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Golden Calf: Deleuze's Nietzsche in the time of Trump
journal contributionposted on 2021-04-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew Sharpe
This paper examines how Gilles Deleuze addresses, and fail to address, the darker strata in Nietzsche’s work which has enabled his work to be claimed by almost every far-right European political movement since the 1890s to the Alt-Right today. Part I argues that four rhetorical strategies are present which serve to domesticate Nietzsche’s ideas concerning class and caste, race and sexuality, and his opposition to forms of liberalism, democracy, feminism and socialism: avoiding directly political subjects which Nietzsche returned to; catachrestic use of political words to describe ostensibly supra- or non-political data; denials of Nietzsche’s rightist positions, followed by justifications which, upon analysis, do not support the denials but ‘change the subject’; openly erroneous misrepresentations of divisive subjects, led by Nietzsche on war. Part II looks at how these sophistical strategies are played out in two key passages in Nietzsche and Philosophy, concerning the second ‘selection’ in the eternal recurrence, with its ‘annihilation of all parasitical and degenerate elements’. Closing remarks address the situation today, and the paradoxes and limitations of Left Nietzscheanism in the academy.