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 shed light on the leviathan.
José Ortega y Gasset
Both Friedrich Nietzsche and José Ortega y Gasset were alarmed by the development of the modern state, which matured to ascendancy in the late Eighteenth 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…
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