Schopenhauer and Judeo-Christian Life-Denial, part 2
by Thomas Dalton, Ph.D.
Sexual Abstinence as Jewish Ethnic Strategy
AMONG MANY other things, Schopenhauer was fascinated by human sexuality, which for him assumed deep metaphysical importance. The human essence, the will-to-live, finds “as its kernel and greatest concentration, the act of generation” — which is to say, sexual reproduction. Here is the beginning of everything, not only of biology but of the whole great charade that is human existence. With a biting sense of humor, he explains it this way:
Seriously speaking, this is due to the fact that sexual desire, especially when, through fixation on a definite woman, it is concentrated to amorous infatuation, is the quintessence of the whole fraud of this noble world; for it promises so unspeakably, infinitely, and excessively much, and then performs so contemptibly little.
Appropriately, then, sexual desire is the prime urging that must be suppressed by any real ascetic. Hence, by rights, we should find this admonition in the New Testament; and in fact, we do. Schopenhauer examines this matter in his exceptionally important Chapter 48 of Volume Two of World as Will and Representation:
The ascetic tendency is certainly unmistakable in genuine and original Christianity… We find, as its principal teaching, the recommendation of genuine and pure celibacy (that first and most important step in the denial of the will-to-live) already expressed in the New Testament.
And he means, not only for single men and women, but for the married as well. Schopenhauer’s astonishing claim, that he proceeds to adduce from primary evidence, is that good Christians should not have sex — ever. He then dedicates the next several pages to building his case for this “perpetual chastity,” which includes these lines from an 1832 book by the Catholic author Friedrich Carove:
By virtue of the Church view…perpetual chastity is called a divine, heavenly, angelic virtue. … [Quoting a Catholic periodical,] “In Catholicism, the observance of a perpetual chastity, for God’s sake, appears in itself as the highest merit of man.” … To both [Paul and the author of Hebrews], virginity was perfection, marriage only a makeshift for the weaker. … The self should turn away and refrain from everything that contributes only to its pleasure. … We agree with Abbe Zaccaria, who asserts that celibacy … is derived above all from the teaching of Christ and of the Apostle Paul.
At this point we want to exclaim: Can this be true? Could original Christianity actually expect its followers to adhere to “perpetual chastity,” even when married? And what would prompt such a call?
Evidence for this claim must ultimately come from our primary source, the New Testament. We further know that the earliest NT writings are the letters of Paul, which predate the four Gospels by two or three decades, at least. Let’s briefly look at the evidence, both that which Schopenhauer offers and that which we may supplement on our own.
Schopenhauer cites two passages from Paul. The first and earliest is 1 Thessalonians (4:3), an oddly cryptic passage. Paul says, “For it is the will of God, for your sanctification, that you abstain from porneias.” I cite here the Greek original—but what is porneias? Among the 70-odd English translations we find a range of terms, such as “immorality” (RSV), “sexual immorality” (NKJV), and “fornication” (KJV), all of which suggest illegitimate sex, perhaps unmarried sex, perhaps adultery. But we also find broader terms, like “all sexual vice” (AMPC), “sexual sins” (ERV), “sexual defilement” (TPT), and even “unchastity” (RSV). Paul goes on to say that “each one of you knows how to take a wife in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like a heathen.” Can he be suggesting that men take wives as “partners in Christ” all while abstaining from the sexual lust of heathens?
The second passage is a lengthy portion from 1 Corinthians 7. Again, it is oddly conflicted. At the start of the chapter, Paul says, bluntly, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (7:1, ESV). But owing to “the temptation to immorality” — presumably meaning sexual intercourse — a man may take a wife. Affirming his own unmarried status, Paul then says “I wish that all were as I myself am. … To the unmarried and the widows, I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do” (7:7-8). “But if they cannot exercise self-control” — that is, if they are weak — “they should marry.” Later in the chapter, Paul returns to the subject: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage” (7:27). Two lines later he warns, “those who marry will have worldly troubles [!], and I would spare you that.” Paul goes on to state that married people are worried about worldly matters and about pleasing each other, which distracts them from their “undivided devotion to the Lord.” A married man may do well, says Paul, “but he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38). These are striking words from our “Apostle.” It seems clear — Paul will accept you if you marry, but he would much prefer that you did not.
There are other Pauline passages that Schopenhauer might have cited. For example, Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (NIV). Or Galatians 5:16-19: “Do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit… The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery.” Or 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Or Romans 13:14: “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We might also include the pseudepigraphic Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” This is prudish Puritanism in the extreme. Paul, indeed, seems to strongly prefer that his fellow Christians have no sexual relations at all.
There are other related suggestions in the Gospels. Schopenhauer refers to Matthew 19:10, where the disciples offer to Jesus the idea that “perhaps it is better not to marry.” Jesus gives a typically cryptic reply, suggesting that chastity may be best:
Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.
The apparent suggestion here is that we all should ‘be like a eunuch,’ and not have sex. In Luke 20:34 Jesus addresses the future resurrection of married people: “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come, and in the resurrection from the dead, will neither marry nor be given in marriage.” Indeed, the unmarried are “equal to angels and are sons of God.” It’s clear who the preferred people are.
Outside the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles, we have 1 John 2:15: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. … For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, is not of the Father but is of the world.” Or we could cite 1 Peter 2:11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul” (NSRV). And in the late-written Revelations, we read that the Lamb of God will return to Earth only with those “who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste” (14:4).
What is one to conclude? It seems that Schopenhauer is right — that perpetual chastity is the prescribed course of action for all good Christians.
But why? Why would Paul, for example, encourage his would-be followers to abstain from sex? Obviously he did not get this suggestion from “Jesus” or from God; it was clearly his own doing. Obviously he did not get it from the Old Testament, with its many calls to “be fruitful and multiply.” The idea itself of a celibate religious group was not unknown to him, as it was characteristic of a number of esoteric cults and secretive groups over the centuries. But Paul wasn’t aiming at some clandestine cult; he wanted a mass movement. He must have known that it was poor organizational strategy to ask people to commit to chastity. Clearly, he had some compelling reason for introducing this component into his new religion.
Schopenhauer had no real knowledge of evolution, having been born a few decades too early, and so it is understandable that he had no idea of group evolutionary strategy. If he had, he might have discerned something in Paul’s motive — an overriding concern for the welfare of his fellow Jews. As an elite Pharisee Jew, Paul (born Saul) clearly resented the incursion of the Roman Empire into Palestine in the decades prior to his birth. He also surely shared the long-standing Jewish antipathy for his neighboring Gentile masses — Arabs, Greeks, and Egyptians. Seeing the futility of violent resistance to Rome, Paul was surely searching for nonviolent, indirect, psychological or moral means of undermining the enemy. Then he hit upon a plan: Why not play up the alleged divinity of a recently-crucified Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, turning him into the savior of all humanity? This way, all of Paul’s exhortations — in his self-assigned role as “Apostle to the Gentiles” — could be turned into an anti-Gentile morality and placed into the mouth of God himself. “It’s not my idea,” implies Paul; “God wants you to be chaste — forever.”
But is “perpetual chastity” anti-Gentile? Yes — if, by proscribing future children, it erodes Gentile families. This, in fact, is the only practical consequence: fewer Gentile children. Seen this way, as a Jewish ethnic evolutionary strategy, Paul found a way to inhibit the growth of the non-Jewish population. If there is any historical basis to the concept of “White genocide,” this is it.
And it wasn’t only Paul. Above I gave two chastity quotations from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Those same two books also contain, unsurprisingly, a number of explicitly anti-family passages. In Matthew 10:21, Jesus says, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.” At Matthew 19:29, Jesus proclaims, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” In the Gospel of Luke (12:52) we read, “From now on, there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” And later (14:26) we find that Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even their own life — such a person cannot be my disciple.” What is this but a family-destroying message, an admonition to tear apart familial ties, all while staying chaste, simply for the sake of “Jesus”? The Jewish Gospel writers seem to have clearly endorsed Paul’s anti-Gentile strategy.
In the end, of course, this anti-family stance had to be abandoned, as Schopenhauer makes clear. Beginning with Clement of Alexandria, circa 200 AD — especially in book 3 of his Stromata — Gentile Christian Fathers rejected the anti-marriage, anti-family, and anti-child stance of the early Jewish Christians. Clement rails against earlier Church Fathers like Marcion and Tatian, who held to the literal, anti-natalist reading: “they teach that one should not enter into matrimony and beget children, should not bring further unhappy beings into the world, and produce fresh fodder for death.” Writing two centuries later, Augustine too recognized this dilemma in the early Christian Fathers: “They reject marriage and put it on a level with fornication and other vices.” By way of modest defense, and with perhaps a touch of irony, he adds that, with mass abstention, “the kingdom of God would be realized far more quickly, since the end of the world would be hastened.”
Still, it was clear that mass perpetual chastity was not a practical way to build a worldwide religion, and in the end it had to be abandoned or “reinterpreted” by Catholics and Protestants alike. They had to adopt the Jewish optimism, the pánta kalá lían, and surrender the central aspect of Christian asceticism, its perpetual chastity. But in doing so, they drained away the key elements of their own religion. As Schopenhauer says, summing up the situation, “From all this, it seems to me that Catholicism is a disgracefully abused, and Protestantism a degenerate, Christianity.”
On the Jews
Where, then, does all this leave us? For Schopenhauer, Christianity had an original and profound core in its inherently life-denying outlook, something which was consistent with his own philosophical stance. But it got subverted and contaminated with the detestable Jewish optimism, and thus lost to history. For all his skepticism, Schopenhauer seems to believe that an historical (but non-miraculous) Jesus really existed, and that Paul was an honest interpreter of his message. In retrospect, this seems utterly naïve. Far more likely is that Paul and the Jewish Gospel writers were master deceivers — “artful liars,” as Hitler might have put it — who were only interested in Jewish power and Jewish well-being, and who thus instituted an effective Jewish group-strategy to confuse and weaken the Gentile masses. And in the end, and even though some aspects had to be jettisoned, it worked. Rome collapsed and Christianity went global. Given that we have some 2 billion Christians on Earth today, the implications are enormous.
Schopenhauer’s many reflections on religion, and his negative assessment of Judaism in particular, furthermore allowed him the opportunity to offer a number of critical comments on Jews generally. Even in his early writing, in volume one of World as Will and Representation, he offered harsh commentary. In a passage on the development of the arts, he briefly addresses “the history of a small, isolated, capricious, hierarchical (i.e. ruled by false notions), obscure people, like the Jews, despised by the great contemporary nations of the East and of the West.” “It is to be regarded generally as a great misfortune,” he adds, “that the people whose former culture was to serve mainly as the basis of our own were not, say, the Indians or the Greeks, or even the Romans, but just these Jews.”
For the next three decades, he said little about them. But he returned to the topic, in a very pointed manner, in Parerga and Paralipomena. Volume 1 begins with a sketch of the history of idealism and the limitations of that metaphysical view. The classic idealists are closely allied with Judeo-Christian theology, and thus “are all marred by that Jewish theism which is impervious to any investigation, dead to all research, and thus actually appears as a fixed idea.” But the subsequent essay, on the history of philosophy, brings the occasion for an extended digression on the subject:
The real religion of the Jews, as presented and taught in Genesis and all the historical books up to the end of Chronicles, is the crudest of all religions because it is the only one that has absolutely no doctrine of immortality, not even a trace thereof. … The contempt in which the Jews were always held by contemporary peoples may have been due in great measure to the poor character of their religion. … Now this wretched religion of the Jews does not [offer any conception of an afterlife], in fact it does not even attempt it. It is, therefore, the crudest and poorest of all religions and consists merely in an absurd and revolting theism. … While all other religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols and parables the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent, and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations.
Here we see real insight: Judaism is not a religion at all, but rather a war-manual in the competition with other peoples. It serves to sustain and promote the Jewish race in their material well-being, nothing more.
Volume 2 elaborates on these ideas, especially in the chapter titled “On Religion,” which brings this observation:
Also we should not forget God’s chosen people who, after they had stolen, by Jehovah’s express command, the gold and silver vessels lent to them by their old and trusty friends in Egypt, now made their murderous and predatory attack on the ‘Promised Land,’ with the murderer Moses at their head, in order to tear away from the rightful owners, by the same Jehovah’s express and constantly repeated command, showing no mercy, and ruthlessly murdering and exterminating all the inhabitants, even the women and children.
A footnote to the above passage adds this widely-cited remark:
Tacitus and Justinus have handed down to us the historical basis of the Exodus. … We see from the two Roman authors how much the Jews were at all times and by all nations loathed and despised. This may be partly due to the fact that they were the only people on earth who did not credit man with any existence beyond this life and were, therefore, regarded as beasts. … Scum of humanity — but great master of lies [grosse Meister im Lügen].
The ultimate tragedy, for Schopenhauer, is that the pathetic Judeo-Christian culture dominated the history of Europe, rather than the nobler Greco-Roman: “The religion of the Greeks and Romans, those world-powers, has perished. The religion of the contemptible little Jewish race [verachteten Judenvölkchens], on the other hand, has been preserved…”
But, as noted, the Hebrew tribe is not simply defined by a religion; “it is an extremely superficial and false view to regard the Jews merely as a religious sect. … On the contrary, ‘Jewish Nation’ is the correct expression.” Like Johann Fichte and Johann Herder, Schopenhauer was also concerned about the political consequences of integrating and granting rights to, this Jewish Nation. The Jews were a “gens extorris” (refugee race), eternally uprooted, always searching for but never finding a homeland:
Till then, it lives parasitically on other nations and their soil; but yet it is inspired with the liveliest patriotism for its own nation. This is seen in the very firm way in which Jews stick together…and no community on earth sticks so firmly together as does this. It follows that it is absurd to want to concede to them a share in the government or administration of any country.
Schopenhauer was more moderate than Fichte; banishment was not necessary. He was willing to grant them limited rights, provided they took no role in government. “Justice demands that they should enjoy with others equal civil rights; but to concede to them a share in the running of the State is absurd. They are and remain a foreign oriental race.” The race could be tolerated, but the corrupt ideology had to go: “We may therefore hope that one day even Europe will be purified of all Jewish mythology.”
Finally, Schopenhauer found much use in an intriguing little phrase, foetor Judaicus — the “Jewish stench.” For him, the stench represents not so much a literal smell but rather an intellectual odor of stale Jewish thought, arising primarily from the Old Testament. Oddly enough, he applies it most often in his critique of Jewish approaches to animal rights. In the Parerga he criticizes Spinoza (and his view of animals) as a man who speaks “just as a Jew knows how to do, so that we others, who are accustomed to purer and worthier doctrines, are here overcome by the foetor Judaicus.” Of the Genesis account that God created animals for man’s use, Schopenhauer exclaims, “Such stories have on me the same effect as do Jew’s pitch and foetor Judaicus!” Somewhat later he refers to “Europe, the continent that is so permeated with the foetor Judaicus.” And on the same subject: “It is obviously high time that in Europe, Jewish views on nature were brought to an end. … A man must be bereft of all his senses or completely chloroformed by the foetor Judaicus not to see [this].”
Racial-nationalists, no longer “chloroformed by the foetor Judaicus” nor deceived by the “great master of lies,” can see the evident truth in such statements — statements that were years ahead of their time, and written in a period when a great thinker could still speak the truth. Sadly, and thanks to Jewish domination of our society, we can no longer openly say such things without harsh recriminations. True free speech no longer exists. Hence we are locked into a long struggle with the Jewish race, simply to achieve basic freedoms of speech and expression, and to live our lives out from under the dominance of the Jewish hand.
Perhaps this is our lot in life — and indeed, the lot of all people everywhere. This calls to mind a well-known quotation from Schopenhauer, which I cite here in context:
History shows us the life of nations and can find nothing to relate except wars and insurrections; the years of peace appear here and there only as short pauses, as intervals between the acts. And in the same way, the life of the individual is a perpetual struggle, not merely metaphorically with want or boredom, but actually with others. Everywhere he finds an opponent, lives in constant conflict, and dies weapon in hand.
Less known is that the concluding thought appears earlier in the book, in different form, and is attributed to Voltaire. The words are apt:
In this world where “the dice are loaded,” we need a temper of iron, armor against fate, and weapons against mankind. For the whole of life is a struggle, every step contested, and Voltaire rightly says, on ne réussit dans ce monde qu’à la pointe de l’épée, et on meurt les armes à la main (“In this world, we succeed only at the point of the sword, and we die with weapons in hand.”)
In such a world, says Schopenhauer, our motto should be (quoting Virgil): tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito (“Do not give way to evil, but face it more boldly” — Aeneid 6.95). The situation demands courage and resolve; “we should not think of nervousness or hesitation, but only of resistance.” We must harden ourselves, and stiffen our resolve; he cites Horace: Si fractus illabatur orbis, Impavidum ferient ruinae (“Even if the world collapses over a man, the ruins still leave him undismayed” — Odes III, 3.7). The future is there for those who are willing to face the battle head-on: Quocirca vivite fortes, Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus (“Therefore he lives bravely and presents a bold front to the blows of fate” — Satires II, 2.135). As they say, timeless wisdom is eternally valuable.
But perhaps we leave the last word to Schopenhauer himself. His pessimistic realism held true to the end. In volume two of the Parerga, he sums up all the strivings of our lives:
A happy life is impossible; the best that man can attain is a heroic life, such as is lived by one who struggles against overwhelming odds in some way and in some affair that will benefit the whole of mankind, and who, in the end, triumphs — although he obtains a poor reward, or none at all.
The message is clear: Have low expectations of life; as a rule, things will not go as we wish. Any victories will be rare, hard-fought, fleeting, and unacknowledged. Life is perpetual struggle; therefore, never give up. Above all, strive to be heroic.
Words to ponder, for all those who would fight for justice in this unjust world.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 316.
 WWR, vol. 2, p. 616.
 WWR, vol. 2, p. 619-620.
 Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 9:7, 17:20, 28:3, 35:11; Exodus 1:7; Leviticus 26:9; Jeremiah 23:3.
 Jewish misanthropy is notorious and well-documented. It dates back at least to Hecateus of Abdera, circa 300 BC, who observed that “Moses introduced a way of life [for the Jews] which was to a certain extent misanthropic and hostile to foreigners.” Apollonius Molon, circa 75 BC, “reviled the Jews as atheists and misanthropes.” In 50 BC, Diodorus Siculus remarked that “the nation of Jews had made their hatred of mankind into a tradition.” The list of such commentaries is extensive; for details, see my work Eternal Strangers (Castle Hill, 2020).
 Cited by Schopenhauer in WWR, vol. 2, p. 622 note.
 Cited in WWR, vol. 2, p. 618 note.
 WWR, vol. 2, p. 626.
 In Mein Kampf, vol. 1, section 2.25, he expresses his amazement at the Jews’ “art of lying” (Kunst der Lüge). And later in chapter 10 (section 10.4), he employs the explicit phrase “artful liars” (Lügenkünstler). See my new translation (Clemens & Blair, 2017).
 WWR, vol. 1, p. 232.
 P&P, vol. 1, p. 15.
 P&P, vol. 1, p. 125-126.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 357.
 Payne mistranslates this sentence, interpreting the final phrase as “past master at telling lies.”
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 393.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 263.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 262.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 264.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 226.
 Schopenhauer was a passionate advocate for animal welfare, far ahead of his time on that count. He was the first major philosopher to incorporate them into his ethical schema.
 P&P, vol. 1, p. 73.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 370. “Jew’s pitch” is a naturally-occurring bituminous asphalt, found in ancient times around the Dead Sea and other parts of Judea.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 372.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 375.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 292.
 P&P, vol. 1, p. 475. Original source for Voltaire is Les pensées et maximes (1821).
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 322.
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