Sunday, February 17, 2008

Northern Illinois University's Nietzschean Killer?

Before he went on his shooting rampage Steven Kazmierczak sent a package to his girlfriend. In the package was: a textbook for her class about serial killers; a package with a gun holster and bullets; a new cell phone that she had told him she wanted; about $100 in cash.; and a copy of Friedrich Nietzsche's book "The Antichrist."

I think that, if one were immersed in and bought into the nihilism and atheism of Nietzsche, it could support the kind of thing Kazmierczak did, especially if Nietzsche were read selectively.

Let us assume Kazmierczak read "The Antichrist." Look at how it begins.

"What is good?--Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man. What is evil?--Whatever springs from weakness.
What is happiness?--The feeling that power increases--that resistance is overcome.
Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, virtue free of moral acid).
The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it.
What is more harmful than any vice?--Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak--Christianity... "

After this follows an extended Nietzsche-style diatribe on the evils of Judeo-Christian religion.

When Nietzsche's madman cried out that God is dead, it's the Judeo-Christian concept he had in mind. The madman was a prophet, and the world was not yet ready for him. Theoretical God-deniers did not understand the moral implications of the death of God; viz., that the metaphysical foundation for their values had been taken from underneath them, and they were now cast adrift to make their own way. Personally, I feel that, were I an atheist, I would find Nietzsche's logic persuasive.

If one reads The Antichrist will one become a killer? No, that doesn't follow. Could a Nietzschean philosophy support what happened at NIU a few days ago? I think so. Because Jesus' ideas of loving one's enemies are seen as "weak," "sick," and "idiotic." (Nietzsche at times seems to admire Christ, separating this from his hatred towards "Christians.") Judeo-Christian ideas of "good" are to be rejected as weak. On Nietzsche's atheism (see above) "good" = "power." But of course, if there is no God.

NOTE: A scholar named Zbigniew Kazmierczak is a member of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society. Is there any connection here? (See also here.)