The Dawn of Political Nihilism

Volume I of The Nihilist Order

By David Ohana

Until now, nihilism and totalitarianism were considered opposites - one as an orderless state of affairs and the other as a strict regimented order. On closer scrutiny, however, a surprising affinity can be found between these two concepts that dominated the history of the first half of the 20th century. Starting with Nietzsche's philosophy, this book - the first volume of a trilogy - traces the development of an intellectual school characterized by the paradoxical dual purpose of a wish to destroy, coupled with a strong desire to create imposing structures. This explosive combination of nihilist leanings, together with a craving for totalitarianism, was an ideal of philosophers, cultural critics, political theorists, engineers, architects, and aesthetes - long before it materialized in flesh and blood, not only in technology, but also in fascism, Nazism, bolshevism, and radical European political movements. Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Sorel, the Italian Futurists led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and Ernst J?nger were all well-known intellectual and cultural figures. Here, they are seen and understood in a different light, as creators of a modern political mythology that became a source of inspiration for belligerent ideological camps. Among the ideas propagated by this school, and later adopted by totalitarian regimes, were historical nihilism, a revolt against the rationalistic and universalistic pretensions of the Enlightenment, an affirmation of the dynamism of modern life, and the replacement of the traditional Judeo-Christian values of good and evil by other dualities such as authenticity and decadence. Concurrently, there took place affirmation of the technological era, the creation of a 'new man' and a violent order, and the birth of a new political style in place of traditional world-views. When channeled into the political sphere, these aesthetic nihilist ideas paved the way for the rise of totalitarianism.

238 pages

Publication Date: 1/20/2009
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781845192891

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