthatApolloniancomponenttohis
soultochannelthosedarkforces.
JB:Yes,thatsquitetrue,andhedoesntseelifecompartmentalizedinthatsense.Heseesbinary
andotherthanbinaryoppositionsinlifewhichgotogether,becauseofcoursehedoescorrelateto
FreudandMarxincertainrespects.Notmany,butoneofthemistheresolutionofthetension
betweenopposites.Forhim,oppositesarenecessaryorthingswhichareinpartialoppositiontoeach
othersynthesizedandfusedtogethertogivenewformsofmeaningandtoopenuptheprospectof
areversal,whichwillbeatransvaluationofallvaluesandwhichwillbemoral,aesthetic,legal,civic,
political,structural,linguistic,musical,andallsortsofotherthings.
Inthesortofdualismbetweentheclassicalurge,theurgetoclassicize,theApollonianurgefrom
TheBirthofTragedyandtheDionysianurge,whichistheundercurrentoftragedyinallformsof
life,otherthingscanbecut,whethertheyrecrudelikethegibberingofthecriminalinthedockand
theplaintiveexcusesofhisbarristerorwhethertheyremuchmoreexultedlikethemanwholieson
hisbacktopaintandtheleadthatsdrippingdownonhimfromtheSistineChapelsceiling.The
oneandtheotherareconnected,becausetherehastobeafireinthebellytodosomethinglikethe
SistineChapelceiling,andalthoughitshardlydaredtobeassociatedwithsomethinglike
criminalitythereisasemblanceofuniformityinthepassionsoutofwhichallofthesethingsstem.
Itsthelevelofsublimation.Itstheleveltowhichthingsarehierarchicalized.Itstheleveltowhich
theyretakenawayfromthesortofsulfurousoriginsthattheyallshare.Thisiswhymoralityisa
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matterofdistancing.Itsamatterofthepathosofdifferencebetweenoneformandanother,
betweenoneactionandanother,betweenonemanandanother.
Moralityisthereforediscriminatory,andinpresentparlancetheresnothingworsethan
discrimination,becausediscriminationisthebasisofallequalmoralworth,whereashisviewis
discriminationisthebasisofmoralitybecauseeverythingthatonechoosesfromasortofcleanitem
offoodtoasortofdirtyitemoffoodthatonewishesnottocutwithonesknifeandfork,everything
isamatterofdiscrimination.Thatgoesforindividuals,forcities,forcultures,andforallofthe
contemporarydiscriminations,whichyounowhavetosignformsifyouwantajobintheWestern
worldtosaythatyouwontengageinandwhichtheemployersortofgoesalongwithandsoforth.
Now,thoseareminorformsofdiscriminationinaway,buthewouldregardthemallasattackson
thenatureofthearistocraticthatimmediatelyhierarchicalizeseverythingintodifferentordersof
meaningdependingwheretheyareinaparticularhierarchy,andtheeyethatjudgeswherethings
areinahierarchywillchangefromindividualtoindividualofanaugusttype.Maybetheirranking
willberatherpriorordainedtoadegree,butthereisadegreetowhichtherankingisnot
completelysuperimposed.So,certainstandardsthatcertainpeoplemightthinkareveryhighmight
bejudgedlesssobyanotheraugustspirit.Thatsthedangerthatyoutakewithrather
individualistic,cantankerous,andaristocraticmoralitythatnoteverythingwillworkouttobethe
smoothestpossibleruninallpossibleworlds.Butwhowantsalifelikethat?ishisview.Itsrather
liketheendofBraveNewWorld,thedystopiansatireonthewelfarestatebyAldousHuxley,when
thesavageistoldbyoneofthecontrollers,Youbasicallywanttherighttobeunhappyoryouwant
therighttounfoldtragediesaspartoflifesplentitude.Andthatsthecase,yousee?Iflifeisto
resemblemoreofaGreektragedythananepisodeofTheSimpsonsthenyouhavetoallowforall
sortsofthingswhichareknottyandgnarledandirresolvableandnotcapableofmoralization.
Thisisoneofhiskeypoints.OneofthekeypointsaboutliberalhumanistdiscourseandChristian
moralsisthathewouldconsider,asIdaresaywewouldinmanyways,thatChristianmoralityand
secularliberalhumanistmoralityareveryclose.Theoneisasecularizationoftheothertoalarge
degree.
Buthewouldconsidertheirtypeofmoralstobeuniversalizingandplatitudinousandalsocapableof
fartoowidearemitandextent,becausethismoralityessentiallyjudgeseverythingmorallyfromthe
perspectiveofIsanyoneharmed?orIstherubricofegalitarianismrunthroughproperlyand
efficaciously?Politicalcorrectnessisjustashorthandtocorraltheinstinctstomakesurethatthose
standardsareobserved.
Buthesverymuchagainstthemoralizationofmuchofmorality.Moralityisaveryspecificthing
thataccordswithcertainhonorcodesandcertainstandardsofbehavior,andhedoesntbelieveina
blanketmoralunctionandablanketmoralresponsetolife.Insomeways,hisresponsetolifeisnot
moralintheacceptedsense.Itsamoralitywhichisaestheticandnuancedandhierarchicaland
poetic,butitisnotreallyamoralviewoflifethatregardseverystatementfromanabstractmoral
position.Thatswhyhewouldhavecontemptforpeoplebeingjudgedbytheiroccasionalremarks,
particularlyiftheywereoutrageousbecausehealwayslikesmakingoutrageousthrowaway
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remarksbecausetheyrepartsofonesindividuality.
RS:Iagree.Ithinkitsworthputtingalittlemorepressureonthispointandthatisthatthe
secularhumanistorpostmodernistacademicsandmoralthinkersandsoonare,fromaNietzschean
standpoint,stillintheJudeoChristianwake,sotospeak,inthesensethateveniftheydontbelieve
inGodthemselves,eveniftheyembraceallsortsofsexualdeviationsandsoonandsoforth,they
stilldohavethatsimilarmoralworldviewthatwantstojudgeeveryoneasequalbeforesomekindof
abstractmoralitythatinsomewaysseestheviolenceofgreatnessorthepathosofdistanceas
somethingthatsterribleandneedstobebroughtbackintoanequality.
So,insomeways,despitethefactthatthecontemporaryAmericanelitehavetotallyabandonedthe
medievalChristianheritageandthingslikethat,theyrestillthinkinginthatwayfromaNietzschean
perspective.
JB:Yes,theyare,andpossiblybecausetheyvedumpedthereligionintheirownheartstheyre
thinkinginamoreradicalway,becauseChristianityhasatranscendentelementwhichisgenuinely
religiousandwhichthereforecreatesapathosofdifferencebetweenforms.Thisenablesmany
Christianstobe,withoutknowingitparticularly,partlyRightwingbydefault.Andthereforemany
ChristiansarentthatChristianintheirmoralsinastrangesortofway.Theirmoralsareoftenmuch
harsher,bywhichIdontmeanjustpuritanical.Theirmoralsaremuchmorerealisticthanthe
religionwouldgiveyouatendencytothinkwouldbelikely.Whereaswhenyougetridofthereligion
yougetridofthathieratic,thatsteeplechasingorexaltedelementandyouclosedownthe
discourseprettymuchtoitsmoralsandwhatisthemoralunction,whichofcoursemanyChristians
themselveshavebeenawareof.
TherewasaMethodistandasocialistsoapboxoratorhereinthemiddleofthe20thcenturycalled
LordSoper,whoisforgottennowbuthewasnotoriousduringhislife,andheoncesaidthatthepart
ofChristianityhewasloyaltowastheNewTestament.HedidntlikeOldTestamentandhewasnt
makingsomeremarksaboutJudaismasafaith.WhathedidntlikeabouttheOldTestamentwas
thattheOldTestamentwastoobrutish,toopaganintermsofaspecificpeopleanditsrights,too
violent,toounredeemedbythecompassionthattheNewTestamentwouldbringtoit.Butthenof
courseChristianityworksbecauseitsadialecticaldiscourse,becausethehumanismseenindivine
termsandthecharityoftheNewTestamentbalancesthepatriarchalfuryoftheOldTestament,and
togethertheyformanoneness.IfChristianityhadnoharshsideatallitwouldhavenevergotten
anywhereandwouldhavecollapsed,becauseitwouldhavebeentoomonodimensionaltoconstruct
afaith.
Allfaithshavethis.Judaismisessentiallyjustafaithforonespecificpeopleandafewindividual
converts.Itdoesntseekconversionasamaxim.Islam,whichseeksthemaximumconversionofall,
evenbeyondChristianitytoadegree,retainsapagandimension.So,whenyougetridofreligion,
youdontgetridofmanyofthesecomplexitiesyoujustelidethemintoanotherform.
TheresanaddedcomplexityintheUnitedStates,becausetheelitesstillgiveritualisticobeisanceto
formsofnormativeChristianityaswediscussedlasttime.TheeliteintheUnitedStatesworshipsin
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aChristianwaywhichtheeliteinWesternEuropedoesnotanddoesnotfeeltheneedto.Butyoure
rightinthinking,asIwould,thatthatslargelysyntheticnowanditsgottothepointwhereits
onlybecauseofpopularpressureandaformofconformismthattheygoalongwiththissocial
Christianity,whichtheyvelongsinceceasedtobelievein.
ButinrelationtoNietzschesmorals,NietzschesmoralsareatotalrefutationofradicalChristianity,
somethinglikeQuakerisminthemiddleofChristianitybeginstoleaveoffofitself,andsecular
humanistnorms.Itsareversalofallofthose,andthatswhyLeftwingerswhodislikeNietzschewill
retreatintosayinghesafascist,andhesanantihumanist,andhessomebodywhoreally
advocatesthebrutalityofstrength,andhessomebodywhosgotnotimefortheweakatall,and
thinksthattheweakenjoyandhavenorights.When,ofcourse,hedoes!Hethinkstheweakhave
therighttobedominated.
RS:Icompletelyagree.Justtoaddonequickthingontopofthatintermsofthelossofthe
religiosityofChristianityanditsdissolutionintoabstractmorality.Itsworthsayingthatsomeone
likeCharlesMartel,hisideaoftheChristendomthathewasdefendingwasaveryparticularistkind
ofthing.Hewasdefendinghispeople,hiswayoflife,Europeasawhole,andoncewevelostthose
thingseitherthroughthepostmodernconsumeristworldorthroughpoliticalcorrectnessthat
Christianitybecomessomethingaltogetherdifferentandsomethingthatmightevenbeanti
civilizationalonsomelevel.
Withoutgoingfurtherintothat,Idliketobringourconversationtoacloseinasomewhatmore
speculativefashionandthatistotalkalittlebitaboutNietzschespoliticalphilosophy,eventhough
henevercodifiedthatinthewaythathedidhismoralphilosophyandepistemology.
Letmejustthrowoutacoupleofideasherethathavealwaysstruckmeasinteresting.AsI
mentionedearlierinourconversationandyoumentionedtoo,Nietzschehadakindofcontemptfor
GermannationalismandantiSemitism.Hethoughtitwasprovincialandstupidandworthyonlyof
beerdrinkers,buthewashardlysomecitizenoftheworldoralibertarianoranythinglikethat.
HehadthisconceptofaEuropeanempirearisinginthefutureandcertainlyifyoulookathislater
workslikeEcceHomo,hisautobiography,heseeshispoliticalphilosophyasarisinginsomekindof
apocalypticexplosionofhurricanesandearthquakes.Heusesallofthosewordsandyoucansee
somethingevenwiththewilltopowerhellspeculateaboutmajoreugenicsprojectsandhetalksin
someletters,IliketheideathatEuropeisrearming.Theresgoingtobeacataclysm.
So,Jonathan,Ithinkalloftheseideasarequiteexciting.Justtalkalittlebitaboutwhatyou
thoughtNietzschespoliticalvisionormetapoliticalvisionwasforthefuture.ThisideaofEuropeand
alsothisideaofaChristianEuropeancivilizationselfdestructingandalmostdestroyingitself,which
isofcourseaquitepropheticthoughtonhispart.So,talkalittleaboutthat,Nietzsches
metapolitics.
JB:Yes,Ithinkitsimportanttostressitsametapolitics,because,asyousay,henever
adumbratedclearlyapoliticalstanceorpoliticalprofile.Mostphilosophersdosketchinapolitical
philosophyeveniftheydisregarditoreveniftheyregarditasaminorpartoftheirvision.Youcan
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regardHeideggersinvolvementinaverycontroversialtypeofpolitics,ifonlyforabriefmoment,as
partandparcelofthat.
Butalthoughhedidntsketchoutanarrowlydrawnpolitics,metapolitically,Nietzschesideasin
manywaysarequiteclear.TheresafamouschapteronNietzscheinBertrandRussellsHistoryof
WesternPhilosophyinwhichBertrandRussell,whodislikedNietzscheintensely,lookedupandcould
heartheGermanaircraftoverheadbecauseitwasduringtheBlitzandsaid,Nietzscheschildrenare
bombingmeevenasIwritetheseparagraphsabouthim.
Theresadegreetowhich,althoughRusselllaterapologizedforthecrudityandpropagandisticworth
ofthatchapter,therearemetapoliticalelementsoftruththereeveninitsfalsehood.Itstrueand
falseatoneandthesametime.Indeed,oneofthethingsonecansayaboutNietzschespoliticsand
politicalstance,metapoliticallyderived,istrueandfalsesimultaneously.Itsliketherewasafamous
pamphletabouthimduringtheFirstWorldWarbyaclassicist,IthinkBarkerofOxfordUniversity,
whotalkedaboutNietzschebeingthegreatphilosopheroftheGermanReichandtheGerman
authoritarianmilitarismandKaiserdomandPrussianism,bywhichofcoursehemeanttheforcesof
theSecondImperialGermanywhichBritainwasthenwagingwaragainstwithFrance.
So,theresalwaysbeenthismisinterpretationatacallowlevelthatNietzscheisafundamentally
Germanicthinkerwhorepresents,ifyoulike,GermandomandaGermannationalistdesirefor
dominion,whenthespiritofNietzscheprobablydoesrepresentthatbutthetextualfactsdonot.
NietzschewasinrebellionagainstthecenterRightandRightconformistattitudesofhiseraas
particularlyepitomizedinhisownfamilybyhisbrotherinlawFrster,whoheregardedasa
blockheadoraDummkopf,andhehadalloftheviewsthatNietzschesliberalsupportersenabled
Nietzschetoescapefrominthemiddleofthe20thcentury,becausewithouttheWalterKaufmanns
ofthisworld,withouttheirrevisionistculturaljobonNietzsche,Nietzschemighthavegonedownthe
memoryhole.
AlotofliberalthinkerswhoadmireNietzschefordifferentreasonsoftheirowneitherbecause
theywerentChristiansorbecausetheyhadpaganattitudesorbecausetheyjustlikeddissident
nonconformityforitsownsakeorbecausetheyrealizedhewasacomplicatedthinkerwhoshouldnt
bepoliticallytraduced,whateverthereasonspeoplelikeR.J.Hollingdale,whodidmanyofthe
translationsofNietzscheinthemiddleofthe20thcenturyintheBritishIsles,andKaufmanninthe
UnitedStates,whodidlikewise,wereimportantforpreventinghimfromgoingdownthememory
hole.
Justbecausehesagreatphilosopher,theresnoreasonwhythatcouldnthavehappened.Itcould
havehappenedvery,veryeasilywhenhisviewswereconflatedinacomplicatedwaywiththoseof
hisbrotherinlaw,andhewouldhavebeenthoughtofasjustaGermannationalist.
WitheverythinginNietzsche,onecomesupagainstsublimation.Youcomeupagainst
exteriorization,thecastingofanewthingbeyonditselftocreatelargerandlargelinesofforce.So,
hesnotaGermannationalistoranationstatenationalist,buthesaEuropeannationalist,andhes
aWesternnationalist,andhesacivicnationalistofWesternculture.So,whatwouldbenationalin
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anotherpersonistransliteratedintosomethingbroaderandbolderandinsomewaysmoreaugust,
insomewaysmorereligiousgivenhissortofobviousirreligiosityoftemperamentatleastatone
level.
ItsthesamewiththevexedissueofwhatiscalledantiSemitismandwhatisnot.Fromaliteral
perspective,NietzscheistheleastantiSemiticofthinkers,particularlyintheGermanyofhisera.
Again,hereactedverybadlyagainsthisbrotherinlawsvlkischantiSemitismofthatera.Andyet,
ofcourse,theextremityofNietzschesantiChristianity,theradicalismwithwhichhebelaborsthe
Christianreligion,thedegreetowhichheholdsitincontradistinctiontoaEuropeanethicofmanor
aEuropeanaestheticofmanhasgivenriseforsomethinkerswhoseethathisantiChristianityisa
formofantiSemitism,becausealthoughhenevercursestheJewsforcreatingthecircumstances
outofwhichChristianityarose,thereisadegreetowhichheconsidersChristianitytobepoisonous
inrelationtotheEuropeaninheritance.
So,putrathertendentiously,whatinacruderormorebasiccharactermighthavebeenGerman
vlkischnessandantiSemitism,inhimiscivilizationalEuropeannessandantiChristianity.So,its
almostasifhewontbehideboundbytheforcesoflessermen.HesratherasimilarfiguretoErnst
Jngerlaterinthe20thcenturyand,althoughhescomplicitwithallsortsofthings,hewasnever
entirelyofthem,andthereforeheremainedapart,aloof,andalone,andtheresthissortoflonely
demigodtrajectoryoutsideofthings.
Tocomebacktotheideaofacataclysmandthingschanging.Certainly,hewasawareofallthe
nationalistictensionsinEuropebuildingfromthedefeatofFranceatSedanintheFrancoPrussian
War,whichheofcoursetookpartinasamedicalorderly,asanambulancedriver.Hewaswellaware
thatacombustionwascoming,andhecouldsensetheenergieswhichwouldleaduptotheFirst
WorldWar,thisgreatoutpouringofforcebetweentheEuropeanpeoplesastheybattledinalliance
witheachotherforsupremacy.
Hecouldalsoprobablyunderstandsomeofthetremorswhichwouldshaketheworldinrelationto
whatlaterwouldbetheBolshevikRevolutionandattendantrevolutions.Certainly,heneverquite
saidit,butyoucanimagineifhehadlivedlongerhewouldhaverealizedthatoneofthemasksthat
Caesarismwouldwearinthe20thcenturywouldbeamassmask,wherebythemasseswouldbe
enslavedalloveragainbyanideologysuchasCommunismwhichsaiditwasseekingnothingbut
theirliberation.Becausehisviewoflifewasparadoxicalandhelovedparadoxwhichistheessenceof
tragedy,andhesawlifeintragictermsortragichues.
Therefore,aNietzscheananalysisoftheentireprognosisofCommunism,wherebyyouhaveinthe
1870sapurelyidealisticideologywhichby191718hastakenoveroneofthefoundational
Europeanstatesandcreatedacharnelhousewhichwilllaterbecomeaslavelaborsocietywhichwill
thenalsofireandhardenuntilliberalsfromwithinthatsystemtakeitoverattheendandresolveit
peacefullyfromwithin.Somethingthatwasnotdiscernibleearlieron,byanymeans.Andnowits
collapsedintohistoryandyouwonder,eventhoughitwasonly20yearsback,ifitwaseverthere.
Thatsoneareaaboutwhichhecouldntcomment,becauseitlayafterhisdeath,butitspartand
parcelofthesecataclysmsthathesensesarecoming.
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HesnotdefinitiveinrelationtoanewCaesarisminthewaythatSpenglerisattheendofThe
DeclineoftheWestwhenSpenglersaysthatalthoughwerelivinginaneraofdeclinetherewillbe
revanchists.Therewillbeattemptsatcounterintuitivethrustsagainsttheprospectofdecline,of
whichCaesarisminEuropewillbeone.
Buthecertainlythoughtthatthemassescantleadacivilization,whichmeanstheyhavetobeled.
Youeitherdupethembysayingthatyoullleadthemonbehalfoftheirownideologyinother
words,youredoingitintheinterestsofthemassesandyouredoingitinthenameofvouchsafed
theirqualityofworthandpurposeoryoudoitwithsomethingharsherandessentiallystentorian
andmoreOldWorldagainsttheinterestsofthemasses.Somepeople,ofcourse,wouldthinkthat
hismentalillness,whichwascatchingupwithhimtowardstheendofhislife,particularlyintexts
likeEcceHomowheretheresmuchtalkofphilosophizingwithahammerandthatsortofthingand
incertainsectionsofWilltoPower,arecatchingupwithhiminhistalkofcataclysmsandbursting
damsandcyclonicfrenziesandsuchlike.ButtheresadegreetowhichIthinktheseareemotional
rhapsodieswhicharemusicalinawayjustashisfirstbookwasheavilyimpregnatedwithWagners
presenceandwasheavilytodowithmusic.
MusicwasakeyartformforNietzsche,becauseyoucanloseyourselfinmusicandbecome
somethingelse.Theideaofenclosure:someonewholistenstoBeethovenbecomes,ifonlyfora
coupleofmoments,BeethovenoranalogoustothespiritofBeethoven,andsomebodywho
intoxicatesthemselveswithEuropesfuturecaninlanguagebecomepartofthatveryforward
progressionintothefuturewhichnoneofuscanentirelychartbutwhichweallhaveaglimpseof.
Ithink,inrelationtothecurrentstateofpresentmodernity,thefactthathesurvived,thefactthat
FreudandMarxhavewornfarlesswell,isanotableandinterestingpointforthefuture.Ialsothink
thatanyRightthatsgotafuturewillhavetopartlybaseitselfaroundNietzschesthinkingasIhave
alwaysdone.Thisisverydifficultelectorally,becausetheressomuchofachargeleftinChristianity,
somuchofacondensercellbatterywithabigchargeonitleftthereintermsofpracticalpolitics,
particularlyinasocietyliketheUnitedStates.ButIthinkthesadtruthisthatforanelite
Nietzschesway,withoutantagonizingChristianitytoomuchbyabitofsleightofhandwheretexts
likeTheAntiChristcanbeputdowntowardsthebottomofthepileandtextslikeThusSpake
Zarathustracanbeputontop,soafewgamesmayhavetobeplayedjustasLeftwing
interpretationsofNietzschebyDeleuzeandGuattariandothersarealsoplayingtheirowngames..
.mayhavetobedone.ButIdothinkthataNewRightthatcallsitselfsuchwillhavetobaseitself
aroundthegreatestthinkerofthenonLeftthatcanbefoundwhoisvisible,whoisdeterminedto
existinthiscurrenttimeonhisowntermsaswellasthatofhismoreshallowconspiratorsand
detractors.
Andalso,theveryfactthathesthereandisadmiredandispartlyreveredbyallsortsofpeoplewho
havenotimeforaproportionofhisviewswehaventevendiscussedhisviewsaboutfeminism,
forexample,whicharesooutofsyncwiththiscurrenteraastobealmostsortofobsoleteformsof
19thcenturypastiche,becausehewouldnthaveevengivenwomenthevote,hewouldnthave
eventoleratedfemaleinvolvementinpracticalpolitics.Theresagreatsilenceabouthisattitudeson
allofthosefronts,sotheveryfactthatintheReclaimtheNightcampusesinNorthAmericaoneof
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themostsexistphilosophersofalltimecanbeworshipedasabitofademigodisitselfan
interestingconundrum.Italsoshowsyouhowfarpeoplecangotoavoidthingsaboutsomebody
thattheyotherwiseadmire.
RS:Yes,Ithinkthatstrue.Tobringthisconversationtoacloseandtosumupwhatyouresaying
inthislastpassage,Nietzschesdayhasntcomeyet.HeisnotreducibletoGermannationalism
and,inaway,inhiskindofEuropeannationalismorhisconceptofaEuropeanempire,heisvery
muchwithusontheavantgardeofRightwingthinkingtoday.Ithinkifthereisavanguardinour
movementyouthinkofsomeonelikeGuillaumeFayeandothersweresayingthatthe
provincialnationalismcanhaveitsproblemsandinourcurrentgeopoliticalsituationaconceptof
EuropeandEuropeannationalismistheonethatismostrelevantandistheonethatcandefeatour
enemies.So,hopefully,Nietzschesdaywillcome.
Jonathan,IdcertainlyliketohaveanotherhundredconversationswithyouaboutNietzscheand
othertopics,butIthinkweshouldputabookmarkinthisconversationforthetimebeing.Ithink
weendedupataveryinterestingplace.ButthankyouforyourtimeandyourinsighttoNietzsche.
Idlovetohaveyoubackontheprogramagainsoon.
JB:Yes,thanksverymuch!Idwelcomeitveryearnestly.Thanksagain!

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