Philosophy and Culture in the Thought of Nietzsche

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
11/19/2012
       
Philosophy and Culture in the Thought of Nietzsche

Given the recent reelection of President Obama and his fellow partisans, this just might not be a bad time to acquaint ourselves with the writings of 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Socialist rhetoric is in the air, and the air is thick. Rather than be burdened with guilt (and taxes) for our “lack of compassion” for “the disadvantaged,” we would be better served to call to mind Nietzsche’s contention that the socialists (or welfare-statists or “liberals”) among us are motivated first and foremost by their aching need for ever greater power. And that they seek to cloak their selfishness and dishonesty behind a veil of moral objectivity.

Given the recent reelection of President Obama and his fellow partisans, this just might not be a bad time to acquaint ourselves with the writings of 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Socialist rhetoric is in the air, and the air is thick. Rather than be burdened with guilt (and taxes) for our “lack of compassion” for “the disadvantaged,” we would be better served to call to mind Nietzsche’s contention that the socialists (or welfare-statists or “liberals”) among us are motivated first and foremost by their aching need for ever greater power. And that they seek to cloak their selfishness and dishonesty behind a veil of moral objectivity.

When I was a teenager, there was a guy from my old neighborhood who had developed an addiction to crack cocaine. Given that he didn’t have much in the way of steady employment to support his habit, he acquired another: He became hooked on thievery.

Now before long, this junkie and thief was known by everyone for who and what he was, for there wasn’t a single person among his family, friends, and acquaintances upon whom he didn’t set his sights. He stole, or at least tried to steal, from everyone.

One night, he tried to steal from me.

As was our way, a group of us — including the junkie and thief — were gathered at our neighborhood park. He decided that it was about time for him to get high. Being without any cash of his own, he tried to prevail upon me to “lend” him some funds. When I refused, he persisted. “Don’t be greedy,” he admonished me.

Don’t be greedy.

My cousin is currently married to a good woman with whom he shares a nice home and two beautiful children. But before he met her, he was married for a brief time (not briefly enough) to another woman who wasn’t all that good. On more than one occasion, she was unfaithful to him. He discovered her last indiscretion by either reading her diary or tracking her down, I don’t recall which. The point, though, is this: When he confronted her, she castigated him for “violating her privacy.”

Both my selfish, dishonest friend and my cousin’s selfish and dishonest ex-wife sought to cloak their selfishness and dishonesty behind a veil of objectivity. Both sought to advance their subjective interests by invoking the language of right and wrong: Greed is wrong, violating another’s privacy is wrong, etc.

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