Examine the extent to which Nietzsche’s ideas provide
If the people do begin to feel like an underclass there would become a greater chance of a rebellion against the ruling elite, as they would not feel that they had anything to lose from removing the existing structure of society. Therefore if there were not adequate measures put in place in order to stop people feeling removed from the entire political; an social process the idea of a elite of i?? bermensche ruling would not seem to be an adequate way of replacing the traditional systems in place under liberal democracy.
Nietzsche criticises more egalitarian forms of democracy especially socialism for attempting to level people and reduce suffering. He saw this as an unattainable goal of heaven on earth, which like Christianity he criticised for giving people a false belief that if they believed in these virtues life would be much better. Nietzsche saw this as playing on people’s weaknesses and allowing themselves to be immersed in a ‘religion of comfort’ (DeBotton 2000 p235). DeBotton carries on to state that Nietzsche sees that higher culture can only be achieved if you have been through great suffering (2000 p239).
Whilst this idea can be seen as being fairly accurate (by looking at artistic movements of the Twentieth century many of the most influential have come out of repression e. g. Cubism, Blues, Punk or Hip-Hop music) it again leaves there as being no cause for people to unify in order to protect the state. In fact if people are feeling great suffering they are likely to become motivated more strongly to stop that suffering and as the state will not be doing anything to help them their anger will be against the state thus destabilising it and not making it effective.
One of the main focuses of Nietzsche’s work was on the role that religious values play in liberal democracies. Nietzche sights that people have in fact moved past the religious values that have shaped western culture by suggesting that people, through the process of reason and judgement, have killed God (Nietzsche 1933* p228-231). Nietzsche also criticises the role of Judea-Christian values in liberal democracy as it gives people the morality of slaves and repressed the urges of people by limiting their lives with the notion of sin (Harr 1995 p11).
However it could be argued that modern liberal democracy is slowly removing these religious views in favour of a reliance on the role of markets, but in traditional liberal thought these religious aspects are very relevant. The moral viewpoint of Nietzsche’s ideas would not place such an emphasis on restricting all cravings but would instead like people to access for themselves the levels of passions to be indulged in. The removal of the religious moral framework may lead to a more dynamic and varied society, as people would not be held back by as many moral principles.
On the other hand the removal of these principles may lead to there being nothing to hold together society, although there are some simple ethical principles that could be seen as universal that may help to bind people together for the good of society. If some safe guards could be put in place in order to hold society together the removal of religious values could be a coherent alternative to traditional liberal democracy. The ideas of Nietzsche have been used in some regimes that have attempted to form an alternative to Liberal Democracy. The most prominent example of this would be the Nazi regime in Germany.
It is however widely accepted that the regime vastly distorted the ideas in order to gain some validity for its actions. However as this and the other fascist regimes are the only ones to have attempted to implement some of Nietzsche’s ideas, no matter how far removed they were from the original context, they have some use in accessing how coherent the ideas are when implemented. Under theses systems some aspects of Nietzsche’s writing were implemented and seemed to have been successful if not from a western point of view (Owen 1995 p111).
These regimes were however not particularly successful and may show how the Nietzsche’s ideas may not be a coherent alternative to Liberal democracy. The ideas of Nietzsche focus on a more open form of politics where people are more truthful about the motives of their actions and this would seem to be healthier than the current form of governing that Liberal Democracies are ‘suffering’, in which presentation and a need to see things as equal when they are not.
The idea of having an elite of intelligent i?? bermensche running a country may seem to bring a dynamic society but as with Nietzsche’ rejection of egalitarian governance may create an underclass removed from society and therefore a higher likelihood of a rebellion against the state. The removal of Religious ethical principles from politics would lead again to a more dynamic society but there would need to be moral safeguards put in place in order to keep society together.
The regimes that have attempted to implement Nietzsche’s ideas have warped the ideas greatly and have not been able to sustain the ideas that were put in place. Overall, Nietzsche’s idea form a coherent picture of an alternative to Liberal democracy but these ideas if implemented would not lead to a particularly stable state. There are many aspects of Nietzsche’s works that could be implemented to improve Liberal democracy.
Word Count: 1’535 Bibliography Clark M.(2001) ‘Nietzsche’s Doctrines of The Will to Power’ in Nietzsche Richardson, J. ; Leiter, B. (eds) Oxford: Oxford pp 139-149 Deleuze, G. (2001) ‘Active and Reactive’ in The New Nietzsche Allison, D. B. (ed) MIT: London pp 80-106 DeBotton, A. (2000) The Consolations of Philosophy Hamish Hamilton: London Harr, M (1995) ‘Nietzsche and Metaphysical language’ in The New Nietzsche Allison, D. B. (ed) MIT: London pp5-37 Hiedegger, M. (2001) ‘Who is Nietzsche’s Zarathrustra? ‘ in The New Nietzsche Allison, D. B. (ed) MIT: London pp 64-79.
Kaufmann, W. (1968) Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist Vintage: New York Machiavelli, N. (1961) The Prince Penguin: London Nietzsche, F. W. (1933) Thus Spake Zarathustra Aldine: Letchworth Owen, D. (1996) Nietzsche, Politics ; Modernity SAGE: London Plato (1955) The Republic Penguin: London * Date as given for first publication date in the edition of the book Original Dates of Writing/Publication: Nietzsche, F. W. ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ 1880 Machiavelli, N. ‘The Prince’ 1531 Plato, ‘The Republic’ 340 B. C. approx.