"Alas, my brothers, this god whom I created was man-made and madness, like all gods! Man he was, and only a poor specimen of man and ego: out of my own ashes and fire this ghost came to me, and, verily, it did not come to me from beyond."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them."
- Psalm 115
Friedrich Nietzsche was the modern idol-smasher par excellence. The Jews were the ancient idol-smashers par excellence. The reason Jews are not the modern idol-smashers par excellence is because too many Jews have taken on new idols like revolution, "the oppressed", the American dream and the nation-state. The difference between ancient Jewish iconoclasm and modern Nietzschean iconoclasm is that the ancient Jewish iconoclasts left one God standing. In the nineteenth century Nietzsche pushed that remaining idol over (it was already toppling thanks to Spinoza and the Enlightenment). Yet the ancient Jews were wiser iconoclasts than Nietzsche. They knew that man needed to worship something, even if it was an empty space in a tabernacle. Nietzsche had too much faith in man's ability to cope with a godless world. If he had lived to see the new idols man would erect in the twentieth century, he might have regretted being so quick to push the old one down. Yet like any good Biblical prophet, he too had his premonitions:
"And it is not only the long-eared and shortsighted who sink to their knees. Alas, to you too, you great souls, it whispers its dark lies. Alas, it detects the rich hearts who like to squander themselves. Indeed it detects you too, you vanquishers of the old god. You have grown weary with fighting, and now your weariness still serves the new idol. With heroes and honourable men it would surround itself, the new idol! It likes to bask in the sunshine of good consciences - the cold monster!"