Nietzsche, Context, & the Islamic AssumptionMark Gullick
The French philosopher René Descartes was a worried man. His concern was that his memory resembled a sheet of paper that was constantly being written over with his experiences, with facts and events. Realizing that it is in the nature of paper eventually to become filled with writing, he avoided wherever possible being told extraneous facts for fear that insufficient room would remain in his mind for things of importance to this polymath. Thus, he hoped to avoid the fate of Homer. Homer Simpson, that is. The yellow father of three noted the same phenomenon, cheerfully asking of wife Marge whether she remembered “that time I learnt how to make tequila and forgot how to drive.”
With Cartesian concern on my mind (as it were), I now refuse to use Google to retrieve a half-remembered fact. I am too likely to be distracted and, in addition, I wish to keep my memory as supple as is possible for a 60-year-old man, and not reliant on modern prosthetics. So it is that I can remember only the sketchiest detail of a BBC Radio 4 Today program interview which took place some years ago.
One of Today’s presenters was talking to a religious spokesman of undoubtedly dusky hue who had been caught saying something culturally — or rather multiculturally — contentious in a conversation he erroneously believed had gone unrecorded. His repeated defense was the (post-) modern default excuse; his words had been taken out of context.
As the interview progressed — very respectfully, as is the way when white BBC staff talk to colored people and not white conservatives — it became clear that the unfortunate man believed that “taken out of context” was equivalent to “repeated without my permission.” His confusion was increasingly apparent to the listener and to the interviewer, who declined to point out the error, fearing perhaps for community relations. The loose-tongued interviewee — a religious man, as noted — and his fear of decontextualization, bring us to another philosopher, himself the son of a religious man.
In 1888, shortly before his complete mental collapse, Lutheran pastor’s son Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a book criticizing Christianity, and by extension all religion. The short work was not published until 1895, by which time Nietzsche had been insane for six years, but it would go on to become something akin to the “dynamite” Nietzsche believed and wished his work to be. Nietzsche, for demonstrable reasons, is a writer often quoted out of context, but this book is more cohesive than his others, with their intentional lack of systematizing, and has much to say to the West of today, embroiled as it is in a problem which is partly religious. The book was Der Antikrist.
Like much of Nietzsche, The Antichrist (or The Antichristian; the German signifies both) is worth reading through quickly and returning to at leisure. Familiar Nietzschean themes are present and correct: The Christian as homme de ressentiment; Christianity as the religion of pity (which Nietzsche despised); the church’s enervation both of pragmatic Rome and of a culturally vibrant Europe. Nietzsche also targets the psychology of Christianity as morbid, with “somber and disquieting ideas. . . in the foreground.” Men of the Christian kind, he writes, “have a vital interest in making mankind sick.” Religion in itself, he writes, is the enemy of life and thought; “Theological blood is the ruin of philosophy.”
Nowadays, of course, books critical of religion per se tend to avoid one religion in particular. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion is a good example. Indeed, Nietzsche has more to say about Buddhism (of which he broadly approves) than Islam, but the few mentions of “Mohammedans” in The Antichrist repay inspection, even if read out of context.
Nietzsche’s work is easy to take out of context because, with the aphoristic style of much of his work, there is often no context. Look at the booklet of “Nietzsche’s sayings” that Hitler had issued to his frontline troops. Nietzsche’s criticisms of the Teutonic “blond beast” and his ridicule of the “beerish” Germans were not included.
The aphorism is an art form; think of the miniaturism of La Rochefoucauld, Blake or Montaigne. There is something of the East about the form. But Nietzsche’s aphorisms were not, or not only, a stylistic nicety. The appalling myopia from which the philosopher suffered (along with a range of digestive disorders) forced him to write with his nose practically touching the paper. With every line he wrote threatening to bring on crippling migraine, much of his writing is correspondingly gnomic, pithy, aimed to inflict its wound locally. Even given this aphoristic style, however, it is still possible to quote Nietzsche out of context. Most people recognize “that which does not kill me makes me stronger,” from The Twilight of the Idols (and revisited in Ecce Homo), but not necessarily its parenthesized coda; “from the military school of life.”
In The Antichrist, Nietzsche finds in Islam an ally in his destruction of Christianity, which he blames for destroying Moorish culture. Continuing his familiar mantra of disgust with Christian leaders, Nietzsche writes of them that;
Nature neglected — perhaps forgot — to give them even the most modest endowment of respectable, of upright, of cleanly instincts. . . Between ourselves, they are not even men. . . If Islam despises Christianity, it has a thousandfold right to do so: Islam at least assumes that it is dealing with men. . .
(Ellipses in original; italics added).
Nietzsche often described his writing as “fish hooks,” and here he has landed, as we shall see, a monster.
Here in the West, liberal, progressivist, and often feminist cheerleaders for Islam conveniently forget that it is a religion that does not exactly show the male character in its best light when it comes to the supposed new woke enlightenment (which is actually just the opposite), while at the same time the Quran extols what were, at one time, considered to be the manly virtues of strength, courage, and ruthlessness.
Now, the supposed advances in male and female parity of opportunity made in the West are not exactly all the rage in Arabic countries although, when it suits them, feminists will defend the cultural rights of institutionalized misogyny against perceived ethnocentrism. But what of those male traits which, while not necessarily a feminist’s cup of tea, are now gaining ground — literally, in the case of Europe — in the real world? Islam at least assumes that it is dealing with men. . .
Bravery, for example, is traditionally viewed as a manly virtue, its opposite as unmanly. It is also a jihadist trait. This is a conundrum Socrates would have enjoyed. Mark Steyn criticized George W. Bush for describing the 9/11 attacks as “cowardly.” As Steyn notes, standing in a cockpit with your chest bared while the plane you are in screams into a building may be indicative of many things, but cowardice is not one of them. A touch of realism concerning Islam would be of much use to the modern social justice warrior. Defend Islam, if you will, but be aware that whatever concerns the modern jihadi has, gender pronouns and transsexual toilets are unlikely to figure prominently. In a feminized and emasculated Europe, our leaders’ declamations of jihadist acts are sounding increasingly fey.
Take ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s appraisal of the killers of aid worker David Haines: “They are not Muslims, they are monsters.” Nietzsche, famously, has advice for he who would fight monsters: to beware that he does not himself become a monster. But by putting that aphorism in context by completing it, we may glimpse the utter vacuity of the Western, neutered response both to ISIS and to Islam. Nietzsche continues, “If you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you”. The West’s response to ISIS — or whatever acronym their brand people and our media have come up with this week — has truly been abysmal.
If we take The Antichrist as representative of Nietzsche’s singular moral system, it is difficult to imagine a more Nietzschean religion than Islam, at least as practiced by the dedicated butchers of the Islamic State. If the principles of cultural relativism are rigorously applied, we can’t say that the desert decapitators are bad men. They have simply exercised their cultural prerogative and, with Milton’s Satan, declaimed “Evil be thou my good.” Nietzsche’s view of the good life in The Antichrist is unequivocal; “What is good? Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself.”
Nietzsche’s will to power is much misunderstood, usually by those who have read no Schopenhauer, but even in its comedic, comic-book version, the “superman” (Übermensch is more like “overman” in English) is not a title we would associate with the likes of Mr. Cameron and his political gauleiter class. To a new generation of apprentice jihadists, however, ISIS more than fits the bill. It is said that Mafia gangsters in Italy are adopting the look of jihadists. Not the religion, you understand, but that most modern preoccupation, the image.
Television helps, of course, and by extension YouTube and associated media. Iconic small-screen prestige is yet another Western habit Islamists have adopted, along with training shoes, rap music, and the ability to fly planes into skyscrapers. Perhaps they have put into context Andy Warhol’s famous assertion that “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” by supplementing it with Warhol’s later pronouncement — in A to B and Back Again – that “in 15 minutes, everyone will be famous.”
The family of one ISIS hostage paraded on TV screens in a gruesome version of reality TV asked, in an appeal, that their relative be treated as a man of peace. Unfortunately, their wish was not granted. Islamists are not men of peace. That is the whole point of their existence. They know, however, how to deal with those who are. Much has been made of Osama bin Laden’s own aphoristic pronouncement that when people see a strong horse and a weak horse they will prefer the strong horse. Although a witless race-track platitude is hardly oratory, the late Mr. bin Laden had a point. And for Islamists, just as for Nietzsche, history is about winners and losers, and about wars and warriors.
There is always a tiresome laziness about talk of writers “coming back into vogue,” but with Nietzsche, his relevance was never ours to decide, was never an airport bookstore lifestyle choice. The myopic German, with his military bearing, his fake Polish lineage, and his impeccable manners, is a Cassandra for our crippled epoch. Islamists assume the West knows it is dealing with men. The West is not sure what that means anymore. When we view an ISIS video, we are forced, for context, to recall the title of Nietzsche’s slim volume of autobiography; Ecce Homo. Behold the man.
The West is at war; that is our context. Nietzsche may have had little to say explicitly about Islam, but implicitly he tells us much about this cultish, mannish ideology. From Human, All Too Human:
For the time being, we know of no other means to imbue exhausted peoples, as strongly and surely as every great war does, with that raw energy of the battleground, that deep impersonal hatred, that murderous cold-bloodedness with a good conscience, that communal, organized ardor in destroying the enemy, that proud indifference to great losses, to one’s own existence and to that of one’s friends, that muted, earthquake-like convulsion of the soul.
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Foucault, that 20tc century Nietzchean, ended up being in awe of the Islamic revolution in Iran during his visit there. He thought Islam one vital force that could pose a challenge to Western (christian) liberal modernity.
Another titan of German Kultur, Goethe, also thought highly of Islam (contra Christianity).
This may not be a popular opinion here but I have been to several Middle East and North Africa countries and every time I’ve left thinking ” I don’t want these people in my country but I have a lot of respect for their culture and traditions “.
Firstly, Nietzsche’s grasp of Islam was as good as an average White westerner.
Secondly, much of that ignorance, as this article demonstrates, still persists, which has allowed Western political (((elites))) to manipulate their hapless citizenries.
Thirdly, your struggle is racial. Keep it that way. Because if you insist on the ‘Islam vs the West’ equation, you’ll drain whatever mobilizing energies you have. And remember, (((someone))) has always been there to gain at your expense.
Lastly, why is there a tendency to rely on (((mainstream media))) and (((academia))) when it comes to Islam?
Why does that dissident curiosity that takes every ‘official’ declaration with a pinch of salt suddenly break down at this juncture?
Why is that same State apparatus that ejaculates utter nonsense like ‘White supremacist terrorism’, ‘Domestic terrorism linked to hateful ideologies’, ‘Russia hacked the system to let Trump win’, ‘White Nationalism is presently the biggest threat’, ‘Biden is mentally stable’ etc. at once become credible when it and its various mouthpieces vomit something about the Middle East?
Be mindful of the traps. Don’t distract yourself.
There is NO war between Islam and the White West.
White West is being dismantled by criminal Whites allied with criminal non-Whites of every hue….and they are being supervised by you know wh✡︎.
My assessment of Islam was developed independently of the (((elites))) and to say there is no war between Allah’s slave-army and the West is a lie. It’s 1400 years old.
My assessment of Islam was developed independently of the (((elites))) and to say there is no war between Allah’s slave-army and the West is a lie. It’s 1400 years old.
Who constitute this ‘Allah’s slave-army’? What is its race/ethnicity?
Islam is trans-historical. It is a theological doctrine that deals with the nature of man [of every sort regardless of geography], whereas the ‘West’ is primarily a racial/ethnographic expression. The former is metaphysics; the latter is physics. There can be no war between the two. Both are aspects of Reality. You can be a White Nationalist while at the same time profess Islam. There is no contradiction between the two.
On the other hand, there can be fierce rivalries between Arabs and Whites, Berbers and Arabs, Whites and Turks, Whites and Blacks, Han and Uighur Turks, Slavs and non-Slavs, etc.
Race is a biological fact after all. There is bound to be tension and chaos the moment one attempts forced integration.
The square peg of “metaphysical” Islam in your head does not fit into the round hole of historical Islam on the ground. Real Islam is an imperialist territorial Asian theocracy and has no place in the West.
The White West can have more than one enemy.
@Deplorable – Absolutely correct. We do well to remember that, as we have many enemies. Attempts to find common cause with existential enemies is one of the aspects of the dissident Right that I find cringe-worthy. And stupid.
How to translate Übermensch? I would suggest super-human or even the Latin, homo superior. The idea is, especially from Zarathustra, that the Übermensch will be a new species, evolved from homo sapiens. To me, Nietzsche’s categorical imperative is this: Mankind must evolve!
“Bravery, for example, is traditionally viewed as a manly virtue, its opposite as unmanly. It is also a jihadist trait. This is a conundrum Socrates would have enjoyed. Mark Steyn criticized George W. Bush for describing the 9/11 attacks as “cowardly.” As Steyn notes, standing in a cockpit with your chest bared while the plane you are in screams into a building may be indicative of many things, but cowardice is not one of them”
The “our enemy is a coward” trope goes back to the “Bitburg scandal” (Bitgate?) when Reagan was laying a wreath, at a German cemetery, supposedly to commemorate the end of WWII, and ADL and the usual suspects were “shocked” to learn that various members of the SS were buried there. The idea was that the soldiers of our defeated foe could be honored for doing their duty, but the SS was a uniquely evil organization. Today, of course, everyone, including the American GI, is lumped together as White Supremacists.
Anyway, as I think Joe Sobran pointed out, Aristotle had solved this conundrum long ago. Bravery is the mean between two excesses, one is cowardice, the other is foolhardiness. The later errs in being directed a wrong or evil goal.
So, the jihadi flying his plane into a building, or wearing a suicide vest, is not a coward, but simple deluded. I find this distinction useful in navigating the media.
One may approve of the Koran’s exhortation of ‘manliness’, but the vast majority of Muslims in the West do not particularly embody manly virtues. If you have any experience or knowledge of the Pakistani Muslims who proliferate in Britain, for instance, you will know that they are quite a sickly bunch who make disproportionately high demands on the NHS and the benefits system (cousin marriage may have something to do with this). If men of the West feel racially humiliated by the Islamic takeover of some areas of Europe, they should remember that this has been facilitated at every step by our traitorous rulers, and those behind them (over which we might reasonably feel some humiliation).
I’ve read only a bit of Nietzsche; I probably should read a lot more. But I wonder how much relevance he has to our current racial struggle? I know very little about Europe, but in America, we are losing because a) the Left has gained control of the means of cultural influence (schools, media, entertainment, churches), and b) far too many on the Right are Christians who are thoroughly misguided about the what their religion requires of them wrt race relations. They are misled as to the actual Christian ethics of race. Our task (insofar as we are discussing intellectual contributions; what we really need is white community political organizing, as well as institutional mechanisms to facilitate mass relocations of prowhites to a few contiguous states, from which the next generation can reasonably commence the push for ethnonational independence and sovereignty) therefore is, first, to build up shadow cultural institutions to give our people a healthy alternative to antiwhite content, and second, to effectuate a sea change in Christian racial ethics through which at least ideologically conservative Christians shall come to realize that wokeness and multiculturalism are evil, and that even mere multiracialism is unnatural, imprudent and above all morally unnecessitated.
Many white salvationists believe that our path to ultimate victory (ie, communal life, liberty, territory and security for our people) must be “through the Jews”. I disagree. I think that in America is goes through the Christians. We must convince a sufficient number of them that, to put it rather plaintively yet accurately, they are not “bad people” (ie, destined to rot in Hell) for either recognizing racial differences and their political and security implications, or for wishing to live exclusively with their own people. Nor are they bad people for resenting and resisting the negrophile agenda of today’s elites.
Nietzsche, interesting though he might be, is not going to help our Christian outreach and dialogue.
In Harold Covington’s Northwest novels, the job of mediation and peacekeeping in the new White ethnostate falls, amusingly, to the National Socialists, who attempt to keep the feuding White Heathens and White Christians from sabotaging the whole project.
IMHO, Western Christianity in its current state (as opposed to its long history before the so-called Enlightenment) is pretty much a lost cause. BUT, for WN outreach to those Christians who can be salvaged, I suggest these kinds of questions:
Your Christian ancestors, who believed in the faith at least as fully as you, were quite content to live with the obvious realities of racial/ethnic differences and incompatibilities as part of the God-created order. Why do you feel that you, with your primary allegiance to multiculturalism, etc, are better believers than they were? Where does this increased virtue come from? And ask yourself ,who it is who is teaching your churches that they must condemn their Christian ancestors, from whom they received the faith, in order to please…well, to please who? You now passionately hold that things like racial integration and equality are essential to the Gospel? Why do you know this and so many generations of faithful believers before you did not? They had far far harder lives than you do. What has made you so much better?
Dr. ExCathedra, as this comment section does not have the silly little up and down-vote buttons, I must address you directly in this manner. If I may be so bold, as evidenced in all of your above comments above, you, sir or madam, are sincerely quite brilliant.
Your kind words are appreciated. Thank you. (My pronouns are and always have been he/him/his) 😉
I agree completely. I’ve been using some variations of those types of questions for decades, usually in an attempt to foster a bit of intellectual humility in my discussants. “Your Christian ancestors, usually more pious than you/us (or than our generation), didn’t feel that recognizing racial realities, as well as prioritizing their own people’s or clan’s morally legitimate interests over alien others’, somehow jeopardized their standing with Christ. So why do you believe differently, and why are you sure that you’re correct and your ancestors were in the wrong?”
Unfortunately, that type of argument is usually pragmatically (as well as certainly theoretically) insufficient. Their response is almost invariably something along the lines of positing a “growth in moral consciousness or awareness over time”. I happen to agree with that, though I wouldn’t exaggerate that growth, and I do always point out that, while there has been moral improvement in some areas (eg, rejection of slavery, rejection of legally enforced caste hierarchies, partial rejection of imperialism, greater respect for individual rights), there has been considerable moral backsliding in others (sexual immorality, acceptance of plain theft via the institutionalized looting known as the “welfare state”, impiety and blasphemy, etc), so that it’s hard to know if modernity’s ‘moral ledger’ is in the black or red.
The better way to approach (intelligent + evolutionarily/genetically non-defective) Christians is through a renewed understanding of the nature of justice, which has been utterly perverted by what is, in Christian ethical terms, unjust “social justice”. I hate “victimology” in general, but it is a fact that we whites have been the main victims of racial injustice, both legally and rhetorically, in postwar America (and everywhere else). We have been shamelessly slandered and defamed in rhetoric, as well as transformed into second class citizens in our own fathers’ land in law and policy. Our people built a nation, and for the past half century have had it progressively stolen from them via demographically dilutionary mass immigration (which was legislated in 1965 via an entire onslaught of intentionally mendacious propaganda as to the new immigration law’s elements and likely effects). You need to get Christians first to recognize these realities, and then persuade them that we have every moral right to challenge the lies told about whites in the media and schools, as well as to repulse this foreign colonization and transmogrification of our country. Of course, that involves a whole other level of moral analysis, one explaining why we have, at a minimum, at least as much moral latitude to preserve our country as we wish as our enemies correspondingly have to pursue its transformation, but that analysis is straightforward.
This article really romanticizes Jihadism and ignores the reality that a majority of Jihadists perpetrate their attacks with motives full of ressentiment. Jihadists are most often lost, angry souls, who basically volunteer to be cannon fodder because they suffer; they are suicidal at heart and want revenge on the world for their suffering. We’ve all heard the story of the Jihadist, who before coming to radical Islam, was just some delinquent, with very little, if any commitment to the principles of Islam. They come to Jihadism young, disillusioned, weary of their life, want to die, and Jihad gives them a purpose to die that will grant them “honor” among other Jihadists and 15 minutes of fame. Jihadists are about as “manly” as school shooters, the only difference between their mentality being that the former justifies his murder of innocent people with pseudo-principles. Hardly admirable from a Nietzschean standpoint- it’s a mass slave-revolt.
Hello JJJ. Can your comment not be seen as the reduction of Islam’s difference, imposition of the condition of alienated, resentful Westerner on the Jihadi? Could we not rather see their act as life-affirming? As standing outside of Western categories of productivism and rationalesm, as a masterly overcoming of the fear of death, as display of vital excess, heroic destruction and expenditure? Sacrifice as a display of Islam’s vitality, thus affirmative, rather than negative? Does it not stand as a disruption of Western/Christian/liberal categories then?
The eagle doesn’t kill the lamb to negate the lamb…
If you want to call hijacking a plane of unarmed civilians and crashing it into a building, blowing up pre-teens at an Ariane Grande concert, running over pedestrians with a lorry heroic, be my guest.
‘Jihadism’, ‘Islamist Terror’, ‘ISIS’, ‘Al Qaeda’ were a manufactured thing for sensational media consumption. Now, we have the threat of ‘White Supremacist terrorism’.
Yesterday, ‘Middle East Experts’ and Islam bashers proliferated mass communications to set the narrative. Today, they have been replaced by ‘trans activists’, ‘gay activists’, ‘Whiteness studies experts’, ‘critical discourse analysts’ etc.
The (((political establishment))) will now use the ‘War on Terror’ instruments to discipline and harass the White sections the society.
Read the new ‘National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism’ released a few days ago.
There will be false flag attacks/’arrests’/’uncovering of White ‘terror plots’ in this decade to justify further repression. Apparently, the Capitol Hill ‘insurrection’ didn’t fetch the desired results.
As they did during the days of ‘War on Terror’, the FBI gangsters and their moles will now entice and encourage mass killings of Blacks, Asians, South Asians etc. to sustain a concerted communication effort to undermine any activity, however small and negligible it is, of White solidarity.
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