Nietzsche and Ortega Juxtaposed

Nietzsche and Ortega Juxtaposed
By Michael Kleen
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In “Nietzsche and the State” and “Ortega and the State,” I examined critiques of Statism by two prominent modern European philosophers. Because Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) witnessed the rise of the modern State in central Europe, and José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) experienced Statism’s maturity and destructive potential, these two philosophers offer an excellent juxtaposition with which to critique contemporary Statism. Although they did not agree on every point, their perspectives tear away the veil concealing the leviathan that is the State in both its character and its effects.

Both Friedrich Nietzsche and José Ortega y Gasset were alarmed by the development of the modern State, which matured to ascendancy in the late 18th Century. In the 1860s and ‘70s, Nietzsche witnessed Otto von Bismarck forge his native Germany from a collection of dozens of independent political entities into a German Empire with a strong central government, mass conscription, national welfare programs, universal manhood suffrage, and an urban mass media. Nietzsche died before the First World War, but José Ortega y Gasset lived to see the nation-states of Europe engulfed in that conflagration along with the chaos that followed. He saw the revolutions of Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler, and that of his own country, Spain, which degenerated into civil war shortly after he published La rebelión de las masas.

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About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on August 20, 2010, in Columns and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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