World Socialist Web Site’s Nietzsche retrospective from 2000:
(Thanks Nick Hate)
A very good set of essays, if unfair to Nietzsche’s work as a whole. The third part is the weakest. Steinberg obviously has an axe to grind with the post-structuralists et al. and that’s fine. But it’s perfectly reasonable to agree with some things a philosopher wrote and disagree with others. Nietzsche was clearly a reactionary, but does he offer nothing of worth?
Apologists for Nietzsche seek to distance him from the policy and activities of the Nazis. But is Nietzsche’s position here so remote from Adolph Hitler’s entreaty, in an internal NSDAP memo of 1922, for the: “most uncompromising and brutal determination to destroy and liquidate Marxism”? Adolph Hitler was certainly no philosopher, just as Nietzsche was not merely a political ideologue. But who can reasonably doubt that the former had little difficulty in seamlessly incorporating the latter’s thoroughly backward-looking programme of biological racism, hatred of socialism and the concept of social equality—together with his advocacy of militarism and war—into the eclectic baggage of ideas which constituted the programme of National Socialism?
Here Steinberg is correct: there’s no reason to put lipstick on a pig. Nietzsche held some reprehensible views and to pretend otherwise is either dishonest or naive.
I’m reminded of the conversation we had about H.P. Lovecraft’s racism: some racists get a pass, others don’t. I caught some flak about posting the complete text of Might is Right here, but I doubt I would have heard a peep if I’d posted the complete text of On the Genealogy of Morals.