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Posts Tagged ‘Nietzsche’

How I Said Phooey to College | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on November 23, 2021

The key is for individuals to continue developing their own minds regardless of whether they are college students or carving their own path. Pursuing one’s dreams without a degree requires more self-discipline than “paying one’s dues” and serving four years on campus. One of Nietzsche’s best lines offers both an inspiration and a warning: “He who cannot obey himself will be commanded.”

by Jim Bovard

President Biden is tub-thumping for Congress to create new federal handouts to make college free for the vast majority of students. But as Ryan McMaken and other commentators on have pointed out, college is vastly overpriced and overrated nowadays.

My view on college stems from my experience as a two-time dropout. I was frightfully bored in high school and had mediocre grades. Almost immediately after my compulsory schooling ended, my long-lost love of reading revived. A month before I began attending Virginia Tech, a kindly neighbor gave me the University of Chicago Great Books list, which became my road map to the best writings of Western civilization. Reading authors such as Montaigne, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Emerson, and John Stuart Mill awoke portions of my mind that I never knew existed. I was unaware that I was loitering in mental neutral until those classics jolted my mind into a higher gear.

Early in my first quarter at college, I aspired to getting all As. But, after a few hooey-laden tests, I recognized that professors were demanding something different than what I was seeking. Many of the textbooks felt like heavy blankets smothering my mind. I was confounded to see most fellow students never venture beyond the books professors assigned them. They acted as if a secret zoning mandate permitted using only government-approved building materials for their own minds.

I spent far more time reading old books unrelated to my courses that quarter than I did on class assignments. The more active my mind became, the less I could endure tenured droning. I believed that I was more likely to develop my potential on my own than by hunkering down in a classroom. After sloughing most of my teenage years, I felt like I was far behind mentally compared to where I should have been.

As in high school, my grades that quarter were mediocre—Bs and Cs. When I dropped out after that first quarter, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. A few months later, I decided to become a writer. My ego was more robust than the articles I submitted, and my bedroom wall was soon papered with reject slips. Just because I could read a great book didn’t mean I could write a coherent paragraph. I belatedly realized that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to learn how to write. I needed expert assistance in my fight against my literary chaos.

I side railed my swagger and returned to Virginia Tech.

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The Enduring Face of the Fake Right | Intellectual Takeout

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2021

The National Review, like John McCain, never saw a war they didn’t like.

By Paul Gottfried

It is hard to understand the continued presence of Jonah Goldberg as a conservative icon. Goldberg has the right to criticize Trump, yet he has turned himself into a nonstop Trump-hating machine, who manages to condemn anyone who still defends the president as a lunatic or criminal.

Nietzsche once said mischievously that a good war may justify any cause; for neoconservatives such as Goldberg, Steve Hayes, and David French at The Dispatch, it seems that any stick may be useful if it can be used to beat Trump. If memory serves, Goldberg was among the first to announce that Trump was “stealing” the election, after claiming that he deservedly lost it.

Most recently Goldberg has gone after Sen. Ted Cruz as a lackey of Trump’s, noting Cruz’s reservations about opening the country to Chinese dissenters. Both Cruz and Trump have expressed concern that our excessive hospitality could lead to opening the country to a flood of immigrants at a time when the U.S. is hurting economically.

This all confirms something that has seemed obvious to me for decades and highlights what contributors to The Vanishing Tradition recounted in detail. The establishment Conservative Inc. happily expels members for right-wing deviation, even helping to destroy a right-wing target professionally, as in the case of the Southern literary scholar M. E. Bradford. Yet it never expels anyone who makes a leftist fool of himself. Thus Con Inc. has clung to Obamacons, Trump-haters, and LGBT activists.

Con Inc. has also never found a way of dealing with nutjobs on the left. It is therefore now stuck with the mouthy, fatuous Jonah, who still swaggers in his seat on Fox News, while Bret Baier and other news anchors overwhelm him with good will.

In the case of Goldberg, I have no idea what ever qualified him as a “conservative,” other than his tendency to identify himself on election off-years with centrist Republicans, who are sensitive to immigration and sexual identity issues. That, and the fact that Jonah’s mother outed Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Perhaps I am grasping at straws to make sense of what I have trouble understanding, namely the fabulous career that the conservative movement has made available to Lucianne Goldberg’s not very bright son, and whom it continues to favor even after he has become an embarrassment. No, I am not overlooking Jonah’s supposed piece of scholarship, Liberal Fascism (2009), which is a GOP screed ridiculously advertised as a study about a dangerous political movement that has traveled from Hitler to Hillary Clinton. As a scholar of fascism, let me assure my readers that Jonah’s tome is among the worst books ever produced on that subject.

This leads back to my initial reflections about why Con Inc. has no tradition of expelling vocal left-wingers who enjoy its patronage. Neoconservative leftists such as Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, David Frum, etc., all hung around Con Inc. halls of power until they decided to rebrand themselves as something other than conservatives. Gradually these luminaries grew tired of assuming a fictitious right-of-center identity, even if the leaders of the movement they left may well have regretted their loss.

In my considered view, the conservative establishment puts up with and even celebrates faux conservatives like Goldberg because they represent the general course the movement is already on. Media conservatives are trying to impress not very conservative sponsors, who may loathe Trump every bit as much as they care about the defense industry and other economic interests. In many cases conservative publicists are also interested in pleasing the liberal establishment, with which they hope to establish useful professional relations. Jonah does not offend these interests, unlike those unlucky few who take a hard line on immigration, gay rights, or some other unfashionable issue.

Even after having pointed out the obvious, I remain intrigued by the movement’s tendency to treat Jonah with gushing respect. But perhaps there is more to the story than has been thus far revealed. The unmistakably leftist local newspaper in my Pennsylvania town features Jonah as its token “conservative” columnist, an honor that the Chicago TribuneLos Angeles Times, and other newspapers across the country have bestowed on him. If I were on the left and looking for a token “conservative,” I too would pick Jonah as a perfect fit, along with perhaps David Brooks and Ross Douthat. Why choose someone more difficult when your readers can be feasting their eyes on columnists who mostly agree with the paper’s left-of-center editors? But Jonah also enjoys the favors of the Murdoch empire: He is regularly syndicated in the New York Post and maintains a very conspicuous presence on Fox News. This makes me think that he and other members of Con Inc. are forever in clover unless they go to the dark side, which is of course the right.

Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried is editor in chief of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is also the Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years, a Guggenheim recipient, and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents.

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Nietzsche and the State – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2017

The state as predator.

Like Franz Oppenheimer and Albert Jay Nock, Nietzsche held that the state rests on conquest: “I used the word ‘state’; it is obvious who is meant by this — some pack of blond beasts of prey, a conqueror and master race, which organized on a war footing, and with the power to organize, unscrupulously lays its dreadful paws on the populace, which though it might be vastly greater in number, is shapeless and shifting.” (p. 58)

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