After posting a string of answers on Nietzsche questions, my answers were deleted and I got put in the penalty box for a week by moderator Joseph Weissman.
I don't understand why—this is both unconscionable and strange. The following two answers are for the question "For what does Nietzsche admire the priestly Jewish race?".
It is unclear to me if there is something wrong with these answers. I will put an abbreviated version up, and restore the answers 1 by 1. If there is a problem, I'd like to know what it is here, so I can fix it.
Subtleties of Anti-Semitism
First, I would like to make clear that there are two distinct types of anti-semitic sentiment. These are my personal definitions, I don't know if other people make the distinction:
- Vulgar anti-semitism: This is the view that the Jewish religion is a backward blood-thirsty doctrine of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". It requires completion with Christ's message: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", using the version due to a well known Hindu. Vulger anti-Semites believe the Jews are untouched by Christ's light, do not look for internal personal guidance to achieve salvation and enlightenment, instead focusing on ritual, and that they carry the stain of blame for Jesus' death and execution, and must be converted to Christianity to be redeemed.
- Uppity anti-semitism: This is the view that Christianity is a terrible mistake, and that it's all the Jews' fault, because Jesus was a Jew and Paul was a Jew, and all those early Christians were Jews, and all Christianity is a Jewish invention, which does not belong in a non-semitic European culture. The Jew imposes Christianity on others, while allowing himself to act in a manner which is more realistic, thereby giving the Jew an unjust advantage over the weakened Christian.
The first type of anti-semitism is well known, and it is reflected in the blood libel, stories of well-poisoning, and religious caricatures of Jews bent on vengeance, because they have not heard Christ's message that one should not revenge wrongdoing, but bear it with love and compassion. This is the traditional Christian anti-semitism of Europe, and it was already on the wane by the 20th century, as religious faith lost ground.
the second type of anti-semitism, is Neitzsche's. People who accuse Nietzsche of anti-semitism should not accuse of him of vulgar anti-semitism.
Nietzsche was not a vulgar anti-semite in any of his writing. When people defend him against charges of anti-semitism, they can easily do so, by identifying vulgar anti-semitism, and showing that he is free of it.
Uppitty anti-semitism is a much more virulent anti-semitism, because it blames the Jew for enslaving humanity with the lie of God, and doing so purposefully, with a conspiratorial plan. Once the remainder of humanity is shackled by a slave-morality, the Jew, who is not similarly constrained, will take over. I am sure that Nietzsche didn't invent this, It was probably one of the northern European anti-Christian sentiments that survived from the era of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples, who did not go through that trauma of barbaric Roman rule that gave birth to Christianity, but stayed free, and eventually conquered Rome.
The uppity anti-semitism is the anti-semitism that is presented in the protocols of the Elders of Zion, and it is the anti-semitism of Adolph Hitler. It is not about religion or conversion. It is based on mistrust of religious faith. Instead of seeing faith as something necessary developed by all peoples, with the Jews coincidentally holding a central place in the scriptures people in Rome happened to standardize upon, the uppity anti-semitism sees faith, especially Christian faith, as a Jewish conspiracy to shackle others with sheep's morality, and then the Jews take over the world, once the rest of the world is in chains.
The people who believe this stuff don't want the Jews to convert, they want them to never have existed, and for the relations of people to go back to the ideals of pre-Christian times. The core tenet of this philosophy is that monotheism is unstable, that it is fragile, it is on the verge of breaking forever, so that if you get rid of the Jews, there would be no monotheism.
This idea is insanely stupid, but it is an idea that many people held in the early 20th century.
Coming out of the mouth of an uppity anti-semite, praise or blame of the Jews for monotheism is equally hateful. Both statements "The Jews are to be admired for creating Christianity" and "The Jews must be loathed for their contributions to Christianity" are equally damning.
Having stated the anti-semitic positions, I must rebut them, otherwise I run the risk of persuading someone that these positions have merit.
- Jews did not become Christians, and their theology evolved along a separate track. But after the Jewish wars led to the second diaspora, after the bitter disappointment of failed militaristic Messianic doctrines, Jewish theology evolved in parallel ways to Christian theology, to incorporate an eschatological and other-worldly component. Jews created a Messianic eschatology of "olam ha-ba" (the world to come), which is where the wrongs of the world will be put right, and they made the messiah a figure of this future time. This future time is roughly analogous to the second coming in Christianity. The same concept also serves as a Jewish stand-in for the similar Christian concept of heaven. When the messiah comes, in Judaism, the graves shall open and all the dead of the world will be resurrected. The modern Jewish theology renounced earlier vengeful and militaristic interpretations, renounced the strict enforcement of Mosaic law, and replaced the laws of blood sacrifice with spiritual doctrines of prayer and guidance, in every way parallel to the Christian analogs. Modern Jewish theology makes practical ethical judgements which are largely indistinguishable from those of Christianity, although with different metaphysical justifications. Ignoring the metaphysics, there is little that separates the faiths. In this sense, while Jews don't accept the divinity of Christ, their ethics can't in any objective way be said to be more primitive or less constricted than that of Christians, at least not in any gross way, such as rejecting the Christian principles of tolerance and suppression of vengeance. Saying that Jews are more vengeful than Christians is just a slur.
- Jews did not invent God, they discovered God, and if they didn't discover it, someone else would have. In fact, other people did discover the monotheistic idea at about the same time as the Jews, and it is a gross mistake to think that if Jews weren't around we wouldn't have a notion of God. The metaphysics would have been different, of course, but the ethical predictions, the logical positive core, would have been indistinguishable from Christianity. It is not clear how much Christianity owes to Judaism in the final analysis, the evolution of the two faiths was independent and parallel past the first century AD.
So if you have a beef with Christianity, take it up with the Christians. Jews did not impose Christianity on the rest of the world, not as an accident, and certainly not as a plot. The modern Jewish faith, as known to any practitioner, adheres to a roughly commensurate moral code as the modern Christians faiths, and to the extent that one is a "slave morality", so is the other.
Nietzsche's Racial Hierarchy
I am using a standard translation of the Geneology, due to Walter Kaufmann. Let us begin on page 68, which is a defense of sadistic cruelty:
Today when suffering is always brought forward as the principle argument against existence, as the worst question mark, one does well to recall the ages in which the opposite opinion prevailed because me were unwilling to refrain from making suffer (sic in translation) and saw in it an enchantment of the first order, a genuine seduction to life.
Perhaps in those days--- the delicate might be comforted by this thought--- pain did not hurt as much as it does now; at least that is the conclusion a doctor may arrive at who has treated Negroes (taken as representatives of prehistoric man) for severe internal inflammations that would drive even the best constituted European to distraction--- in the case of Negroes they do not do so. (The curve of human susceptibility to pain seems in fact to take an extraordinary and almost sudden drop as soon as one has passed the upper ten thousand or ten million of the top stratum of culture; and for my own part, i have no doubt that the combined suffering of all the animals ever subjected to the knife for scientific ends is utterly negligible compared with one painful night of a single hysterical bluestocking.)...
I want to point out several things:
- Among the upper-crust racists of 19th century Europe (it is a slur to claim that all Europeans were racist back then, it is not true, especially among the seafaring lower classes, who dealt with different ethnicities on a regular basis), the idea that uncivilized people do not feel as much pain as sophisticated civilized people was inducted from the observation that Native Americans and Africans, subjected to hideous tortures, would face them with bravery and stoicism, so as to preserve their dignity in the face of barbarism, while Europeans in similar circumstances tended to be more cravenly. Instead of praising the primitive cultures for instilling a will to endure and an appreciation for human dignity and spirit, Europeans pushed the mentally defective thesis that Native Americans and Africans just don't feel pain! The fact that Europeans refuse to recognize stoicism and spiritual strength among the so-called primitive peoples is mentioned by Darwin in "Voyages of the Beagle", but Darwin mentions this idea only so as to reject it. After witnessing a native woman jumping to her death rather than being captured by Europeans, Darwin commends her bravery, and laments that her bravery would be dismissed by other Europeans as a savage indifference human life. I bring this up to show how Darwin, unlike Nietzsche, was able to abandon his racist conditioning when it conflicted with the evidence of his own eyes.
- Nietzche does not cite a source for this incredible claim, that commensurate physical pain hurts Black people less, aside from rumors and innuendo. This should give you a sense of the quality of his scholarship here.
- Nietzsche does not have any compunctions about extrapolating from the "known" lesser pain response of Negroes, to conclude that lower classes feel less pain, that more refined people feel more pain, and that animals hardly feel any pain at all. This conclusion, idiotic as it is, shows that Nietzsche places human beings on a scale with the animals on one side, the upper-class twits on the other side, and the lower classes and the non-European races somewhere in the middle. The property of upper-class twits, that they are sissies and cowards in the face of pain, especially as compared with other cultures, is somehow twisted by Nietzsche into a praiseworthy trait.
I put this passage first because it will give you the idea of the type of mentality one is dealing with here. One must keep in mind the mental image of gradations of people, with refined cultured classical-music-listening, brandy snifting, cigar afficianados on one end, and drum-beating, mask-making, voodoo children on the other, with some pasta-eating and low-brow novel reading people in the middle.
I also can't emphasize enough the shoddiness of thinking and shoddiness of scholarship that went into this passage. This is completely representative of the peabrained claims that litter this farce of a work. Let us move to the concern with hair pigmentation: the blondies, page 30
The Latin malus (beside which I set melas) may designate the common man as the dark-colored, above all as the black-haired man ("hic niger est") as the pre-Aryan occupant of the soil of Italy, who was distinguished most obviously from the blond, that is Aryan, conqueror race by his color; Gaelic at any rate, offecs us a precisely similar case--- fin (for example in the name Fin-Gal), the distinguishing word for nobility, finally for the good, noble, pure, originally meant the blond-headed, in contradistinction to the dark, black-haired aboriginal inhabitants.
The Celts, by the way, were definitely a blond race; it is wrong to associate traces of an essentially dark-haired people which appear on the more careful ethnographical maps of Germany with any sort of Celtic origin or blood-mixture as Virchow still does: it is rather the pre-Aryan people of Germany who emerge in these places (the same is true of virtually all Europe: the suppressed race has gradually recovered the upper hand again, in coloring, shortness of skull, perhaps even in the intellectual and social instincts: who can say whether modern democracy, even more modern anarchism and especially that inclination for "commune" for the most primitive form of society, which is now shared by all the socialists of Europe, does not signify in the main a tremendous counterattack--- and that the conqueror and master race, the Aryan, is not succumbing physiologically, too
Most commentators focus on the "master race" bullshit at the end. I won't even bother with that. The thrust of this passage is to defend the following points:
- The Italian people were not the noble upper classes of Rome, these people were blonde.
- The takeover of the lower classes of the upper classes led Roman upper classes to disappear by race-mingling with the lower classes, so that their blond hair disappeared, and they became dark haired.
- We can deduce all this from the fact that the words for "nice" and "light" coincide.
The imbecility of the conclusion leaves the mouth gaping. Is this guy for real? He is claiming that ancient Romans were blonde? Give me a break! Note that he never says it explicitly, only hints. The "conquering race" could refer to the fall of rome when the Germans sacked the city, or it could refer to the nobility of Rome, one is not quite sure.
But the basic idea is that the dark-haired people of Italy are basically a collection of degenerates, and the people of ancient Rome did not resemble them. If you have ever seen statues of ancient Romans, you can see they were a bunch of Italians, and believe me, if even a few of them had blonde hair in contradistinction to the hoi-polloi, you would hear about it from some historian.
This passage explains the mixture of "Aryan" (I don't think he means Indian or Iranian when he uses the term) and locally present blondies made the master race, so that the Irish folks are blond, but not Aryan, and the eastern folks are Aryan and not blonde. So only in the perfect intersection point of Northern Europe do you get blonde Aryans, the strong, among whom a fraction are destined to rule, as the blonde emperors ruled in Rome.
The final paragraph is a pet folk-etymology identifying "good" with "war" using Latin sound-alike words, which I do not have the patience to type up, but is pathetic unter-unter-scholarship. The idea here is that war makes you a "God", makes you "good" and makes you a "Goth" or a "German", all based on sound alike words in Latin.
This type of brain damage would justifiably wreck an academic career today.
The racial theory being promoted is offset by counterstatements which insinuate that not all blondes are master-race material, and that upper-classes have problems too. This type of hedging is not real hedging, it is making an odious idea seem to be a reasoned position by tempering it with moderation. You have to understand the racism to understand what Nietzsche's view of the natural order of man is: blonde folks on top, ruling the dark haired, with war and violence being the methods of imposing order. Aside from the delusional view that there was any blondeness involved, this was pretty much how Rome worked.
It was in reaction to the daily horror of the Roman system of naked power, a type of naked Darwinian sadistic exploitation which has not been seen in the modern world (with one exception, which I will get to later) that Christianity emerged. It emerged in Rome, among Greek speaking citizens and Greek thinking people, inspired by the Jewish religion, and by Plato. Christianity put an end to the ethical rule of the Nietzsche's master-race, who I am sorry to inform you were at best bottle-blondes.
The Role of the Jew: creating an unnatural ethical inversion
The Jew appears on pages 33-34, regarding what Nietzsche considers an intolerable inversion of morals:
... The knightly-aristocratic value judgements presupposed a powerful physicality, a flourishing, abundent, even overflowing, health, together with that which serves to preserve it: war, adventure, hunting, dancing, war games, and in general, all that involves vigorous free joyful activity.
Here I must pause to say that Neitzche is, in only slightly veiled terms, talking about fucking. It is important to say this explicitly, because those that seek to impose fascism can somtimes get an army of young men to do their bidding, just by giving them a chance to do some more fucking. This is reaffirmed by the description of the priests that comes up, which is also where the Jew appears:
As is well known, the priests are the most evil enemies --- but why? Because they are the most impotent. It is because of their impotence that in them hatred grows to monstrous and uncanny proportions, to the most spiritual and poisonous kind of hatred. The truly great haters in world history have been priests; likewise the most ingenious haters: other kinds of spirit hardly come into conservation when compared with the spirt of priestly vengefulness. Human history would be altogether too stupid a thing without the spirit that the impotent have introduced into it--- let us take at once the most notable example. all that has been done on earth against "the noble", "the powerful", "the masters", "the rulers" fades into nothing compared with what the Jews have done against them; the Jews, that priestly people, who in opposing their enemies and conquerors were ultimately satisfied with nothing less than a radical revaluation of their enemies' values, that is to say, an act of the most spiritual revenge. For this alone was appropriate to a priestly people, the people embodying the most deeply repressed priestly vengefulness. It was the Jews, who with awe-inspiring consistency, dared to invert the aristocratic value-equation (good=noble=powerful=beautiful=happy=beloved of God) and to hang on to this inversion with their teeth, the teeth of the most abysmal hatred (the hatred of impotence) saying "the wretched alone are the good; the poor, importent, lowly alone are the good; the suffering, deprived sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God, blessedness is for them alone--- and you, the powerful and noble, are on the contrary the evil, the cruel, the lustful, the insatiable, the accursed, and the damned!"
Here I must stop again. The use of the word "impotent" in English makes the sexual connotation apparent, those that can't do fucking are preventing you from doing fucking, even though you are great and handsome and strong, and you would do a lot of fucking if it weren't for them.
The inversion of morality is attributed to the Jews, but the words are of Jesus' sermon on the mount, which is transcribed in Greek in Greek sources. That it is attributed to a Jew is important, because it means that Christianity borrows the Jewish holy books, but it didn't catch on with the Jews immediately. The "slave revolt" that Nietzsche is talking about is Christianity, and here he is attributing it to the Jewish influence.
Further the attribution of "priestly" qualities to Jews is in no way any sort of praise. It makes them:
- Jealous of the powerful
- Filled with hatred of the powerful
- Incapable of war, or lust, or power
These were all Jewish stereotype of the time. The idea that a Jew can't be a soldier because of his inherent cowardice, weakness, and inability to be cruel (this was also imagined to be a property of the Negro and the Chinaman among the contemporary racist community) is hard to recall today, when Israeli soldiers are running around where they shouldn't be. The analogous stereotypes about Chinamen Negroes were challenged by the likes of Idi Amin, the Khmer-Rouge, the interahamwe, all of whom were just as abominably strong and abominably cruel as the European pieces of shit in whose footsteps they followed.
Then, Nietzsche informs us, the slave-revolt succeeds. The pairing of priestly with vengeful is interesting, because it allows a vulgar anti-semite to sympathize with Nietsche's uppity anti-semitism. It makes the Jews into a class of people which are not fit for war, not fit for soldiering, not fit for athleticism, and not fit for fucking. They are only fit for jawboning other people into making the powerful give up their soldiering, their athleticism, and their fucking.
The reason I say fucking is because fucking is of central importance. I wish it were not so, but when people use fascist ideology, they attract youths who feel constrained in their sexual drive. The sexual revolution of the 1950s-1960s, in that regard, removed a lot of the motivation for this type of philosophy.
I am not quoting out of context. Neitzche continues to blame Jews for all aspects of Christianity he abhors, instead of putting the responsibility on the non-Jewish people who actually embraced and spread the faith, who made saints and martyrs, who built the Church in Rome, and who toppled the colloseum. Aside from a possible initial contribution of a Q-document, Jews didn't have anything to do with it.
But the mingling of vulgar and uppity anti-semitism allowed both Christian anti-semites and anti-religious secular people to join hands and make a new world, free of what they called Jewish ethics, what are better called Judeo-Christian ethics, because the Christians developed these ethics, not the Jews.
Implementation: Turn People into Shit
I am sorry for cursing so much, but no other terms, other than "shit" and "fuck", can fit the bestiality of this vision, and these terms are too mild for what this vision implies.
The implementation of this philosophy is to remove Christianity from German Europe, and place the dominant powerful races in charge of the weak. The Jews are not particularly terrible in their national traits--- but they don't make good soldiers, nor can they be powerful fuckers like the blond athlete, the blonde German athlete.
So a masculine cult of power, fucking, and Christianity hatred sublimated into Jew hatred is developed, whose goal is to rid Europe of the relics of the ethical inversion that did Rome in. This masculine cult is Fascism, and it is Hitler who implements Nietzsche's vision on a full-scale social experiment in Germany.
In fascism, people are turned to beasts, and as beasts they are turned to shit. They are turned to shit as perpetrators, and they are turned to fertilizer as victims. The end result is a mountain of shit, and this is the mechanized modern version of Roman cruelty. In every respect, Hitler reimplemented the pagentry, militarism, and heirarchy of Rome. He remade Rome, except placing the German above the Italian, instead of the other way around.
This is what the third-Reich is about--- reimposing the order of the Holy Roman Empire, the one incarnation where Germany was on top, again in modern times, without Christianity to prevent it from ruling the world. It turned people to shit, and it only was able to get an army because of the promise it gave to young men to turn them into sculpted exemplars of masculinity, with unlimited ability to exude virility and strength.
Primo Levi's memoire of Auschwitz, perhaps as a nod to Ecce Homo, is called "E questo un uomo?", instead of "Behold this man!", "If this is a man?" Nietzsche's pseudo-philosophy is just a half-way house to turning human beings into mountains of shit.
Original Answer--- also summary of the above
Nietsche is anti-religious. He is contemptuous of the idea that there is a moral law which is not derived from the natural law that the strong will dominate the weak. His admiration for the Jews is that the Christian religion (which he identifies as predominantly Jewish), was able to convert the Roman empire from its earlier acceptance of natural moral law--- where the strong could put the weak to death for kicks, or in gladiator fights, or use them as slaves, or do anything which they could get away with. He thinks this was the right order of things, the right way, and he thinks the Jews must have done something incredible in order to get rid of this system. This means they must be geniuses, to do this incredible something, get rid of the natural law system.
Neitzsche begrudges the Christian religion for shackling men (and I generally do mean men) with an oppressive ethical order, which limits the individual's ability to take as much as he can from the world. This is the high-class anti-semitism of 1900-1945. The high-class anti-semite blames Judaism for inventing God and shackling men, not for rejecting Jesus.
I don't like Nietzsche's superficial and fraudulent analysis. I think his pseudo-philosophy is intellectually defective, and only became popular because it justifies immoral action to those people who feel the need to do bad things. They are annoyed that there is a Christian religion, preventing them from making as much money as they can, or exploiting their neighbors' weakness. They think the idea of God is false, that it is stupid, therefore somebody must have imposed it on the world, and this somebody is the Jew.
All this is patent nonsense. It is rubbish as history, it is rubbish as philosophy, and it is rubbish as theology. It is just junk thinking, and it is evil thinking. It is only popular because it is bad, and sexy bad, like rock-and-roll bad.
First, if you look at the history of monotheistic conceptions of God, it isn't exclusively Jewish, or even predominantly Jewish. The Jews say that it is Jewish, but all monotheistic religions, almost by definition, say that their God is the only monotheistic God.
But the textual stories and history of the Bible, and the Jewish mystical tradition, point to an Iranian or Indian origin. This is also what Aristotle claims for the Jews. The occurance of the Noah myth in both Jewish and Indian mythology suggests a common origin. So does the parallel between Abram/Sarai and Brahma/Saraiswati. The monotheistic conception is most likely Iranian, and derived from Brahma worship around the 10th century BC, and probably in the same region that Zoroastrianism developed.
Jews didn't make up God. They discovered the notion in parallel with a bunch of other people. It's a real notion, and upper class people always want to get rid of it, because they see it as constricting to their powers to exploit lower classes.
Further, even if you grant that Judaism was the first monotheistic religion, which it isn't, it is patent ahistorical nonsense to say that Jews devised Christian religion. This is what the Christian founding documents claim, but religious texts are uniformly unreliable history. Christianity is not that all that Jewish in philosophy. Although it claims to be derived from Judaism, there is a major Platonic/Gnostic element in Christianity, the Platonic idea of eternal life in an otherworldly realm, which is not present in the Jewish writings. This stuff is clearly derived from Greek sources. Further, without the Greek stuff, if it was just circumcision and eating Matzos and Jesus, it is not clear that the religion would have been able to topple the Roman traditions. It was the Greek parts that made the religion suitable for Rome.
The Pauline Christian religion is not recognizably Jewish to me, but a Jewish-Greek hybrid, more Greek than Jewish. It is of the lower classes, for sure, but it is not of the Jewish lower classes explicitly, although it might have worked with the Hellenized Jews. It is also about as anti-Jewish as the Jews of the time were anti-Samaritan. All religions that split from another tend to view the previous incarnation as a heresy.
If Jewish religion had not provided the seed for Christianity, another monotheistic conception would have without doubt stepped in to fill the gap, Possibly Zoroastrianism. Speaking of Zoroastrianism, the conception Nietzsche has in "Thus Spake Zarathustra" of what a religious leader can say is demented and evil. I am shocked that people listen to this joker.
So you can't blame any "unique moral genius" in Jews, nor any "talent to convince". The reason people accepted monotheistic religion is because they were sick and tired of gladiator games and slavery, and all the evil of Rome, and they wanted a better world. There was no way to prevent it, because the concept of God was ripe to emerge at the time.
Nietzsche's ideas were tried (as much as his followers would like to deny it) in Nazi Germany. His modern version is in the vaguely fascist Ayn Rand stuff. Young people are drawn to this stuff, mostly because it says you can do fucking, which is not the best reason to adopt an ethical philosophy.