Nietzsche had his flaws. Anti-Semitism wasn’t one of them. – Washington Post

Posted: August 30, 2017 at 4:41 am


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August 25

In distinguishing the world of love vs. one of hate, David Von Drehle cited the difference between two philosophers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche [Averting humanitys deadliest tendency, op-ed, Aug. 16]. Emerson embodied the optimism and general compassion of the American attitude, whereas, in Von Drehles words, the Nazis had their Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche could be critical of Judaism, but he was critical of almost every religion (especially Christianity) and institution. Much of the Nazis alleged affinity for Nietzsche was not from reading his works but through his sister Elisabeth, who met Adolf Hitler and tried to promote her dead brothers writings.

Most important, Friedrich Nietzsche despised anti-Semitism. His sister and her husband hated Jews and shared visions of a pure race. They even developed a colony in Paraguay to realize their dream. (They failed.) Not the philosopher Nietzsche. In one book, Beyond Good and Evil, he proposed that we expel the anti-Semitic squallers out of the country. In a letter to his sister, he wrote, Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me ever again with ire or melancholy.

Nietzsche, regardless of his genius, certainly had his flaws. But anti-Semitism was not one of them.

Alexander E. Hooke, Baltimore

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Nietzsche had his flaws. Anti-Semitism wasn't one of them. - Washington Post

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August 30th, 2017 at 4:41 am

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