Joachim Bruhns »Unmensch und Übermensch« auf Englisch

Das Kapitel Unmensch und Übermensch aus Joachim Bruhns Was deutsch ist (2019 in zweiter erw. Auflage erschienen) liegt nun auf Englisch vor und kann kostenlos auf unserer Webseite abgerufen werden. Der Text wurde von E A. ins Englische übertragen und um einige informative Anmerkungen des Übersetzers ergänzt.


Joachim Bruhn

Unmensch und Übermensch
(Non-Human and Super-Human)[1]

On the relationship of racism and antisemitism
Translated by E. A., 2019

By Joachim Bruhn; originally published the first time in Was deutsch ist. Zur kritischen Theorie der Nation, Freiburg (ça ira-Verlag) 1994. – Footnotes in square brackets added by the translator for clarifications. Citations employed by Bruhn are usually conveyed as their official published English translations. In some cases, official translations cannot be found or aren’t freely available; then, the citations are directly translated by E. A. and marked as such.

1. Dialectic of egalité

Article 3 (3) of the German Grundgesetz (‘Basic Law’, 1949 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany[1]) rules: “No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.” Man[2] – as the constitution, itself understood both as foundation and mission of the state, professes to exclusively know him – appears as an entity stripped of all natural and social determinations, as Man in-himself. The politically relevant subject is the residue which remains after subtracting everything that constitutes the personality and uniqueness of the individual. “Equality before the law” takes place as an equation of individuals by means of criteria totally distinct from those of sensuousness and empirical distinction. Its measure  constitutes itself in the double negation of privilege on the one hand and discrimination on the other. Its product, equitable Man – the legal, i. e. the politico-economic subject – represents absolute reciprocity and total equivalency. As an object of political treatment legally employed by the sovereign, Man does not count as man or woman, neither as German or Jew, Bavarian or Palestinian, Christian or Muslim, nor as communist or fascist. Before the nation ‘joins in’, Man, as material of the State, appears as pure Gattungswesen (‘species-being’)[3], as an abstract human being. Thus, provisions and prohibitions of law apply neither to the concrete individuals nor to their empirical multiplicity. They do not refer to the humans, but to l’homme, i. e. to general Man, subject and object of political sovereignty. The individual – grasped, this way, as the bourgeois notion of itself – counts as a subject of the state, as citoyen[4]. By disregarding his particular needs, which, on the other hand, constitute him as bourgeois and object of state power, the citoyen asserts the general conditions of his social existence in the form and by means of the state.[5] [read more]