Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand
Stephen R. C. Hicks
Part One: On Critiquing Altruism
Three Nietzsches and Ayn Rand
To what extent is Ayn Rand’s ethical theory Nietzschean? Three Friedrich Nietzsches are relevant to making that judgment.
Here is one Friedrich Nietzsche—the worshiper of human greatness: “the concept of greatness entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being able to be different, standing alone and having to live independently” (BGE, 212). Such a man “has a taste only for what is good for him” (EH, I:2) and “instinctively seeks heavy responsibilities” (WP, 944). “Every choice human being strives instinctively for a citadel and a secrecy where he is saved from the crowd, the many, the great majority” (BGE, 26). He also “knows how to make enemies everywhere” (WP, 944). The noble man “honors himself as one who is powerful, also as one who has power over himself, who knows how to speak and be silent, who delights in being severe and hard with himself and respects all severity and hardness” (BGE, 260). There is “some fundamental certainty that a noble soul has about itself, something that cannot be sought, nor found, nor
perhaps me, the
The noble soul has reverence for of the greatest fruitfulness
itself” (287). Plus: “believe and the greatest enjoyment
of existence is: to live Send your ships into Nietzsche says, “one
dangerously! Build your cities under Vesuvius!
uncharted seas!” (283). emerges again and again
Living such a
into the light,
experiences again and again one’s golden hour of victory—and one stands forth as one was born, unbreakable, tensed, ready for even harder, remoter things, like a bow that distress serves to tauter” (GM, I:12).
then new, draw
The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 10, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 249–91.