2010-05-08

Fukuyama's review of Young on Nietzsche

I have seldom found Fukuyama persuasive, but was intrigued enough by the juxtaposition to bother scanning his short review of the new philosophical biography of Nietzsche by Julian Young. The part that struck me and that resounded both as a quasi-libertarian position and also one that really has little to do with the matter of Nietzsche, despite Fukuyama's assertion:

"But understanding Nietzsche’s project as a cultural rather than a political one should not blind us to its terrible implications. For while one might be able to create a small-scale community based on common and voluntary commitment to art, as Wagner sought to do in Bayreuth, scaling up such a project to society as a whole, with all its de facto diversity, would require dictatorial political power. The mystical origins of Nietzsche’s Dionysian community are an open invitation to the unleashing of irrational passion that is perfectly happy to squander the life of any individual standing in its way. Ayatollah Khamenei is indeed a much better model of Nietzsche’s future leader than the power less Dalai Lama."

.... which utterly misses the point of the contradictory braids of fin-de-siècle liberalism (or any period's) and the pragmatics of a libertarian community.

For the full review, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/books/review/Fukuyama-t.html?hpw

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