None of My Business

2017-08-10

Apropos of my latest journal entry "Politics is a Disease", here is a quote from Beyond Good and Evil (Section 251) by Friedrich Nietzsche:

If a people is suffering and wants to suffer from nationalistic nervous fever and political ambition, it must be expected that all sorts of clouds and disturbances - in short, little attacks of stupidity - will pass over its spirit into the bargain: among present-day Germans, for example, now the anti-French stupidity, now the anti-Jewish, now the anti-Polish, now the Christian-romantic, now the Wagnerian, now the Teutonic, now the Prussian (just look at those miserable historians, those Sybels and Treitschkes, with their thickly bandaged heads -), and whatever else these little obfuscations of the German spirit and conscience may be called. May it be forgiven me that I too, during a daring brief sojourn in a highly infected area, did not remain wholly free of the disease and began, like the rest of the world, to entertain ideas about things that were none of my business: first symptom of the political infection.

As Nietzsche hints, the farther a given concern is from one's span of control - to pick a topic of the moment, "what to do about North Korea" - the more readily most people weigh in with their opinions. Yet unless you know a great deal about both the specifics and the conceptual underpinnings of right action in such a matter, the less justified you are to entertain ideas about things that are none of your business. Not, by the way, that I have much confidence in the so-called experts, either!

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