Under The Sun

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

NDPR: The Liberal Herd

"Dudley’s account of herd morality and its accompanying metaphysics of weakness is illuminating. Too weak to forge a will of their own, decadents don’t act, but react to what they regard as the evil ones. Since their actions are reactive and negative, full of ressentiment, these very practices are a flight from the actual world towards an imaginary ideal world where there is no suffering." (ibid)

This characterizes precisely, I think, the current state of the political left.

"The moral will has to be overcome. Or rather, it overcomes itself: the moral commitment to truth undermines morality and its real world. The metaphysics of weakness is exposed as "lies"."

...in which case this is the process we are seeing now, in the reassertion of realpolitik over diplomacy.

"Nietzsche turns to the noble type, the opposite of decadence, and whose morality is a life affirming self-apotheosis. Its fundamental features, Dudley maintains, are its selfishness, its ability to be indifferent to the suffering of others, and its hardness [...]"

...and this the problem inherent in that next/current turn of the wheel. Because

"noble cultures, to the extent that their moralities and values are shared and communal, are also herdlike. And to this extent they also fail to liberate their adherents from the herd, and rather reimpose herd aspects. For Nietzsche all community is common and herdlike. And because this is the case, Dudley argues that noble morality is not finally free, and its measure is parochial. Thus noble morality remains caught in its own measure and perspective."

Nietzsche's proposed solution to that problem wanders off into wackiness (because Nietzsche was bipolar). The problem remains: how to balance freedom with community. It is more or less obvious that the current political right, the Republicrats, under-value community; it is equally more or less obvious that the current left, which hasn't been in power in my lifetime, over-values community. Nonetheless, the current swing is still tending right-ward: consensus always lags behind truth. What else is new?

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