Nietzsche describes his four Unzeitgemiisse Betrachtungen as Attentate, assassination attempts. The first of these, his self-described "duel" with David Friedrich Strauss, published in 1873, begins with the question of war and time. It is untimely or out of season insofar as it challenges the smugness of the cultural philistines who take Germany's victory in the Franco-Prussian War to be a testament to the superiority of German culture. As those in the United States might have learned after the end of the Cold War and after the first Gulf War, "a great victory is a great danger," and we might substitute the name of another nation state--or an emerging globalizing empire--when Nietzsche speaks of "the defeat, if not the extirpation, of the German spirit for the benefit of the 'German Reich"' (UM I, § 1). Assassination is always untimely, an instrument of war and a response to war. Assassination interrupts the steady, sedentary time of the state.

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