14 December 2010

The Strangest Antisemite of Them All: The Bizarre Case of Friedrich Nietzsche

No serious thinker has done more harm to the Jewish people than Friedrich Nietzsche, whose writings were an important inspiration for Adolph Hitler and Nazism. Yet far from being an antisemite, Nietzsche was one of the most pro-Jewish German writers of his time. How can this paradox be explained and does it have any lessons for the present day?
There indeed is a lesson in the explanation. To get it, read the whole article by professor Barry Rubin.


Yitzchak Goodman said...

The introduciton to the Portable Nietzsche by Walter Kaufmann has a thorough discussion of how his ideas got distorted to promote antisemitism, but I don't let Nietzsche himself off the hook. There is something wrong and nihilistic there even if it is not antisemitism. And its a pity--there is a playful quality to his thought also. I once took a Nietzsche-dominated philosophy course from a professor who wore the reincarnation of Nietzsche's mustache.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Well, <span>nihilistic doesn't mean antisemitic, besides, no one knows the future development of one's philosophy - it could turn anywhere. Unfortunately, the turn any philosophy takes couldn't even be said to validate or invalidate the source teachings. This is the zig-zag way of that peculiar branch of science (oh well).</span>

David All said...

Awfully interesting article with lots of information had not known about, Snoopy; thanks for posting it. Nietzsche was one awfully strange charecter even for a German philospher. Had not known that he preferred Germany's enemies, France, Italy and Poland to Imperial Germany. When the Nazis quoted him it was usually from his latter years when Nietzsche was mad or descending into due to final stages of syphillis. That his closest surviving relative, his anti-Semitic sister lived until 1934 and supported the Nazis also made it easier to think of Nietzsche as a forerunner of Nazism. There is a photo of Hitler gazing revently at a bust of Nietzsche. Fitting only half of the bust is part of the photo. Snoopy, you are right that a person can not be held accountable for what people do with his writings and beliefs after his death.