'The Scotch' (1880) by Friedrich Nietzsche
When a man does what his social circumstances are inimical to, he is shunned. When he perpetrates what he is inimical to, he shuns himself. The tale of latter-day Scotchmen, under the vice-thumb of Calvin.
As with all exhausted cultures, the Scotch “people” exist as a negation: not being Englishmen. The whole national temperament arises from inversion.
The product of the land, that which has the semblance of culture, is ever at odds with their predominating spirit: philistinism. The Scotch spirit is self-arresting, and it strives impressively to paint itself as an EGALITARIAN attitude. Their pudeur is spiritual even as their demotic register is immodest and primitive. Authoritarian égalité.
The Scot seethes with hatred of ambition. In the manner of the Jacobite rebels of last century, every other imagines himself a noble in unlucky exile from a true Scotland where the masters are dead. In this way they slander their own heroes, those doomed fools of the voyage south; those were at least men of conviction (however dim and servile).
They have not even a false prophet, like our Wagner. Who might be the prophetaster? Mill?
There is nothing specially degenerate about them; Europe swims much the same tributaries fouled by church. In Scots one sees the same magnitude of decline as elsewhere – yet, perhaps, in their good Europeanism and their advanced nihilism, are grounds for something higher, if only they cast aside their camaraderie with herd animals. Who can say what new slant daylight may lie in grey places?
Tags: philosophy, scotland