The Definition of Degeneracy: A Nietzschean Perspective

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Nietzsche Degeneracy
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In modern political discourse, accusations of “degeneracy” run rampant. Closely associated with it are instances of ideological purity crusades, redundant condemnations, and arguments about what is and isn’t morally acceptable from a societal perspective.

The far left makes rabid accusations of white supremacy, racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and a plethora of other emotionally charged terms, while the far right rattles off inaccurate conjectures of being a “cuck,” Bolshevik, degenerate, reprobate, “kike,” or “fag.” Both are similar in this emotionally radicalized tendency to condemn anyone with a perspective that differs from their own. This tactic is precisely what has driven the final nail in the coffin of intellectual/political discussion and discourse.

For the left, the prerequisite to being considered invalid includes being white/European, male, Christian, or heterosexual. If an individual is identified within any of these demographics, they will inevitably be dismissed. For the far right, the same may often be said for Jews, women, or homosexuals. These groups, although not condemned by all, may often be ostracized in an act of ideological sacrilegious superiority, without having their arguments taken into account. This tactic is directly detrimental to independent thought-it is merely a rigid hierarchy of identity politics. These instances are demonstrative of the attitude towards perceived “Degeneracy”- but what is degeneracy, in terms of philosophy?

Ironically, those who frequently create such accusations of degeneracy and inferiority are often indicative of the Nietzschean definition of degeneracy, themselves. Nietzsche condemned radicalism, stating that degeneracy is the consequential result of being unable to control an impulsive action. In terms of politics, this is directly applicable to the inability of both the far left and far right to tolerate moderate discussion and inquiry of differing perspectives.

Only degenerates find radical methods indispensable: weakness of will, or more strictly speaking, the inability not to react to a stimulus, is in itself another form of degeneracy.?—?Twilight of the Idols

This is also demonstrated within Nietzsche’s practice of reading even those philosophers with whom he fervently disagreed, including Plato, Spinoza and Descartes. He evidently reinforced his belief that, without the presentation of ideas with which one disagrees, they cannot be refuted in the first place; therefore, discussion of ideas is an intrinsic part of disproving them.

Thus, the inability to maintain an intellectual discussion regarding even ideas that we disagree with, is a definite example of degeneracy-as is dismissing someone based upon irrelevant characteristics, and not their argument or ideological position.

It is time to reevaluate our position regarding the hot topic of “degeneracy,” and whether the frequent accusations associated with it are legitimate, or merely fallacies designed to dismiss an argument without the slightest consideration. The “castration,” as Nietzsche would call it, of intellectual discussion, due to an inability to control one’s impulse of disagreement, is just another form of degeneracy.

It is time to restore the nature of respectable, educated discourse within our society-or else be overwhelmed by the ideological echo chambers of degeneracy.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Refreshingly sane.

    “Thus, the inability to maintain an intellectual discussion regarding even ideas that we disagree with, is a definite example of degeneracy-as is dismissing someone based upon irrelevant characteristics, and not their argument or ideological position.”

    Even our good friends on the right need to be reminded of this from time to time.

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    • Thanks, Robert, and you are absolutely correct. The Right is far from blameless in this instance, and we all should make an effort to hold ourselves and others accountable.

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