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Tag: Friedrich Nietzsche

The Absolute Essence

What lies buried shall be unearthed, and who has been rendered oblivious shall be invited to remember. Working towards this is the main task imposed on us.

What lies buried shall be unearthed, and who has been rendered oblivious shall be invited to remember. Working towards this is the main task imposed on us.

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Politics in the Grand Style

Nietzsche, the Judeo-Christian Legacy, and European Unification Note I first wrote this essay in the winter of 2007, as part of my graduate study at Duke University. The course was…

Nietzsche, the Judeo-Christian Legacy, and European Unification


Note

I first wrote this essay in the winter of 2007, as part of my graduate study at Duke University. The course was “Nietzsche’s Politics,” taught by Michael Gillespie in the Political Science Department. I have maintained the essay substantially as it was when I handed it in. Much honing has taken place, for clarity, flow, and depth, but the structure is unchanged.

I had first encountered Nietzsche’s writings in the year 2000 in my extracurricular readings while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Reading him marked a turning point in my life; indeed, I find it hard to imagine what my approach to thinking about society, politics, and religion would be without Nietzsche as educator. Writing isn’t just a form of communication, but a process of discovery for the author. Composing this essay some 10 years ago, I was moving beyond a raw, youthful understanding of Nietzsche’s critiques of Christian morality, democracy, and the modern age, and towards his deeper, in many ways, hidden vision for the transformation of the world. Everybody knows that Nietzsche said “God is dead”; few recognize why and how this catastrophe occurred; what the consequences will be; and how European man can overcome this event.

This essay is about politics. Nietzsche, of course, never put forth any straight-forward “political program,” though his works are littered with sharp opinions on the passing scene. He does, however, develop a meta-politics. This is not “political science” in the sense that it is used today, but politics understood from the standpoint of the transcendent. It is the European crisis—the end game of the Judeo-Christian legacy, the death of God—that births the “good Europeans” and “artist tyrants” who, Nietzsche expects, will rule the continent

Revisiting this essay now, it strikes me as unfinished. There are many tantalizing threads that should be followed further and more flesh put on the bone. I’m in the process of expanding it as part of a book, which will result in its doubling in size. I thought it would be appropriate, however, to publish the original essay as is, so as to give readers an understanding of my thought-process and development.

The Ethno-State has just now entered the popular lexicon, sparking predictable outrage, some productive debate, and no small amount of confusion. The term itself, along with many of its components, I borrowed from the American writer Wilmot Robertson. The deeper character of the Ethno-State, as I view it, is Nietzschean at its core. I hope this essay makes that clear.


Today the Christian can feel anti-Jewish without realizing that he himself is the ultimate Jewish consequence

~The Anti-Christ

As a Saxon, [my mother] was a great admirer of Napoleon; it could be that I still am, too.

~Ecce Homo


Introduction

1. From Athens to Rome

The imperium Romanum . . . this most admirable work of art in the grand style was a beginning; its construction was designed to prove itself through thousands of years: until today nobody has built again like this, nobody has dreamed of building in such proportions sub specie aeterni. This organization was firm enough to withstand bad emperors: the accident of persons may not have anything to do with such matters—first principle of all grand architecture. But it was not firm enough against the most corrupt kind of corruption, against the Christians (AC §58).1

In this selection from one of the concluding aphorisms of The Antichrist (1888), Nietzsche’s most familiar tropes are fully mobilized: here we find his grandiose, shocking admiration of the powerful master-class . . . his aristocratic distain for Christians as rabble . . . his inhuman perspective in which the cultural achievement in Rome is worth a few “bad emperors” (and countless deaths) . . .

But while the passage might be characteristically “Nietzschean,” there is also much about it that is surprising. The Antichrist was conceived by Nietzsche as the first book of his planned three-volume Revaluation of All Values, what was to be the definitive statement of his philosophy. The fact that Nietzsche chose to image Rome—and specifically not Athens—in what is ultimately a kind of “political testament” goes against much that is taken for granted in Nietzsche scholarship.2 There is, of course, good reason for this. In Nietzsche first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), he posited the tragic age of Aeschylus and Sophocles as the unreachable standard of cultural achievement. Even if he later came to view many of his claims in this volume as “embarrassing” (BT P (1886)), it seems reasonable to assume that Athens remained for him a political icon.

Nietzsche’s most important writings on Greek culture came at a point in his life when he was most overtly politically engaged, and his attitude towards 5th-century Athens should be understood within that context. The Birth of Tragedy was written in the wake of German national unification, which occurred months before its publication. And at this time, Nietzsche was, effectively, a German nationalist; he distanced himself from militarism and was critical of the state, but he was a nationalist nonetheless. Nietzsche imaged Germany’s rise to greatness not only through military victory over the French but through a revived cultural spirit. He (in)famously claimed, “[F]or it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified”(BT §5); and for him, the political achievements of both 5th-century Athens and 19th-century Germany would be measured though their cultural output. In this line, it was Kant and Schopenhauer who were, in Nietzsche’s eyes, courageous enough to “critique reason,” to adumbrated aspects of existence outside Socratean rationality. They thereby introduced “an infinitely profounder and more serious view of ethical problems and art which we may designate as Dionysian wisdom comprised in concepts” (BT §19). They were, in this way, able to approach the tragic wisdom of Aeschylus. This new Weltanschauung would find expression in Wagner’s music-dramas—the combination of the Apollonian heroic outlook with Dionysian “infinite melody”—to be performed publicly at the annual Bayreuth festival.

On all levels, Nietzsche understood this new cultural project to be ethno-nationalist in character:

[W]e have the feeling that the birth of a tragic age simply means a return to itself of the German spirit, a blessed rediscovery after powerful intrusive influences had for a long time compelled it . . . being attached to the lead strings of a Romanic civilization (BT §19 [emphasis added]).

Anticipating the deification of German Kultur at the expense of Western, French Zivilization in the 1920s and ‘30s, Nietzsche here imagines the triumph of the German spirit as specifically anti-imperial in character; it would be a great throwing off of the legacy of Rome, Christianity, and the supra-ethnic, supra-national institutions that had defined “Europe” for two millennia.

By Nietzsche’s middle and late periods, much had changed. Far from being an ethno-nationalist, Nietzsche filled these writings with numerous barbs and insults against all things German. In terms of philosophy and culture, Nietzsche claims that the “origin of the German Spirit” is not Kant and Schopenhauer but beer-guzzling and “distressed intestines” (EH II: §1). Wagner and Bayreuth become an expression of decadence—an opera festival for philistines and the nouveau riche, not a rebirth of tragedy. Politically, he came to reject unequivocally Bismarck, Wilhelm I, and the Reich. In turn, Nietzsche’s stance towards the Greeks also changed. Although a deep admiration never waned, Athenian culture no longer served as a touchstone and cultural model in these writings. By his final productive years, Nietzsche had become almost disenchanted: with the exception of Thucydides, Nietzsche reports to have lost interest in the literature of ancient Athens. Historical models were dramatically redefined: “[The Greeks] cannot mean as much to us as the Romans” (TI X: §2). On one level, Nietzsche’s turn from Athens (and Bayreuth) to Rome is indicative of an interest in moving beyond the polis and ethnos (the two most fundamental concepts of Greek politics and cultural identity) in favor of imperial hegemony and a synthesis of European ethnicities. In a way, Nietzsche’s imperialism can be seen as an outgrowth of his earlier cultural nationalism: dreams of German unification were morphing into dreams of a German empire.3

On another level, Nietzsche’s transformation marks a move from art to politics—or rather a view that politics was the grandest genre of art of them all. A culture cannot be justified solely by culture, whether Attic Tragedy or Wagnerian music-drama; instead, Nietzsche begins to view culture as arising in the shadow of the state. The state itself becomes the centerpiece of all cultural, social, and intellectual development. Nietzsche remarks that “the grand style”—that is, the imperial political structure—is “no longer mere art but [has] become reality, truth, life” (AC § 59). Not Athens . . . not Bayreuth . . . but Rome.

2. Nietzsche and the Unpolitical

It is not difficult to cull sundry political opinions from out Nietzsche’s texts and discover what he thought about public intellectuals like David Strauss and Heinrich von Treitschke, not to mention Bismarck and the Kaiser. But then Nietzsche famously called himself the “last anti-political German” (EH I: §3), and he did not formulate anything resembling a political program or “pragmatic” agenda. Reconstructing such things risks wishful thinking or forgery. Where Nietzsche does sustain a discussion of politics, his “political philosophy” is often grandiose bordering on the fantastical. Unconcerned with the vagaries of parliamentary majorities or policy-analysis, Nietzsche instead focused on “Cesare Borgia as Pope” and the creation of a new aristocracy. At other times, when Nietzsche discusses politics, he seems to actually be concerned with something else. As Tracy Strong observes, “The one attempt Nietzsche makes at providing a unified perspective explicitly on politics . . . to our confusion, is essentially a discussion of music” 4. Still, as the above discussion of Athens and Rome reveals, politics are extremely important to Nietzsche and inform, if always subtly, his wider philosophy.

Throughout the 20th century, interpretations of Nietzsche’s political thought have, generally speaking, shifted between two poles—1933 and 1968. First, there is the Nietzsche of “will to power,” “the overman,” “the blond beast,” “the anti-Christ,” a thinker who is an opponent of democracy, the herd, and modernity itself.5 But on the other hand, there is the Nietzsche of immoralism, self-creation, “life as a work of art,” a thinker who becomes the forefather of Foucault, Derrida, and much of the postmodern Left.6 Both of these political interpretations seem equally right and wrong. The main problem is that associating Nietzsche with political movements with which he was never involved blocks consideration of his political philosophy on its own terms. Not coincidentally, these kinds of interpretations have also blocked serious consideration of what Nietzsche explicitly—though always elliptically—claims to be the “politics of the future”—Europeanism.

By 1887, Nietzsche was already speaking of himself and his equals as “good Europeans, Europe’s heirs, the rich superabundant, but also abundantly obligated heirs of two millennia of the European spirit” (GS V: §377).7 A year earlier, his disenchantment with nationalism was explicit and he had already formulated the basis of a supra-national project:

Owing to the pathological estrangement which the insanity of nationality has induced, and still induces, among the peoples of Europe; owing also to the shortsightedness and quick-handed politicians who are at the top today with the help of this insanity, without any inkling that their separatist policies can of necessity only be entr’acte policies; owing to all this and much else that today simply cannot be said, the most unequivocal portents are now being overlooked, or arbitrarily and mendaciously reinterpreted—that Europe wants to become one. (BGE VIII: §256)

German ethno-nationalism was expunged from Nietzsche’s consciousness. While in The Birth of Tragedy, he speaks of German particularism breaking out from under the “servitude” of “Romanic Civilization,” by his mature period, he stresses the need for a new supra-national order. Nietzsche discounts ethnicity and goes as far as to imagine the possibilities (and dangers) of a “new synthesis”—the mixing of the European races. During the writing of The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche was a prominent member of the ideologically anti-Semitic “Bayreuth Circle” surrounding Richard Wagner (though it is not clear that Nietzsche ever shared all of their views). After his break, Nietzsche began to praise the Jews a ripe for the “mastery over Europe” and as powerful precisely through their “nomadic,” international culture (BGE VIII: §244, §251).

But even if it is uncontroversial that in Nietzsche’s mature thought he embraced a kind of Europeanism, the question remains of exactly why. Without doubt, Nietzsche did not support “Europe”—and reject ethno-nationalism and anti-Semitism—out of a sense of “liberalism,” “tolerance,” or “multiculturalism.” To the contrary, Nietzsche wanted the opposite of these things and even described the potential leaders of Europe as “tyrants” (BGE VIII: §242). Nietzsche was first and foremost a philosopher, and he adopted a political philosophy out of philosophic necessity. “Politics in the grand style” did not emerge from an ideology (at least in the simplistic sense of the term) nor from blind pragmatism. Instead, as I hope to demonstrate, Nietzsche forges his politics in the realm of the transcendental, as a response to a cultural and spiritual crisis on the continent—a crisis that affects not only politics but theology, epistemology, and aesthetics.

3. Politics of Crisis

In Ecce Homo (1888), Nietzsche mentions that his mother, Franziska Oehler, married his father in Eilenburg in 1813, the “great war year” in which Napoleon entered the city. Nietzsche relates that, “As a Saxon, she was a great admirer of Napoleon; it could be that I still am, too” (EH I: §3). It is certainly not a stretch to say that the empereur and his attempted unification of Europe represent for Nietzsche a manifestation of the imperial politics he most admired; and, in many ways, Nietzsche’s view of Napoleon encapsulates the way “great politics” functions within his philosophy. It is important to note that Nietzsche’s esteem for Napoleon should not be viewed as mere “hero worship” or as an example of “Great Man history.” Nietzsche never admired Napoleon for his skill in getting to the top, that is, for his “will to power” in the most individualistic and simplistic of meanings. Napoleon instead represents for Nietzsche a culmination of cultural energies: “The history of Napoleon’s reception is almost the history of the highest happiness attained by the whole century in its most valuable human beings and moments (BGE V: §199). As the French Revolution inaugurated the zenith of democratic leveling (and popular ressentiment), Nietzsche viewed Napoleon as a kind of “signpost to the other path,” that of the great and terrible aristocracy of antiquity and the Italian Renaissance. Napoleon was not important for Nietzsche as a “French patriot” and less so as a great individual; he held meaning as a realization of the spirit: Napoleon was “the problem of the noble ideal as such made flesh . . . the synthesis of the inhuman and the superhuman (GM I: §16).

Just as Napoleon embodied a cultural problem, Nietzsche formulates his definition of “great politics” around what he perceives as a European-wide spiritual and cultural crisis. In describing “why I am a destiny,” Nietzsche imagines “politics in the grand style” as encompassing both the terrible truth that Nietzsche’s philosophy announces to the world and the “war of spirits” that must follow:

For when truth enters into a fight with the lies of millennia, we shall have upheavals, a convulsion of earthquakes, a moving of mountains and valleys, the like of which has never been dreamed of. The concept of politics will have merged entirely with a war of spirits; all power structures of the old society will have been exploded—all of them are based on lies: there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth. It is only beginning with me that the earth knows great politics. (EC IV: §1)

This is a particularly pregnant passage, and it is related to a number of concerns of this essay. For now, it is important to recognize that Nietzsche views “great politics” as emerging directly from a crisis of his age. In announcing the demise of the basic structures of European society, Nietzsche sees himself as unleashing “great politics,” a kind of combination of actual war and a contestation of value.

What Nietzsche views as comprising his “truth” against “the lies of millennia” is, at its core, his announcement that “God is dead.”

Those who only know one thing about Nietzsche usually know the half-truth that he loathed Christianity and was a militant atheist. While it is true that Nietzsche did present himself as “the Antichrist,” to say that Nietzsche was writing polemically against Christianity—like some proto-Christopher Hitchens—is to misconstrue him entirely. Nietzsche hardly thought that the Europeans of the future—perhaps led by a few “overmen” who had read Thus Spoke Zarathustra—could recognize the faults of Christianity and then simply “get rid of it.” To think so is to vastly underestimate the complexity—and, indeed, the ambivalence—of Nietzsche’s critique. Nietzsche did not view Judeo-Christianity8 and its legacy as mere “lies”—as the “opium of the masses” in Marx’s language or the “God Delusion,” to borrow a phrase from the self-styled “New Atheists.” He viewed Christianity much like a traditional conservative—as the most basic grounding of what has come to be called “The West.” To actually oppose Judeo-Christianity—as Nietzsche imagines himself as doing in the passage from Ecce Homo—is not only to risk catastrophe but also all assurance of a future. As I will demonstrate below, Nietzsche questioned the very ability of Europeans to think outside the confines of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Simply exiting Christianity, or transcendent thinking in general, was not an option.

Europeans had not simply “lost faith.” God is dead because the “the belief in the Christian God has become unbelievable” (GS V: §343). Put into other words, the Human and Natural Sciences (“Enlightenment” in the broadest sense) pursued its “will to know” to the point that it shattered the religious basis of European societies. What remains most important about this conception is that Nietzsche specifically does not view Enlightenment and the “will to know” as emerging from a system of knowledge and values outside or alien to Judeo-Christianity. Nietzsche would never deny that the Sciences were often set opposed to the Church (and vice-versa); however, for him, the “will to know” lies at the center of the Judeo-Christian tradition.9 Moreover, as I will discuss below, “truth” functions within Judeo-Christianity in a way that differs in prominence and quality from other historical religions.

In this line, Nietzsche’s supra-nationalism—his Europeanism—is directly linked to his expansive view of the influence of Judeo-Christianity. It is specifically Europe’s struggle with its Christian legacy that generates “great politics” and the need for a radical transformation. Nietzsche claims that the Judeo-Christian tradition has “created in Europe a magnificent tension of the spirit the like of which had never yet existed on earth: with so tense a bow we can now shoot for the most distant goals” (BGE P). It is this “tension”—Europe’s turning against itself—that can launch it into greater heights.

But even if Judeo-Christianity’s tension with the Enlightenment generates the European crisis, Nietzsche does not believe in the least that Enlightened politics—specifically nationalism, democracy, and liberalism—are well suited to address the problem. For Nietzsche, when a culture is in crisis, it must turn to “the grand style” in order to “unbend the bow.” Nietzsche seeks to construct a new kind of aristocratic politics that would not simply be “anti-Christian” but mark a transformation of the tradition. The “good Europeans”—the new masters and tyrants of the continent—will rise to power, not in polemical opposition to Judeo-Christianity, but by embodying the productive contradictions and antagonisms of its legacy.

I. Falling Apart / Coming Together

1. Shadows over Europe

Few thinkers have been as self-consciously hostile towards their age and milieu as Nietzsche. Fewer still have felt themselves to be so out of place, to have been literally born at the wrong time. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche presents himself as an epigone, as the (presumably last) “disciple of the god Dionysius.” This contrasts sharply with the forward-orientation in many of his other writings in which he claims to be a John the Baptist of “the philosophy of the future.” Perhaps Nietzsche is most honest when he critically admits that he is a product of his own age: “I am a decadent” (EH I: §2).

Without doubt, Nietzsche’s profound alienation from late 19th-century European culture had many personal causes: his various health problems, rejection by his peers, and the absence of adequate companionship being but a few. But far more importantly, Nietzsche’s particular animus towards European society resulted from the fact that he felt he knew his age all too well. More specifically, he believed himself to be fully aware of a cultural crisis beyond comparison, the consequences and implications of which would change utterly all facets of Europe. Being born both too early and too late, Nietzsche saw himself “stretched in the contradiction between today and tomorrow” (GS V: §343). As Cassandra, he foresees the coming catastrophe; as John the Baptist, he glimpse a new dawn.

An exact and concise description of the European crisis is difficult to put into words simply because Nietzsche develops this theme in a wide variety of manifestations. For the purpose of this essay, it is useful to look at a particularly poignant image of the crisis from the middle of Nietzsche’s career—his announcement of the “death of God” and the formation of “shadows over Europe” (GS V: §343).

It is of great importance to understand that Nietzsche’s famous announcement that God is dead is actually far more anthropological and phenomenological than it is theological. In Werner Dannhauser’s words, Nietzsche practices “historical atheism”: “The saying that God is dead implies that God once existed. God existed while one could believe in God; God is dead because belief in God has become impossible.”10 The vital questions thus become: Why did God die? and Who killed him? Nietzsche’s full formulation is that “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him [emphasis added]” (GS, §125). We killed him not simply through our loss of faith, for fervency comes and goes and can be lost and regained. Saying “scientists” or “atheists” killed God is equally unsatisfactory; for science as mere technical mastery does not touch the soul. God died over the course of the series of tumults that cut off European man from the transcendent. Copernicus removed him from the center of the cosmos . . . Galileo discovered that natural laws hold in the celestial spheres just as much as they do on Earth . . . Darwin demonstrated that man emerged from out of brutality and death . . . Individuals and specific discoveries are not important, as no single person killed God. And Nietzsche does not posit an aggressive “atheism” as a motivating factor; to the contrary, the scientists mentioned above were inspired by Christian faith. But to go on believing in the Christian God in the face of the modern experience was, for Nietzsche, a sign of childishness, denial, and cowardice. Nietzsche does not view natural “Enlightenment” as the highest form of wisdom, but he never underestimated its immense, catastrophic power.

Though the bad news has not yet been heeded by all, Nietzsche (and a select few) grasp that the death of the Christian God will be followed by the collapse of “the whole of our European morality.” Furthermore, the end of faith will instigate a “sequences of breakdown,” culminating in the destruction of the institutions and values based upon the Judeo-Christian moral system. The 20th century will witness nothing less than the eclipse of the sun.

In making such claims, Nietzsche might seem to have much in common with the pessimism of many conservatives of the late 19th century (and today), who viewed the end of faith as equally disastrous, and sometimes in equally grandiose terms. Yet Nietzsche’s perspective on the death of God is wholly different than that of such figures. Firstly, Nietzsche viewed the coming catastrophe as necessary; even if all of Europe does not yet recognize it, there is no hope for a Christian revival, for such a thing would inherently ring hollow. Nietzsche would not have been surprised by the decent of mainstream Christianity into self-esteem doctrines or community organizing.

Secondly, while the death of God is a disaster, Nietzsche sees it as containing great potential benefit. As stressed by Michael Allen Gillespie, what Nietzsche most opposed in Christianity is that it leads Europeans into believing that, after the collapse of Christian morality, life in general would have no meaning. But Nietzsche instead envisioned other types of men who, although disturbed by the death of God, accept the dilemma and learn to view it as an opportunity for a cultural transformation.11 In this line, Nietzsche’s tone in this aphorism moves from despairing to rhapsodic. The “shadows over Europe” lift to reveal a “new dawn,” and Nietzsche shifts to a new set of metaphors, imaging the “death of God” as a starting point for great new voyages of the spirit. Writing as one of the “free spirits” who understands the positive aspect of the collapse, Nietzsche ironically entitles Aphorism §343 “The Meaning of our Cheerfulness.”

Such passages deserve serious criticism on many levels.12 First and foremost, as pointed out by Gillespie, one might counter that Nietzsche vastly overrated the degree to which the European world would sink into suicidal, nihilistic despair. Although the years 1914-1945 might seem a fulfillment of Nietzsche’s prophecy, “If the intervening years have proven anything, it is that bourgeois society can weather the death of God without collapsing into either passive or active nihilism.”13 But for the purpose of this essay, it is of greatest importance to stress that Aphorism §343 only represents one aspect of Nietzsche’s conception of the European crisis, and by no means does it express the great complexities and ironies surrounding the death of God. Indeed, as Nietzsche begins Book V of The Gay Science with an apocalyptic vision, he follows it immediately with Aphorism §344 in which he stresses the long-term continuity of Judeo-Christian culture. While “The Meaning of our Cheerfulness” images a “new dawn,” Nietzsche juxtaposes it with an aphorism that reminds one of the presence of the past. Nietzsche approaches this recognition of the long duré of culture through a discourse on epistemology.

2. Piety and the Will to Truth

In Aphorism §344, “How we, too, are still Pious,” Nietzsche first observes that the “scientific spirit” of rational inquiry is one of testing and scrutinizing established convictions: for example, “does a heavier body actually fall faster than a lighter one?” Science is ultimately a process in which “convictions” are destroyed; those that crumble under scrutiny are discarded, and those that hold are no longer mere convictions but “knowledge” and “truth.” In describing this spirit, Nietzsche, no doubt, has in mind Descartes objective in his Meditations on First Philosophy (1641/47) to bring into question every single idea, perception, and premise in order to arrive at a firm ground for knowledge. This is certainly not anything that Nietzsche takes lightly; far from being an “irrationalist,” Nietzsche views the breaking down of conviction as the heart of any great philosophy:

[G]reat spirits are skeptics. Zarathustra is a skeptic. Strength, freedom which is born of the strength and overstrength of the spirit, proves itself by skepticism. Men of convictions are not worthy of the least consideration in fundamental questions of value and disvalue. Convictions are prisons” (AC §54).

But if science strives to knock down convictions, Nietzsche discerns a deeper, unspoken conviction undergirding the entire enterprise; it is one that is so pervasive and indispensable to science as a system that it can never be confronted directly: “We see that science also rests on a faith” (GS V: §344).14 This conviction is that “truth has value.”

The “value” of truth might seem self-evident; however, being that it is often the great liars and manipulators who come out on top, one should ask seriously: Why not deceive? Moreover, Why not allow oneself to be deceived? This is hardly facetious. Throughout his oeuvre, Nietzsche connects the acquisition of greater knowledge with pain.15 Some knowledge might have pragmatic value, and certainly Nietzsche would see “wonder” and “curiosity” underlying the “will to truth”; however, he views knowledge of the highest quality to be that which destroys the foundations of a culture and paralyzes an individual’s will to action. In his major treatise on historiography, Nietzsche associates knowledge with “the historical sense,” that is, scholarly historicism and boldly concludes that ignorance, forgetfulness, and the denial history is of great value to a people or culture:

No artist would ever paint a picture, no general would win a victory, no people would gain its freedom without first having longed for and struggled towards that end in such an nhistorical condition. Just as the man of action, in Goethe phrase, is always unscrupulous, so he is always ignorant too” (HSDL §1).

The man of profound knowledge might achieve a kind of power, but he is also prone to becoming a “Hamlet,” a man nauseated by knowing and thinking too much (see BT §7).

In Nietzsche’s mind, ”the value of truth” has a distinct origin, which I will discuss in the next section. Before this, it is useful to make some preliminary conclusions. Among these is the recognition that Nietzsche might not be as “postmodern” as is often thought. The idea that Nietzsche’s perspective on science is a refutation of truth and thus an assertion of “relativism” is doubtful. Zarathustra does not bring “relativism” to the world down from the mountaintop, but the terrible truth that God is dead. Any kind of defined system—whether it be Science, Christianity, or Buddhism—is based upon, in Walter Kaufmann’s words, “a number of primary assumptions from which [one] draws a net of inferences and thus deduces [the] system; but [one] cannot from within [the] system, establish the truth of his premises.”16 Nietzsche attempts a bold new experiment in which he turns the “will to truth” against those most fundamental assumptions—even against itself—and tests whether the whole system might hold, or not.

In that the search for truth is only rarely practical and usually proves deleterious, it can only acquire meaning through a system of value outside itself. It is Nietzsche’s radical conclusion in Aphorism §344 that it is the Judeo-Christian tradition that gave birth to the “will to truth—at all costs.” In a characteristic dialectical flip, it is Judeo-Christianity that birthed the sciences. It is in this way that Nietzsche ironically derives the title, “How we, too, are still Pious”:

[E]ven we seekers after knowledge today, we godless anti-metaphysicians, still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by a faith that is thousands of years old, that Christian faith . . . that God is the truth, that truth is divine. (GS V: §344)

It is thus exactly that which is most harmed by the will to truth that brought it into the world.

How religion would become so audacious as to value truth is a complicated story, and one that emerges from Nietzsche’s view of history and the place of the Jews, Christians, and national politics in the ancient world.

II. Peoples, Nobles, Slaves

1. Nations and their Gods

Whatever Nietzsche eventually thought of the German nation-state, all of his texts evince a certain esteem, even nostalgia, for ancient “peoples,” that is, historical races with their own culture and religion. As mentioned above, the Athenian ethnos was of central importance, but Nietzsche has similar reverence for other peoples of the ancient Mediterranean world and many across Europe and Asia. Nietzsche’s exact concept of a “people” is difficult to pin down. Obviously, the term is defined ethnically, and Nietzsche often uses “race” interchangeably with “people.”17 However, for Nietzsche, a “people is far more than a mere biological entity. Although never made explicit, Nietzsche’s anthropology was greatly informed by a kind of “theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.” In the words of Menahem Brinker, “A race is for him primarily a group of people united by their common life-experience which is interiorized and passed on from one generation to the next as cultural heritage and as inherited traits of character” 18. “National character” was forged over time.

Nietzsche’s concept of a people also had a prominent theological component: “A people which still believes in itself retains its own god. In him it reveres the conditions which let it prevail, its virtues—it projects its pleasure in itself, its feeling of power onto a being to whom one may offer thanks” (AC §16). Under a national god, a people would construct a formal morality and system of values that was informed by the conditions for their well-being and position in the world. As Zarathuatra exclaims in his speech “Of Self Overcoming,” “What [a] people believe to be good and evil betrays to me an ancient will to power” (Z II: 12). In the figure of the Hindu law-giver Manu—his thought expressed in his law book, Manu Smriti (circa 200 B.C.)—Nietzsche offers a concrete example of the legislator-cum-chief-cum-priest who forges a great people. Manu, who became revered in Hinduism as the forefather of the entire human race, succeeded in Nietzsche’s mind by raising his people to kind of cultural and religious perfection. After a long era of fragmentation and chaos, Manu took the best that was achieved in this period of “experimentation” and codified a single, timeless religion and system of values. Nietzsche describes Manu’s culture as reaching an “automatism of instinct” in which values had become unconscious. He created a “second nature.”

2. National Epistemology

Just as “peoples” are at the center of Nietzsche’s concept of theology and value, so are they of great importance to his major discourses on epistemology. More specifically, “a people” is directly connected in Nietzsche’s mind with his concept of the “will to truth” and the ways that this has manifested itself. Nietzsche’s most basic conclusion in this line is set down in Zarathustra in the aphorism “On the Famous Wise Men” (Z II: §8). Here, it is the “famous philosophers”—beloved by their communities—who, in claiming to have reached “truth,” have actually transformed the prejudices and superstitions of a people into dogma or philosophy. As he does throughout Zarathustra, Nietzsche encapsulates this idea in a striking image, and in this case, it is one that is highly satirical: the “famous wise man” is an ass pulling a cart. The “cart,” of course, represents “the people,” who are grateful to their ass-philosopher for his tireless efforts.

The sentiment that philosophers (or at least “famous” ones) are basically sophists and demagogues who “tell the people what they want to hear” is hardly new. However, this notion functions idiosyncratically within Nietzsche’s thought as a whole. Despite the obvious satire of the image, Nietzsche is not wholly opposed to “famous wise men.” As discussed above, Nietzsche has an irrepressible nostalgia for peoples who could write their “tables of good and evil” and were confident in themselves. For this, “famous wise men” and their “truths” were indispensable. In many ways, Nietzsche views the decadence and cultural barrenness of Europe as expressed by their inability to invent a new theology. In reference to the “strong races of Northern Europe,” Nietzsche laments that they never rejected the Christian God foisted upon them in the late Roman Empire, but instead allowed themselves to be defined by Judeo-Christianity: “[a]lmost two thousand years—and not a single new god!” (AC: §19).

National philosophers might have served their purpose; however, Nietzsche’s nostalgia has its limits, and he unequivocally rejects “national philosophy” as a worldview for Europe’s future. Nietzsche makes no effort to tell his age a quaint bedtime story or become Europe’s latest (or last) “famous wise man.”

Nietzsche’s sense that “national religions” (at least within the confines of Europe) are both impossible and undesirable has much to do with his understanding of the Judeo-Christian legacy. On one level, Christianity is for Nietzsche “just another religion,” and it shares much in common with the national religions. In this case, it is an expression of the will to power of the down-trodden within the imperium Romanum, and one can criticize it as such (as Nietzsche does at length in the Genealogy). But Nietzsche views this sociological insight as only of partial importance in assessing Judeo-Christianity and its impact on Europe.

From the beginning, Nietzsche claims that Christianity was, at heart, never a national religion, and its dynamic was always expansive and supranational in character. In Nietzsche’s words, Christianity was “not a function of a race—it turned to every kind of man who was disinherited by life, it had its allies everywhere” (AC §51). From this broad base of support in the ancient world, the Judeo-Christian legacy surfaced, in a variety of manifestations, and came to inform all peoples and classes of Europe (and beyond). Christianity thus lacked completely other religions’ basis in the sustenance of a distinct group, with its good and evil, high and low, sentiments and attachments.

But beyond this matter of scale, Nietzsche viewed Christianity as different in character from national religions. Much of this is expressed in the fact that Nietzsche views Christianity as possessing an epistemology radically different from the “national epistemologies” described above. More specifically, Judeo-Christianity has a “will to truth” like no other. In Nietzsche’s mind, much of this results from Judaism’s place in the ancient world. In order to properly understand Judeo-Christian epistemology, one must turn to the story of the Jews.

3. Judaism and the Jews

It is well known that Nietzsche was a fierce anti-anti-Semite. It was not particularly difficult for Nietzsche to take this position in the latter part of his career. Anti-Semitism was indelibly linked in his mind with Wagner and the Bayreuth circle, his sister’s poor choice in husbands, and pompous German nationalism—that is to say, everything which Nietzsche found most distasteful and felt that he had to overcome in himself. Nietzsche’s hatred of anti-Semitism culminated in his letter sent to Franz Overbeck, at the onset of madness in January of 1889, announcing that he was “having all anti-Semites shot.”19 But then, being an anti-anti-Semite doesn’t quite mean that he was a philo-Semite, nor does it quite tell us what Nietzsche thought of the Jews. Examined closely, Nietzsche’s depictions of Judaism and the Jews reveals that he was intensely ambivalent about both—a certain anti-Semitism and penchant for double-edged compliments are combined with an enduring admiration. In his view, the Jews are, at the same time, a strong heroic people, a slave-race most responsible for the decline of aristocratic values, and potential “good Europeans.”20

Nietzsche unequivocally admires the Biblical Jewish people, and uses rapturous language to describe the “Homeric” world of the Pentateuch: “great human beings, a heroic landscape, and something of the very rarest quality in the world, the incomparable naïveté of the strong heart; what is more I find a people” (GM III: §22). At this point in time, Judaism was a healthy and powerful national religion. Being that Jews and their political order were “in the right, that is, natural relationship to all things,” they were able to create their own table of good and evil and invent a God that expressed their strength: Yahweh in his original form “was the expression of a consciousness of power, of joy in oneself, of hope for oneself: through him victory and welfare were expected” (AC: §25).

But as the Jews began to experience defeat and subservience—recast in historical terminology, in the period following the destruction of the First Temple (6th Century B.C.)—Yahweh began to lose his luster. In a striking admonishment, Nietzsche claims, “they should have let him go” (AC §25). That is, once Yahweh ceased to be a god of power and victory, the Jews should have been creative enough to make a new one. This was, of course, common practice throughout the Roman Empire, as gods were ordered, created, and destroyed within the federalist Pantheon.

Instead, Jewish political life began to be dominated by a priestly class, and Yahweh was re-imagined. If the Jews could not experience power in the real world, they claimed that “the good” was not found there but only in a new “higher” realm of morality. The god of the Jews became, in turn, an abstract demand, an “evil-eye,” a “morality.” The situation was made worse by the fact that the priestly class transformed the Jewish historical consciousness, empowering themselves and devaluing the Biblical age of heroes which Nietzsche so admired:

[I]n the hands of the Jewish priests, the great age in the history of Israel became an age of decay; the Exile, the long misfortune, was transformed in to an eternal punishment for the great age—an age in which the priest was still a nobody” (AC §26).

Judaism was further affected by the Jews’ conflicts with the Roman Empire, culminating in the destruction of the Second Temple (1st Century, B.C.). It is, indeed, this confrontation through which Nietzsche generates one of his most characteristic opposition, “Rome against Judea, Judea against Rome: Rome felt the Jews to be something like anti-nature itself, its antipodal monstrosity as it were: in Rome the Jew stood convicted of hatred for the whole human race” (GM I: §16). “Judea against Rome” is the depiction not of too rival nations and national religions but of two completely opposed Weltanschauungen and moral systems: on one side, there is the aristocratic master-class, conscious of its own power, and able to subordinate and integrate rival nations into a stable, productive hierarchy; on other, there is a small, wretched tribe of people claiming no national power (as they had none), but then making a grasp for universal dominion.

4. Morality in the Grand Style

In Nietzsche’s reading, the Jews are “the most catastrophic people in world history” (AC §24), but not merely because they created a religion of ressentiment directed against the aristocratic Romans. For as a religion of a weak people, Judaism would hardly be unusual in this respect and would never have gained world-historical significance. The Jews were truly catastrophic in that they transformed the nature of religion itself.

In order to understand the new metaphysics created in Judaism, it is useful to turn to Nietzsche’s description of the formation of the conscience and the sense of guilt. Drawing on the fact that the German word “Schuld” refers to both “debt” (in the monetary sense) and “guilt” (in the moral sense), Nietzsche claims that, in the prehistory of mankind, the moral conscience emerged as an internalization of the punishment one received for failing to repay loans. The feeling of guilt is a means for man to punish himself by reproducing the fear and loathing of indebtedness in other contexts. Obviously, this had a class-dimension, for it is primarily the lower orders and weaker nations who experienced chronic indebtedness, and thus were more likely to develop the internalization. The Jews underwent an intensification of this process in that not only were they constantly in a position of subservience vis-à-vis “master” nations, but their culture became dominated by a priestly class that eagerly transformed “guilt/debt” into a exaltation of their weak and downtrodden state, the “ascetic ideal.”

Nietzsche relates that, as this process ensued, this painful internalization of guilt became simply too great for the slave to bear, and he and his society sought a means of discharging it. This could take many forms; Nietzsche views the primary one as entailing a grand reversal, a projection back of the feeling of debt onto the “creditor,” that is, the master. The Jews thus formed an entire metaphysics based upon ressentiment. The “transvaluation of all values”—that is, the valuing of the weak, shameful slaves as “good”—and the powerful, conscienceless rulers as “evil”—operated through this process in the latter days of the ancient world.

This great “reversal of guilt,” so to speak, is directly related to the Jews’ development of monotheism and a universal religion. In Nietzsche’ reading of history, it is the Jews and the original Christian slave-classes throughout the Empire that achieved the “maximum feeling of guilty indebtedness [des Schuldgefühl] on earth.” Nietzsche views this as expressed by a universalist theory and “the maximum god attained thus far” (GM II: §20), the one, true god—Yahweh. Not only did the Jews and Christians divorce their god from the attainment of worldly power, but in imagining a higher realm, they grasped at a kind of grand coup d’état. The refashioned Yahweh was above the gods of Rome and all other deities, indeed, he superseded them. The Jews were the inventors of what Nietzsche calls “the grand style in morality” (BGE VIII: §250). In this way, Nietzsche imagines a great clash of universal religions: on the one hand, Judeo-Christian monotheism, and on the other, the Imperium Romanum and its Pantheon.

In the struggle of “Rome against Judea,” Judea won. Nietzsche views this as happening mostly on a psychological level; put simply, the all-encompassing Judaic (and later Judeo-Christian) system entrapped the nobles and made them feel guilty about themselves, about their power, beauty, and dominance. Beyond the Roman aristocrats, Nietzsche sees the pre-Judeo-Christian world as replete with a host of figures who, “imbued with faith in their own perfection, went about with the dignity of a great matador”; these were the great masters who had confidence in their ability to achieve power and, it should be mentioned, were unafraid to be cruel. “Moral Skepticism”—that is, the “evil eye” and the unflagging criticism of the Judeo-Christian system—succeeded in drawing into question all of the noble man’s great strengths—pride, ruthlessness, ambition—and in “accusing and embittering him” to the point that he lost faith in himself (GS III: §122).

Nietzsche views this great “loss of nerve” as lamentable, for there is little doubt that he felt the great, cruel master-class to be the foundation of high culture in the ancient world. This being said, Nietzsche recognizes that the “transvaluation of all values” is at the heart of the sciences and the modern systems of knowledge. Indeed, Nietzsche views Judaism and Christianity as the first religions to fully systematize the potential of doubt and skepticism. The ancient Jew and Christian might originally pursue “truth” out of ressentiment, in the sense of “bringing the great down to size” or “looking up the skirt” of the Queen. But this is transformed into a call for knowledge for its own sake. As Nietzsche points out, it is no coincidence that the great philosophers have been social outcasts—Heraclitus, Socrates, Epicurius, Nietzsche (BGE I: §6). Ressentiment is the secret, guilty origin of philosophy. Moreover, with the expansion to universalism, the acquisition of knowledge becomes a duty, a painful binding of the self to achieve knowledge “for its own sake” and “at all costs.”

Furthermore, it is with man’s “turning against himself” that it becomes possible to enact a great transformation of values. In this line, it is the dynamic of Judeo-Christian ressentiment that gives substance to Nietzsche’s metaphor (quoted above) of the “taut bow.” “Turned against himself,” Judeo-Christian man is a strange, seemingly “unnatural,” being, but as such he begins to view himself no longer as an end but as a stage in a grand transformation:

[T]he existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself . . . was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that the aspect of the earth was essentially altered. . . .[M]an . . . gives rise to an interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if with him something were announcing and preparing itself, as if man were not a goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.—(GM II: §16)

In describing the development of the systems of knowledge, Nietzsche returns to the image of the “taut bow” and “great politics.” Judaism gave birth not only to the universalism and value of truth that characterize European societies, but also to the capacity to transfigure radically these values.

As explored in the following section, this aspect of Judeo-Christian legacy is of particular importance in informing Nietzsche’s discussions of 19th-century European politics and his hope for supra-national integration.

III. Super-Nationalism

1. The New Idol

Publishing in the latter third of the 19th century, Nietzsche couldn’t help but comment on the most important political development of his time—nationalism. In his mature period, Nietzsche’s stance towards the nation-state was almost uniformly hostile. (This might come as a surprise to those who associate him with German National Socialism.) In these discussions, Nietzsche is not interested in sovereignty or the state in themselves so much as their modern “republican” and “national-democratic” variations. In this line, the central political problem for Nietzsche is one of representation. Nietzsche (or Zarathustra to be exact) claims that the state exists through a central lie: “I, the state, am the people.” It is this equation and promise of representation that, after the collapse of “divine right” and absolutism, became the fundamental source of legitimacy.

Whereas healthy peoples are able to write their own tablets of good and evil, Zarathustra calls the modern state “the death of peoples” and, in an ironic reference to Hobbes “Leviathan,” “the coldest of all cold monsters” (Z I: §11). While a great legislator like Manu was a “creator”—he brought order to his culture—the modern state is an “annihilator.” It simply “takes,” its managers exist by taxing those below them. And it is a cold monster in that it “bask[s] in the sunshine” of the allegiance and men of actual achievement. And, to Zarathustra’s dismay, it has seduced the “great souls” of every nation. Here, Nietzsche certainly has in mind a figure like Wagner: after the events of 1848-49 he was a nomadic artist who radically rethought the operatic form; by 1876 and the establishment of the Bayreuth festival, he was “nationalized” and thus became “respectable” and “palatable.”

Keeping in mind Nietzsche’s esteem and nostalgia for the age of peoples, it is important to note that his critique of the modern state functions around a nation/state opposition. As mentioned above, Nietzsche’s mature work is filled with barbs against all things German; however, the moments in which he criticizes the German state are exactly those in which he allows himself to recognize the cultural achievement of the German people—even if he does this in the form of his signature double-edged complements.21 While in other works Nietzsche depicts Germans as lugubrious beer-guzzlers, vis-à-vis their state, they are a people of ponderous depths, fixated—perhaps to a fault—on a vision of the future (BGE VIII: §240). Germans famously have an identity crisis—“It is characteristic of the Germans that the question, ‘what is German?’ never dies out amongst them” (BGE VIII: §244)—but then this makes them philosophical. In light of Nietzsche’s political ideal of the good European, it is certainly significant here that he depicts the German soul as disposed to “cosmopolitanism” (BGE VIII: §241). In 1888—18 years after the founding of the Reich—he exclaimed: “‘German spirit’: for the past eighteen years a contradiction in terms” (TI I: §23). In a clear reference to the leader of the new Germany, Otto von Bismarck, Nietzsche speaks of “a statesman” who convinced the Germans to sacrifice their great virtues for the sake of a “novel and dubious mediocrity” (BGE VIII: §241). Bismarck was able to seduce the Germans through, in Nietzsche’s exact words, “Great Politics.” Far from being the merger of politics and the war of spirits that Nietzsche foresaw in Ecce Homo (EC IV: §1), Bismarck’s “great politics” is little more than pomp and circumstance, a parody of actual greatness. The great chancellor “piles up for [the Germans] another tower of Babel, a monster of empire and power,” and willing citizens “grovel on their bellies before anything massive” (BGE VIII: §241). Nietzsche holds his nose at this spectacle and refers to the process as the “spiritual flattening” of a people. In becoming citizens of the Reich, Germans forgo their spiritual boundlessness and learn “politicking.”

2. The Herd and the Tyrants

Like most critics of nationalism, Nietzsche is quick to place national formation within a particular historical context and deconstruct any claims the nation-state might have of being an organic outgrowth out of an ancient community. Far from representing an eternal Deutsch, Nietzsche views the Reich as a part of a European-wide spirit of secular republicanism. And despite Kaiser Wilhelm’s claims of divine sovereignty, he views the Reich as part of “Europe’s democratic movement” (BGE VIII: §242). In this line, Nietzsche generally criticizes the nation-state in much the same way that he criticizes the Enlightenment’s political offspring, democracy and liberalism. Democratic and republican politics seek to oppress the great individual exemplars of the human species and mark the lowering of tastes to suit the herd. Nietzsche takes this point very far, even speculating that democratization was actually a “physiological process” in which Europeans were quite literally getting flatter and flatter and more and more boring. Europeans are no longer a collection of peoples, but a homogenous mass.

This being said, Nietzsche is not merely an aristocratic conservative, lamenting the dumbing-down of tastes (though he certainly did lament the dumbing-down of tastes). Just as with the discussion of “shadows over Europe,” Nietzsche views this “mass-ification” of peoples as inevitable and irreversible; indeed, he attempts to glimpse a potential transformation taking place through (not against) the “democratic movement.” Indeed, Nietzsche provocatively imagines that the great leveling will eventuate in a “result which would seem to be least expected by those who naively praise [the process of democratization], the apostles of ‘modern ideas.’” For the new “democratic man”—in the form of either the “last man” described in Zarathustra (Z I: P: §5) or the “garrulous worker” in Beyond Good and Evil (BGE VIII: §242)—shall be, in status if not name, a slave. Slaves, of course, need Masters, much like cattle need cowboys. And this means that “in exceptional cases the strong human being will have to turn out stronger and richer than perhaps ever before.” The democratization of Europeans will be the opportunity for the “cultivation of tyrants.”

3. Who Leads Europe?

In the wake of 20th-century totalitarianisms, Nietzsche’s call for the cultivation of tyrants is undoubtedly unwelcome. As Jacob Golomb and Robert Wistrich observe, Nietzsche is not a proto-Fascist or -Nazi, but he is most definitely a kind of “godfather” of these movements. In their words, he was a “prophet of the spiritual vacuum that gave birth to the totalitarian abysses of the twentieth century. As such he remains profoundly relevant to our time.”22 But then, perhaps one could push Nietzsche’s “totalitarian” connection much further than Golomb and Wistrich would like. Both Hitler and Stalin might even seem to be an excellent candidate for the “artist tyrant” in that both sustained their dictatorship by replacing politics with the spectacle of power. Nietzsche, of course, never discusses things like a “one-party-state” or the “Führer principle”; however, in his unpublished writings, which were collected as The Will to Power (1901), he did specifically speak of “international racial unions whose task will be to rear a master race” (WP §504). Furthermore, in stressing the need for fearless new conquerors, he rhetorically asks, “Where are the barbarians of the twentieth century?” (WP §465).23

Nietzsche never published any statements like this in his lifetime, and it is irresponsible to treat them uncritically as definitive components of his philosophy. Nevertheless, the questions that such a statement evoke are serious and invariably color any reading of Nietzsche’s political philosophy. Without doubt there is a certain racial, eugenicist component to Nietzsche’s vision of the new Europe; however, it is of vital importance to look very closely at exactly how Nietzsche depicts his projected tyrants and masters of Europe. Nietzsche might be notorious for writing positively about the “blond beast” and the “noble races” (GM I: §11),24 but ultimately both of these figures are part of Nietzsche’s vision of “pre-history,” of the half-forgotten memory of man. They are not the Masters of Europe, who will arise after the death of God.

Nietzsche ultimately never details who the Overman (Übermensch) is, much as Marx remained poetic and elliptical when he described communism. That said, he offers glimpses . . .

Nomads

It is useful to begin this discussion with the figure of the “good European.” Nietzsche is most explicit about what he means by this term when he discuses the role of the Jews in modern European society. Nietzsche’s portrait of the Jewish people is, in many ways, familiar: he writes of them as wandering without a home, still alienated from the European national communities even after the wide-spread liberal reforms improving their treatment. Their alien status has certain benefits, however, for in being excluded from national life, the Ashkenazim maintain their own distinct cultural traditions and remain, in Nietzsche’s words, a people “aere perennius,” more enduring than bronze.

With this in mind, Daniel Conway has suggested that the European Jews stand for Nietzsche as a kind of political alternative, a living critique of his grand vision of a renewed Roman Empire: “Despite his bold, Europhilic swagger, he feared that they [the Jews] may have succeeded in formulating the optimal strategy for promoting cultural advancement in late modernity.”25 This claim is highly useful in that it is, in my view, a misreading of Nietzsche’s position towards the Ashkenazim, but then it brings to the fore an important point. It is certainly true that Nietzsche saw the value in being the outsider; all great philosophers are outsiders, including Nietzsche himself. Furthermore, Zarathustra speaks directly to the lonely and disposed in his call for the creation of a new spiritual order: “You that are lonely today, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves, there shall grow a chosen people—and out of them the overman” (Z I: §22). It might seem that here Nietzsche is calling for a kind of “Jewish” good European, the Good European as a wandering nomad. Those who have “chosen themselves” will form an ironic “chosen people.”

Nietzsche undoubtedly desires to empower those who stand against the modern world; however, in this scheme, they are not to remain “free spirits” for long. In the above quotation, Nietzsche does not imagine the alienated as forever standing apart, but as ultimately triumphing, as giving birth to a higher stage of humanity, and thus laying the foundations for rule. Similarly, what Nietzsche admires in the Jews’ “optimal strategy” is not their apartness in itself, but their potential to achieve “mastery over Europe” (BGE VIII: §251). Indeed, Nietzsche scolds the Jews for trying to assimilate into national cultures. Were these indestructible, nomadic people not capable of much more, for better and for worse? In making such claims, Nietzsche does not reveal himself to be a kind of “Jewish supremacist,” so to speak. The Jew, who has survived persecution and attempted annihilation—survived even national assimilation and who has built international networks—are an image, at least in part, of what a “Good European” might be.26 But the Ashkenazim’s international culture and “morality in the grand style,” which has been developed into a variety of ethical philosophies, make them particularly well suited for the governance of the continent.

In no better way does Nietzsche express that his political project amounts to a “transvaluation of all values,” for it is the wanderers and nomads who were, as physical types, those to whom Christianity would most likely appeal in the ancient world, and furthermore, those who would most likely succeed in crafting a religion of ressentiment against the nobility. The lonely and dispossessed are poised to become a new master class.

Tyrants

Immediately following his paean to the imperium Romanum quoted at the beginning of this essay, Nietzsche offers a glimpse of his ideal of the man who might sit on the throne. His language here is grandiose and deserves to be quoted at length:

I envisage a possibility of a perfect supraterrestrial magic and fascination of color: it seems to me that it glistens in all the tremors of subtle beauty, that an art is at work in it, so divine, so devilishly divine that one searches millennia in vain for a second such possibility […] Cesare Borgia as pope. Am I understood? (AC §61)

The imagery is meant to shock, and Nietzsche’s effusiveness expresses his glee in blasphemy. But then Nietzsche intends “Cesare Borgia as pope” to be taken seriously, and such an image connects to many components of his wider political thought. In installing Borgia in Rome, Nietzsche means to attack the Judeo-Christian tradition “in the decisive place, in the very seat of Christianity, placing the noble values on the throne”; going further, he seeks to bring these values “right into the instincts, into the lowest needs and desires of those who sat there” (AC §61). A polemical or merely blasphemous opposition to Christianity—in which case he would image a “sultan in Babylon” or the like—is nowhere to be seen. To the contrary, Nietzsche seeks to re-constitute the entire Judeo-Christian legacy. The “instincts” and “lowest needs and desires” of the Jew or Christian are transformed into the foundation for a new aristocratic order. Just as the “good European” marks a kind of reversal of the tradition of Jewish ressentiment, so Nietzsche imagines the coming tyrants as an upside down version of the greatest of all priestly classes.


References

Bergman, Peter. 1987. Nietzsche, “the Last Antipolitical German.” Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Brinker, Menahem. 2002. “Nietzsche and the Jews.” In Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Conway, Daniel W. . 2002. “Ecce Caesar: Nietzsche’s Imperial Aspirations.” In Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Coudenhove-Kalergi, Richard Nikolaus, Graf von. 1925 [1920]. Adel, Praktischer Idealismus. Wien and Leipzig: Pan-Europa Verlag.

Dannhauser, Werner J. 1987 [1963]. Friedrich Nietzsche. In History of Political Philosophy, edited by L. Strauss and J. Cropsey. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Gillespie, Michael Allen. 1999. “Nietzsche and the Anthropology of Nihilism.” Nietzsche-Studien (28):141-155.

Golomb, Jacob, and Robert S. Wistrich. 2002. Introduction. In Nietzsche: Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Kaufmann, Walter. 1974 [1950]. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Middleton, Christopher (ed.). 1996 [1969]. Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche. Indianapolis: Hackett.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1967 [1901]. The Will to Power. Translated by W. Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books.

———. 1974 [1882/87]. The Gay Science. Translated by W. Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books.

———. 1982 [1881]. Daybreak. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

———. 1982 [1883-84]. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin Books.

———. 1982 [1888]. The Antichrist. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin Books.

———. 1982 [1888]. The Twilight of the Idols. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin Books.

———. 1990 [1873]. “History in Service and Disservice of Life”. In Unmodern Observations, edited by A. William. New Haven: Yale University Press.

———. 1992 [1872]. The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, The Basic Writings of Nietzsche. New York: Modern February.

———. 1992 [1887]. On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, Basic Writings of Nietzsche. New York: Modern Library.

———. 1992 [1888]. Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. Translated by W. Kaufmann. Edited by W. Kaufmann, Basic Writings of Nietzsche. New York: Modern Library.

Salaquarda, Jörg. 1996. “Nietzsche and the Judeo-Christian Tradition”. In The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, edited by B. Marnus and K. M. Higgins. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schrift, Alan. 1995. Nietzsche’s French Legacy. London and New York: Routledge.

Strong, Tracy B. 1988 [1975]. Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration. Expanded ed. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press.

Wolin, Richard. 2004. The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism, from Nietzsche to Postmodernism. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Yovel, Yirmiyahu. 2002. “Nietzsche Contra Wagner on the Jews.” In Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.


Footnotes

  1. Throughout this essay, I use standard parenthetical documentation for all of Nietzsche’s works. An abbreviation of the title is followed by the section and paragraph number (when available). A Preface to a volume and the Prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra are both signified by “P.” Nietzsche is a writer fond of the italicized stress, and, unless otherwise noted, all emphasis in selected quotations is identical to that in the original.The works referenced are as follows: The Antichrist, AC (Nietzsche 1982 [1888]); The Birth of Tragedy, BT (Nietzsche 1992 [1872]); Daybreak, D (Nietzsche 1982 [1881]); Ecce Homo, EH (Nietzsche 1992 [1888]); The Gay Science, GS (Nietzsche 1974 [1882/87]); On the Genealogy of Morals, GM (Nietzsche 1992 [1887]); “History in Service and Disservice of Life,” HSDL (Nietzsche 1990 [1873]); Twilight of the Idols, TI (Nietzsche 1982 [1888]); The Will to Power, WP (Nietzsche 1967 [1901]); and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Z (Nietzsche 1982 [1883-84]).
  2. In the critical literature, there are countless volumes detailing Nietzsche’s relationship towards the Greeks of the 5th century; there is no single monograph dedicated to Nietzsche’s view of Rome and the Imperium.
  3. Peter Bergman. Nietzsche, “the Last Antipolitical German” (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987), 90.
  4. Tracy B. Strong, Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration, expanded edition (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1988 [1975]), 202.
  5. Much of this can be directly linked to the fact that Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche, Nietzsche beloved sister, was in charge of Friedrich’s literary estate after his death and was the moving force in establishing the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar. To Friedrich’s dismay, Elizabeth had married a one Bernard Förster, an anti-Semite equal parts German Nationalist and proto-Hippie. (He actually took Elizabeth to South America to found a utopian Commune, “Germania,” beyond the reach of Jewish greed.) During the 1930s, Elizabeth assiduously tried to gain the favor of the Nazi regime and rather brazenly misrepresented Nietzsche’s views on Jews, Germans, and German nationalism.Still, this is far from the whole story. That Mussolini read and admired Nietzsche and generally thought of his politics—even in his Socialist days—as “Nietzschean” is indisputable. There is no evidence that Hitler ever read Nietzsche even though he publicly praised him. Other Nazi theorists, most notably Alfred Rosenberg, were clearly well versed in Nietzsche’s writings.
  6. Alan Schrift offers an overview in Nietzsche’s French Legacy (London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
  7. The Gay Science was first published in 1882; however, Nietzsche added Book V, in which this quotation appears, in the 1887 expanded edition.
  8. Throughout this essay, I use the term “Judeo-Christian” to signify that, far from viewing Christianity and Judaism as divergent or even opposed, Nietzsche perceived Christianity specifically as the consequence of Judaism and the means by which Judaism expanded globally. Nietzsche specifically referred to Christ as the “seduction and bypath to precisely those Jewish values and new ideal” (GM I: §8); he saw Judaism as having influenced Christianity and the Churches so deeply that it had become imperceptible: “today the Christian can feel anti-Jewish without realizing that he himself is the ultimate Jewish consequence (AC §24).It is worth noting that here I specifically disagree with Walter Kaufmann’s views on “Judeo-Christianity” in his Nietzsche. Kaufmann sought to distance Nietzsche from Nazi and proto-Nazi thinkers, specifically Alfred Rosenberg and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who denounced Christianity on account of its Jewish origins. In attempting this, Kaufmann misreads Nietzsche in claiming that he viewed a great separation between the religions in the sense that “Christianity is envisaged as the dross of Judaism” (Kaufmann 1974 [1950], p. 299).
  9. In claiming that Nietzsche viewed that Enlightenment and Science as emerging from the Judeo-Christian tradition, I have relied on Jörg Salaquarda’s “Nietzsche and the Judeo-Christian Tradition” (Salaquarda 1996).
  10. Werner J. Dannhauser, “Friedrich Nietzsche” in History of Political Philosophy, edited by L. Strauss and J. Cropsey (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1987 [1963]).
  11. Michael Allen Gillespie, “Nietzsche and the Anthropology of Nihilism,” Nietzsche-Studien (28) 1999, 141-155.
  12. At least in The Gay Science, Nietzsche’s “new dawn” seems to lack all semblance of content. While Nietzsche might hope for a life after God to be ruled by “overmen,” a society ruled by philistine “last men” seems just as (if not more) likely. Although such a comparison is intrinsically unfair, Nietzsche’s “new dawn” seems similar to Lenin’s belief that, after the fall of the bourgeois-Christian world, a radical elite could construct a new “socialist man.” Millenarian dreams of a Tabula rasa seem always to crash on the rocks of durable institutions and a persistent human nature.
  13. Gillespie, op cit.
  14. In his discussion “On the Prejudices of Philosophers,” Nietzsche reiterates the point: “What in us really wants ‘truth’? […] Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth? and uncertainty? even ignorance?” (BGE I: §1).
  15. Nietzsche associates not just knowledge but the even more basic concept of memory with pain. For “learning,” pain is indispensable: “[T]here is nothing more fearful and uncanny in the whole of prehistory of man than his mnemotechnics. ‘If something is to stay in the memory it must be burned in: only that which never ceases to hurt stays in the memory”—this is a main clause of the oldest (unhappily the most enduring) psychology on earth” (GM II: §3).
  16. Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4th edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974 [1950]), 79.
  17. It is important to remember that Nietzsche does not use “race” in its modern supra-ethnic meaning, e.g. “the white race.” As correctly pointed out by Brinker, Nietzsche’s “race” clearly indicates an ethnic-cultural population: e.g. the Jews are “the purest of the European races.” (BGE VIII: 251) (Brinker 2002).
  18. Menahem Brinker, “Nietzsche and the Jews,” Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, Edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 1999).
  19. Christopher Middleton (ed.), Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996 [1969]).
  20. Yirmiyahu Yovel: “When Nietzsche attacks the anti-Semites or defends the Jews, he was aiming at real people—the actual community of the Jews, and anti-Semitism as a contemporary movement. By contrast when dealing with ancient priestly Judaism, Nietzsche treated it as a psycho-cultural category latent in the Protestant Christian Church of his day, which Nietzsche, as a “genealogist” of this culture, wished to expose. Contrary to many anti-Semites—and also to the trend of Jewish apologetics—Nietzsche did not project his critique of ancient Judaism into a political attitude against the Jews of his day. This break allowed him to be at the same time—and with intense passion—both an anti-anti-Semite and a critic of ancient priestly Judaism, the fountain of Christianity (Yovel 2002).”
  21. Nietzsche’s reconciliation is expressed by the fact he even allows himself to once again wax poetic about the majesty of Wagnerian music (§240), something surprising in light of the vitriolic attack in The Case of Wagner (1888) just two years later. In the following aphorism (§241), he actually calls this a “sample” of the good European’s “relapse” into “some hearty fatherlandishness,” “old loves and narrowness.”
  22. Introduction, Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002).
  23. Both of these selections from The Will to Power are quoted and discussed at length by Richard Wolin in The Seduction of Unreason (55-56), in which he generally argues that Nietzsche was far more than a “godfather of Fascism” and that he anticipates the obsessions with race and power-politics of Fascist and Nazi ideology. Postmodernists who were inspired by Nietzsche are, in Wolin’s mind, guilty by association (Wolin 2004).
  24. Walter Kaufmann discusses these terms and their misreading and misuse in his translation of On the Genealogy of Morals (pp. 476-77, footnote 3).
  25. Daniel W. Conway, “Ecce Caesar: Nietzsche’s Imperial Aspirations,” Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy, edited by J. Golomb and R. S. Wistrich (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002).
  26. Count Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the “Pan-European League,” who sought to unite Europe and was inspired by Nietzsche, described Jews as a “core around which a new spiritual nobility would group itself” (Coudenhove-Kalergi 1925 [1920], 51, my translation).
5 Comments on Politics in the Grand Style

The Jewish Question(and Some Answers)

The following is an interview I recently conducted with ‘Reactionary Jew’ and ‘The Rebbe,’two Twitter figures from a small grouping known as the Jewish ‘Alt-Right,’ or ‘JewishAlternative.’ As someone who has studied Jewish dynamics in White societies for more than a decade, I was interested by recent media attention in The Forward and elsewhere concerning Josh Seidel, an American Jew who claimed to be part of the Alt-Right. I say interested rather than ‘surprised’ or ‘puzzled’ because history is replete with small numbers of Jews who have pursued, what are from their perspective, ostensibly unusual political and ideological paths. In the most extreme cases, Jews have been pioneers of what has been termed ‘anti-Semitism.’ For example, one of the first great exposures of the anti-Gentile content of the Talmud was carried out in Germany by the 16 th century Jewish apostate Johannes Pfefferkorn. Between 1507 and 1521 Pfefferkorn acted like a kind of early modern Andrew Anglin, printing more pamphlets (in both German and Latin) attacking Jewish behavior than any other author. He demanded that Jews cease their practice of usury, and aggressively upbraided them for what may be loosely described as a range of ‘anti-social’ behaviors.

The following is an interview I recently conducted with ‘Reactionary Jew’ and ‘The Rebbe,’ two Twitter figures from a small grouping known as the Jewish ‘Alt-Right,’ or ‘Jewish Alternative.’ As someone who has studied Jewish dynamics in White societies for more than a decade, I was interested by recent media attention in The Forward and elsewhere concerning Josh Seidel, an American Jew who claimed to be part of the Alt-Right. I say interested rather than ‘surprised’ or ‘puzzled’ because history is replete with small numbers of Jews who have pursued, what are from their perspective, ostensibly unusual political and ideological paths. In the most extreme cases, Jews have been pioneers of what has been termed ‘anti-Semitism.’ For example, one of the first great exposures of the anti-Gentile content of the Talmud was carried out in Germany by the 16 th century Jewish apostate Johannes Pfefferkorn. Between 1507 and 1521 Pfefferkorn acted like a kind of early modern Andrew Anglin, printing more pamphlets (in both German and Latin) attacking Jewish behavior than any other author. He demanded that Jews cease their practice of usury, and aggressively upbraided them for what may be loosely described as a range of ‘anti-social’ behaviors.

Despite his great zeal in anti-Jewish activity, because of his origins Pfefferkorn was the object of much distrust, derision, and suspicion by his contemporaries. The same responses have been evident in relation to the small collective of Jewish nationalists seeking shade under the Alt-Right umbrella. Hostile non-Jewish responses are, given the sobering weight of grim history between our peoples, predictable, justified, and eminently sensible. The threat of infiltration, co-option, and misdirection is very real. I have composed essays explicitly dealing with this subject from a historical perspective, and I have advocated for the exclusion of Jews from the life of our movement for the sake of its ideological and material integrity. Possessing an eye for historical context, I didn’t like Seidel’s use of the term ‘Alt-Right’ to describe what he is, or what he claims to be. Seidel may well be a reactionary of sorts, and he may well be opposed to much of the agenda of the mainstream Jewish community. However, that does not make him a part of the Alt-Right, a movement which is, in the main, an outgrowth of European ethno-nationalism. He can no more be part of the Alt-Right than I can be a part of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect. The Alt-Right is not a social club. It is the organic expression of national will – the will of the best elements of the European peoples.

One doesn’t need to feel that the proverbial “all Jews” are dedicated to fighting against us in order to see that a blanket exclusion would be useful. Any suggestion of co-operation should be considered moot. A blunt ‘anti-Semitism’ that paints in broad strokes isn’t necessarily intellectually sophisticated, but it is a useful ‘shorthand’ for confronting some of our most pressing social, political, and economic issues. One might consider the analogy that our opposing forces act as a giant knife, cutting into the heart of the nation. The coterie of Leftists, anarchists, degenerates, homosexuals, self-interested elites, and others of our race make up the bulk of the blade. But with what preponderance are Jews found at the razors edge! It is almost always Jewish radicals that are found with the most cutting, most offensive, and most devastating theories and activism; theories and activism that appear designed only to divide, to separate, to tear apart. It is because of what occurs at the ‘razor’s edge’ that ‘anti-Semitism’ finds both its cold logic and shattering power.

That being said, one should be wary of being sucked into a lowly resentment of one’s opponents. One should be aware of socio-political realities without being consumed by them. Nietzsche once astutely observed that the aristocratic mind is capable of shrugging off opposition, and of always finding the means to a respect for one’s opponents. The lower mind, more fearful and shadowy, will recoil from a full confrontation with reality, preferring instead to view his enemy as monolithic, as ‘evil.’ His enemy stalks him everywhere. Like Nietzsche, I reject the concepts of good and evil, as they are popularly understood, and with that I reject the notion that all Jews are ‘evil,’ or even that there is something ‘evil’ about Jews. We have opposing interests and differing approaches and strategies to life. And I believe that these differences also have metaphysical expressions. However, I do not believe that Jews are all-powerful, and I do not believe that, in and of itself, communication with Jews is liable to leave one vulnerable to ideological deviation. Communication and co-operation are entirely different spheres.

Having laid this groundwork, I ask of readers only that the treat the following interview with the aristocratic mind-set I expect them to have. For my part, I have dispensed with soft approaches and have posed questions in a respectful attempt to get to the heart of what these individuals are in relation to us. They are clearly not members of the Alt-Right, but as strongly identified Jews what do they have to say about issues that the Alt-Right is concerned with? About identity? About the Jewish assault on Europeans? About future prospects for both peoples? One might enquire why such answers would matter. Purely on a personal level I would reply by pointing to curiosity; curiosity about truth, but also the truth that can be found even in deception, self-deception, or the sense of self that prevails in an opposing tribe. For the same reasons, I would interview the leadership of both the ADL and the SPLC if they’d dare to let me. I am sure that the answers provided in such interviews would provide food for both thought and discussion. Such interviews would sharpen our indignation, our ideological understanding, and our political senses. This one, I believe, is no different.

AJ: In the last 12 months there have been spasmodic debates surrounding the definition of ‘Alt-Right.’ How do you define it?

RJ: I perceive it as a broad-tent coalition bound together by one thing: explicitly fighting for white European interests, manifested via nationalism, either in one’s own country, or around the world. Within this label, there are many disagreements about peripheral issues (socialism vs. more libertarian economic systems, ethnic nationalism vs. racial nationalism, etc.). Some Alt-Right issues are considered important by the majority of the movement and seem almost inseparable from that core of white interests, such as the Jewish Question, traditionalist revival, etc., but are valued specifically because of how they are tied to white group interests and identity within the context of the movement. While I do think the Jewish question is (very) important, and I do believe in traditional sexual morality, I also consider those who disagree with me on both of those fronts to still be considered Alt-Right if they are fighting for explicitly white European interests. I should note that I do not consider Breitbart/Milo/PJW/etc. to be Alt-Right, since they refuse to talk in explicitly racial terms and will “condemn racism” when it comes down to it.

TR: The traditional “National Review” center-right confronted communism on a global scale and delayed creeping socialism. These two threats were stalking horses for the real enemy of the West: what you call “Cultural Marxism” (Jews would describe as “Frankism”). This Jewish Satanic heresy is the dominant paradigm of the Jewish intelligentsia and the Reformed/Re-constructivist denominations. The Alt-Right is a late-hour counter-reaction to this threat. While much of the Alt-Right doesn’t even fully comprehend this inchoate “POZ,” it has nevertheless mounted a successful intellectual assault and helped bring about the greatest political upset since Truman.

AJ: I regard the work of Kevin MacDonald as one of the primary ideological foundations for the Alt-Right. Have you read MacDonald, and do you view the critical analysis of Jewish behavior as a necessary and appropriate facet of Alt-Right activity?

RJ: I have read Dr. MacDonald’s work. I have also corresponded with him, and even spoken to him face-to- face. I learned many things from his work, and although we definitely have our disagreements, I think he tries his best to be objective. As stated above, in my opinion, the Jewish Question is not one that can be ignored, both by whites and by Jews. It is too immense and far-reaching. The consequences can be dire, for both peoples. For the skeptics out there, remember that the early Zionists themselves dealt heavily with the Jewish Question, and came to many of the same conclusions as “anti-Semites,” albeit not entirely for the same reasons. A central theme in Judaism itself, especially the traditional Rabbinic variant, is understanding our own group behavior and how that it plays out when we interact with other nations, but from a different angle. The most severe early criticism and harsh condemnations of Jewish behavior can be found in none other than th Bible itself.

TR: MacDonald’s well-researched work regarding ethnic interest provides an accurate model to explain historical Jewish behavior. However, when explaining the demonic Jewish radical Left, his theories break down like the laws of physics around a black hole. I could find only one article on Occidental Observer’s site that mentions Sabbatai Zevi or Jacob Frank, the two heretics who heavily influenced the POZ (as the article acknowledges). Rabbi Emden, the most noted pro-Christian Jewish theologian, first warned gentiles in the 1760s that the Sabbatians sought to “destroy the World”—their Satanic theology: “What is holy, unholy. What is unholy, holy”. Torah wisdom is systematically inverted by the POZ: homosexuality, transgenderism, feminism, pedophilia, obesity, pagan environmentalism, multi-culturalism, supporting Islamists, etc. They loathe the World of Creation and seek the Sabbatian Kabbalist apocalypse: all genders, races, and religions meld into one.

A great example of the lack of self-reflection on the part of contemporary Jews is the bizarre confrontation between the Reform rabbi (with his confused account of “radical inclusion”; Jewish heresy) and Spencer a few weeks ago. The rabbi had likely never seriously confronted Spencer’s viewpoint in his lifetime. Most Leftist Jews are like this in real life and sound like pod people. The most influential immigration propaganda, the “Melting Pot”; by Zangwill, actually recreated the Kabbalist apocalypse on stage. Frankfurt, of the Frankfurt School, was a hold out of Frankist ideas. Freud admitted to being a Sabbatian (as other intellectuals of the time) and seeking to destroy the West. Since the Jewish Left is steeped in heretical Jewish theology and functions often under the “Jewish interest”, it’s childish to think that any serious movement to oppose it can be conducted while ignoring the JQ. If anything, the “National Review” conservative movement debacle of the last few decades tried to sidestep any Jewish connection. So, any Jew serious about defeating this bizarro Left needs to be at peace with the research and blunt discussion of the JQ.

AJ: To what extent, if any, do you see yourself as White, or a part of Western culture?

RJ: I do not consider Jews to be white, even Ashkenazis. We have a fundamentally different identity, despite some of us having European blood. I am myself half-Mizrahi, which makes me even more “diluted” I could write an essay about the intersection of Jews and Western culture, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I’ll start by saying that I personally love European classical music, philosophy, literature, and art significantly more than I do those of other civilizations on average (sometimes second to my own), but most of that is subjective preference, and no doubt partly due to my upbringing in the US. As for Jews more broadly, European culture has certainly left its mark on us via the diaspora, for better and for worse. I’d like to keep the good parts as I see them, such as the structure of institutions, religious garb, academic methodology in multiple disciplines (with certain exceptions), etc. However, as a religious Jew, I do think it is dangerous to start thinking of oneself as “Western” as many Jews do, since we have our own unique moral philosophy that has been defined historically by specifically being not only the opposite of Greek and Roman ideals, but even strongly averse to them.

TR: White and Western. My mother converted from Anglicanism and her ancestors played bit parts in the last 1000 years of English history.

AJ: The Alt-Right is undoubtedly driven by the desire of Europeans to assert their own story and fulfil their destiny as a people. In such a context, do you think that Europeans need Jewish assistance in this effort, and what practical assistance do you believe Jews can offer Europeans?

RJ: If you’re talking about European cultural revival, no, I don’t think that is the case. Europeans should reconstruct their societies on their own terms. However, there is much to be gleaned from our successful nationalist movement, ethnostate, general history of group survival, etc. and I think that should at the very least interest Europeans who care about their group’s continuity both as a model and a warning. Dr. MacDonald has said similar things in his essay “Can the Jewish Model Help The West Survive?”

TR: Trump’s election would likely not have been possible without Jewish help. The young Donald Trump was mentored by Roy Cohn, a street-wise right-wing NYC Jew. Trump surrounds himself with a cadre of similar Jews to this day (whose very presence inoculate him against charges of being “Hitler”). Sheldon Adelson went out on a limb to provide Trump a major early endorsement in his Times of Israel. Jared Kushner’s audacious media/electoral college strategy helped capture PA, MI, and WI. And let’s not forget the contribution of Anthony Weiner’s laptop in saving Western Civilization.

AJ: European history is replete with instances of Jews using and abusing their host populations, facilitated primarily through alliances with native corrupt elites. In response, many European populations have abused their Jewish communities when opportunities to do so have arisen. Given this long, sordid, and extremely vicious history, would you agree that a total separation of our peoples is the best path to avoiding future bloodshed?

RJ: I completely agree that total separation is the ideal, and I’d love to see it happen. One can blame whoever they want to for the history between Jews and whites (I’ve seen both extremes); regardless of how one analyzes the cycle, it almost never seems to end well. Why keep trying a model that fails nine times out of ten? Additionally, regardless of the issues whites may have with Jews living in their societies, many Jewish religious leaders and committed Zionists have expressed similar sentiments due to Jewish collective survival concerns, such as the rampant assimilation and intermarriage of Jews in white societies.

TR: I’d encourage any Jew to support Israel through Aliyah.

AJ: To what extent would you agree that most Jews who look to the Right are motivated mainly by an aversion to Leftist positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

RJ: It is important to clarify the different schools of thought at play here. There are Jews who want to continue living in white societies, and see Islam as a much bigger threat in that regard than they do the white far-right. There are also Jews who see the American and European left as a much bigger threat to Israel on the international stage than they do the right. While I agree with both instances of risk assessment, I’d like to specifically distinguish myself from the “Democrats are the real(ly important) anti-Semites” camp. I acknowledge that Islam is not the only threat to the West, and the demographic decline from Africans and other groups would still be a huge issue without it. I also acknowledge that the traditional neocon narrative of “greatest ally against Islam” is mostly wrong; Europe would be safer if it closed its borders and deported people rather than by supporting Israel more. Additionally, I don’t want Jews to continue living in the West and I don’t shy away from the JQ. That being said, I do not deny the self-interest involved; it appears that white nationalists and I have many common goals -living apart from each other, the breakdown of the post-WWII international order, and the survival of the West – so why not work with them? Even in that last one listed I don’t deny the self-interest. While I value the West as a great civilization, Israel is much better off existing as part of a broader successful and productive first-world, or “Global North” if you will. I try to be as clear and honest as I can in this regard.

TR: You could say that, but there’s also a Christian case for Israel. I’ll just take Richard the Lionheart’s position: safe access to the Holy Land is essential to Christian dignity. Correspondingly, Islamic dominion (through politics or war) over Jerusalem and Bethlehem is a central objective of Jihadis and the POZ to demoralize Christians and the West. Fifteen years ago, Palestinians took over the Church of Nativity (where Jesus was born in the manger). They desecrated it with urine and feces, used the bibles as toilet paper, took monks hostage, and stole gold antiquities. Instead of condemning this, Christians generally blamed Israel. The Jihadi’s continued their terror campaign against Bethlehem’s Christian residents for years onward. The city’s Christian population has declined from 40% before the Church takeover to 12% today.

AJ: Many in the Alt-Right perceive highly ethnocentric Jews, in positions of influence, to be their most concerning opponent. Who is yours?

RJ: To me, as a Jewish nationalist, the biggest threat is the dynamic of the status quo created by the “international community” institutions (UN/ICC/EU), fueled (and even funded) by Jewish leftist traitors, perpetuated by useful idiot academics serving the cause of Arab Islamic nationalist ideologues, and re-entrenched by the US. The fact that we can’t take further measures (such as ethnic cleansing, or even annexation with tighter “security” measures) in the West Bank is actively getting my people killed in the land where they belong. Every move we make, we have be concerned with sanctions, due to the useless concepts of “human rights” and “international law” that only draw out the conflict, cause the situation to fester, and cost more blood in the long-term because they won’t allow for a swift resolution. It’s not any one particular group, but a combination of all of these, and when you put it all together, it creates a big problem for us on the international stage.

TR: The Frankists/Cultural Marxists are the existential threat, yet a movement based upon quasi-Satanism will inevitably implode under the weight of its decadence, madness, and sadism (PizzaGate?). Many of today’s Jewish intelligentsia are the “learn nothing and forget nothing” Bourbons. They are coddled nepotism placements. Ironically, it’s the Alt-Right who have the moxie of Trotsky and Alinsky. The Alt-Right rages about hypocrisy because Israel refuses refugees while the Jewish Left foists them on the West. However, you’re projecting a rudimentary capacity for introspection upon the Jewish Left. This movement of man-children will hopefully expire soon before causing any further undo harm. The USA’s end game will be the same as Israel’s: after quelling its own internal misanthropic Left, the remaining adversaries will be Islam and the global Left (including Communist China).

AJ: As a step toward European self-assertion, I would love to see the dismantling of organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and an overall decline in Jewish influence in our societies. How would you feel about the decline of Jewish power in the West?

RJ: I can tell you right now that I have no positive feelings whatsoever towards the ADL. There are few organizations that go to such great lengths to give us a bad reputation, which is especially ironic considering what they call themselves. The same goes for the SPLC and the rest of the alphabet soup of Jewish organizations which I see as actively destroying society. Their positions on Israel are also awful (such as the ADL’s support for a two-state solution) most of the time. While I am not a big fan of lumping together forces so disparate and fragmented, however prevalent they may be, as Jewish influence, in order to make a sweeping generalization of definitive negativity, I definitely don’t think it’s imperative that we have influence in the West beyond the typical influence of a foreign first-world regional superpower (on the world stage, as befits our geopolitical situation). While we’re on the topic of self-determination and purging external influence, I’d like to do the exact same in Israel, and I sympathize with that very basic desire, which is currently a far-cry from reality in both of our civilizations.

TR: Before the refugee invasion, Europe was first prepped for Islamic conquest with decades of pro-Palestinian propaganda, thereby normalizing Jihadi terrorism. Jihadi’s were victims of oppression with whom lasting peace could be forged but for Israel’s cruelty and Islamophobia. Zionist power in the US, thankfully, has inoculated our country from Jihadi tactics. Indeed, hostility to Obama’s program of importing millions of Islamic “immigrants” helped propel Trump’s candidacy. Jewish power sometimes acts to destroy the West and at other times to help it. It takes the better part of wisdom to know which is which. That’s why it’s called “The Jewish Question”.

1 Comment on The Jewish Question(and Some Answers)

‘Rape Culture Isn’t About Sex, It’s About Power’

Rape culture is a lot like racism. Maybe they should just call it “rapism.” It’s an abstract “evil” that a certain group, in this case women, reserves the right to identify and use to manipulate another group, in this case men, into increasingly defensive and impotent positions. As long as they can keep men apologizing, they can keep controlling them.

Our forefathers understood the truth about women.

The truth is that women actually like sex. Without the coercive discipline of patriarchs, women would have sex all the time–like the frisky matriarchs of the Bonobo world.

Men have always known that women like to feel good, too.

As Nietzsche observed, man is only a means for women and the end is always a child. However, this is an ultimate, often subconscious cause. More proximate causes include pleasure and affirmation.

If females had ever really run things, I’m not sure what their version of female “honor” would be, or if there would even be one. Always and everywhere, female honor has meant chastity–and female chastity was clearly a male invention.

Before modern contraception, the control of female sexuality was necessary to maintain order between men. If men are to be expected to care for children, they want to know which kids are theirs. A woman who cheats on a man undermines him and makes him look like a fool in front of other men. The virtue of female chastity–the ridiculous idea that a woman waits for and only wants intercourse with the man she’s been courted by or assigned to–was essentially constructed to protect the honor of men. The expectation of female chastity probably kept a lot of jealous men from killing other members of their own tribes. Men have always known that they wanted to have sex with many women, but they constructed social and legal institutions that forced them to control their own sexual urges, too. To maintain order and create stability in increasingly complex societies, men around the world dreamed up different versions of monogamous, or occasionally polygamous, marriage.

Women were trained to protect their honor–their chastity–above all things. They were scolded for lustful or adulterous thoughts that, it was rightly feared, might lead to misbehavior. In rigidly religious and socially complex bourgeois societies, they were discouraged from thinking of themselves as sexual creatures at all. Sex was something women were expected to simply “grin and bear” as a punishment for being born female.

Modern contraception, industrialization, globalism, and women’s suffrage changed the whole game. The lie of female chastity was exposed, and the institutions of marriage and the nuclear family collapsed. Male investment in civilization and order continues to decrease, and women–who are far better consumers and sedentary employees–have collectively reached a position which offers them the means to exert their own influence and tell their own lies about sex.

So they tell us about “rape culture.”

The violent rape of a woman is a brutal and visceral image that fills every man who loves his mother or his sisters with vengeful rage. Men may joke darkly about rape in the abstract, just as they may joke about murder or dismemberment in the abstract, but the actuality of violent rape is infuriating and repulsive to the majority of them. Men want to conquer the hearts and minds of women, but raping a woman of your own tribe is the act of a spurned, desperate man. A rapist is something that no right-minded man wants to be.

When anti-rape activists tell men they simply want to “teach men not to rape,” that sounds reasonable enough. When they say that there is a “culture of rape” that perpetuates rape, men are hesitant to disagree because they don’t want to be regarded as forgiving of rape or accessories to rape. It is precisely because most men are already against rape that women are able to use rape as a kind of personal holocaust. Anti-“rape culture” advocates are exploiting male disgust for rape and using it as a tool to silence criticism of women and exert control over men’s sexual behavior and conceptions of their own masculinity.

The women who claim that there is a culture of rape in America, as if there are somehow more rapes and rape is somehow more acceptable today than in the past or elsewhere, are not solely interested in preventing rape.

They surely know that the most brutal rapes–the nasty, violent rapes everyone imagines when they think of rape–are for the most part perpetrated by psychopaths and serial rapists who are immune to the influence of their college campus shaming sessions. Feminists also aren’t going to prevent Steel Reserve and Hot Pocket fueled trailer park rapes or underpass Joose rapes, because they have no more influence in these derelict zones than the mores of Victorian church ladies had in the backalleys of London. Given that the well-behaved college boys who make up their captive audience and potential mate selection are already against brutal rape, the ability of educational and Twitter campaigns aimed at ending “rape culture” to actually prevent violent rape will always be relatively minimal. A few frat boys will wait to make sure they got a clear “yes,” and the smart ones will record it for their own protection. But, for the most part, they weren’t the ones giving nice girls black eyes or broken jaws to begin with.

It is when feminists are asked how to end “rape culture” that they truly tip their hand. In a widely cited article in The Nation, the number one and number two ways to “empower men and women to change the status quo” were more concerned with changing masculinity, male identity and male sexuality than they were with preventing rape.

At the top of the list, the first “real problem” identified was “violent masculinity,” which is also known as “masculinity.” Violence has been a defining part of the male sex role and masculine identity throughout human evolution and for all of recorded history. The idea that violent masculinity is somehow a novel product of American society or even Western Civilization is one of the biggest lies feminists tell. If there truly are or have been cultures–not merely priesthoods or religious sects, but whole cultures–where the majority of men were not considered more violent than women, and I have never seen convincing evidence of this, then they are or have been exceedingly rare and anomalous. Male violence is a human norm and a human universal. Male violence is a central feature of both histories and myths concerning men all around the world, and the forms of entertainment that men and even very young boys choose freely continue to feature violent fantasy or simulated tribal warfare–as with team sports.

Just as men have always known or suspected that women also experienced carnal lust, women have always known or suspected that, for men, sex and violence are linked. The rush of dominating another man, or a beast, or the forces of nature is not so far away in the mind from the rush of sexually dominating a woman. All of our language about sex hints at the connection between sex and violence. There is no escaping the reality that the physical act of intercourse itself, as it is most often performed, involves a man violently pushing himself inside a woman in a wild, heightened, animalistic state of mind he rarely achieves in civilized life.

It’s not too much to ask to require men to make sure they have permission to engage in this ancient, ecstatic power play, since both men and women are having far more casual sex with far more partners than they were 100 years ago. But you don’t have to redefine masculinity to do that, since, as we all know, rape is already taboo.

Women are not stupid. They see this primal violence in male sexuality. They perceive their role it in it and it both excites and terrifies them, because they know that the delicate spirit of “equality” is exorcised in the frenzy of fornication.

Feminists taught the slogan that “rape is not about sex, it’s about power,” but only a few of them were willing to admit that sex is almost always about power, too.

Women are uncomfortable admitting that they enjoy the violent, dominant nature of male sexuality, especially in a political context. That they enjoy being dominated by men–at least in the bedroom, if only in the bedroom–is so politically volatile that it’s become an unspeakably dirty little secret for the new church ladies.

While it is true that women enjoy sex, they are also pragmatic and especially interested in safety and security. If there has been a “war of the sexes” raging throughout human history, men have almost always been the victors, precisely because they are bigger and stronger, more willing to take risks, and more inclined to be violent. Women see the potential for violence in men and they recognize that it is the greatest threat to the new order of society–their order. A majority of women in the developed world now have more political and economic power now than they ever have in human history, and this increase in status is utterly dependent on the continued pacification of men.

So they lie. They lie about male sexuality the way men lied about female sexuality.

They’re willing to trade satisfying sex for quasi-coital man-milking if it means holding on to their newfound political and economic power. They’re willing to use the tragedy of rape as a tool to cow men morally–to make normal, decent men prostrate themselves to prove they are not rapists or enablers of rape. As with “privilege,” men will always be guilty until proven innocent, and no matter what they do, no matter how they dishonor themselves, they will never be innocent enough. To release men from guilt is to relinquish power over them, and this power has already corrupted the hearts of the women who revel in it and gain from it.

Rape culture is a lot like racism. Maybe they should just call it “rapism.” It’s an abstract “evil” that a certain group, in this case women, reserves the right to identify and use to manipulate another group, in this case men, into increasingly defensive and impotent positions. As long as they can keep men apologizing, they can keep controlling them.

The continued success of feminism requires the ongoing construction of guilt cultures designed to mould men into a safer and more passive population. Corporate and banking interests want this, because ornery, violent groups of men unsupervised by women are a threat to established interests, property and supply chains. Pacified men also make better employees and consumers.

Feminists may merely be useful idiots to these bigger interests, but they are getting what they want out of the bargain for the time being. They want, as they have wanted for decades, to eliminate proscribed female gender roles and the ability of men to limit female behavior. They want men to “reimagine” a masculinity without violence or dominance. Masculinity without themes of violence or dominance may have no precedent, no history, and it may be completely at odds with physiology and human evolution, but male pacification is the key to female political and economic power.

These women are willing to do whatever they have to do to retain and gain that power, even if it means exploiting victims of rape to do it.

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Identity & European Religion

Often, we are unwittingly faced with a strange phenomenon, which incites self-doubt and suspicion, only because we cannot see what is being missed. The question is: how can Indo-Europeans Traditionalists reconcile following foreign monotheistic faiths (the three Abrahamic religions) whilst maintaining their folk traditions and identity?

This article was originally published at Sigurd-Strong.

Often, we are unwittingly faced with a strange phenomenon, which incites self-doubt and suspicion, only because we cannot see what is being missed. The question is: how can Indo-Europeans Traditionalists reconcile following foreign monotheistic faiths (the three Abrahamic religions) whilst maintaining their folk traditions and identity? Somehow, Christianity has gone under the radar and taken upon itself a cloak of assimilation – it seems that many folk I come across, from many parts of Europe, believe it to be somehow intrinsic, a last vestige of morality and proper behaviour and the patron of art and music. Admittedly, Christianity had something to do with the rise in intellectualism, which is positive in some respects, but upon its escalation, the values of strength and individual spirituality suffered deeply, and this is evident in our society. Furthermore, upon the decline of the Roman Empire, ‘intellectualism’ apparently tipped the scales into ‘backwardness’ and hence plunged us into the ‘Dark Ages’, to which Roman Catholicism arguably holds great liability. Perhaps the Roman and Greek gods took their might and vivacity with them upon their eviction.

The ‘Viking Era’ ended with William the Conqueror, and from then it seems a steady global downward slope into a situation where wars are fought with the words of old men in offices and young, strong but apparently expendable men are sent out in their stead to die for those words.

Christianity’s slow seeping invasion began in the 1st century in Greece and Rome; then Britain with Augustine (though it is believed it existed before his political use of the religion); then Scandinavia between the 8th and 12th century and so the pollution spread – through conversions generally established either for political motives or as shameless trends.

Islam’s armies were not as successful, and after invading the Iberian Peninsula, they spent 23 years conquering and expanding into France, other former Roman provinces and the Persian Empire, then began the seven century conquest of the Byzantine Empire. However their crusade ultimately faltered at the hands of Charles Martel in France. Though Martel and apparently everyone else was a raging Christian by now, at least that tidal wave did not manage to settle and integrate so insidiously, that it appears to the naked eye as if it were here all along.

Somehow along the line, “Europe” and “Christianity” have become synonymous; though Islam is evidently ill-fitting to most Europeans, as most of Europe’s Muslim community are migrants, or born of immigrant families, unlike Christians. Is it not a glaring fact that Islam and the Judaic religions were conceived and born to the same desert? Are their attitudes and ethics not uncannily alike?

Firstly, I’d like to draw attention to the attitudes towards non-believers, as written in the sacred texts of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

In Matthew 15 of the New Testament, Jesus turns away a ‘Gentile’ (non-Jew) and says:

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

To which the woman replies:

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.

Secondly, the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament):

Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God – Exodus 34:12-14

And lastly:

Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous. – Quran 9:12

These monotheistic, organised religions with their unique objective (simply, to spread) clearly stem from the same tree, with their unanimous call for ‘submission’ (which ‘Islam’ actually translates as). Any person not of Middle Eastern descent who begs at the table of a master or god who sullies them so, is truly lost. The attitude toward ‘gentiles’ and ‘goyim’ is clear throughout these various texts, they are religions of slavery, the enthralled are kept in spiritual penury, led by gods clawing at power – discouraging any form of passion and self-betterment.

My qualm is that many of those who revere their traditional identity do not look to their history books to delve into that identity. Pre-Christian Europe was writhing with the power of the old gods – the soil, the skies, the sea and the forests were all teeming with power and significance to our ancestors, there were lessons to be heard and fears to be conquered, but now the natural world is either purely for resources or worse ignored, and yet the world is heaving with ‘religion.’

Some may believe that time has certified these religions ‘European’, and the ensuing multiculturalism is respect for all faiths and races, though interestingly with a rather perverse self-loathing attached (in the case of Europeans). However, with a dash of foresight, you may come to see that this merging of every aspect of identity creates a murky identity crisis, where traditions and ancestry are layers down under our feet and often shunned, resulting in the quest for individuality being expressed through hair styles and clothing brands, or further still through sexuality and fantasy. Identity is respecting and being proud of a one’s ancestral history, which is based primarily on native ‘religion’; and this applies to everyone, everywhere.

Native Indo-European religion is ripe with gods and spirits that make sense to us, the beliefs and values that are illustrated in the myths, sagas and poetry of our spiritual culture ring true with us, they are easy to comprehend, and unlike Christianity, it is not a constant battle with your instinct and will. The attraction to organised religion for an adopted ‘moral compass’ and a sense of order is understandable in this era, however this sought after morality is unavoidable with genuine respect for nature and a sense of tribal kinship, and ultimately when your inspiration comes from heroes and legends. The lessons and lore within the Eddas for example, encourage strength, experience and honour – above all, they are inspirational:

The sluggard believes | he shall live forever,
If the fight he faces not;
But age shall not grant him | the gift of peace,
Though spears may spare his life. – 16. Havamal

The innumerable gods and spirits that breathe across Europe are the many faces of nature – the seasons, the animals, the trees, the emotions and lives of her children. Your spiritual journey with these gods and goddesses is entirely yours and your existence is not picking up crumbs, but hunting and fighting for your own livelihood; taking inspiration from the legends and folk tales of your lands. Monotheism lacks all mystery and nature is made plausible through being a creation of ‘God’, these types of religion spread because they neglect the natural environment of the follower, the god is outside of our world, and thus nature is insensate. Modernity and monotheism, being the antithesis of the pre-Christian values of heroism and wildness (see Nietzsche’s ‘Anti-Christ’), work well together in their neglect of nature – existing inside safe, man-made structures and man-made dogmas which are therefore transferable across nations, free of the identity and mystery that your homeland offers, better yet – imposes.

In my experience, attachment to ones heritage within a nation suffering from identity failure is the seed of neo-tribalism – a natural urge to belong and have a rewarding, worthwhile trade and role within your community, a community that shares intrinsic beliefs and worldview. This urge is not being satisfied in modern society, we have become infantile and solitary – alienated from our surroundings and terrified of discomfort. It is a dangerous thing to be united, to have an alliance outside of Government influence where loyalty and brotherhood are principal and the group is impossible to infiltrate, where you rely on each other for support and subsistence. So folk tradition is demonized, identity is pre-packed and our religions are anti-spiritual. Tribalism is a result that our society fears, so our political and social rulers attempt to suck your very individuality from you and create a world community, by encouraging homogeneity and mediocrity through adherence to modern culture.

However, one should take consolation from the words of Julius Evola:

One should not become fixated on the present and on things at hand, but keep in view the conditions that may come about in the future. Thus the principle to follow could be that of letting the forces and processes of this epoch take their own course, while keeping oneself firm and ready to intervene when ‘the tiger, which cannot leap on the person riding it, is tired of running.

By reducing your involvement in modern culture, and stepping out into the wilderness around you, you may begin to nurture an inherent love and relationship with the land, opening yourself to wild and ‘wyrd’ and perhaps realising that the ever unpopular folk culture of your ancestors is an innate paganism. The aforementioned structures, both spiritually and physically that divide us from the natural world will eventually fall, the meek will not inherit the Earth – and you will meet your maker: the wilderness – unflinching and unconcerned by your offence to her natural law; unaffected by the illusory citadel you’ve assembled about yourself forged of social ideals and romanticised concepts of entitlement.

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When the Gods Hear the Call

Black Metal shares the fate of all complex and multifaceted phenomena that transcend their narrow genre identities and, similar to Hegel’s philosopher who is able to “grasp an era through thought,” are always ahead of their time, either by affirming, or by totally rejecting the spiritual foundations of the time period in which they live. Both require an ability to examine it from a distance. As the unquestionable product of Modernity, Black Metal paradoxically issues a death sentence to the Modern world. The latter is the case not only with respect to contemporary Christianity: it is the antithesis to everything that is believed to be of any value for an average representative of today’s Western society: from the conventional notions of the good and the beautiful to the metaphysical Being itself. In other words, Black Metal, at a glance, is the very embodiment of an active-nihilistic phase in a metaphysical process of transvaluation of all values heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche.
This is the second reason why Black Metal is mostly defined apophatically, that is to say, from negation. I have already mentioned the first reason for this: despite Black Metal’s prevalent description as a subculture, it is more accurate to define it as a counterculture the goal of which is to terminate the entire Modern era. Many sociologists would disagree with my assertion, because some of them share the idea that early Christianity was the only fully successful counterculture in European history, which overthrew the values of the previous era, whereas the adherents of Black Metal, both genre creators and ordinary fans, are totally integrated into the current social system, support its cultural codes, and never question that which is truly vital for its existence axioms. 

THE CONSERVATIVE-REVOLUTIONARY POTENTIAL OF BLACK METAL ART

I. Black Metal: a Subculture or a Counterculture? Methodological Foundations

Black Metal shares the fate of all complex and multifaceted phenomena that transcend their narrow genre identities and, similar to Hegel’s philosopher who is able to “grasp an era through thought,” are always ahead of their time, either by affirming, or by totally rejecting the spiritual foundations of the time period in which they live. Both require an ability to examine it from a distance. As the unquestionable product of Modernity, Black Metal paradoxically issues a death sentence to the Modern world. The latter is the case not only with respect to contemporary Christianity: it is the antithesis to everything that is believed to be of any value for an average representative of today’s Western society: from the conventional notions of the good and the beautiful to the metaphysical Being itself. In other words, Black Metal, at a glance, is the very embodiment of an active-nihilistic phase in a metaphysical process of transvaluation of all values heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche.
This is the second reason why Black Metal is mostly defined apophatically, that is to say, from negation. I have already mentioned the first reason for this: despite Black Metal’s prevalent description as a subculture, it is more accurate to define it as a counterculture the goal of which is to terminate the entire Modern era. Many sociologists would disagree with my assertion, because some of them share the idea that early Christianity was the only fully successful counterculture in European history, which overthrew the values of the previous era, whereas the adherents of Black Metal, both genre creators and ordinary fans, are totally integrated into the current social system, support its cultural codes, and never question that which is truly vital for its existence axioms.

As attentive readers of Ernst Jünger know, almost everything — no matter how “subversive” or “irreverent” — can be incorporated back into the system as “manifestation of freedom. Therefore, Black Metal may be considered only a subculture, which is exaggerated in many infamous parodies that reveal the infantile and ultimately primitive character of the self-proclaimed “true blackers” who cannot cope even with their parents. Undoubtedly, these observations are not groundless, and are basically endorsed within the movement itself, which developed its own ways of social regulation in order to expel the so-called “untrue” posers from their community, i.e., trendies and money-makers that appeared after the scandalous events in the early history of Black Metal.

However, I would like to emphasize the fact that the given survey is not sociological; otherwise, I would have to put a full stop right after stating that the Black Metal scene degraded a long time ago, which means that there is no place for wishful thinking. In other words, I will discuss not what Black Metal currently is, but what it is supposed to be according to the pioneers of the Black Metal movement and those who stayed devoted to the latter tradition. Therefore, I consider Max Weber’s Verstehende Soziologie (Interpretative Sociology) to be the only suitable sociological method that seeks to understand a certain cultural phenomenon from within, describes it on its own terms and operates within the notion of the ideal type. The latter gives the opportunity to avoid biases of positivist thinking and legitimately apply the heuristic mental constructs derived from the empirical data for the purpose of better analyzing reality. The most famous example of the ideal type is the “Protestant ethic” used by Weber as a key for exploring the emergence and the essence of capitalism in his renowned work Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), which provides a fruitful alternative to the popular historical-materialistic explanation of Karl Marx. Accordingly, our ideal type is called “Black Metal Art” or simply “Black Metal.”

As such, this method is quite akin to the philosophical-hermeneutical approach developed by Martin Heidegger and his disciple Hans-Georg Gadamer who rejects the very term “method” as a natural-scientific remnant in the Geisteswissenschaften (human sciences). According to Heidegger’s philosophical interpretation focused on the classic concept of the hermeneutic circle (“to understand the whole, we need to understand the parts and visa versa”), the task is not to find the way out of the circle, but rather to enter it correctly, since this circle is that of our existence. Put simply, we (“Dasein” as “Being-in-the-world”) always understand certain phenomena in this or that way, so our sole duty is to explicate our assumptions or, in Gadamer’s words, our “anticipation of perfection.” The latter is what I am going to do in this paper, although I have to admit that in some cases we deal with such a high level of self-reflection demonstrated by the Black Metal artists that the researcher gratefully turns into a mere commentator: consider the first-ever DVD “Opus Diaboli” released in May of 2012 by the Swedish band Watain to experience the difference between the interpretation of Watain’s vocalist E. and those given in most Black Metal documentaries, interviews, and thematic investigations. The vast majority of such sources still are very disappointing or insufficient.

II. Aesthetics and Metaphysics vs. Ideology and Politics of Black Metal. The Principal Directions within the Black Metal Movement

What is the starting point for this research? Since the times of Aristotle, it has been obvious that the shortest way to the essence of a thing lies in its definition. But, again, mostly negative definitions of Black Metal exist. They do reflect the greatness and intensity of this phenomenon but say little about its main idea. For example, the epochal and countercultural significance of the latter can be easily inferred from the well-known attempts to clarify the essence of Black Metal such as, “it is not another musical genre,” “it is not mere music,” and “it is not entertainment/business.” Another set of negative definitions due to the nihilistic orientation of Black Metal is also widely recognized: it is believed to be anti-religious, especially anti-Christian, antisocial, misanthropic, blasphemous, and so forth.

Likewise, all intellectual efforts to articulate what Black Metal is rather than what it is not usually end up with an appeal to a certain spectrum of moods and emotions (“dark,” “melancholic”), sometimes–to certain highly metaphoric concepts (“evil,” “ugliness,” “war”) or to Black Metal aesthetics known as part of the well-established phrase “Black Metal Art.” This expression, however, raises further questions since Black Metal is represented as l’art pour l’art only if the latter means something like Supreme Art that bears explicit occultist connotations, which is the very opposite of this approach. If not, one is welcome to enter endless debates regarding the basic principle(s) of Black Metal ideology, which are mostly centered on Satanism.

Depending on what one considers the object of negation or the enemy against whom the War is being waged (“Black Metal ist Krieg”), there exist different ideological trends within the general Black Metal movement, which regularly cause sharp disagreements between its members: radical nihilism and atheism that stand behind Satanist imagery and sometimes overlap with LaVeyan Social Darwinism; the Occultist trajectory, which is often connected with the Left-Hand Path; Theistic Satanism (the religion of Deus/Diabolus Absconditus) that borders on Gnosticism and similar teachings, on the one hand, and archaic Pagan cults, which may be linked to “Aryan Luciferianism”—on the other; variations of Heathenism, from Pantheism to Vedic hymns, which are mainly developed within such subgenres such as Folk Black Metal or Viking Black Metal, and even Christian “Unblack” Metal, not to mention other innovative Black Metal bands often focused on their own “philosophy.” Naturally, we may legitimately wonder which direction is more representative of the movement or, in contrast, should in no way not be associated with it as one that transcends the limits of this ideal type.

Another way to fill the gap between the apophatical definitions involves pointing out the mystical or even a religious feeling that is typical of the Black Metal Weltanschauung, its special “spirit.” A reference to this theophanic experience that underlies rational explanation, among others, can be found in the interview with the French Black Metal band Deathspell Omega:

Some of us had a religious upbringing indeed, and these obviously went through the initial phase of global denial, whereas others were raised under the sign of rationality. That we eventually all experienced a shattering theophany is something very hard to explain in rational terms. There’s of course cultural arguments, anyone who went through long universitarian studies has been given keys—and this despite the fact that most universities in the occidental world are actually strongholds of humanitarian egalitarianism—and we chose not to ignore these keys, whereas most people do as they prefer to remain in harmony with the current Zeitgeist.[1]

Such purely phenomenological descriptions could have dissolved genre boundaries, yet we feel that Black Metal has its positive core which strictly differentiates it from the related genres and may be formulated very simply. Therefore, even though only the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene and its rarer leftist analogues are notable for direct political involvement, Black Metal as a countercultural movement with great ambitions but carefully guarded borders is political par excellence, political in Carl Schmitt’s sense of the distinction between the friend and the enemy, which translates into the ultimate degree of association and dissociation between “us” and “them.” A highly selective approach to potential membership in the Black Metal community, of course, is more eloquent than inherent in any genuine aesthetic formation, prioritizing artistic expression and detesting the rigid and external ideological clichés, whether political or otherwise.

At the same time, such Ukrainian Black Metal bands as Nokturnal Mortum, Kroda, Drudkh, or Hate Forest, which at present comprise one of the most acclaimed NSBM scenes in the world, if not the most, even though they may introduce themselves as simply patriotic and concerned with traditional heritage preservation (another esteemed Ukrainian one-man band Lutomysl was described in a recent interview by Pavel “Lutomysl” Shishkovskiy, who envies people “whose only problems boil down to the presence of Jews or blacks,” as NEONSDSBM [2]), can hardly be regarded as such that impose restrictions on ways of expression in order to meet ideological needs. Above all, they gained recognition all over the world owing to their musical masterpieces.

In a narrow sense, Black Metal as a total war against the Modern world cannot be free of the political implications either, although most crimes in the early history of Black Metal were committed due to personal, not political reasons [3]. Similarly, one may single out both the left-wing and the right-wing tendencies since the very birth of the Black Metal movement represented accordingly by Satanist Øystein Aarseth “Euronymous” of Mayhem, who sympathized with left-wing extremism, and Varg Vikernes of Burzum as a scholar of Old Norse religion, an adherent of Paganism, and an authoritative figure in the contemporary right-wing circles (among his influences are Knut Hamsun, Oswald Spengler, and Julius Evola), who distanced himself from Satanism and the whole Black Metal scene after its newcomers had started exploiting the original ideas and aesthetics invented by the pioneers merely for their shock value or for commercial purposes. Retrospectively speaking, it is no wonder that Euronymous was killed by Vikernes in 1993, which is regarded as “the beginning of the end” followed by the split and the growing commercialization of the scene (consider Nargaroth’s song “The Day Burzum Killed Mayhem”). On the other hand, I would not say that there is an irresolvable conflict of these two tendencies, or that there is no such metaphysical position that integrates them on a higher level.

Indeed, it is possible to oppose the Modern world and its symbolic incarnation, Christianity, both “from the Left” and “from the Right.” Furthermore, although liberation, nihilism, anti-clericalism (remember the famous Norwegian church burnings), etc. are mostly associated with the Left, even those Black Metal groups that stick to the Left-Hand Path (for instance, Polish Black Metal band Behemoth) do not necessarily correspond with the political Left, both classical and Cultural Marxism. Often quite the reverse is true, or they go beyond politics. This ambivalence is also visible on an aesthetic level: the “right-wing” symbols of the Empire, King, God, etc. are no less popular than the “left-wing” concepts of Homelessness, Void, Rebellion, and so on.

Benjamin Noys, who also addressed the issue of politics in the Black Metal movement, used as a case study the interview answers by Sale Famine of the French Black Metal band Peste Noire[4] which was not an accident. Famine, who believes that left-wing Black Meal is contradictio in adjecto, underlines the chthonic and, as a result, the nationalist character of Black Metal and glorifies “the dark European past,” declared the synthesis of both approaches in a very transparent manner:

Black Metal is the musical memory of our bloodthirsty ancestors of blood, it is the marriage of Tradition, of old racial patrimony with fanaticism, with the rage and the rashness of a youth now lost.” [5]

Likewise, Famine describes his nationalism as fundamentally twofold, “temporal” and “spiritual,” which correlates with being a citizen of France (“medieval,” “rural”) and of Hell (“Sieg Hell!”)[6]. Noys fairly draws a parallel between this focus on the chthonic aspect of Black Metal and the telluric grounding of Carl Schmitt’s Partisan. Finally, searching for the roots of this ambiguity in Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is also absolutely correct: the greatest European nihilist was simultaneously the greatest elitist, aristocrat, and traditionalist who looked ahead to the beginning of the new Golden Age. That is why Nietzsche referred to himself as “the first perfect Nihilist of Europe who, however, has even now lived through the whole of nihilism, to the end, leaving it behind, outside himself”[7], that is the first anti-nihilist as well.

In addition, Nietzsche was the greatest aesthete and stylist who erased the very distinction between form and content by making even the superficial details ideologically relevant and meaningful. The latter sheds light on the reasons why the expression “Black Metal Art” means something incomparably deeper than, for instance, “Black Metal Ideology” or “Black Metal Politics” and has the potential to reach a metaphysical level. At this point, an appeal to the Conservative Revolution—another complex cultural phenomenon that has much in common with Black Metal—becomes inevitable.

III. The Grand Invocation: the Conservative Revolution as an Act of Ushering the Gods Back into the World

Conservative Revolution and Black Metal are similar for at least two reasons. First, both have countercultural value. The only difference lies in the fact that what requires additional reconstruction in the context of Black Metal belongs to the explicit objectives of the conservative-revolutionary theory, which may be unequivocally derived from its name. Conservative Revolution was a broad ideocratic movement that evolved in Germany during the 20th century’s interwar period. It was also known under the name of the “Third Position” or the “Third Way” because it was impossible to classify it as ideologically Right or Left. Some of its principal players have already been mentioned: Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Oswald Spengler, Edgar Julius Jung, Carl Schmitt, Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger, Julius Evola, Ernst Niekisch, Martin Heidegger, Armin Mohler, and others. The global aim of the conservative-revolutionary movement was formulated by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1927 as part of his legendary speech delivered to students in Munich. He argued that the Conservative Revolution is a phenomenon previously unknown in European history that strives to terminate not only the era of the Enlightenment, but also that of Renaissance and Reformation. In other words, its goal is to construct the New Middle Ages.

This necessity of revolting against the course of history was proclaimed in Julius Evola’s work Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order of the Kali Yuga (1934), which, to a great extent, was nothing but a radicalized and politicized version of the major text The Crisis of the Modern World written by René Guénon, the founder of integral traditionalism, in 1927. In the chapter called “The Doctrine of the Four Ages” of his work, Evola writes:

Although modern man until recently has viewed and celebrated the meaning of the history known to him as epitomizing progress and evolution, the truth as professed by traditional man is quite the opposite. In all ancient testimonies of traditional humanity it is possible to find, in various forms, the idea of a regression or a fall: from originally higher states beings have stooped to states increasingly conditioned by human, mortal, and contingent elements. This involutive process allegedly began in a very distant past; the term that best characterizes it is the Eddic term ragna-rokkr, “the twilight of the gods”… According to Tradition, the actual sense of history and the genesis of what I have labeled, generally speaking, as the “modern world,” results from a process of gradual decadence through four cycles or ‘generations.’[8]

In his later book Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (1953), Evola defined Conservative Revolution as “the return to the starting point,” “to the source.” Naturally, in order to secure this grand historical coup, one has to rely on the means available in that very Modern world. This insight gave birth to the shortest formula of fascism “René Guénon Plus Tank Divisions,” which may be found in The Morning of the Magicians written by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in 1960. Indeed, back in 1921 Thomas Mann considered Conservative Revolution in his Russian Anthology as a political projection of Nietzscheism understood as a synthesis of “conservatism” and “revolution,” “freedom” and “bonds,” “faith” and “Enlightenment,” “God” and “the world” and compared it with the Russian messianic idea as two totally different phenomena united, although, by their common “religious nature, religious in a new vital sense that has a great future.”

Therefore, second distinctive feature of Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution comprises the fact that both movements are not only anti- and contra- but also meta-phenomena, which reject the narrow genre and political identities in favor of the higher goals. Conservative Revolution is always positioned as a metapolitical movement and, speaking in Ernst Jünger’s terms, as “the absolute revolution” that ruins tradition as form but thus realizes the sense of tradition. This is the so-called “metahistorical” and “dynamic” approach to Tradition written with a capital “T,” which was introduced by Julius Evola as an ability to sacrifice forms in the name of principles. Furthermore, another similarity between Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution is that both ideal types are portrayed as a special recognizable “style,” that is, ultimately as an aesthetic phenomenon.

The merger between the aesthetic and the political elements in the conservative-revolutionary movement, which was noted with displeasure by leftists who were always afraid of “irrationality,” Walter Benjamin, in particular, was undoubtedly carried out beyond decorative purposes in mind. It was aesthetics that was meant to be that magical key used to “re-enchant” the world and reintegrate the autonomous and disconnected fields of politics, science, religion, ethics and, again, aesthetics, which replaced the hierarchic medieval universe subordinate to one transcendental principle. However, conservative revolutionaries mostly spoke not of God but of gods in the plural; the generally acknowledged metaphor that signifies re-mythologization of the world is “the return of the gods” or “the return of the sacred,” which was especially anticipated by Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Jünger.

“Merely” waiting for re-sacralization of the world, however, is not a rule and corresponds only to the current phase of metaphysical transvaluation of all values. This phase was preceded by the active-nihilistic period of titanic domination, the reign of Prometheus, who symbolizes the elemental powers of technology. According to Ernst Jünger’s observation made in his essay “On Pain” (1934), we live in the time when the new orders have moved far ahead, but the new values have not become visible yet:

We conclude, then, that we find ourselves in a last and indeed quite remarkable phase of nihilism, characterized by the broad expansion of new social orders with corresponding values yet to be seen.[9]

This means that Übermenschals Sieger über Gott und das Nichts,” the Superman as a victor over God (the ruined old order) and Nothingness that replaced the latter, enters the final phase of the battle with Nothingness itself. At this stage, both Jünger and Evola developed the concepts of apoliteia, right-wing anarchism and the differentiated man that rejects the Modern world not out of nihilism, but because it does not meet the ideal of the new sacred order. Of course, this stage is temporary: Evola’s right-wing anarchist and Jünger’s Anarch are always ready to seize the opportunity to build a new Empire.
Structural similarities between Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution are also obvious. Armin Mohler, who published a monograph Conservative Revolution in Germany: 1918–1932 (1950), which started the tradition of academic investigation of the conservative-revolutionary movement, singled out five main directions within the latter, three of which became exemplary: Young Conservatives (Moeller van den Bruck, Edgar Jung, Oswald Spengler), National Revolutionaries (Ernst Jünger, Ernst Niekisch, Hans Freyer), and the völkische movement that made the greatest impact on National Socialism (the famous doctrine of “Blood and Soil”). Accordingly, Young Conservatives mostly developed the organic imperialist models; National Revolutionaries were on extremely good terms with the destructive forces of the industrial civilization, and the völkische resemble the contemporary Pagan Front.

In his profound examination of the conservative-revolutionary recollections in the Black Metal movement, Alex Kurtagic primarily emphasized völkisch ideas [10], which is justifiable. At the same time, I would say that the most representative of the Conservative Revolution was not the völkisch but rather the national-revolutionary movement. Its members, Ernst Jünger, in particular, elaborated on the main metaphysical sentiment of the Conservative Revolution, that is the unity of freedom and the necessity presupposed by the concept of German voluntarism, in the most detailed and accurate manner. This metaphysical standpoint corresponds with the Gnostic Anti-Cosmic trend in the Black Metal movement, which is also notable for strict dualism between one’s divine will and anything else (“Death against death”) and does not seek the sacred within the limits of this world. A well-known description of National Socialist metaphysics by Hendrik Möbus of the German NSBM group Absurd (“the most perfect synthesis of the Luciferian will to power, and neo-heathen principles and symbolism”) would also be relevant in this context, although he is more closely associated with the Pagan Front. Incidentally, his conversation with “Velesova Sloboda”[11] is the most interesting and professional discussion of the classic conservative-revolutionary topics by any Black Metal musician that I have ever read.

In conclusion, I would like to quote the words of Erik Danielsson of Watain about the revolutionary essence of true art and the necessity “to get deeper and deeper” while exploring the horizons of the genre:

If you want to do something groundbreaking in something as sinister as black metal—if you want to correspond with dark energies that exist beyond this world, you cannot have a mere interest in black metal. A passion for a music genre is not enough to change the course of musical history or the history of the world. To me, it’s not strange there aren’t more bands like us because individuals of that sort are very rare. If you have an extreme source of energy flowing inside yourself you either end up in prison, sharing a high place with a politician or you do what we do.[12]

It is difficult to disagree and overlook the parallels with the aspirations of the most devoted and bright members of the conservative-revolutionary movement. After all, Mohler’s academic research was nothing more than a way to gather the new extreme front in post-war Europe under an alternative name after discrediting the National Socialist project and any other movements dangerous for the system, including Black Metal in its purest manifestations. Is it surprising that one day the representatives of these metahistorical and countercultural directions will join their forces as the “contenders in the larger game”?[13]


  1. Ajna Offensive, Deathspell Omega Interview.  ↩
  2. Interview with Lutomysl at Orthodox Black Metal.  ↩
  3. Kevin Coogan, How Black is Black Metal?, Nachrichten Heute  ↩
  4. Benjamin Noys, “Remain True to the Earth!”: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal, Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium I; Edited by Nicola Masciandaro (Charleston: CreateSpace, 2010), p. 105–128.  ↩
  5. Nathan T. Birk, Interview with La Sale Famine of Peste Noire, Zero Tolerance  ↩
  6. Ibid.  ↩
  7. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power; Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale; Edited by W. Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1967), p. 3.  ↩
  8. Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order of the Kali Yuga; Translated from the Italian by Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1995), p. 177.  ↩
  9. Ernst Jünger, On Pain (New York: Telos Press Publishing, 2008), p. 46.  ↩
  10. Alex Kurtagic, “Black Metal: Conservative Revolution in Modern Popular Culture,” The Occidental Quarterly Online, republished at Counter-Currents.  ↩
  11. Hendrik M. (Absurd) im Gespräch mit der Redaktion von “Velesova Sloboda”  ↩
  12. Darren Cowan, Interview with Erik Danielsson of Watain at Blistering.com  ↩
  13. Ibid.  ↩
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Becoming the New Barbarians

There may be a collapse. It could happen. It could happen tomorrow. Vengeful gods could hurl boulders from the sky, cleansing the earth with fires and floods. There could be blood in the streets and gnashing of teeth. A plague of locusts or killer bees, some Chinese flu, or the Zombie Apocalypse. Your debit cards might run empty and your “smart”phones might get real dumb. We may be forced to band together in primal gangs and fight for survival. We may be forced by circumstances beyond our control to rediscover lifeways more familiar to our species—to our ancestral brains—than this endless, banal sprawl of corporate parks and shopping malls.

Or you may just get that one day as a lion, to die like you were born, kicking and screaming and covered in someone else’s blood.

It has a certain appeal.

The following was delivered as a speech at the second National Policy Institute’s conference, which was held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, on October 26th.

There may be a collapse. It could happen. It could happen tomorrow. Vengeful gods could hurl boulders from the sky, cleansing the earth with fires and floods. There could be blood in the streets and gnashing of teeth. A plague of locusts or killer bees, some Chinese flu, or the Zombie Apocalypse. Your debit cards might run empty and your “smart”phones might get real dumb. We may be forced to band together in primal gangs and fight for survival. We may be forced by circumstances beyond our control to rediscover lifeways more familiar to our species—to our ancestral brains—than this endless, banal sprawl of corporate parks and shopping malls.

Or you may just get that one day as a lion, to die like you were born, kicking and screaming and covered in someone else’s blood.

It has a certain appeal.

But while any or all of that could happen (and it could all happen tomorrow), it is also possible that this broken, corrupt system could limp along for a very long time.

Yes, it should fail catastrophically. It deserves to fail. But no matter how much the world needs a reckoning or a reset button, it’s a lot easier on a day-to-day basis for people at every level of society to keep patching it together and doing the best they can until they run out of duct tape.

So . . . until that day comes . . . until everyone runs out of duct tape . . . Until then, almost everyone, even American leaders, seems to agree that America is in decline.

And during that decline, we can expect to see more of what we’ve already been seeing. For most people, that will mean a “progressive” ratcheting down of quality of life, and the lowering of expectations.

What we won’t see is some “great awakening” or a dramatic change in leadership or direction. The people who run America aren’t going to “come to their senses.”

As America declines and becomes a failed or failing state, the corporations and businessmen and bureaucrats who run it will continue to preach globalism and multiculturalism and feminism.

They will continue to condemn anything that could be considered racism or tribalism—especially among whites—until they are safely in the minority. They will continue to condemn “male sexism” and continue to promote any kind of go-girl female sexism that emasculates or devalues men. They will continue to promote reverence for their own academic priest class while condemning as “extreme” any religious belief that challenges the moral authority of progressive beliefs. They will continue to promote dependence on the State for security and income and healthcare—for life itself.

And, no matter how many “conflicts” they escalate or how many people they kill or imprison or how militarized their police state thugs become, they will officially continue to condemn “violence.”

They will continue to do all of this because it makes perfect sense for them.

If you were the rulers and toadies of a nation in decline, whose people were bound to lose wealth and status and you wanted to protect your own interests and keep your heads, why would you not want to keep those people separate, emasculated, weak, dependent, faithless, fearful and “non-violent?”

Figureheads may come and go, but I see absolutely no reason why the message will change.

Many of you may see yourselves as civilized men. Sane men in an increasingly insane, vulgar and barbaric world.

But you’re wrong! You are the new barbarians.

The official message will continue to be that:

• If you believe that all men are not created equal

If you believe that free men should have access to firearms

• If you believe the government cannot be trusted to regulate every aspect of your life

• If you believe that race means blood and heritage — not just “skin color”

• If you see that men and women are different and believe they should have different roles

• If you believe that men should act like men

• If you believe that gay pride parades and gay marriage are ridiculous

• If you believe in some “old time religion”

If you believe any or all of those things, then, according to the State and corporations, the Academia and the media, you are a stupid, psycho, hillibilly, Neo-Nazi, woman-hating, wife-beating, homophobic throwback, reactionary Neanderthal.

You know it. Dance to it. Make it a techno remix. Because make no mistake: you are dangerous, traitorous and quite possibly seditious.

Well, I’m reminded of the words of rapper Eminem:

I am whatever you say I am

If I wasn’t then why would I say I am

In the paper, the news, every day I am

Radio won’t even
play my jam

It doesn’t matter what you think you are. You are whatever they say you are. They control the message. No matter how reasonable you think your message is, the radio is not going to play your jam. No matter what you think you are, to them, you are the barbarians. So own it… be it. And, if you’re going to be the barbarians, then start thinking like barbarians.

What does that mean? What does it mean to be a barbarian? Classically speaking, a barbarian is someone who is not of the State, of the polis. The barbarian is not properly civilized — according to the prevailing standard of the State. His ways are strange and tribal. The barbarian is an outsider, an alien.

How must a man’s thinking change, when he is alienated by the State of his birth?

How does a man go from being a man of the polis to an outsider — a barbarian — in his own homeland?

These are important questions because if you see no viable political solution to the inane and inhuman trajectory of the progressive state — and I don’t — then any meaningful change is going to require a lot more than collecting signatures or appealing to the public’s “good sense” or electing the right candidate.

What you need is to create a fundamental change in the way that men see themselves and their relationship with the State. Don’t worry about changing the state. Change the men. Cut the cord. And let them be born to a state of mind beyond the state.

Show them how to become barbarians and break the sway of the state. How do you do that? Well, that’s something I’m going to be thinking and writing about for the next few years.

But I can offer four lines of thinking that I think could be helpful.

1. Separate “us” from “them”

 This conference is about the future of identity. Which identity? Who are we talking about? Who is we? When I talk to guys about what is happening in the world right now, they’re quick to tell me what we should do about it, but who is this we?

You and the corporations that sell you garbage food, ruin your land and outsource your jobs? You and the “expert” shills who turn your values into “psychological problems?” You and the paid-for media that mocks you? You and the Wall Street bankers who financialized the economy for their own short-term gain? You and the bureaucrats who want to disarm you and micromanage every aspect of your life? You and the politicians who open up the borders and fall all over themselves to pander to a new group of potential voters instead of working for the interests of the actual citizens of the country they swore to represent?

That “we?”

Americans, especially, are used to speaking in terms of “We the people.” But there are 300 million people in the United States and that’s a lot of “we.” Be more specific.

Be more tribal.

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever got was this: never say “people” when you mean “men.” Well, my advice to you is to never say “we” when you mean “they” and never say “us” when you mean “them.” Stop using democratic language. Stop pretending that we are all on the same team, because we’re not. And we don’t have to be. Decide who you really care about. Figure out what you have in common. Define your boundaries. Decide who is in and who is out. The people who are in are “us.” Those people are “we.” Everyone else this “they.”

2. Stop getting angry because things don’t make sense!

 Almost nothing you read or hear in the news today seems to make any sense at all.

People get so angry, so frustrated, so betrayed. It’s like “our leaders” are crazy or stupid, or both. It doesn’t make sense to put women in the infantry. That’s obviously crazy! It doesn’t make sense to encourage kids to take out college loans they’ll never be able to pay back. It doesn’t make sense to invite people into the country when you cannot afford to care for the people who are already here. That’s nuts!

It doesn’t make sense to start wars and then say you’re trying to “win hearts and minds.” War is not a good way to win hearts and minds! And worrying about hearts and minds is not a good way to win a war!

It doesn’t make sense that bankers and CEOs get golden parachutes and go on vacation or get jobs in the administration after knowingly and intentionally destroying companies, jobs, lives, the environment — whole segments of the economy!

But if you realize that they — the people who run the country — are doing things to benefit them and not you, everything makes perfect sense.

Consider the possibility that America’s leaders really don’t care if American soldiers live or die. Consider the possibility that American colleges and bankers don’t care if you live the rest of your life in debt to them. They’d probably prefer it. Consider the possibility that American politicians care more about keeping their jobs in the short term and looking good in the media than they do about what happens to the people of their country in the long term. Consider the possibility that “you” are not part of an “us” that “they” care about. I promise that if you meditate upon this, things will start to make a lot more sense.

If you let go of the idea that these people are supposed to care about you or the country, and you allow yourself to see them as gangs and individuals working to further their own interests, you can relax and appreciate their crafty strategy.

Let go of foolish expectations about what these people should be doing. Step back and see them for what they are. Don’t be mad. Don’t be outraged. Be wise.

As Nietzsche recommended: be carefree, mocking, and violent. 

3. De-Universalize morality

Men who were raised with American, Egalitarian, “Late-Western” values want to be good men. They want to be fair and just, and they want to be just to everyone. This can be absolutely paralyzing.

It really creates an internal conflict for men—good men—who are especially athletic or who have some kind of military or police background. They were taught and they believe in good sportsmanship and equal justice.

They want to do the “right thing,” no matter what. They want to be Batman.

However, it is also in the nature of these men—even more than other men— to think vertically, hierarchically, tribally, to think in terms of “us” and “them.” To evaluate others naturally, primally, by the masculine, tactical virtues of strength, courage, mastery and honor.

But as soon as the football game or the superhero movie is over, progressive America goes back to hating and punishing those virtues. Progressive America goes back to hating and punishing men who act like men. These “good guys”… these guys who want to be heroes get blamed and played and dumped on and treated like garbage.

No matter what the progressive American message is, when it comes to men who act like men—especially white men—no one really cares if they get treated justly or fairly.

Still, these “good guys” don’t want to exclude women from anything because it seems unfair they have sisters and mothers and they want everyone to have a chance. But women—as a group—don’t care when men feel excluded.

In fact, when men object to anything, groups of women are the first to call them “whiners” and “losers.” “Good” white guys as a group care about what happens to black people as a group. They want to make sure that blacks are being treated fairly and equally and they go out of their way to make sure they aren’t “discriminating.”

Do black people as a group care what happens to white people as a group? Does a Mexican dad with three babies care whether or not some white kid from the “burbs” can get a summer landscaping job?

The problem with these late Western values is that they work best as intra-tribal values.

They only work when everyone else is connected and interdependent. Fairness and justice and good sportsmanship promote harmony within a community. But at some point, you have to draw that line. You have to decide who is part of that community and who is not.

You cannot play fair with people who don’t care if you get wiped off the map. You don’t have to hate everyone who isn’t part of your tribe, but it is foolish to keep caring about people who don’t care about you.

These heroic types are the natural guardians of any tribe, but their heroic natures are wasted and abused when they are asked to protect everyone, even enemies and ingrates and those who despise them.

If Western Barbarians are going to hold onto any portion of their western heritage and identity, they need to resolve these moral conflicts.

They don’t necessarily need to abandon morality or moral virtue, but they need to pull in their aegis and become, as in Plato’s Republic, ”noble dogs who are gentle to their familiars and the opposite to strangers.”

Be morally accountable. But only to the tribe.

If they are going to prosper and endure in a failing nation, the New Barbarians must give up the tragic, misunderstood hero routine and realize that they aren’t Batman. Why would anyone want to be?

4. Become independent from the State, and interdependent between each other

The United States of America and its parent corporations offer a wide range of products and services. All of them have strings attached and the more you depend on them, the easier it is to control you.

It is not really much of a threat to them if you get online and “like” a naughty page or vent your lonely, impotent rage, so long as the rest of your identity folds neatly into the bourgeois American lifestyle.

So long as you still go to a make-work job at some big company and keep yourself busy for 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week so you can purchase their wide range of products and services.

And then, in the time you have left, you go online and you get to be Orthodox guy or Roman guy or Odinist guy and post cool pics of Vikings and Centurions and Crusaders.

But that’s not a real identity or a real tribe or a real community. By all means, use the Progressive State and take whatever you can from it while there is still something left to take, but if you truly want some kind of “alternative lifestyle” to what the state has to offer, if you want to maintain some kind of tribal identity that can endure America’s decline and collapse—also known as a sudden absence of adequate products and services—instead of “community organizing” on the Internet in your underwear or retreating to a country compound with the wife and kids, bring some of those Internet people close to you and live near each other. Take over a neighborhood or an apartment complex, start businesses and provide services that people really need.

It’s great to have writers and thinkers, but you also need mechanics and plumbers and seamstresses. Serve everyone, but be loyal to people “in the family” and make them “your own.”

It doesn’t have to be some formal thing. Don’t issue a press release. Just start quietly building a community of like-minded men and women somewhere. Anywhere.

Don’t worry about creating some massive political movement or recruiting thousands or millions of people. Don’t worry about changing the state. Barbarians don’t worry about changing the state. That’s for men of the state — who believe in and belong to the State.

Shoot for 150 people. A small, close-knit community of people working together to become less dependent on the State and more dependent on each other.

Recent immigrants—many of whom are literally “not of the State”—can serve as examples. It wasn’t long ago that the Irish and Italians lived in insular communities. Think of Russian parts of town.

Look at places like Chinatown in San Francisco: every few blocks, you see these buildings marked. Something . . . something . . . something . . .   “Benevolent Association.”

Sounds nice, right? Could be a front for Triad Gangs. Could be there to help Chinese schoolchildren. I have no idea. But I am sure that it is for Chinese people. There are also doctor offices and law offices and repair shops and grocery stores. There is a whole network there of people taking care of their own people first.

There is a community there of people who are exclusive, insular and interdependent. They go to each other first for what they need. They are harder to watch and harder to control. They are less dependent on the State and more dependent on each other. And when the collapse comes, they’ll take care of each other first, while everyone else is waiting for the state to “do something.”

Whoever your “us” is, whatever your “tribe” is, it’s just an idea in your head until you have a group of truly interdependent people who share the same fate. That’s what a tribe is. That’s what a community is. That is the future of identity in America.

Land belongs to those who take it and hold it. And this land is no longer your land or my land — officially it’s their land. You may not be able to reclaim it, at least not just right now, but you can become and live as happy Barbarians, as outsiders within, and work to build the kinds of resilient communities and networks of skilled people that can survive the collapse and preserve your identities after the Fall.

***

Readers who want to learn more about Jack Donovan should check out his site: Jack-Donovan.com.

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