Nietzsche and Democracy
On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, it is clear that Nietzsche has a negative view of democracy. A close analysis of his text reveals Nietzsche was against egalitarianism and also a supporter of the struggle for liberty. On that account, the following essay will claim that Nietzsche was against democracy since he was more interested in the political forces that drive the march to liberty and that he believed that democracy was a source of weakness, since it depicted everybody as equal.
Nietzsche’s narration requires a keen a reader in order to discover his political and philosophical positions. A close reading of the book illustrates that the reactionary politics of Nietzsche naturally follow from his previous doctrines. Others insist that, if properly understood, Nietzsche’s political ideas suggest a progressive political position that he could not realize since he was captive of numerous misguided assumptions.
To understand Nietzsche’s anti-democratic stance, it is crucial to interpret democracy and liberalism as related but separable terms. Indeed, it can be asserted that that even though democracy can flourish outside the Western world, constitutional liberalism can’t. Others argue that liberalism has not always been democratic. To that extent, it can be stated that democracy can be realized without liberalism; inversely, liberalism can also be realized without democracy.
The author describes democracy as something for moral, weak, oppressed, individuals, of every description (Nietzsche, 34). Indeed, the argument about Nietzsche’s political ideology would gain from the acknowledgment that whereas the philosopher was a sworn enemy of democracy, on that he only gave minimal support to existing democratic institutions.
Democratic political institutions are dedicated to treating people as equal for political intentions; for instance, for determining who can stand for office, who can vote, or who can go to jail, among other purposes. To that extent, the basic suggestion in this paper is that Nietzsche has no issues with such institutions. His issue lies within the suggestion that individuals are of equal worth as human beings. Indeed, in the most instances, they simply call themselves ‘the powerful’, ‘the lords’, ‘the commanders’..(Nietzsche, 18). Whereas too many people strongly oppose the view that some individuals might be better than others, Nietzsche believed that this is a disaster of democratic values. That some even claimed the right to create values for their own benefit. (Nietzsche, 15). The notion that all human beings are equal ends up negating those things that cannot be realized by everybody, thus, making it less probable that they will be realized by anyone. Further, the outcome is not that individuals are actually considered as equal, but that individuals are considered as superior human beings simply because they contain more of the common goods; these are the one that everyone can acknowledge.
A passive reader might believe that Nietzsche was against democracy since he was anti-Semitic and anti-nationalist. Even though he was caught up in the rising wave of German Ethnic nationalism, Nietzsche rejected this stance. His philosophy, as illustrated in the book, clearly denounces both anti-Semitism and nationalism. Indeed, this is the clearest suggestion of his political ideology. To state that he criticized liberals is dated at best. What is referred to as liberal today would not have existed during his time. It can be accurately stated that he criticized German Anti-Semites and Nationalists. Nietzsche’s ideology was all about health and self-expression. Self-affirmation is healthy and is the foundation of moral power as morality equals power. Nietzsche is firmly against Christian ideals as he states, the Church certainly is a crude and boorish institution (Nietzsche, 24). Even though he criticizes Christian ideals like pity, he makes an outstanding case for love and charity. To love your enemies is to have power. To be rich is not care about what other people owe you. To be hate other people is to be weak. To except others to pay is similarly a sign of weakness. Such statements show that Nietzsche was against democracy due to the ideals it promoted; democracy was founded on the notion that political institutions should be created to make people equal, whereas, in reality, people can never be equal as some are stronger and others are weaker due to certain inherent characteristics.
The above argument demonstrates that Nietzsche denounces leveling off or weakening of society. He believes that any kind of universalism like: socialism, Christianity, Kantianism, and Utilitarianism, among others is always wrong. Human beings must describe themselves for themselves while also acknowledging that the self is just a disguise one wears and human beings always revise or recreate their hidden selves. In a certain sense, it might then be stated that Nietzsche would be in favor of particular liberal standpoints since he is a fan of radical self-affirmation and self-expression. However, in a technical perspective, such a relation is, similar to others, extremely outdated.
Nietzsche’s stance on democracy is enhanced due to being a nationalist. He believes that to be a nationalist is to describe oneself in regard to national identity instead of personal identity. Further, to be anti-Semitic is to be frail by describing oneself in terms of despising another human being instead of loving oneself. Nationalism based on ethnicity is, therefore, an extremely weak type of politics since it is formed on the basis of slave morality which is hating other people and seeking revenge against them; this is the most apparent expression of Nietzsche’s political ideology. Similarly, this is also the most relevant conventional application of his ideology. However, his personal and philosophical ideals reveal that Nietzsche would have never taken the stance of ethnic nationalists.
In summary, the following essay has asserted that Nietzsche was against democracy since he was more interested in the political forces that drive the march to liberty and believed that democracy was a source of weakness since it depicted everybody as equal. To understand Nietzsche’s anti-democratic stance, it is crucial to interpret democracy and liberalism as related but separable terms. Democracy can be realized without liberalism; inversely, liberalism can also be realized without democracy. To that extent, Nietzsche’s issue lies with the suggestion that individuals are of equal worth as human beings. Whereas many people like to believe this, the reality is that this is not the case. Therefore, to believe in democracy is to be weak as the notion is simply a fallacy.