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Kant and Protestantism

May 10th, 2010 · No Comments

With respect to Hedges’ essay, discussed already today: Kant is in many ways a better transit point for the refugees of Christianity than Nietzsche. Nietzsche is filled with egregious nonsense painted up to look brilliant and to make himself look original in the wake of German Classical philosophy. And his nihilism is foreseen and addressed directly in the generations before Nietzsche.
Kant (read his biography) shows the transition from the Protestant Reformation to secularism directly through the stages of his life and his background in Pietism. It seems old-fashioned now to some, but most fail to see that the post-Enlightenment is more of a decline from that peak than an advance. His critique of metaphysics is far more appropriate to the trapped religionist than the metaphysics in reverse of scientism. And his challenge to the Newtonians with the issue of freedom is really the stage of the completion of the scientific revolution in the context of modernity and secularism. Further, Kant is not yet confused or corrupted by the vulgar Darwinism to come, which will become the dishwater substitute for a world view, with its latent violence, social darwinist ideology, economic legerdemain, and plain bad science.
In fact, he gave birth to a school of biology, the teleomechanists, that saw before the fact the confusions of reductionism evolutionism.
Nietzsche is celebrated as some brilliant genius, but his theme of the will to power is a vulgarization of Schopenhauer, and of transcendental idealism, that he knew would play to gallery in its oulala style much better than the hard work of uphill philosophical study required for the German classics of the Kant era.
Kant is one of the severest critics of Christianity, and yet does not attempt to deal out the joker of simplistic atheism.
You might argue that his ethics is problematic, and that is a secondary issue in the study of Kant’s more seminal foundation prior to that later study of ethics, but even so the attempt itself is so instructive as to be the best way to reckon with the collapse of ethics in a positivistic age.
Meanwhile the painted face of Nietzsche’s influence on fascist antimodernism and outright Nazism and its eugenics is a ticking time-bomb behind the whole game. His nonsense about the ‘overman’ is a ridiculous low gear monstrosity of the path of self-transcendence seen in religions such as Buddhism.
The added bonus in Kant is the study of liberalism and its foundations, as the keynote of the modern transition. By contrast Nietzsche is stuck in a strange reactionary pose as a supposedly profound critic of liberal civilization. For what? Nietzsche seems to think the age of the barbarians and Aryan tribesman was the age of some kind of superior man. We should note that these Aryans were totally ignorant invaders and destroyers of the real ‘overman’ tradition in Inida. He is incapable of understanding the Old Testament, and most uncomprehending of the real achievement of classical Greece, which invented liberalism. It is a peculair narrowness and lack of insight or imagination in a uniquely eloquent stylist who confused his public with artistic flourishes that are empty. And his aesthetics can hardly match that of the less flashy Kant.
Check out:
Nietzsche: Prophet of Nazism

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