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Comments by Wade McKenzie
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On “The Stealth Self-Menace (Taking a side is the promise to ‘do it’)

Okay, one last teaser and then I'm outta here for real.

The entire country ought to be subjected to the most strict and comprehensive regime of gun control imaginable. Even law enforcement agencies would be disarmed and forced to rely on billy clubs, mace canisters, and tear gas. But a special "School Shooter Permit" ought to be made available. A prospective school shooter would apply for the permit and, once granted (approval should mostly just be a formality), would be given access to a local armory where he may select from a full array of weapons--up to, and including, hand grenades and bazookas.

"

Well, CK, I naturally squandered the evening without making the least progress toward writing my offensive comment on school shootings. It'll have to wait till next week, I'm afraid, if I should get around to it at all. (Due to a personal circumstance, I'm just about always offline Sat.-Tues.)

But how bout a little teaser?

Rather than denouncing school shooters, they ought instead to give them full state honors--replete with a state funeral, wherein their caskets lie in state beneath the Capitol rotunda and the President and other luminaries and excellencies come to pay their respects.

Have a nice weekend.

"

No, no, CK--I've left behind all my "poor taste" shenanigans and frivolities, I promise. There nonetheless remains what you might consider a certain intrinsic residue of offensiveness that necessarily adheres to my views, seeing that they tend to be far removed from the moral-political thought-world of liberal progressivism.

I fear, however, that by shamelessly hyping the offensive quality of my view on the subject of school shootings, I may already have promised more than I can deliver. Give me some time, though--whether a few hours, or a few days, I can't say--and I'll see if I can articulate something to that end.

For now, I'll just whet your appetite.

You find them terrifically amusing and wish only that there were more of them?

No, not terrifically amusing--but not terrifically saddening, either.

As for more of them? Sure, why not?

To be continued...

"

You mean you do want me to put my view forward?

"

I'm sorry about my little outburst the other day, CK. You know I have problems with impulse control. And, in any case, I really was only teasing.

I don't suppose that, strictly speaking, this is a post about school shootings--and so I shan't put forward my incredibly offensive take on same.

On “The internet is not a place – so not a terrible place

Judas H. Priest! Another post about computer bullshit?!?

On “hardly nowhere to begin

Well, it immediately occurs to me that my last paragraph is off. Rather than the statesman "effecting a balance" in his political practice between the humane ethic of Christianity and the relatively inhumane ethic of paganism, it is instead the case that the statesman in his political practice must entirely grab hold of pagan Machtpolitik--in full view of the correlative truth of Christian idealism. And it is that, I'm afraid, that strikes me as just about right.

"

I've not read MacIntyre myself--and while we ofttimes disagree as to what precisely is the Straussian project--I take it that, in describing MacIntyre's project as broadly Straussian, you mean that he seeks to revitalize a classical perspective.

There is, to my mind, nothing more essential to the Straussian project than the notion that philosophy, classically (and by Strauss's lights, properly) conceived, is--principally, if not entirely--a theoretical, as opposed to a practical, undertaking. Modern philosophy can more or less be defined as the attempt to turn contemplative philosophy into the basis of a sweeping reform of civilization. For Strauss, the consequences for both philosophy and civilization of this distortion of philosophy's true nature would be deleterious.

Well, speaking of virtue or virtù, and coming on the heels of our last go-round concerning "the tyrannical teaching" of the classics, I recently re-read Thoughts on Machiavelli and this has whetted my appetite for a survey of the Florentine's texts themselves--in translation, of course. I've made a fitful start with The Art of War.

Perhaps I'll say more about my incipient attraction to Machiavelli and the tyrannical teaching in time to come. For now, please allow me to quote Bernard Crick (from his introduction to a Penguin Classics edition of the Discourses):

Here we have--what? A decision to take between two conflicting moralities? [I.e. the heavenly or ideal morality of Christianity, and the earthly or pragmatic morality of Machiavellism] Or simply two conflicting moralities? I follow Sir Isaiah Berlin in thinking the latter to be true, and that this is Machiavelli's terrible originality. He never denies that what Christians call good, is in fact good: 'humility, kindness, scruples, unworldliness, faith in God, sanctity...' But there is also the morality of the pagan world: virtù, citizenship, heroism, public achievement, and the preservation and the cultural enrichment of the city-state. (pp. 64-5)

This paradox of two heterogeneous moralities--one, ideal or heavenly; the other, pragmatic or earthly--neither of which can or ought to be disregarded, and between which the statesman in his political practice (and the citizen, too, in his ordinary practice) must somehow effect a balance, strikes me, from my perch of deepening middle age, as being just about right.

"

Can't resist sharing this with you, CK. Hope you won't mind my putting this here, rather than the OT. It's to do with Donald Trump's ancestry.

If our future President [Mr.Trump] is more willing to go on the unrelenting attack rather than take a beating lying down, it may owe to Viking heritage on his mother's side.

His mother, a Scottish immigrant, hailed from the highlander Clan MacLeod on the Isle of Lewis, one of the Outer Hebrides islands off the western shore of Scotland that was raided and settled by Vikings during the 9th through 13th centuries, when it belonged to the Norse Kingdom of the Isles. In fact, the MacLeods ruled Lewis from the end of the Viking heyday through the early modern era, when they were eclipsed by the Mackenzies in the 17th C.

Genetic evidence points to their Norse invader lineage…

Heh heh. Just in case anyone's interested, here's the link:

http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2015/09/donald-trump-descended-from-vikings.html

Well, I haven't forgotten you, CK--not that you care--or lost interest in having occasional disputations with you. I've just been feeling a little demotivated the past several weeks. However, I think I may be getting my second wind. I'm just waiting for you to render an at least once in a blue moon comment on current affairs.

Best wishes

On “Open Thread

In all seriousness, though, I'm not to retract my retraction, because the question I was myself facing had everything to do with the classical or Xenophontic teaching concerning tyranny--and it seems clear to me at this point, pace Kojeve's and Strauss's exchange at the tail end of On Tyranny, that the life of the tyrant as something approximating the best or highest life for a man isn't a part of the classical teaching on tyranny.

"

I do myself want to iterate something that I should perhaps have iterated from the start--namely, that the tyrannical teaching explicated in Strauss's commentary on Xenophon's Hiero is by no means necessarily Strauss's own deeply held view, but rather Xenophon's. And as I indicated by making reference to the curious paragraph from Chapter Six, Strauss even casts doubt on whether it really is, in the final analysis, Xenophon's own deeply held view.

But if I understand your latest comment, CK, you almost seem to be suggesting that maybe my "proposition #2" wasn't "wildly off" after all--in the sense that it might, conceivably and/or hypothetically, be true. Am I to retract my retraction?

"

CK: While I haven't yet been able to re-read On Tyranny from cover to cover, I've had occasion to reconnoitre its interior precincts and I think I'm in a position to resolve the controversy of our recent exchange. Allow me to recall the paragraph of mine from whence the controversy stems:

Let me begin by summarizing–admittedly a bit too succinctly and simplistically–the gist of the result of Strauss’s inquiry in On Tyranny, specifically the commentary on the Hiero. It is: That the philosophers of classical antiquity were in possession of a teaching–a teaching that is nowhere better exemplified than in Xenophon’s Hiero–to the effect that 1) The rule of man is superior to the rule of law; and 2) The life of the tyrant is indeed the best way of life for a man. Of course, there are caveats and complexities in which these deliverances of classical philosophy are nested–but that is the teaching in its most direct and unadorned form. The most obvious caveats go without saying.

Though, as I say, I've yet to re-read OT in its entirety, it seems inevitable that I will be forced to retract my proposition #2--just as you suspected. Consider it so retracted. Good call, CK. I did personally "utterly disavow" the proposition in one of my comments above and I can't help but think that that was an intuition on my part that the axiom was false. As to how I could have made such a frankly egregious error--when I know quite well that the thrust of classical philosophy, as well as the work of Leo Strauss, is that the philosophic life is the best or highest life for a man--well, I think that brings me to proposition #1, which my reading has confirmed and validated.

Chapter Four of OT is entitled "The Teaching Concerning Tyranny". It turns out that the "teaching concerning tyranny" just is "the rule of man is superior to the rule of law(s)". If you'll read that chapter in its entirety, you'll find that Strauss maintains that both Xenophon and "Xenophon's Socrates" subscribed to "the tyrannical teaching" which is identical to my proposition #1. In fact, he avers that their subscription to this teaching was a factor in their respective fates at the hands of their fellow Athenians--death in the case of Socrates, exile in that of Xenophon. Relatedly, Strauss maintains that it was necessary to keep the teaching hidden from public view--for reasons that should be obvious.

Now I hasten to add that that principle or teaching is liable to a host of caveats, just as I said it was. If you read the fourth chapter, you’ll encounter said host. So please don't throw it back at me--I've acknowledged it from the start and will continue to acknowledge it. And speaking of those caveats, there is a paragraph in Chapter Six ("Pleasure and Virtue") that modifies the status of the teaching almost to the point of retraction. That paragraph begins "The reason why the city as such..." and is on p. 99 of my edition.

Now I've turned over a number of possibilities in my mind as to how I could have represented the teaching concerning tyranny not only as proposition #1, but as proposition #2 as well. I think the best explanation I can offer is the following. Since "the tyrannical teaching"--the rule of man is superior to the rule of law(s)--can be precisely translated as "tyrannical rule is superior to constitutional rule", I illegitimately ("tyrannically", you might say) tried to reformulate the principle as "the tyrant is superior to the non-tyrant". You questioned my so doing, and you were right.

Anyway, CK--thanks for putting up with my confusion and chronic irascibility.

"

I don’t think HIERO depends on esotericism. It may be subtle, in a way belied by X’s reputation as a plain speaker, but that’s not quite the same thing.

I tend to agree, CK, that "esotericism" isn't exactly the right word for the Hiero. Whatever might be the right word, the "subtlety", the "rhetorico-literary" character of the Hiero, the fact is, it doesn't proceed in a straight line. Now, part of the purpose therein is, as you say, to elicit an insight on the part of the reader that somehow involves his own coming-to-know or coming-to-understand--a philosophical enlightenment or revelation, as you put it.

But I seem clearly to recall that Strauss maintains that there was a controversial dimension to Xenophon's teaching on tyranny--the controversy which I have articulated in nuce and which elicited a response of disbelief on your part--which itself required to be hidden from view. Not from all, of course, but from the non-philosophical multitude.

You might even say that our own dispute concerning this issue is a testament not only to Xenophon's subtlety, but to Strauss's as well--I don't think anyone is shouting anything from the rooftops here.

Anyway, suit yourself and your schedule as to re-reading, but be aware that several of the passages to which I’ve referred above come from the other dialogue, the one between Strauss and Kojeve with a Voegelin cameo.

Perhaps I will go ahead and read "Tyranny and Wisdom" and the "Restatement" as well--as I said, I find them both to be fascinating. They're directly relevant and I'm grateful to Strauss's posthumous editors for appending them to the original text of OT.

But what is animating my immediate interest in recurring to OT is the question of the classical teaching on tyranny as Strauss expounds it from the Hiero, and that is contained in his commentary thereon.

Please do forgive my last comment's tone of "challenge", if you would. I'm afraid I do tend to shoot from the hip.

"

Well, we don't have to go on discussing OT in detail. However, you have radically called into question my understanding of the book. As I have already said, I am fully prepared to revisit the book and--if I have misunderstood it--to acknowledge the fact. If I haven't misunderstood it, however--I'll expect you to acknowledge it.

And so--as I've already said--I will re-read OT this weekend (just the Hiero and Strauss's original commentary thereon--for while I find Kojeve's "Tyranny and Wisdom" and Strauss's "Restatement" both to be extremely interesting, I don't think they're exactly germane to our controversy, which concerns the nature of the classical teaching concerning tyranny contained in the Hiero).

So I'll report back to you next week, okay?

If you re-read the introduction, you’ll see, for example, that Strauss offers an explanation of the purpose of the dialogue or Xenophon’s resort to the form as having a precisely opposite purpose to that of hiding anything, that of revealing and bringing the reader onto a path of (philosophical) revelation.

Yes, of course, CK--revealing and bringing the reader, etc. The tenor of your comment basically dismisses the whole idea of "esotericism" at least insofar as the dialogue form is concerned--but, as I say, I'll get back to you.

"

It may at some point even connect up with a problem for Strauss and the classics, but I think it’s simply wrong to suggest that from the point of view of the classics, as Strauss might have put it, acceptance or even celebration of homosexual eros (or of any form of eros) must be taken as a sign of decline and corruption.

I do myself think it "must be taken as a sign of decline and corruption"--but I didn't contend that it was so "from the point of view of the classics".

"

It’s not clear to me what you have in mind by classical teachings requiring “disguise,” as there are different ways of looking at this question.

Xenophon wrote a dialogue called the Hiero, as you know. The dialogue form "disguises" or makes inexplicit the true intention of the author. Strauss contends in On Tyranny that the Hiero contains the classical teaching on tyranny. If my presentation in nuce of that teaching is accurate, then the necessity of its being disguised is obvious.

So, CK, let me ask you again. What do you understand to be the nature of the classical teaching on tyranny which, according to Strauss, Xenophon presents in a disguised or inexplicit manner in the dialogue Hiero? What about that teaching requires disguise or inexplicitness--what about it requires that it be given in the form of an artful dialogue?

Xenophon’s tyrant says just the opposite, finally, at the dialogue’s turning point, somewhat pathetically declaring that he might as well kill himself, since his position as tyrant makes him incapable of experiencing love or friendship or enjoying any other aspect of human life except as compromised by fear and suspicion.

Yes, but according to Strauss as I recall, he does so precisely because of his concern that others--and especially Simonides--will envy him and thus plot against him.

On the question of “tyranny” specifically, however, the word stands effectively for political evil, though not the only political evil.

Now, "tyranny" in modern parlance does mean approximately "political evil". I don't, however, think it quite had that connotation in antiquity, where it described an illegitimate monarch--someone who had assumed the throne without being the legitimate successor.

Obviously, to take power illegitimately (that is, not in accordance with law) is itself morally-politically problematic. But I don't think "the classical teaching on tyranny" quite has the fearsome ring to it as that which resounds in our modern ears. In fact, I can't help but wonder if this isn't a contributing factor in your characterizing my (admittedly oversimplified) presentation of that teaching as "wildly off".

"

I also want to make clear that--whether or not I have mistakenly claimed #2 to be part of the classical teaching concerning tyranny--I myself utterly disavow that notion.

"

Of course, I always take my (intellectual) life and reputation into my own hands (or is it your hands?) whenever I dare to challenge you. It's a good thing I'm not particularly concerned about either! I can only answer your query by saying that that is my recollection--admittedly I haven't read the book recently--of the controversial teaching of the classics that required disguise. If I'm wrong about how I've represented that teaching, I'm perfectly willing to be corrected. Since you have challenged me on this point, I suppose I ought to go back and re-read On Tyranny in the interest of being a more capable interlocutor for the purpose of this discussion--and I can do that this weekend, God willing.

Having said that, there is a controversy surrounding the classical teaching concerning tyranny that requires that it be hidden from public view. Perhaps you'll tell me your own understanding of wherein that controversy consists.

I acknowledged that my comment was a "cursory" response--indeed, it was hastily composed--and I did think afterwards that I had done you a bit of an injustice, in the following way. I initially solicited your views (over at OT) on Strauss's purpose or intention in appending the Macaulay quote to the very beginning of On Tyranny. I subsequently wrote a follow-on comment where I briefly discussed a passage from the introduction of that work. Your lengthy reply was more of a response to that second comment than to my initial query (granted, there's an inevitable overlap)--but my own comment here treated that comment of yours as if it were solely in response to my first comment there. You particularly focused on this sentence of mine:

According to Macaulay, that is what the British did: they exercised an admirable restraint, despite the liberty–with its attendant temptation to license–which they enjoyed.

Now, I intended this sentence ironically. If that wasn't clear, the fault is no doubt entirely mine. We (or I) sometimes assume that what we know or think we know will be obvious to all. The reason I assumed the irony of my sentence was clear is that to which I've pointed above: namely, that I believe that what Strauss wants us to take away from the Macaulay quote is not some intimation of Macaulay's view on freedom of the press, but rather that the phenomenon to which Macaulay refers in his quote--the British press restraining itself from criticizing the government, despite their liberty to do so--no longer holds, either in Strauss's time or in our own. In other words, Strauss implies--solely through his citation of this quote, to say nothing of what follows--that freedom of speech, freedom of the press, will eventually find its way toward criticism of the government (i.e. criticism of the law and its administration). Thus, freedom of the press will inevitably undermine law--just as Macaulay's foreign observers had fretted.

What's the connection with On Tyranny? Well, the classics embodied the very same notion--explicitly to discuss the deliverances of philosophy in the public domain will corrupt public order in the long run, if not sooner. "In the long run"-- and we have a veritable eternity set before us.

So, interestingly, it seems to me, by making public the classical view concerning the propriety of freedom of speech--in a time where it can't possibly matter any longer, because the corruption which criticism of law engenders has already befallen us--Strauss's book holds forth the prospect that that teaching concerning the need to cover philosophical speculations with a veil might someday be restored.

However you construe Strauss's intention in appending the Macaulay quote to the beginning of his own text, CK, you have to show how that relates to the argument of On Tyranny. My own interpretation fulfills that requirement--even, I think, if I've otherwise misrepresented the book, as you claim (a claim I take seriously). Your own comments on the matter dwelt on Macaulay's personal liberal view of speech liberty vs. speech restraint. How does that connect to Strauss's text?

Now, in my "second comment" at OT--the one having to do with the passage of Strauss's from the introduction--I pointed out that he seems to be making well-nigh explicit reference to the United States as a tyranny, or an incipient tyranny, of the "infinite" sort. In fact, in the introduction, he refers to each of the modern regime-types and their paradigmatic instances: fascism (Nazi Germany), communism (the Soviet Union), and liberal democracy (the United States)--and he implies that they are each incipiently "infinite" (perpetual and universal) tyrannies. You didn't address that point in your response.

I realize that the Hiero--and Strauss's commentary thereon--references "homo"-sexuality, as you pointed out. It doesn't strike me as essential to this discussion (though I'll certainly grant that everything that makes an appearance in a given text is prospectively very important). I mention this only because you did dwell at some length on "homo"-sexuality in your comment over at OT. As I consider the phenomenon of contemporary "homo"-sexuality (with its attendant changes to the law) to be part and parcel of the undermining of the law as such which comes on the heels of the institution of the liberal regime (itself dependant on the very law which it deliberately and self-consciously undermines), I referenced it in my comment above--but it isn't really what I want to talk about right now.

I quoted James 4:11, not out of any desire to engage in proselytism or theological discussion, but only because I find the bolded clause to be a succinct expression of the notion that, if you criticize the law, you aren't being obedient to it. To employ another biblical allusion--if a man looks on a woman with lust, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If a man looks on the law with an eye to changing it, he is already being disobedient to it.

I put my response here rather than there because I'm principally interested in conversing with you--and I've previously made my disregard for OT clear. I'm afraid I do feel about OT approximately the way you might feel about a white nationalist website. However, I'm trying to behave myself these days and not give unwarranted offense to you or anyone else--and I'm quite happy to have conversations with anyone at all, here at CK MacLeod's.

"

CKM: I've reviewed your reply to my question concerning the Macaulay quote in the context of Strauss's On Tyranny. Thanks for going to the trouble to write another of your customarily thoughtful contributions. I wish I had the time, or perhaps greater motivation, to engage your comment more fully--but, for now, this cursory response will have to do.

I don't really think, CK, that you engaged either the Macaulay quote--in its entirety--or its context as the frontispiece to On Tyranny. And it seems to me that your determination to be an advocate of liberal democratism is influencing your interpretation in ways that suborn the text(s).

Let me begin by summarizing--admittedly a bit too succinctly and simplistically--the gist of the result of Strauss's inquiry in On Tyranny, specifically the commentary on the Hiero. It is: That the philosophers of classical antiquity were in possession of a teaching--a teaching that is nowhere better exemplified than in Xenophon's Hiero--to the effect that 1) The rule of man is superior to the rule of law; and 2) The life of the tyrant is indeed the best way of life for a man. Of course, there are caveats and complexities in which these deliverances of classical philosophy are nested--but that is the teaching in its most direct and unadorned form. The most obvious caveats go without saying.

The problem with this teaching, in the context of political life, is that it undermines the law and thus promotes lawlessness--the very substance, which you didn't address, of the Macaulay quote--and therefore the philosophers disguised this teaching, so that it wouldn't be known to lesser minds and run the risk of increasing lawlessness in the polis. That is, they declined to exercise a "freedom of the press" to say what they will in public, due to social responsibility. Their only desire was to communicate a teaching, the contemplation of which was to be enjoyed in privacy.

Macaulay's quote references foreign observers of British press liberty who marvel that, in freedom of the press to criticize the government--that is, the law and its administration--Britain runs the risk of promoting lawlessness. Macaulay replies to the effect that, in all the history of British press liberty--going back approximately to the Glorious Revolution--the British press has exercised an admirable restraint in that regard that is consonant with the desire of the reading public.

In your reply, you emphasize Macaulay's own perspective or his alleged perspective, on this matter. I do not believe, however, that Leo Strauss appended this quote to the very beginning of On Tyranny in order to affirm what is supposedly Macaulay's view that this restraint of the British press is to be regretted--nor would such an affirmation accord well with the classical teaching and its disguisement which Strauss brings to light in On Tyranny.

I hasten to add that my point holds even if it be observed that Strauss himself is exposing the teaching to a public view contra the philosophers of antiquity. After all, "criticism of the government"--i.e. the law and its administration--is already pervasive both in Strauss's and our own time, so the classical prohibition can't matter now. In a sense the genie is already out of the bottle and the law and its administration is in process of being undone. This is the "crisis" of widespread moral corruption which legitimates exposure of truths otherwise best kept hidden from view.

The reason why Strauss quotes Macaulay is not to affirm Macaulay's own view of the matter--whatever that might be--but rather as the source (and an intriguing one at that) of an observation that it was once possible to imagine that a liberty--with an attendant temptation to license--and specifically freedom of the press, could be granted without bearing the fruit of the attendant temptation. What Strauss wants the reader to notice above all is that Macaulay's observation--irrespective of Macaulay's views on press freedom, which may well be as liberal as you claim them to be--no longer holds. Which is to say, that given enough time, press freedom develops into explicit critique of government, the law is undermined thereby (the very law that necessarily makes libertarian critiques viable in the first place), the polity is thereby set on a self-destructive course, and the view of the foreign observers in Macaulay's quote is vindicated.

Now, I don't expect my cursory exposition of this matter to sit very well with you (or, say, anyone over at OT), for no other reason than that explicit and public "criticism of the government" is somehow regarded today as a virtue rather than a vice--a sort of "badge of honor", if you will, of the enlightened citizen--not entirely unlike the way that "homo"-sexuality today is increasingly viewed by those of an enlightenment stamp as something virtuous (or, to hearken to a claim which you have yourself repeatedly emphasized, it is allegedly something far more virtuous than eros--necessarily "hetero"-sexual--subordinated to procreation and child-rearing) rather than something intrinsically vicious. These notions themselves are emblems of the corruption which modern liberty has wrought.

In closing, permit me to quote a source that takes a very different view of both liberty and "homo"-sexuality:

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

~James 4:11 (NRSV)

"

Other than Hiero, the only work of Xenophon’s on which I’ve spent any time was Anabasis, which is not a work in the philosophical genre.

My point in citing Strauss's article "Xenophon's Anabasis" was that it calls into question the non-philosophical status of the Anabasis--but since you've had recourse to the proposition that neither Xenophon's nor Strauss's work necessarily qualifies as philosophical, I don't suppose you'd find said article persuasive in any event. I shan't trouble you any further about Xenophon.

"

Now, CK, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that Xenophon's Hiero--and thus, presumably, Leo Strauss' extensive commentary thereon, the work entitled On Tyranny (itself the traditional subtitle of the Hiero)--is not a work of political philosophy?

That Nietzsche and Strauss "wrote a lot of things"--a turn of phrase you have recently employed with respect to each of these thinkers--seems to be doing "a lot" of work for you and evinces a casual disregard for engaging evidence about or from these thinkers that I wouldn't normally associate with your carefully deliberative persona.

I hope you won't mind if, in future, I imitate your example. Perhaps in regard to something which you cite either from or concerning Hegel, I'll reply: "Hegel wrote a lot of things--he was notorious for his diarrheic verbiage."

On “Confederates in Love

Of course--"brave" deeds are precisely the sort of deeds that we "tend to avoid" because they are the deeds that tend to imperil our lives and our limbs. Deeds that don't imperil our lives, our limbs, or our liberty, don't in fact qualify as brave.

That is why Confederate infantrymen and artillerists (and infantrymen and artillerists of whatsoever allegiance) standing their ground amid a tornadic storm of molten metal--the sort of thing we "tend to avoid", due to the "gory deaths" which such phenomena tend to engender--that destroyed or maimed the bodies of many, exhibited unqualifiedly the attribute of bravery.

On “Open Thread

Oh--you're going to read the Phenomenology in the original German? If so, I'd love to hear about that as well. I myself own a German edition of the Phenomenology. My German is mostly non-existent--but with the aid of a German grammar and dictionary, and an English translation, I could probably slog through and I hope to do so one of these days.

"

"As for Nietzsche… Nietzsche wrote a lot of things. Many of them contradict other things Nietzsche wrote. Some are quite mad. Others seem intended more to provoke than to withstand close scrutiny. Much of what Nietzsche wrote is more interesting as cultural or historical observation, or expression, or poetry, than as philosophy, but that’s another discussion."

I've gathered from previous statements of yours that you lightly esteem Nietzsche-as-philosopher. For now, I won't try to persuade you otherwise--except to say, en passant, that Heidegger characterizes the modern attempt (so beloved by you) to transform the surface of the earth into a "liberally" administered grid of techno-capitalism (paradigmatically exemplified by the United States of Wal-Mart) as essentially Nietzschean--it is, as you say, the theme of "another discussion".

But one thing cannot be denied by the serious student. Nietzsche--putting all of his ostensible defects to one side--was a bona fide expert in classical antiquity.

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