Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Nietzsche Contra Bush 


"The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being."


"We [Americans] certainly do not regard ourselves as a particularly cruel and hardhearted people, still less as a particularly frivolous one, living only for the day; but one has only to look at our former codes of punishments to understand what effort it costs on this earth to breed a 'nation of thinkers' (which is to say, the nation in [the world] in which one still finds today the maximum of trust, seriousness, lack of taste, and matter-of-factness--and with these qualities one has the right to breed every kind of [American] mandarin). These [Americans] have employed fearful means to acquire a memory, so as to master their basic [slave]-instinct and its brutal coarseness. Consider the old [American] punishments; for example, stoning...breaking on the wheel...piercing with stakes, tearing apart or trampling by horses ("quartering"), boiling of the criminal in oil or wine...the popular flaying alive ("cutting straps"), cutting flesh from the chest, and also the practice of smearing the wrongdoer with honey and leaving him in the blazing sun for the flies. With the aid of such images and procedures one finally remembers five or six 'I will not's,' in regard to which one had given one's promise so as to participate in the advantages of society--and it was indeed with the aid of this kind of memory that one at last came 'to reason'! Ah, reason, seriousness, mastery over the affects, the whole somber thing called reflection, all these prerogatives and showpieces of man: how dearly they have been bought! how much blood and cruelty lie at the bottom of all 'good things'!"


Bush (by implication):

"I am living. I continue to live."


"For some, life turns out badly: a poisonous worm eats its way to their heart. Let them see to it that their dying turns out that much better. Some never become sweet; they rot already in the summer. It is cowardice that keeps them on their branch."


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