Political epistemology with Nietzsche, the Dish’s favorite!

I finished my last post about the instant interpretation, without questions, in Andrew’s discussion of the suicide bomb who killed 7 American CIA agents. Having said that Andrew was subordinating questions about facts to his desired interpretation, I thought it might be helpful to address the distinction between fact and interpretation, in light of one of Andrew’s favorite books of philosophy, Beyond Good and Evil.

Nietzsche famously wrote, in his notebooks, that there are no facts, only interpretations.

Andrew has quoted BGE recently, and several months ago, he put a couple lines from the book under a big picture of Dick Cheney’s grim face, giving Friedrich Nietzsche the Dish’s Quote of the Day:

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

In posting a huge picture of Cheney, The Dish implies that Andrew has a very shallow interpretation of this quote. This is one of his favorites books, but he has forgotten how it discusses subjectivity multiplying, inescapably, whenever we try to grasp so-called “reality,” as if the “world” and the “self” were distinct things. This is the context in which the book often uses the term “abyss.”

The quote is not so much about what the book calls, figuratively, the “outer world,” from which people want to find true knowledge, but about what the book calls the “inner worlds” of a person.

Where there are no definitive answers, Nietzsche thought we were instead looking long into an abyss. Therefore, our questions about “what is real” ended up saying more about the mystery of ourselves than the mystery of the world.

That’s when you might encounter the image of a monster in yourself, when you’re looking for images of monsters in the world, because there are no monsters in themselves, that’s only your interpretation. “There are absolutely no moral phenomena, only a moral interpretation of the phenomena,” as Beyond Good and Evil says.

Andrew was not warning Cheney not to define Bin Laden as a monster — which would be a heresy for both Andrew and myself, both of us disappointing Nietzsche — but simply not to become a monster.  The fact is Nietzsche’s idea here about “fighting with monsters” relates only shallowly to Cheney’s having sanctioned a degree of torture or undermined the limitation on powers of government, like his nemesis Al-Quaeda. The quote relates much more to the question of what Andrew’s identifying Cheney as a monster says about Andrew.

Andrew, as Nietzsche’s reader, is supposed to question more about the significance of passages like this on The Dish:

And then, of course, there is the total, rigid opposition to any reform and any cooperation at all from the nihilist Republicans. Obama is president for three more years. He will survive. He may even prosper. But this really would be a massive blow. To get this close and lose health insurance would embolden every enemy Obama has, from Netanyahu to Ailes.

That’s the only reason to vote for Coakley on Tuesday.

Is it? I think something’s missing there in the argument for having a Democratic majority in the Senate in the imminent future … But what? … Ah yes, the prospect of not getting health insurance to over 30,000,000 Americans.

If their lives are only secondary, that seems to make Andrew’s accusation of “nihilism” hypocritical. Of course, Andrew soon expanded his list of reasons for Health Care Reform to include health, while continuing to circle back to the meta-narrative where health care is important because Obama and the entire American system have internal enemies ( — who apparently are almost all Republicans, Fox-News-watching independents and miscellaneous supporters of “the Likud line on Israel”).

Perhaps aware of how blinkered his pairing of Netanyahu and Ailes, two weeks later he finally connected the passing of HCR to some foreign actors who actually would like to see the fall of the United States. Now, “Netanyahu and Khamenei and Chavez and Sarkozy [are] all watching to see what this guy is made of” … and I guess he’s implying that Khamenei and Chavez are watching like enemies do … meaning, like Netanyahu and Ailes do, I guess.

The Dish’s use of “nihilism,” as press turned to HCR rejectionism of House progressives, finally began to change over to the less demonizing and more verbally accurate “cyn

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