The Clare Spark Blog

May 31, 2015

Nietzsche on “the Jews” (and non-Aryan Christians)

Aryan Christ

Aryan Christ

(This the second of two blogs; read this first.

Nietzsche famously proclaimed that “God is dead.” Nietzsche’s fame, however, is not, nor is his professed affiliation with the Christian Middle Ages, noted in The Birth of Tragedy. We find his amorous influence in the Charles Manson cult (an emblem for the flower children of the counter-culture (?), including such immortal pop idols as the late Jim Morrison), in the hip followers of Foucault, and among postmodernists. These late 20th century (sex-obsessed) cultists were preceded by the Nietzsche followers in the earlier 20th century, George Bernard Shaw for one. Nietzsche’s Supermen were later made notorious in the Leopold and Loeb case that was dramatized in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Rope.

I was first introduced to Nietzsche in the works translated by existentialist Walter Kaufmann, who tried to rehabilitate him from charges of proto-Nazism and antisemitism, explaining in one postwar essay that Nietzsche separated Jesus from the Jews, finding them antithetical. I find it incomprehensible how he could have failed to notice this passage from Genealogy of Morals, aphorism VII:

[Nietsche, transl. Francis Golffing:] As we all know, priests are the most evil enemies to have—why should this be so? Because they are the most impotent. It is their impotence which makes their hate so violent and sinister, so cerebral and poisonous. The greatest haters in history—but also the most intelligent haters—have been priests. Beside the brilliance of priestly vengeance all other brilliance fades. Human history would be a dull and stupid thing without the intelligence furnished by its impotents. Let us begin with the most striking example. Whatever else has been done to damage the powerful and great of this earth seems trivial compared with what the Jews have done, that priestly people who succeeded in avenging themselves on their enemies and oppressors by radically inverting all their values, that is, by an act of the most spiritual vengeance. This was a strategy entirely appropriate to a priestly people in whom vindictiveness had gone most deeply underground. It was the Jew who, with frightening consistency, dared to invert the aristocratic value equations good/noble/powerful/beautiful/happy/favored-of-the-gods and maintain, with the furious hatred of the underprivileged and impotent, that “only the poor, the powerless, are good; only the suffering, sick, and ugly, truly blessed. But you noble ones will be, to all eternity, the evil, the cruel, the avaricious, the godless, and thus the cursed and damned!”…it was the Jews who started the slave revolt in morals; a revolt with two millennia of history behind it, which we have lost sight of today simply because it is has triumphed so completely. [end, Nietzsche quote]

This was the translation ordered by professors who taught my daughter while she was in graduate school, studying with leftist superstars Samuel Weber and Jacques Derrida.

It is but a short step from Nietzsche’s verdict on “the Jews” to social democracy and the aristocratic principle that seems to reign in the elitism of (anticommunist) social democracy, in the celebrity-worship of mass culture, and in sectors of the far Right that blame “commie Jews” for all their woes. Such is the persistent influence of the Aryan Christ. Indeed, an Eric Gill sculpture of the Christ with his whip graces one of the reading rooms in the William Andrews Clark Jr. library in Los Angeles–the same library that houses a sizeable Gill collection.

Christ and the Money-Changers 1919 Eric Gill 1882-1940 Tate Library

Christ and the Money-Changers 1919 Eric Gill 1882-1940 Tate Library

January 4, 2011

The Nanny State

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:19 pm
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Eric Gill

[This was originally a comment on Pajamas Media, “Liberal Fascism: The Font,” by Ed Driscoll. I reread my comment and liked it enough to post the whole thing here: ( note that Ayn Rand lived in a Richard Neutra house in Chatworth, CA  for seven years)]

To call everything spawned by the Bauhaus an example of “liberal fascism” is absurd. Please see my blog on Jonah Goldberg’s awful book here: I don’t like the sexist phrase “nanny state” either. How did paternalistic social democracy get to be associated with mommy or surrogate mothers? Anyone who looks at the working class housing in Germany between the wars would have to be impressed by the beauty of its design. And women architects were designing elsewhere interiors that required less housework. Do these anti-modernists also condemn the spare simplicity of Japanese gardens? Do they have any idea how many servants are required to keep up the Victorian or even Georgian styles of architecture and decor? And early America also produced furniture we now prize as proto-modernist. Order and authority? Only to someone who still resents his mother and wishes that she keep that polishing cloth in her hand instead of hassling her slob of a son. Now if you want to see clear cut perverted classicism, check out Eric Gill whose designs celebrated the most reactionary forms of Catholicism.

November 17, 2009

Melencolia I and the apocalypse, 1938

In my reposted blog on panic attacks, I mentioned the use by Eric Gill of Dürer’s famous image. Here is the image as drawn by Eric Gill’s son-in-law Denis Tegetmeier for Gill’s book Unholy Trinity (1938). Opposite the illustration is this text by Eric Gill:

pastiche of Durer’s Melencolia I by Denis Tegetmeier

MELANCHOLIA—This is a very gloomy picture, and quite right too. There is no remedy for our troubles. The sick ‘old lady’ has got to die someday. I think any kind of mass conversion–as when Ninevah repented with three days of sackcloth and ashes–is not to be expected. Perhaps some kind of healthy barbarism will follow the war, pestilence and famine which are upon us. That is very likely. Nations and states go through a life cycle just as humans do, and though many will endeavour to soften our last days—it is astonishing how we cling to the deception that horrid things only happen to other people & not to us—we must today recall the words of St John in the Apocalypse:

‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee. And no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee; for thy merchants were the great men of the earth’ . [end Gill, there is no more text on the page]

Is there not a popular Hollywood genre of the apocalypse brought on by those commercial values foisted upon the world by merchants (a.k.a. Marx’s Jewish hucksters)? Would there have been a Renaissance, or an Age of Discovery, or the expansion of the West without them? Would we have great cities of the type anathematized by such as the arch reactionary Eric Gill without these dread traders? How much has this antimodern narrative penetrated into the popular consciousness to the detriment of mental health? And to what extent did the genre of film noir reflect such fears? Or such recent films as Revolutionary Road?

     In my view, we neglect such questions to our peril. If we cannot recognize “progress” where it has actually benefited humankind, how can we even begin to talk about appropriate remedies for emotional distress (depression! anxiety!), let alone public policy in such crucial matters as health care reform?  Just asking. For more on the popularity of “Melencolia I” in the last two centuries see the passages on James Thomson (“B. V.”) in , part one of a two-part essay that shows the links between antisemitism, misogyny, and antimodernism.

[Added in the early evening, submitted to one of the H-Net discussion groups:]

I want to launch this hypothesis: that antisemitism, like sexism, is underweighted as a cause of social malaise or what used to be called “neurosis/neurasthenia.” Those who subscribe to the History of Antisemitism list have done decades of work on the history of antisemitism, yet if it is taken up at all in the media, some crucial facet of it is neglected. Why?  Here are some suggestions:

1. Probably most of the Left does not want to admit that Marx was anti-Semitic in his early essay “On the Jewish Question.” Taking that further, the very notion that “capital” is inherently exploitative would seem to come from the old and incorrect notion that Jews loved money more than their neighbors. (Were there bitter Jews who fit the stereotype? Why would there not be? But if we reject the idea of race and national character, it is insane to attribute such avarice and heartlessness to all Jews who ever lived.)

2. The New Left and the counter-culture of the 1960s defined themselves against the soul-less cities (see the blog), celebrating rootedness and other tropes of the agrarian ideology. Remember the class base of utopian socialism in the 19th century? It was not the working class, but would-be patricians of the kind once identified as aristocratic backwoodsmen by G. C. Webber in his book on right-wing factions. Do I detect the color Green in their vaporings?

3. The Jews, in league with certain Scotsmen, are blamed for the disenchantment of the world. This was brought home to me by the J. C. Squire papers at UCLA. (Squire, a Tory poet, traveled from Fabianism to support for Italian Fascism. He was part of the English Melville revival.) It is also spelled out in Herman Melville’s sketch of a Dissenter in his late poem, _Clarel, a poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land_ (1876). These works build upon the pervasiveness of the mad scientist in popular culture, made famous in spin-offs of Mary Shelley’s _Frankenstein_.  The best book I ever read on the subject of disenchantment was Tillyard’s short work, _The Elizabethan World Picture and Shakespeare’s History Plays_. As the Biblical higher criticism proceeded in the 19th century, Melville nervously complained about the loss to imagination by historical analysis of the Bible. His despair reflected that of James Thomson, author of _The City of Dreadful Night_ . We are back again to Dürer’s Melencolia I and the panicky reaction by Church and King to the advent of the scientific revolution, the Reformation, and other seemingly apocalyptic events. If the Jews are constantly seen as the vanguard of modernity (either implicitly or explicitly: think of the diabolic trinity of Marx, Einstein, and Freud), they get the blame. And a scientific outlook becomes “reductive” and an abomination.

4. If one is an upwardly-mobile assimilationist Jew (on the lam from mom?), it is probably little comfort to acknowledge the persistence of genteel antisemitism in the canyons of Manhattan, or in the heart of the non-Jew one has snagged. This hardly needs elaboration. Better to repress the entire subject.

If we underweight antisemitism as a destructive force in the human psyche, imagine how bad is our underestimation of the power of sexism and patriarchy. To what lengths will the ‘feminist’ ‘anti-imperialist’ go to minimize the desire to control women and mothers in particular, and not just in the Muslim world? I will not belabor this point here, except to note that for Eric Gill,  Melencolia is a sick old lady who would be better off dead than modernized/urbanized. History for these antimodernists is not susceptible to human understanding and agency, but is a subset of “natural history.” When we understand that, there might be some progress in the teaching of the humanities.

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