THE ANTICHRIST
By
Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken

11.

Among Germans I am immediately understood when I say that theological blood is the ruin of philosophy. The Protestant pastor is the grandfather of German philosophy; Protestantism itself is its peccatum originale. Definition of Protestantism: hemiplegic paralysis of Christianity--and of reason. ... One need only utter the words "Tubingen School" to get an understanding of what German philosophy is at bottom--a very artful form of theology. . . The Suabians are the best liars in Germany; they lie innocently. . . . Why all the rejoicing over the appearance of Kant that went through the learned world of Germany, three-fourths of which is made up of the sons of preachers and teachers--why the German conviction still echoing, that with Kant came a change for the better? The theological instinct of German scholars made them see clearly just what had become possible again. . . . A backstairs leading to the old ideal stood open; the concept of the "true world," the concept of morality as the essence of the world (--the two most vicious errors that ever existed!), were once more, thanks to a subtle and wily scepticism, if not actually demonstrable, then at least no longer refutable... Reason, the prerogative of reason, does not go so far. . . Out of reality there had been made "appearance"; an absolutely false world, that of being, had been turned into reality. . . . The success of Kant is merely a theological success; he was, like Luther and Leibnitz, but one more impediment to German integrity, already far from steady.-- A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defence. In every other case it is a source of danger. That which does not belong to our life menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in mere respect for the concept of "virtue," as Kant would have it, is pernicious. "Virtue," "duty," "good for its own sake," goodness grounded upon impersonality or a notion of universal validity--these are all chimeras, and in them one finds only an expression of the decay, the last collapse of life, the Chinese spirit of Konigsberg. Quite the contrary is demanded by the most profound laws of self-preservation and of growth: to wit, that every man find hisown virtue, his own categorical imperative. A nation goes to pieces when it confounds its duty with the general concept of duty. Nothing works a more complete and penetrating disaster than every "impersonal" duty, every sacrifice before the Moloch of abstraction.--To think that no one has thought of Kant's categorical imperative as dangerous to life!...The theological instinct alone took it under protection !--An action prompted by the life-instinct proves that it is a right action by the amount of pleasure that goes with it: and yet that Nihilist, with his bowels of Christian dogmatism, regarded pleasure as an objection . . . What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure--as a mere automaton of duty? That is the recipe for decadence, and no less for idiocy. . . Kant became an idiot.--And such a man was the contemporary of Goethe! This calamitous spinner of cobwebs passed for the German philosopher--still passes today! . . . I forbid myself to say what I think of the Germans. . . . Didn't Kant see in the French Revolution the transformation of the state from the inorganic form to the organic? Didn't he ask himself if there was a single event that could be explained save on the assumption of a moral faculty in man, so that on the basis of it, "the tendency of mankind toward the good" could be explained, once and for all time? Kant's answer: "That is revolution." Instinct at fault in everything and anything, instinct as a revolt against nature, German decadence as a philosophy--that is Kant!----

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