Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nietzsche and the Revenge of the Non-Whites

by David Ellerton

Philosophy and politics don't usually mix. But sometimes philosophy can shed light, in an interesting way, on political problems. The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, I believe, can be applied to one serious political problem afflicting the West today: I am speaking of the desire, of millions of non-white immigrants to the West, to 'pay back' the white man for hundreds of years of colonialism and privilege.

I will not summarise the philosophy of Nietzsche here; instead, I will focus on one element. That element is revenge, and as readers and admirers of Nietzsche know, revenge plays an important role in that great thinker's philosophy. An account of Nietzsche's doctrine on revenge can be found in a paper by University of Wisconsin professor, Lester H. Hunt, 'The Eternal Recurrence and Nietzsche's Ethic of Virtue', at .

So what does Nietzsche mean by revenge? It is the desire to right past wrongs:

As he describes it, revenge is essentially an attitude toward time itself: it is "the will's ill will against time and it's 'it was'." It is the result of the fact that, from a certain perspective, the past appears both to need changing and to be impossible to change, so that the will is left painfully powerless, "an angry spectator of all that is past." Among the effects of this painful condition is a desire to cause additional pain, either to oneself or to others: "on all who can suffer" the will "wreaks revenge for his inability to go backwards." (II 20.)(4) Revenge is responsible for the ideal of equality, the urge to punish, and the excessive desire to be just (II 7). Among the other works of revenge are... a longing to escape from this world (II 20).

(All references in footnotes are included in Hunt's paper). So what are the implications of wanting revenge? Is it healthy? Beneficial? Clearly not, according to Nietzsche. It stands in the way of (what we moderns would call) psychological wholeness, spiritual fulfilment. One part of that wholeness is the development of generosity in oneself, what Nietzsche calls the 'gift-giving' or 'bestowing' virtue:

Conceived in this way, revenge has a very broad impact on human life; Zarathustra says, "it has become a curse for everything human that this folly has acquired spirit." The trait he is describing here is purely reactive, negative, and destructive. As such, it is just the sort of trait Nietzsche would see as standing in the way of virtue. In obvious ways, it is the opposite of the spontaneous, enthusiastic, and creative activity he calls "gift-giving virtue" elsewhere in Zarathustra (I 22). Getting rid of revenge, if that should be possible, would plainly be a long step toward achieving virtue as he understands it.(5) In fact, Nietzsche more or less tell us so himself: "that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope" (II 7).(6)

The implications of all of this are wide-reaching and profound. Certainly, we can all see, in our own lives, a desire to 'right past wrongs'. Perhaps that desire, too, stands in the way of fulfilment. All of what Nietzsche is saying here occurs at the individual, moral level; that is, at helping the individual reach a level of spiritual fulfilment and self-actualisation. Those who embrace revenge deny themselves that fulfilment and become stunted human beings (I will explore, in part, Nietzsche's solution to 'the problem of revenge' later).

But how does the doctrine become political? In order to become political, it must be applied to a very large number of human beings, and here I am thinking of the millions of non-white immigrants who have come to the West in the past thirty to forty years.

In that connection, I found the following comments on a message board to be of interest. They were by African immigrants, in response to an English-language news article, 'Illegal Immigrants to get New Rights in Sweden', at: I will reproduce some of them here:

22:28 March 3, 2011 by penzy

I have read some of the comments here and I am not surprised even though it is a bit sad the way some people prefer to come and display their overt ignorance for the whole world to see.

Okay so Sweden has decided to be kind and nice to other people in need and some of you have reservations. Rightly so, afterall who would want to be taken by surprise in his own household. But let's get some facts straight.

Some of us (immigrants), are here not because we feel this place is heaven. No, it cannot be. Sweden cannot in anyway take away the kind of atmosphere and environment I get in my continent. But circumstances which did not start so soon dictates that I should be here. And so am here by hook or by crook.

#1. When your great grandfathers came to my continent to kidnap my great grandfathers, they came ILLEGALLY. You called them EXPLORERS! In the same vein, those of us who are here (whether legal or illegal), are here to EXPLORE and you view us as ILLEGALS who should not be here. What do you think my great grandfathers were thinking when you were kidnapping them to come and WORK for you!

#2. After all these years of inflicting such pains on us, you have not even compensated us for the wrongs you did. Infact, you are still enslaving us economically. (Afterall, slave trade was all about economics). You are still coming to buy my cocoa seedlings at a cheaper rate (no, your own rate) and then you bring it back to me at a price beyond me which then encourages people to do what they have to do.

#3. This has led us to come to you and beg for loans. Loans you give to us at a higher interest rate and then you impose your own kind of politics which is capital intensive. That has led to corruption, erode our cultural lives and many more. Why do you think there are a lot of kidnappings in Africa? How come the Ogoni people in Nigeria cannot farm anymore because your desire for oil is polluting their land and taking their livelihood away.

Take the three reasons (there are many more) into consideration and think about it. If only you will be fair to us. If only you will honestly deal with us like you deal with your kinds. If only you will leave us to have our own unique political system, maybe, just maybe, I would be back in my continent basking in sunshine instead of having heavy clothes on me.

You sow what you reap, the bible says. You sowed something and here we are. You came to us in the name of God and now, we are here telling you about this same God you told us about and to share in the profit of what you took from us.

Is this not fair enough?


Another African gentleman, who is nowhere as eloquent as Mr 'Penzy', more or less has the same message:

23:05 March 3, 2011 by Cuttingedge

Crazy to hear this, whe European come to Africa, Asia and arabian countries and take our every thing, they were not illegal, when we come here to enjoy our natural resorces, which they are still taking from ours, the we are illegal, shame on you, go back to history. wait the fire is coming to you cowards

23:49 March 3, 2011 by Cuttingedge
Look at this crazy Chortlle

From UK, why are u forgeting what you did in Africa you English people, you did everything bad for us, like french, like every European guys and you still doing it using the so called stupid presidents you force us to accept them using our resources. we are here to get our Gold, our diamonds back, got it crazy

The responses, overall, to the news article at this message board were quite intelligent and well-written: there are a lot of educated, articulate and thoughtful people, on both sides of the political fence, in that forum. Most of it, though, I had heard all before (that is, pro- versus anti-immigrant opinons); what struck me was the position of the immigrants themselves. The anti-colonialist ideology espoused by Mr 'Penzy' was fairly typical of the Third World ideologues in the post-colonial era (e.g., the 1950s and 1960s): e.g., the Black French intellectual Franz Fanon, the dictator of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, who was a pioneer of 'African socialism'. Quite a few on the radical Left still uphold it, and, for all I know, it could be still be current in certain African countries today.

Does it represent the view of a number of immigrants to Europe and elsewhere in the West? I think so. But we have to be clear, most immigrants come for economic reasons: they want 'a better life', and feel that they are entitled to it in the West. To do so, they will pay any amount of money to people smugglers, come up with phony stories of political persecution and abuse, submit themselves to any level of hardship, indignity and danger (including drowning, in boat trips from North Africa to southern Europe), and, once in Europe, will work in menial, badly paid and insecure jobs and face risk of deportation or imprisonment in one of Europe's tens of thousands of detention centres - really concentration camps. The motives of the immigrant are not ideological, they are economic. But, when ideology comes into play, it is the ideology of anti-colonialism, and, ultimately, revenge - revenge on the white man.

And this gets right to the heart of the matter. The immigrant ideology is, above all, impudent. A country like Sweden takes in huge quantities of Third Worlders, gives them shelter, food and clothing, and now, thanks to the Swedish government, free education, health care and the 'right' to start a business; what's more, Sweden does so regardless of the effect such policies have on its own people - (e.g., overcrowding, shortages of housing, health care, school places, a growing sense of alienation which comes about through the breakdown of an ethnically homogenous community). One would expect gratitude on behalf of the immigrant - and surprise that a foreign government is doing such a thing (after all, no African or Middle Eastern government would do the same for white people). But instead, the attitude is: 'I'm going to pay you back, white man - for  blood diamonds, stolen oil, and slavery, and all the other crimes of the past... You'll reap what you have sown!'.

Much has been written, by nationalists, on the sanity of the white, Western politicians who are pro-immigrant - are they mad? But little has been written on the question of the sanity of immigrants, especially illegal immigrants. The illegal immigrants are not fleeing some humanitarian catastrophe. In 2010, 128,000 immigrants tried to gain access to Greece, and there is a backlog of 46,000 applications for 'asylum'; clearly, if these were all refugees, they would be fleeing the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since the end of WWII, when millions of (mostly German) refugees fled, in fear for their lives, the advancing Red Army. But Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh) are not in such a condition. So the question is, why is it that immigrants do what they do? The British tabloids are daily full of accounts of immigrants (mostly Arab or Indian) trying to enter Britain through the French port of Calais by clinging to the underside of lorries, hiding in garbage bins, refrigerators, tubs of chocolate, etc., being taken to Britain by truck. Given that, and the 'ideology of revenge' described above, one has to question the sanity of many of these people. So the immigrant problem becomes a kind of psychological/philosophical problem.

Nietzsche's answer to the problem of revenge was the doctrine of eternal recurrence. That is, one's life will repeat itself, exactly as it is now, an infinite number of times in the future - and it has done so an infinite number of times in the past. One will live the same life over and over again, experiencing the same hardships and sorrows, and the same joys, without change. The classic Bill Murray movie, 'Groundhog Day' (1993) depicts this idea, except that the Bill Murray character is conscious of living the same day, over and over again.

What does this have to do with revenge? In the theory of eternal recurrence, time really has no beginning - there was no point, in history, when the process of time began. There may have been a big bang, a point where the universe was created. But there were an infinite number of big bangs in the past (as there will be in the future); so, one cannot say where the 'starting point' of time itself was. The implication of this is that there is no point where time (or history) will come to a stop, and all wrongs will be righted. There is no point for the African immigrant to migrate to Sweden, and 'get his revenge on the white man' for 'the crimes of colonialism', because the peoples of Africa will have to undergo their sufferings and hardships (blood diamonds, stolen oil, slavery, etc.) an infinite number of times in the future. In other words, there is no 'happy ending' for the African immigrant, where his people suffer, under the jackboot of the Western colonialists, and then finally become free and take their revenge on the evil whites. As Hunt writes:

For vengeful thinking - in fact, for any sort of intelligible use of the concept of punishment - the story that has the happy ending must not end at an arbitrary place. Suppose that Billy the Kid kills six people and then is captured. Our vengeance - or whatever drive it is that is gratified by punishment - is not satisfied if he overpowers his jailor and escapes. Nor is it satisfied if Billy is recaptured and executed, but somehow rises from the dead and commits six more murders. Our urge to punish will not accept it as satisfactory if we end the story of a punishment at some arbitrary point simply to create a happy ending. Revenge cannot knowingly do such a thing. If Nietzsche is right about the eternal recurrence, however, there is no natural place to end the story of the world. Time is not naturally divided into cycles which, like a replayed movie, have beginnings and ends. There is simply no non-arbitrary place at which we can decide that our story ends and no reason, other than the need for a happy ending, to end it at any particular place. Our desire to create art can be satisfied by such solutions, but our sense of justice cannot.

So far, then, the eternal recurrence frustrates revenge and - so, at least, we can hope - makes room for virtue by making it impossible for revenge to solve the problems that it sets for itself. Revenge aims at the satisfaction of feeling that something is being done about the evil past, but it cannot achieve this satisfaction unless the vengeful subject can think certain thoughts and see things in a certain way. Recurrence makes such states of mind impossible. It does so by healing a fissure in the world - a break in time - that the vision of vengeance requires.

Again, the implications of this are profound, and one could write a (much longer) essay on them. Here we can only state the problems (the psychology of immigration, the non-white's ideology of revenge), and not come up with a solution. Nor can we fully answer the question, 'Is Nietzsche's solution adequate?'. My short answer is, 'No'. One should not underestimate the power of ideas to affect large numbers of people: certainly, the immigrant 'Penzy' came under the influence of someone who themselves was under the influence of a Fanon, Nkrumah, Lenin or Marx. But, all the same, it is too much to hope for  to expect that immigrants, after reading, and taking on board Nietzsche, will stop emigrating to the West in the millions. It would be akin to a mass religious conversion. Millions of people would have to examine their motives, very deeply and thoughtfully, for wanting to live in the West, and ask themselves if they really will find happiness there (a happiness they feel 'entitled' to).

At the same time, certain of Nietzsche's ideas can, I think, have a powerful effect on the white intellectuals who ultimately the determine the course of our civilisation. It is this topic that I shall explore in a future essay.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nat Alt Booklist - Recommended Reading

Below is a list of recommended books. Thought provoking, controversial, historic, moving and informative.

Any one of following works are not listed in any order of importance nor do they represent in absolute the view of Nationalist Alternative instead we draw on large or small elements of each in synthesizing our world view.

We simply ask people approach the following topics with a clear and open mind free of previously held bias.