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Context : HyperLeader, RightWingPopulism, Nietzsche

Quora Answer : What are the connections between the philosophical works of Nietzsche and Nazism?

Jul 10, 2019

Most of the connections were made by Nietzsche's sister rather than Nietzsche himself. And it's unlikely he would have approved of them had he still been alive.

However, the basic thrust of Nietzsche is that the world consists of forces or powers which seek to express / fulfil themselves. And that great men (ubermensche / supermen) are largely those who express forces.

It's great men who make everything of any value in the world. And they do it by simply exercising their power and imposing their values on everyone else.

Even the great religions. Nietzsche is obviously writing when Europe is struggling with the conflict between its Christian heritage and the humanist / atheist / Darwinian / scientistic waves of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It becomes harder and harder to justify a belief in the bible and Christian God the more you know about biology, geology, evolution, astronomy etc. And so many major thinkers turn to atheism. Other philosophers try to defend God. In some form or other. Particularly in terms of the virtues of believing in God even when you can't rationally justify it.

But Nietzsche bites the bullet and says : "Your religion, your morality is the result of great men in history (Zarathustra / Zoroaster ... but Zarathustra kind of stands for Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and other founders of religions too) who persuaded you of a pack of lies for their own reasons. And that's a good thing for you pathetic followers. But if you want to be great yourself, then forget this petty morality and exercise your power for yourself.

That is obviously a message that can resonate with the turn to "strong leaders" and the rejection of democracy as a confused, weak and failing political system, which took hold during the rise of Nazism and other fascisms and far-right authoritarianisms.

If you think liberal democracy and human rights have failed, and want a strong leader, unencumbered by trivial ethical concerns, to take over, then you can find a lot to support you in Nietzsche's writings in favour of the superman and in his rants against the herd and its slave morality.

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