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I'm really new to philosophy and heard a lot that Nietzsche was considered the "godfather of fascism". The phrase seems to be a recent development according to Google ngram, but it is clearly an idea if one conducts a search on google. It looks like there are some very specific works in contemporary philosophy, such as this book Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses and Abuses of a Philosophy by Golomb and Wistrich.

From the press:

Nietzsche, the Godfather of Fascism? What can Nietzsche have in common with this murderous ideology? Frequently described as the “radical aristocrat” of the spirit, Nietzsche abhorred mass culture and strove to cultivate an Übermensch endowed with exceptional mental qualities. What can such a thinker have in common with the fascistic manipulation of the masses for chauvinistic goals that crushed the autonomy of the individual?

The question that lies at the heart of this collection is how Nietzsche came to acquire the deadly “honor” of being considered the philosopher of the Third Reich and whether such claims had any justification. Does it make any sense to hold him in some way responsible for the horrors of Auschwitz?

What is it about the philosophy of Nietzsche and its various interpretations that would lend credence to the idea that Nietzsche might be the godfather of fascism or in some way relevant to the NSDAP?

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    – J D
    Dec 13, 2021 at 21:08
  • Suggested links to stave off downvotes, and suggested tags.
    – J D
    Dec 13, 2021 at 21:09
  • Thank you so much @JD for the edit! I will make sure to respect now on. Dec 13, 2021 at 21:24
  • No worries. You were getting some shade, there. Just thought I'd bring a good idea into the light.
    – J D
    Dec 13, 2021 at 21:25
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    The very simple (and not entirely correct) answer is: people link Nietzsche to fascism because the fascists explicitly claimed Nietzsche as an influence. For instance, here's a caption from a photo in a contemporaneous biography of Hitler: "The Führer before the bust of the German philosopher [Nietzsche] whose ideas have fertilized two great popular movements: the national socialist of Germany and the fascist of Italy." That Wikipedia article is a good place to start looking for the longer answer.
    – Juhasz
    Dec 13, 2021 at 23:29

2 Answers 2

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Nietzsche was raised in an overly pious religious household. His starting point is that humanity can only become free if it rejects the idea of the divine. Christianity is not a mistake. It is wickedness dressed up as virtue. It smothers people with morality and self-loathing. It does this trough its concept of good and evil. We must return to the aristocratic principle and seek to be noble, that is strong, healthy, and powerful. He seems to have had little but contempt for the weak. He believed that the rise of industrial capitalism and the modern nation state was leading to decadence and moral decline. Nietzsche seem to be antiegalitarian and antidemocratic but emphasises individualism and has contempt for German nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Fascism is also strongly opposed to industrial capitalism. On the other hand it also strongly opposed to marxism. It defines itself as a 'third way'. It is also antiegalitarian and antidemocratic. Fascists argue that both capitalism and marxism are materialistic and suppresses individualism. In capitalism humans are reduced to assembly line workers instead of being creative and heroic.

However fascism and nazism are in my opininion not as much ideologies as political religions. They represent a departure from reason and instead rely a lot on emotions.
There is no reason behind slogans like "blut und boden" just raw negative emotions. Symbols and rituals are also an important part of fascism and nazism like in other religions. As such their philosophical underpinnings do not need to be very strong or coherent.

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    +1 I can see how state control of corporations subordinates the profit motive to the motivations of the head of the party. Interesting.
    – J D
    Dec 14, 2021 at 10:46
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    Thanks, that really clears up the symbolic link that is made with Nietzsche ideology. Dec 15, 2021 at 13:49
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Nietzsche wrote in The Will to Power:

The great majority of men have no right to life, and serve only to disconcert the elect among our race; I do not yet grant the unfit that right. There are even unfit peoples.

And in The Anti-Christ:

The weak and the failures shall perish: first principle of our love of man. And they shall even be given every possible assistance.

Modern historical fascism as in Hitler's Nazi's and Mussolini's fascism had a hatred of weakness and were besotted with strength - forgetting that all men and women are born weak and die weak, this being the lot of mortal creatures. They saw themselves as being scientific and modern because they saw themselves as being informed by Social Darwinism (this is very true of Nietzsche - see John Richardson's Nietzsche and The New Darwinism).

Whereas his acolytes, disciples and apologists deny any anti-semitism in him, I would suggest the direct opposite. He is the anti-semitic philosopher par excellence because he viewed the Jews (as well as the Christians and muslims) as responsible for poisoning the West with their notions of good and evil, of conscience and morality, of compassion and empathy. This is the anti-semitic conspiracy to beat all anti-semitic conspiracies and it's dressed up as serious philosophy due to the supine position of most philosophy departments and philosophers who take leave of their critical faculties when it comes to Nietzsche apart from honourable dissidents like Betrand Russell and his like.

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  • +! Finally a question well fit to your favorite answer! I wish I could upvote twice.
    – J D
    Dec 18, 2021 at 0:29
  • @J D: You can keep your up-vote - I don't need it. And aren't you the pot calling the kettle black, given how often you carp at me for carping on at Nietzsche? The reason why I do so is that Nietzsche is mot often subjected to critical attack. When I seached online for Nietzsche and fascism I mostly got books and articles arguing why Nietzsche wasn't a fascist. For example the book referred to in the question - Nietzsche, the Godfather of Fascism? which appears to bectaking a critical stance, actually is not, they take it as axiomatic Nietzsche is not a fascist. Dec 18, 2021 at 0:37
  • Oh, I disagree. I'd hate to see your impressive score suffer the loss of a single point considering your rabid down voting of my responses. I wonder where you get such authoritarian tendencies whenever I see your name, and then the answer dawns on me. Alle Menschen werden Brüder! Lol
    – J D
    Dec 18, 2021 at 2:27
  • @J D: Whatever J D. I'm only down-voting your fetishising of mathematically orientated philosophy which as a mathematician, I see very little (read - nothing) to recommend it. It's hardly rabid as I don't spend days or months on end down-voting you. Just what I saw today and that also included down-voting other mathematically orientated such philosophy by other users. So it ain't just you, and it ain't 'rabid' as you say. I'm merely being consistent. Dec 18, 2021 at 2:35

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