[Marxism] more on Nietzsche

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 22 17:06:41 MST 2014

Shaun has once again defended Nietzsche against the charges of being a
nationalist and an anti-semite. I repeat here no one, absolutely no one, in
this thread has accused Nietzsche of nationalism or anti-semitism.

He also has accused me of being ideological.   Frankly I do not understand
that at all.  My approach to Nietzsche is simply to read him and to assume
he means what he says. So I believe him when he writes in *The Will to
Power* 734 - “Sympathy for decadents, equal rights for the ill-constituted
– that would be the profoundest immorality,  that would be antinature
itself”.  In the same aphorism he calls for these “decadents” to be

In methodological terms what is one to make of this?  One could try the
tack of saying that Nietzsche must just have had a bad day at the office.  This
won’t work, because his corpus has other instances of talk of the “botched”
and arguing that one should dispose of them.  Besides his whole work is
full of aristocratic elitism and attacks on anyone who would wish to succor
the disabled. Now if I were sitting opposite to Shaun right now and Mark
popped in, I would ask them to respond in a non-ideological way to WP 734.

So what am I saying here?  Well there is what Berkowitz calls a “bloody
Nietzsche” – no doubt at all about it. If I am challenged on this I will
reply with quote after quote – so don’t go there.  What is one to do with
this Nietzsche?  Williams calls him “embarrassing”.  Warren tries his best
to rescue Nietzsche’s notion of the will to power and to suggest that it
has nothing to do with domination. For Warren the Will to Power is about
agency.  But this won’t fly at all, because every time Nietzsche talks
about power he uses the metaphors of domination.  More difficult is the
point that Nietzsche was such an elitist that he endorsed the role of the
hermit and the abandonment of any role as a ruler.  But this rejection of
domination as Berkowitz points out is a rejection of the people, or as
Nietzsche would have it of the “botched”, and not of the politics of

I am currently going through the Gay Science, and if I have time I will
take up Nietzsche and laughter. I will content myself for the moment with
pointing out this view of human nature:

“Even the most hurtful man is still perhaps in respect to the conservation
of the race, the most useful of all; for he conserves in himself, or by his
effect on others, impulses without which mankind might have long ago have
languished or decayed.  Hatred, delight in mischief, rapacity and ambition,
and whatever else is called evil – belong to the marvelous economy of the
conservation of the race; to be sure a costly, lavish and on the whole very
foolish economy; - which has, however, until now preserved our race, as is
demonstrated to us” (GS 1).

This is wrong on so many levels. Its morality is revolting. Logically also
it is deeply flawed.  Bhaskar is quite correct when he points out that the
world of what Nietzsche terms, so endearingly as “hatred, rapacity and
ambition” depends on the world of love and care and solidarity.  If the
latter were not the ground state of humanity we would long ago have
perished as a species.

So let me throw down a final challenge to comrades Mark and Shaun.  I say
to them the “botched” of the world are more important to our survival than
all of Nietzsche’s “blond beasts”.  Tell me how I am being ideological when
I say that.



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