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This article, as to be expected by the New Yorker, is fairly underwhelming, lacks a point and is outright wrong in a few places. For one, trying to apply Nietzsche’s thought to modern politics is to completely misunderstand the man. His work has nothing to do with the supposedly ‘new’ phenomenon of news and media lying about the truth. It is far deeper and profound than the Trump-buzzword article of the day.

It’s probably fair to say that Nietzsche, if he were around today, would almost certainly have no interest in the petty squabbles of democratic politics. To assign him a political viewpoint is to misunderstand that he is fundamentally interested in the individual human being as a self-contained phenomenon. His philosophy is not accurately characterized as “individualism” but it is absolutely not political in nature.

In any case, the title refers to an interesting idea which oddly enough isn’t even mentioned in the article itself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_return#Friedrich_Nietz...

I personally enjoy the New Yorker and liked the article.

And in college I read “Politics and Modernity”, which does indeed use Nietzsches thought to investigate, well, the politics of modernity.

The author studies political science at Johns Hopkins and so there are at least a few people who would disagree with your statement that Nietzsche has nothing to do with politics of our moment.


FWIW I thought it was an excellent book.

I wouldn't say that Nietzsche was apolitical.

He wrote that "Wagner has become what I most despise: an antisemite."

Nietzsche was very vocal in his opposition to antisemitism, which extended far beyond his break with Wagner, a man who he had formerly deeply admired. Ironically, his sister was an ardent antisemite, who falsified his work to make him seem sympathetic to her views.

Though Nietzsche would was not primarily a political philosopher (except in the sense that, arguably, everything is political) it is likely that were he alive today he would be opposed to the xonophobia and racism that is at Trump's core and that of many of his supporters.

I agree with everything you said but this part:

> the individual human being as a self-contained phenomenon

He was absolutely an existentialist, but I think his rebuke of the Cartesian _cogito_ undermines that self-contained concept.

I was trying to avoid delving into his whole idea of the will and explicit anti-‘selfhood’ as it seemed a bit too much for a HN comment. But yeah, I was trying to say that N. isn’t really a political thinker. He is better described as interested in fundamental forces that are far deeper than (what he perceives as) the petty mob values of democratic politics or a simple concept of individualism.

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