This is a book review done by Neo-Liberal Theorist Frances Fukuyama on a new Biography about Friedrich Neitzsche by Julian Young (University of Auckland), originally published in the Sunday Times 5/7/10.

NIETZSCHE: A PHILOSOPHY IN CONTEXT

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we continue to live within the intellectual shadow cast by Nietzsche. Postmodernism, deconstructionism, cultural relativism, the “free spirit” scorning bourgeois morality, even New Age festivals like Burning Man can all ultimately be traced to him. There is a line running from “Beyond Good and Evil” to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s assertion (in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) that liberty is “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”


Young appropriately underlines the notion that postmodernism, with its embrace of diversity in values, is no different from the 19th-century modernism that Nie­tzsche hated. He would not have cele­brated
alternative lifestyles, non-­Western cultures or the right of every fourth grader to be his or her own value-creator. Acknowledgment of the death of God is a bomb that blows up many things, not just oppressive
traditionalism, but also values like compassion and the equality of human dignity on which support for a tolerant liberal political order is based. This then is the Nie­tzschean dead end from which Western

philosophy has still not emerged. 


(Full article here)

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Hey,
When Fukuyama wrote in 1992 that the end of history, i.e. the hegemony of liberal democracy or University of Chicago style neo-con globalization, was at hand, anyone with a shred of intelligence left knew that instead it was the end of Fukuyama....so why, Chris, are you wasting our time with this crap?
Don't underestimate Mister Fukuyama. He predicted correctly the "Golden Years" of Neo-Liberal Capitalism under Clinton in the Nineties.

... and then your comment shows that your understanding of Hegel's dialectics is outmoded. Maybe you can find an update on the webz. Good Luck, GrandPa.

C.
Fukuyama's prediction of the golden years was pretty much a slam dunk given the political and economic conditions in the US at the time.

I would be impressed if he had predicted how the main political beneficiary of the neo-con project subverted a liberal democracy (Bush Brothers, Florida, Nov. 2000) and emasculated its republican form of government (Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and the WMD fraud) to the extent that an increasingly privatized war machine so looted the US treasury that when the neo-cons on Wall Street made manifest all the failures of their own philosophy, the federal government was so deep in debt to and exceptionally healthy, fast growing, highly regulated economic system in a non-liberal, non-democracy, that it could hardly bail out the bad boys without coming face to face with the possibility of its own bankruptcy. This was more or less the scenario that F's critics were saying could happen back in the day. (Though I don't think any of them foresaw that massive Bush subversions.)
So Chris, I was a little puzzled by your cryptic reference to Hegel in this morning's comment,until I realized that when I mentioned "the end of history" you must have assumed that I was referring to that long dead European metaphysician for whose thoughts I could give a rats ass. But no, Hegal, pro or con, is not spoken
Jesus H. Christ but this software sucks...puts up only half of a post...

To continue:

But no, Hegel, pro or con, is not spoken here. Fukuyama wrote an article in the mid-1980s with the title End of History and he followed it up with a book in 1992. I am assuming that a man of your superior erudition would be familiar with these two works. I was surprised that you did not snap immediately to my little ironic hit off those two titles that for me had nothing to do with Hegel. It had to do with Fukuyama hubris. Face the facts...what does Hegel have to do with anything in this day and age...being a dead European and all that that negates. So I am still looking for a reason why his name came up. Maybe my irony was misplaced...I can understand that in as much as irony comes so easily to an artist and is just as easily lost on a shrink.
H3llo Stephen,

I'm here, I'm here! sorry mucho work today.

Yes, you got this basically right: The dialectical machination of Hegel is running on Jesus H. Christ essence, Full Octane Fuel, fo' sure.

The reason why I bring him up is that Fukuyama is a Hegelian scholar; his thesis is based on a slightly modified version of the German Idelaist' Philosophy. You reaction is rather typical: most leftist people don't wanna hear about him and stop listening right after "The End of History" which might be just too early, as I recall mentioning before.

OF course, it is Slavoj Zizek's thesis that 'The End of History' itself ended after the Clinton Years on September 11th , 2001. Since then much has changed, but Fukuyama still delivered one the most detailed descriptions of our times. Hard to believe that this is hardly 10 years ago from today.

But let's get back to Nietzsche. What I find fascinating is the degree to which you can support totally different political worldviews using texts from one and the same author. In Nietzsche's case, he was instrumented for political reasons by various political factions, as we all know. Nonetheless, whatever Fukuboy's political alingment might be, he is not an idiot. And his statement that Nietzsche still surpasses every culturally tolerant postmodern worldview is right on the money.

The most disturbing part of his (FN's) work IMO is the notion of "eternal return", which, rightly understood, leads one to quite different conclusions about the nature of historical development than the linear model used by Integral Life and Spiral Dynamics & Co. As Deleuze put it, how do you escape the labyrinth of a straight line? No. I mean seriously. Just getting rid of the "Ego" and letting nature do its thing leads to nowhere. "Being" alone is not enough. It also takes thinking, thinking thinking to find the right actions. Stop meditating, y'all! Are you not transcendent enough yet?? God needs YOU, right here right now, Stupid.

No, not you Stephen. Thanks for giving me the oppurtunity for ranting along. It was about time.

xo
Chris,

You put up some interesting stuff and even though interesting some can be dispensed with right away. For instance the Zizek thesis sounds like a typical Zizek Bombastic Editorial that is probably not weathering all that well even as we write. And the Deleuze quote boils down to the typical Deleuze Cryptography. If I were a half-stoned undergrad in the presence of the Deleuze pronouncement I'd probably think "Oh wow!" But being a grandpa I just think "...whatever." And this "eternal return" idea...I would think that Carnot, Maxwell and Boltzmann's willy-nilly collaboration toward the Second Law of Thermodynamics would have put those hopes well to rest...and all three were more or less Nietzsche's 19th Century contemporaries.

Following that I am with you on your rant.

You wrote: The most disturbing part of his (FN's) work IMO is the notion of
"eternal return", which, rightly understood, leads one to quite
different conclusions about the nature of historical development than
the linear model used by Integral Life and Spiral Dynamics & Co.


To which I have to agree. Wilber/Beck linearity is fairly simple-minded because of its mono-directional nature. If one starts with the second law and adds Hawking's theory about the arrow of time and then applies those two to a study of this image and its brief explanation one realizes that the arrow's movement is omni-directional. Additionally, one can see that the outer limit of the Bubble Nebula is almost perfectly spherical, but the O-type star that is the nebula's generator does not lie at the nebula's center which might indicate that the velocity of the arrow is irregular. Further it would seem that when any entity of irregular shape and dynamics encounters another with the same characteristics chaos is increased perhaps exponentially. Then if one adds that old perennial chestnut "as is above, so is below" then it is kiss that primitive Wilber/Beck scheme good-by, as if that can't be done without all the playing around with the second law, if you can follow what I mean. (Please do not take the proof in this paragraph seriously because I was making it up as I went merrily along.)

Now I have gone through Fukuyama's review several times and I did not find the place to which you refer when you wrote: "And his statement that Nietzsche still surpasses every culturally tolerant postmodern worldview is right on the money." If you can fill me in on that I would appreciate it.

I did not find a great deal deal of controversial matter in Fukuyama's review until toward the end there was this paragraph:

"Whether we acknowledge it or not, we continue to live within the intellectual shadow cast by Nietzsche. Postmodernism, deconstructionism, cultural relativism, the “free spirit” scorning bourgeois morality, even New Age festivals like Burning Man can all ultimately be traced to him. There is a line running from “Beyond Good and Evil” to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s assertion (in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) that liberty is 'the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.'"

I preface the following argument by saying that Fukuyama, as a philosopher assumes like most philosophers that philosophy has far more cultural significance than can be objectively demonstrated. Even though F is a United Statesman, he seems to have yet to realize that (unlike some Europeans) almost all United Statesmen could give a rat's ass about philosophy.

Now if one is going to deconstruct the review in good Derrida-esque fashion, one should start with the last sentence of the above paragraph. This is where one starts the chapter and verse of the sermon because this is where F. tips his his hand too much, where he goes too far out on the limb labeled "Oh god protect us in our huddled masses for we fear that all will fly unhinged if we don't suppress the dread threat of unstifled agency." F. rips Kennedy here because Kennedy betrayed his conservative brethren in the extant case and joined the plurality in upholding Roe vs Wade. And in so doing Kennedy wrote what liberty is as Rousseau said it is, not what Nietzsche said it is because Rousseau predates Nietzsche by 132 years. If one is going to follow the progress of US constitutional law on the concept of liberty, instead of looking at the imaginary line that Nietzsche filed between "Beyond Good and Evil" and Justice Kennedy one had better see what influence the libertine Benjamin Franklin had on Thomas Jefferson, one had better look at the cultural influence of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriot Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman maybe all the way up to Neal Cassady, none of whom, I imagine, read Nietzsche, but Cassady wrote this which I think is one of the fines pieces of amateur ironic literature ever put out on paper.

I just realized that I have spent more time on this thread than this whole ghost town site is worth, so I'm going to post this truncated rant and do something else that will be more worthwhile.
Hello Stephen,

Well, I should have known that you were not at all surprised about my recent comments. You are correct that it's all a re-hash of already known facts, newly clothed to impress the non-hardy n00bs out there. I was kinda naive to think that there's a hypothetical human being here reading these forums to whom our discussion could actually mean something, as if there existed something of real importance in this world other than ruthless hedonistic fun and games. It's pathetically moronic to think this thread contributes in any way to a substantial shift in one's attitude, probably not even more than 5%, so it's not even significant, so why talk about this is at all I ask? I'd rather go do something cool and hip like painting my toe nails. And off I go.

On a more serious note, I keep coming back to Philosophy not because I'm an expert at it (I never studied it academically) but because I feel I can express my thoughts better when using signifiers from already established concepts, from Plato to Kant to Derrida. At the same time, anyone who wants to retrace what I am trying to say can take the injunction and read the sources and make up his or her own judgements. In addition, communication between discourse participants is enabled and improved, though this has become rare here on the IPS Forum.

Thank you for the part about Emerson, Stephen. I get the impression that Nietzsche is so little known in the US because of this Emerson guy, he seems to have overshadowed F.N.'s impact overseas. That's why US thinking leans so much to the Pragmatist corner, just like Wilber who draws heavily from his Pragmaticist Predecessors.

xo
Chris,

You wrote: I get the impression that Nietzsche is so little known in the US...

It was not so much because of Emerson but of the Third Reich. Until I was an undergrad, Nietzsche was mostly known as the inspiration of Hitler. Very few paid him attention until he was rehabilitated. I got interested in him through my reading of damn near the entire works of Kazantzakis in the early 1970s. If one wants to know Nietzsche as an application read Odysseus, A Modern Sequel--read it out loud after suppers to your lover--and then one can understand why Rorty thought that philosophy per se is a marginalized and now vestigial enterprise, but literature rules.

Unlike most of my contemporaries I read a lot of 20th Century philosophy and social criticism, literary criticism, through the 1970s, most of which, while produced in the USA was inspired by Continental thought. I needed to do so for my work at the time. Very few others were doing that then and certainly not reading American philosophy which was an exercise in insular boredom. From time to time in the USA there is a seemingly spontaneous upwelling of mystical spirituality. In the 1830s-1840s one such put Thoreau and Emerson on the intellectual map, another one arose at the turn of the 20th century and then there was the New Age. The literate mystics of those times become famous as philosophers though outside the circumstances of their day they would hardly be considered as such. And so the New Age brought Wilber to philosopher status. To those who have little background in the discipline, I am sure he seems quite adept, but alongside theorists and critics such as Arandt, Fromm, Kolakowski, Marcuse, Fanon, Freiri, Sartre, DeBord, Trilling, etc., the man just doesn't cut it.

While I appreciate Wilber's quest for broadly trans-discipline studies, he is speaking to a narrow spectrum of potentially new converts inside academia. I have found those who work in intellectually influenced professions outside of classrooms, people like the top journalists, essayists, foundation executives and some non-profit operatives, book editors and publishers, a few politicians, even some judges, have been viewing the world from broad-based perspectives since before Wilber started bisecting bovine eyes as an undergrad. And unlike Wilber, but much like Kazantzakis, their works have been fundamentally and effectively applications, not just theory (i.e. only words) from 50,000 ft.
Interesting. I'm not sure that postmodernism is synonymous with poststructuralism, and while poststructuralism may have Nietzschean roots, Nietzschean thought and postmodernism or post-structuralism may not necessarily be consonant. For one, a lot of what passes on campuses as "post-structualism" and "post-modernism" in America has close ties with Marxism and Feminism -- basically with emacipatory interests. In some sense, in terms of philosophy and not aesthetics, what we call post-modernism is often just the fulfillment of the ideals of modernism. At the same time, the term "post modernism" itself was originally associated with theories of aesthetics, where indeed, the idea "anything goes" becomes a kind of paraphrase.
"grandpa." hahaha. I had no idea things here were still interesting.

I kind of agree with Chris, though, ie., the topic is Nietzsche and not so much Fuckyamama. But Steven raises the interesting point that Philosophers (upper case "P") have a overly high opinion of themselves and what they can do. Maybe even Nietzsche fall into this mold. As Fukayama presents him, he sounds like an idealist, like the early Plato before he became jaded after Syracuse. And it's a particularly modernist form of idealism at that, which is ironic.

It all kind of reminds me of Ken's self-endorsement: "It's a new world; it's an integral world. By studying my new integral philosophy, you will be raising your consciousness and helping the world evolve." yada yada. (Sorry, I can't resist Wilber-bashing, particularly when it is frowned upon.)
S.

The link still works for me, but strangely enough I had difficulty linking to this page. I tried three times to paste the site's URL to this little response box and the box would not take it. If all else fails Google "Neal Cassady Joan Anderson Letter." It is the basis for the movie "The Last Time I Committed Suicide"

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