Monday, December 8, 2008

Nietzsche and the Individual in the Obama Era

Leiter tells us in his Philosophy Report that Obama loved Nietzsche in his college days. There is much of the heroic individual in Barack; there is also much of the herd man, which is antitheitical to Nietzsche, and would certainly provoke the contempt of the philosopher. Or so some would say. I think not.

Nietzsche was not without compassion and understanding of the imbalances and injustices of life; he was no lover of luxury and wealth, in particular, when it is possessed by the trivial. I think he would view Obama as herd fighting herd; his socialist leanings a necessary remedy in these pursey times. There is enough that is phallic and strong in Barack, to save him from any refutation from the solitary Germanic wanderer. In Human,  All Too Human, one of his most famous treatise on the herd vs the Individual, Nietzsche spoke with admirably understanding, of that which drives socialist movements: The falseness of the moneyed classes; the triviality and "mush culture" which flow from them. Eyeing these, says Nietzsche, gives rise to the conclusion that there needs to be a remedy. I have often felt that the margin of freedom of which Sartre says is the only venue of authenticity does not come with free enterprise, when that domain has run amok. Ortega y Gasset also knew that hyperdemocracy, born of luxury, is not vital democracy, but static and nullifying.

Holub,  in his essay,  Nietzsche:  Socialist,  Anarchist,  Feminist (playing on Kaufmann's famoust title)  makes the case for Nietzsch and Socialism, by pointing out correctly the philosopher's rejection of bourgoise norms.  Although Nietzsche called the socialists of his day,  "howling,  anarchistic dogs,  running through the back alleys of European culture",  he surely scorned the entrepreneur and the ambitious career man just as much.  That he was part poet,  part mystic,  and very sympathetic with homosexuality (male only)  further entangles him in movements of the marginalized.  

No comments:

Under New Influence