Malcolm Bull ups the ‘Anti’ on Nietzsche
Despite his praise, Ansell-Pearson criticizes Bull's polemic with regard to the timeliness of the work. He asks:
"Why Anti-Nietzsche' now? What reactionary forces and groupings centered on Nietzsche are at work at present, and, more than this, concertedly working against the progressive forces of the Left? I know of none."
I think the answer to this question is quite simple: the present situation is characterized by a crisis unlike any before it. The politico-ontological schemas of the late twentieth century no longer have the same value—[neo]liberalism, socialism, the representative state-form, political parties, etc.—are met with an increasingly critical, sometime cynical view. Many individuals, many subjects, no doubt find Nietzsche appealing in these times—whether for his notion of the 'revaluation of all values,' the 'will to power,' or the nihilistic 'eternal return of the same.' Though despite his populist appeal, Nietzsche remains resolutely anti-egalitarian, and anti-left. Marxian dialectical thought is profoundly incompatible with the Dionysian impulse of Nietzsche.
Both Bull and Ansell-Pearson admit that Nietzsche has been met with strong opposition since the end of the nineteenth century—yet many French philosophers have procured profound insights from his work. However, the attempted reconciliation of Marx and Nietzsche within the French context—from Klossowski to Lyotard to Foucault to Deleuze—has run its course. Despite that Nietzsche offered a scathing critique of the pretensions of the Western philosophical tradition, which to some offered the possibility to begin philosophy again, he essentially remains a reactionary anti-egalitarian thinker. Malcolm Bull aims to make clear the limits of Nietzsche for the sake of thought to come. "Why Anti-Nietzsche now?" This crisis has caused a radical politico-economic polarization, in turn making a scission in the nihilistic circle. As the situation has been forced open, so have the philosophical possibilities—not in the old sense of the possibility of some transcendent teleological human mastery, but rather through its inversion.
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