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November 28, 2021 1 min read

Nietzsche on nationalism meme



Being nationalistic in the sense in which it is now demanded by public opinion would, it seems to me, be for us who are more spiritual not mere insipidity but dishonesty, a deliberate deadening of our better will and conscience.”

Nietzsche, Unpublished Note

There is actually not much to explain here. If you make an effort to read Nietzsche's texts, you will not find any advocacy of nationalism in him at any point. His intellectual mentor Schopenhauer had already strongly criticized or invalidated this idea. However, it was Richard Wagner, Nietzsche's other "teacher", who translated this thought into tonal art in Germany at that time and who was also met with lively applause for it. Unfortunately, Nietzsche himself did not manage any more not to let himself be harnessed practically. Too great were the efforts of his sister and many others to make his work accessible to the nationalist and ultimately to the Nazis. A truly inconceivable injustice of intellectual history.

One must imagine that in every backpack of a German soldier was given an Also Sprach Zarathustra, so that the soldiers could encourage themselves in the murder of the high language of a German philosopher and poet who had become a companion. Unfortunately, this often happens when Nietzsche's thoughts are used. One can squeeze in almost anything, but Nietzsche rejected nationalists throughout. He himself wandered through Switzerland, France and Italy as a stateless, self-described "good European".

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