See You in Stockholm

 

Thank you for the welcome to Ricochet. This is my first post. I’m new to the community as a philosopher (not political commentator) and look forward to the exchange of ideas. 


The truly historic meeting that took place yesterday between the leaders of the nations of the Korean Peninsula didn’t happen by accident or in a vacuum. While pundits speculate on a panoply of factors that may or may not have contributed to the initial negotiations, undeniable is the role played by one Donald J. Trump.

The President of the United States took a most unorthodox, ill-advised, and universally decried approach to Kim Jung Un and the need for nuclear disarmament. Astonishingly, his aggressive, assertive strategy—whatever one can make of it—appears to be working. It is astonishing. He is, if nothing else, astonishing. And this astonishing spectacle may very well be heading to Stockholm before his first term comes to an end … and his second term begins.

Not being a qualified commentator on American politics, I offer here a philosophical observation on Donald Trump’s phenomenal successes against unrelenting, vitriolic opposition and concerted efforts to usurp his presidency, and it comes from an equally unusual source: Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche, the influential nineteenth-century German existential philosopher, signaled a pivotal change in the process of cultural mutation in the West in the human search for meaning away from the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard. Put differently, and to paraphrase Georgetown University’s Francis J. Ambrosio, in the human quest for meaning contested between the saint and civic hero, Nietzsche forged a synthesis in the literary character of Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883). Donald Trump is our Zarathustra. 

Zarathustra was penned as Nietzsche’s “secular-saint” — a much-needed Übermensch conceived in the mind of Nietzsche to salvage decadent Western civilization, unmoored from theism and (from his perspective within the Industrial Revolution and the Darwinian paradigm) awash in consumerism. With the “death of God” and therefore the loss of value-systems grounded in complementary natural and eternal law, everything became commodified and thus exploitable — values, time, even existence itself. All these things contributed to the impersonal worldview of heroic, not saintly, virtue; of market values, not religious values; of secular pursuits, not saintly pursuits. Nietzsche would prophetically see the decadent, dystopian end of this cultural megashift and offered, as it were, an irreligious religion with Zarathustra, the Übermensch secular-saint as modernity’s evolutionary icon.

For Nietzsche, Zarathustra offers the best and most plausible view of the human search for meaning for those not seeking it in and through, particularly, traditionary Christianity. After all, observed Nietzsche, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” Where, then, will the values that galvanize communities and humanize individuals arise? Nietzsche answers: from the model of the post-enlightenment hero that will rise from the ashes of failed Western culture.

That anthropological model argues that all persons can be defined in terms of their will — that which is authentically human is the will and the exercising of it is what it means to be really alive. That accent on the will, on human decision not beholden to a governing ethical system (such that Christianity or secular humanism prescribed/inculcated) is a distinguishing feature of Nietzsche’s thought. He becomes, therefore, the champion of “self-overcoming.” A human being’s basic motivation is what he called “will to power.” To be an authentic human being in one’s existence (as opposed to the enslaved “herd” morality and mentality indicative of the consumer or Christian), he or she must exercise will to power. He or she must overcome the self that has been enslaved by Christian morality of self-denial and self-debasement, overcome even its remnants and influence in the secular state.

Nietzsche believed Western civilization had robbed humanity of its basic power, strength, and courage, and so he sought to restore it through what he calls “master morality.” The master morality is the morality of the authentic person, who in a world with no values or meaning or morality, has the courage to create one’s own values, meaning, and morality; to be totally free and autonomous, in terms of being a law unto one’s self. Nietzsche, then, provides a plausible lens by which to understand the phenomenon that is Donald J. Trump. 

The Übermensch, Trump, is the exceptional person, unashamed of his uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all that comes from, in this case, Judeo-Christian ethics or the conventions of political correctness. Donald Trump the citizen, the candidate, the President, may speak manifest contradictions but it matters not to him since he is not beholden to herd morality or the demands of media conformity. He may live with fidelity or infidelity with his present wife. What matters in his mind is whether he is treated “fairly” or not, relative to others who have done the same/are doing the same. In this way, the exceptional man follows his own “inner law” and thus feel not a tinge of conscience that typically arise from such antinomies.

For Nietzsche, the Übermensch embodies the human search for meaning and self-contrived virtue in the time after theism and the failed utopian enterprise of the Enlightenment. Applied today, the Übermensch embodies the hope for a new authentically human society of the fulfillment of human desire after the failed endeavors of liberal politics and ideological progressivism — the grandchildren of the utopian enterprise of the Enlightenment. Trump embodies that hope after disillusionment, after enslavement, after the superimposition of party politics, for at least for sixty-three million voters.

For Nietzsche, Napoleon best embodied the concept of the master moralist. Today, we may see parallels in President Trump who, like Napoleon, is the great-willed person, carving out his own value system and meaningful existence as one of the strong, in juxtaposition to his “weak”(-willed) opponents and their antiquated paradigms. He conforms to no one but rises above convention to the station of the “super” or über or Over-man. Nietzsche puts it like this: “Whatever lives obeys, that is, obeys the necessity of all reality. So he who cannot obey himself is commanded. That is the nature of the living. But commanding is harder than obeying. Life is nothing but this will to power, that is, the will to self-mastery.” Hence, the “will to power” is nothing the than self-overcoming to pursue self’s desires. Donald Trump has done that in the public eye and has obtained the coveted desires of our culture, such that it is, with fantastic wealth, unbounded renown, extraordinary women, global powers. He exercises his will to power and achieves it to become authentically human, manifesting our natural and collective envy. And it is envy, a collective societal envy, commingled with a nostalgia for the spirit of Americana, that has, in part, thrust this Zarathustra into the world’s most powerful political office.

Remarkably, Zarathustra offers four recommendations for the rise of authentic humanity that are distinctive traits of Donald J. Trump. First: “Own up to envy.” Nietzsche, by the mouth of Zarathustra, turns this biblical deadly sin into a virtue par excellence. Envy can be a powerful guide to identifying and pursuing what we really want, who we really want to be, and what we are capable of achieving. Owning your true desires fuels your resolve to obtain them. Therein one finds true dignity, meaning and value, as our President ceaselessly reminds his auditors by way of the braggadocios litany of his accomplishments, self-branding, and conspicuously lavish lifestyle. He desired a certain elite status, even a kind of immortality, and obtained it. He views himself as an overcomer by way of his will to power. And now, as an icon of success and fame, he elicits, sometimes solicits, our individual and collective envy to speak, pursue, and strive after one’s innermost desires to be authentic. 

Second, Zarathustra advised not to be a Christian. It would be a step too far to say that President Trump is not a Christian. By his own profession, I believe he is. But a compelling, indeed, indisputable case can be made for the incompatibility with and expectations of Christian discipleship and the behavioral, as well as allegiance, patterns of Donald Trump. He does not deny what he really wants: power, sex, possessions, fame. Christians — the Christ-like ones, as Nietzsche sees them, are too weak to fight for their natural desires. So, to again paraphrase Francis J. Ambrosio, abstinence becomes purity, spiritual displaces the material, weakness is virtue, loving your enemies is noble, being a slave is dutiful obedience, and for Nietzsche the impotence of non-retaliation (non-revenge) becomes forgiveness. Christianity, at least ancient and traditionary Christianity, perpetuates inhuman self-denial. Donald J. Trump, despite evangelical visions of the contrary, is not beholden to that ancient institution in its traditionary forms, ethic, or worldview.

Third, in order to self-overcome, one must abstain from alcohol because it mutes the will to power. Donald J. Trump famously abstains from the consumption of alcohol, only adding to his legendary work-ethic and inexhaustible energy.

Lastly, Zarathustra admonishes that one recognize that God is dead, not in a celebratory way, but with the knowledge that one must pursue other avenues for coping with the problems of life. The cultural gap once occupied by God is now to be filled by art, music, literature, theatre, philosophy — a recovery of the golden age of human achievement, by way of business, research, educational, and cultural endeavors. Mar-a-Lago, for example, may be seen as a monument so such values.

I don’t believe these are conscious points of overlap for the President, as if he were a devotee of Nietzsche, much less striving to emulate Zarathustra. This reflection is offered only as a foil by which to understand how it is that he can operate seemingly impervious to his publicized indiscretions and with an aggressive deportment and carriage never before witnessed in the Oval Office. Part of the answer seems to be this: He embodies what it means to be authentic in ways that parallel Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.

Today, marketing intends to engender envy (celebrities, morals, elites, etc.). But pop culture, pop consumption, pop movements are the opposite of what Nietzsche intended. He expected high art, high culture; a modern Renaissance, not Hitlers or Cosbys but Rothchilds and Morgans. Donald Trump seems to have exploited pop cultural values in order to forge his Zarathustraian desires, in a complex personality fraught with paradox.

Trump, I contend, is our Zarathustra, our Übermensch. And only such an Übermensch could have addressed, challenged, and usurped the slave mentality and morality of progressivism, political correctness, and globalization. It may win him a Nobel Prize in Stockholm. For these reasons, a great number of Americans believe that we need Donald J. Trump to be our moment’s Zarathustra. He is our “secular-saint,” understandably attractive to evangelicals and sufficiently secular for nones, dones, and millennials. Being our Zarathustra also contributes to the reasons why those same voters and supporters experience such cognitive dissonance about him and visceral recoil because of him. We need and envy him in a moment such as this and at the same time hope that, within our lifetime, we never need the likes of him again.

There are 33 comments.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Holy cats that was awesome.  You are most welcome here.  Great to have you aboard.  I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    • #1
  2. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Trump arrived in his role as a leader of a nation much later in life than Napoleon did. One similarity: Trump listens to Melania, much as Napoleon listened to Josephine. Even after their divorce, which took place due to Josephine not providing him with an heir, Napoleon would arrive at her chateaux to gain guidance from her.

    Many Americans no longer understand negotiation. For those of us who do, Trump has been intriguing and delightful. Although the press will beat up on him for his “tough guy” sound bytes, those sound bytes accomplish a great deal.

    This is all very unexpected, as we have had eight years of Obama the non-negotiator. One realistic political cartoon showed Obama at a poker table, putting all his chips in and then folding, while the dealer said, “But you haven’t been dealt all your cards yet, Mr President.”

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    In a recent post I also used Nietzsche in an effort to explain Trump, although not nearly so elegantly and comprehensively as you just did.  I think that Nietzsche would examine Trump, nod his head, and think that much of his thinking had come to life.  I think Aristotle (or, heaven help us, Kant) would take one look at Trump and throw up.  

    I once would have used that comparison as a means to criticize Trump.  But as you pointed out, I’m not sure that’s a criticism, under the circumstances.

    Again, brilliant article.

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    CarolJoy (View Comment):
    One realistic political cartoon showed Obama at a poker table, putting all his chips in and then folding, while the dealer said, “But you haven’t been dealt all your cards yet, Mr President.”

    That’s fantastic!

    • #4
  5. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Trump arrived in his role as a leader of a nation much later in life than Napoleon did. One similarity: Trump listens to Melania, much as Napoleon listened to Josephine. Even after their divorce, which took place due to Josephine not providing him with an heir, Napoleon would arrive at her chateaux to gain guidance from her.

    Many Americans no longer understand negotiation. For those of us who do, Trump has been intriguing and delightful. Although the press will beat up on him for his “tough guy” sound bytes, those sound bytes accomplish a great deal.

    This is all very unexpected, as we have had eight years of Obama the non-negotiator. One realistic political cartoon showed Obama at a poker table, putting all his chips in and then folding, while the dealer said, “But you haven’t been dealt all your cards yet, Mr President.”

    Those where our chips/cards he was folding, not his. To his delight.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    JohnJBombaro: Third, in order to self-overcome, one must abstain from alcohol because it mutes the will to power. Donald J. Trump famously abstains from the consumption of alcohol, only adding to his legendary work-ethic and inexhaustible energy.

    Great post, and welcome to Ricochet!

    I have no qualms about folks who abstain from alcohol, but I find your described benefit (“it mutes the will to power”) offset by the release of inhibitions from what one truly thinks or feels, or what one wants to say.  It’s often called a “social lubricant”, but it’s also been the devil that leads to the demise of many a young woman’s moral underpinnings.

    Nonetheless, alcoholic beverages remain a vital part of our culture, and they always should be.  As I said, I have no qualms about folks who abstain from drinking themselves.  But like dancing, cigarette smoking, or any other vice, I will vigorously fight anyone who denies me the (God given!) right to have wine at dinner, or to have a glass of Tennessee Honey while I sit on my front porch smoking a fine cigar . . .

    • #6
  7. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    You have really nailed something that I have been feeling, like Galadriel’s opening to The Fellowship of the Rings: ” The world is changed. I feel it in the earth . . . I feel it in the water . . . .I smell it in the air”.

    I don’t have your philosophical background and education, so thanks for sharing it; it resonates.

    My only quibble is your idea that DJT will win the Nobel Peace Prize.  I agree that he may become objectively possibly the most deserving, but . . . nein.  Nie und nimmer.  The prize so gratuitously awarded to Algore and Obama will never be awarded to Trump.  And I hope he would laugh at it if they did.

    Or better, accept it.  Then rename it the Trump Prize.  I like a thumb in the eye of pretentiousness as much as the next Ricochet member.

    Welcome!  Keep writing. I look forward to your posts.

    • #7
  8. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    You have really nailed something that I have been feeling, like Galadriel’s opening to The Fellowship of the Rings: ” The world is changed. I feel it in the earth . . . I feel it in the water . . . .I smell it in the air”.

    I don’t have your philosophical background and education, so thanks for sharing it; it resonates.

    My only quibble is your idea that DJT will win the Nobel Peace Prize. I agree that he may become objectively possibly the most deserving, but . . . nein. Nie und nimmer. The prize so gratuitously awarded to Algore and Obama will never be awarded to Trump. And I hope he would laugh at it if they did.

    Or better, accept it. Then rename it the Trump Prize. I like a thumb in the eye of pretentiousness as much as the next Ricochet member.

    Welcome! Keep writing. I look forward to your posts.

    Agree, they will never give it to him. But if they did, another option would be to drop it in the “Good Will” drop box. With tweetable photo’s of course. 

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Incidentally @johnjbombaro, I spent part of the late ’80’s in Hedenaset – up on the Finnish border.  Long story.  But I like Stockholm – I have a lot of friends there.  I hope to come visit again some day.  I’ll buy you a beer.  I’m still hooked on Kalle’s caviar.  

    • #9
  10. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    I fantasize about Trump winning the Nobel Peace Prize and responding with an indignant speech:  “Who the H#%@ do you think I am?  I’m not a vicious dictator, heartless Communist, or idiot academic!  Take that award and give it to someone more suitable.  Like Putin, or Assad, Kim Jong Un, or somebody.  I won’t stand for your petty insults!”

    Golly, that’d be swell…

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I have great relationship with God … I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.

    — Donald J. Trump

    The man has no concept of Christianity.

    Neither is Trump an Übermensch. He just noticed that the majority of the news media in this country are held in contempt because they are contemptible.

    Don’t get me started on that syphilis-riddled, ultra-Hegelian Nietzsche.

    That said, welcome John! That was a good read.

     

    • #11
  12. JohnJBombaro Inactive
    JohnJBombaro
    @JohnJBombaro

    Thanks for the welcome – I really appreciate the thoughtful replies. 

    Percival: Your quote certainly bespeaks of DJT’s subjectivism when it comes to theism. It would require stretching Christianity beyond the boundaries of recognition to horseshoe his quote (and others) within anything approximating the Ecumenical Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Athanasian). 

    Dr Bastiat: You offered the first reply to my first post – there’s now a special place in my life for you. 

    CarolJoy: I hesitated to post it without comment on the devout and measured Melania. I could not agree with you more: she may be the quieting voice of the Holy Spirit, Holy Scriptures, and all the Saints whispered into his ear, perhaps on a daily basis. 

    • #12
  13. JohnJBombaro Inactive
    JohnJBombaro
    @JohnJBombaro

    Kevin Schulte: I’m still chuckling over your “Good Will drop box” comment. But let us see what happens. I think DJT will stay away from negotiations and play his hand from afar … until there are some documents to be inked. PhotoOp, baby. And then the world will have to take notice. Stockholm will have to take notice.

    • #13
  14. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    For a first post, that was a doozie, and awesome.  Well done, sir.

    • #14
  15. Melissa Praemonitus Member
    Melissa Praemonitus
    @6foot2inhighheels

    Big hearty welcome and thank you for the amazingly perceptive piece.  Looks like you’re going to fit right in :)

    • #15
  16. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    In one of my first posts here, March 2016, I said Trump was the Napoleon of American politics, toppling thrones, desecrating altars!  And that, no matter the outcome of the election, he had done his country a tremendous service. 

    I love this post! Because the Big Picture must  always include philosophy and culture -at-large.

    Trump is a giant.

    I’ll even forgive you what seems to be a bit of ambivalence, a suggestion that he may be a necessary evil.  In general I don’t think we can afford that right now.

     And yet, it is, undeniably, difficult to mention any  colossus: the original in Rhodes,   Ozymandias, “Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world..!” –without thinking ahead to the “vast and trunkless legs of stone”  stage.  Man cannot conquer Time. 

    As with Arthur’s sword Excalibur,on  one one side is graven “Take me up” and on the other, “Cast me away.”

    A  meteor streaking across our skies changes our conception of th possible forever. “Meteors are not less necessary than mountains.” as Robinson Jeffers put it. 

    Thanks for this post, welcome!  and I can’t wait for the next one. 

    • #16
  17. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    This would be the scariest post in recent Rico history if true.

    Luckily Trump is just a tireless BS artist from Queens, fueled by family wealth and connections, a showman’s invincible ego, generally pro-business politics and a basic love and admiration for his country, including most of us untermensch.

    They say the Greatest Show on Earth ended in 2017, but it seems like it set up tent on Pennsylvania Avenue.

     

    • #17
  18. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Holy cats that was awesome. You are most welcome here. Great to have you aboard. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    I second what he said verbatim! Especially the “Holy Cats” part!  Very interesting and well written!

    • #18
  19. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Trump is a character out of a Damon Runyon story.

    • #19
  20. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    So much to unpack in the OP. It explains how the sum of the parts is so much more attractive than individual elements of Trump’s personality and behaviors. It is something that he has traded on his whole life. It also explains why, even as someone whose start in life was one of relative advantage, he can still be characterized as a self-made man. Had he merely been a more successful version of his father he would have been wealthy but conventional — the way that so many are.

    There is a television show called “Lucifer” where the premise is that the Devil has escaped Hell to run a fashionable nightclub in Los Angeles. He improbably solves crime (or more accurately participates in a law enforcement team) where he brings his one great talent: to draw a confession from someone what they truly and most deeply desire. His power is an irresistible force field that elicits confession and revelation.

    Trump may not be the Devil (as some claim) but he certainly has revelatory powers. Everyone is altered in his orbit. They mold their behaviors in relation to him. His supporters overlook conduct they would not accept in others; his detractors become unhinged and unreasoning. All people are sorted into Support-Oppose categories. Not love/hate. One can hate and support, love and oppose. Trump’s genius is to find the thing that one wants that they will support him in order to possess. That desire to possess need not be evil, only passionate. So, for example, you desire personal liberty — support Trump; want to keep power in North Korea — support Trump. It is the Art of the Deal.

    • #20
  21. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Philosophy is a field far too important to leave to philosophers.  

    Zarathustra? Nietzsche?  Trump?  

    1.  It’s far too early to be saying that the recent development with North and South Korea is a good one or a bad one.  Either characterization is equally possible at this time.  The North Koreans could be just taking advantage of our good nature again.  I will ever remain skeptical that North Korea and its cult of the Dear Leader will ever be anything but duplicitous and intent on seeking more power. Dictators have shown again and again that a sudden burst of cooperation gives them a lot of time to push the limits of our tolerance further and further.
    2. Nietzsche was a terrible man, a terrible philosopher, and his brand of philosophy did more to bring about the rise of the Third Reich than anything else.  Trends in philosophy precede societal changes.  The 19th and early 20th century philosophers, especially many of the German ones still have far too much negative influence on our society.

    Comparing Trump to Zarathustra is a parlor game, played by philosophers.  Trump is Trump, not a fictional character.  No one is ever that simplistic.  Comparisons only serve to pigeonhole one’s personal perception of the man.  I’m much more interested in what he says and does than on some philosopher’s expectation based on what a fictional character might say or do.

    • #21
  22. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Trump as the Nietzschean Superman…this should go a long way to tamping down that fascist comparisons. 

    • #22
  23. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Nietzsche was a terrible man, a terrible philosopher, and his brand of philosophy did more to bring about the rise of the Third Reich than anything else.

    I agree.  Especially with the terrible man part.  And I understand why you criticize his brand of philosophy – I don’t like it either.  But I find it brilliant.  Horrifying, but brilliant.  I think he understood human nature and wrote very perceptibly about it.  So I think trying to understand him is an important exercise, even if you don’t like his conclusions.

    It’s also interesting to me that he produced so much of his most insightful work in a period of about 3-4 years just before he went completely insane and was committed to a mental hospital.  So was he sane when he wrote these extraordinary works that changed the world (not necessarily for the better)?  Almost certainly not.  His mind must have been a very strange place for that brief period.  Could he have produced these works of profound insight into the human condition if he were sane?  Perhaps not.  Interesting.  

    But I’m not arguing with you.  I agree with your statement above.  I don’t like him either.  But I find his thinking very interesting.  Sort of like a plane crash, maybe.  But interesting, nonetheless.  

    • #23
  24. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Kim is now beginning to act like Ttump- the hugging, the smiling,  the hand-holding….it reminds me of the cargo cult, where the natives cleared  swaths of the jungle  in the belief that the big silver planes could be lured in like birds!  Wouldn’t it be effing glorious  if Kim dyed his pompadour yellow? 

    Back yo the subject of the OP–well, Nixon didn’t get the Nobel for his rapprochement with China, but Kissinger, his sec of state did.  Maybe they’ll give it to Pompeo.  And @drbastiat is right.  With such illustrious past winners as Arafat, Trump should decline it in any event.

    Looove the sarcastic (I guess?) remark about how comparing Trump to Nietzsche ‘s ubermensch should tamp down fascist comparisons!  Too funny.  It is not Trump but the Dems and RINO quislings who want total state control of all industry and “nothing outside the state”.  It is not Trump nor the GOP, but the Left whose members are throwing bottles, trashing cars, breaking storefronts, and pelting Trump supporters with garbage.  Contrary to what a surprising number of people think, the definition of  fascist is not  a democratically elected leader one doesn’t like. 

    • #24
  25. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    What a great Sunday morning read. Philosophy, psychology, mix in with a little history and theology topped off with a little Nietzsche and Trump-ism on the side.  Thanks.  A meet up in Stockholm would be too cool.  If you ever make it to Texas, let us know.

    • #25
  26. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    John, welcome to Ricochet and thank you for a well written and thought-provoking post.

    I am skeptical of Zarathustra as a heroic figure.  I agree with Nietche’s diagnosis that our civilization would be set morally adrift by the abandonment of the Christian faith, especially by the cognitive elite.  Unlike Nietzche, I think that this loss of faith was a grevious error, and I see no reasonable prospect of an alternative, man-made morality that would lead to anything but misery.  If Napoleon was Nietzche’s prototype for the Ubermensch, it seems to me that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were its realization.  That is not a path that we should follow.

    Your post has me thinking about Biblical figures analogous to President Trump.  Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Jehu all come to mind, but I haven’t thought through the implications of each of these. 

    • #26
  27. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Percival (View Comment):

    I have great relationship with God … I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.

    — Donald J. Trump

    The man has no concept of Christianity.

    Well, except that he isn’t defining good and evil for himself.  So while he may not be terribly well-formed in his faith, he certainly doesn’t appear to be secular.

    Neither is Trump an Übermensch. He just noticed that the majority of the news media in this country are held in contempt because they are contemptible.

    Don’t get me started on that syphilis-riddled, ultra-Hegelian Nietzsche.

    I’m with you here.  It seems that Nietzsche is always trotted out when a not-terribly-religious man is successful at wielding power, with the presumption that his success is due to his godlessness.

    That said, welcome John! That was a good read.

    Welcome, but I’ll rate this one a “Meh”.  Seemed more of a force-fit than actual correspondence between Zarathustra and Trump.

    • #27
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I have great relationship with God … I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.

    — Donald J. Trump

    The man has no concept of Christianity.

    Well, except that he isn’t defining good and evil for himself. So while he may not be terribly well-formed in his faith, he certainly doesn’t appear to be secular.

    Trump has that over Skinner, who said we were beyond it, and Nietzsche, who just didn’t want to think about it.

    So Trump could be worse.

    Edit: Nuts. Beyond Good and Evil was Nietzsche. Skinner was Beyond Freedom and Dignity, both of which I intend to hang on to, thank you very much.

    • #28
  29. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    I’d like to see what @saintaugustine has to say about this post.

    • #29
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Philosophy is a field far too important to leave to philosophers.

    Indeed.

    • #30

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