Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand
spiritual revenge (BGE, 219; GM, 1:7, 1:10, 1:15).
As evidence, Nietzsche paraphrases standard Judeo-Christian rhetoric about how their kingdom shall come some day and God will then visit his wrath upon the rich and powerful. In a perfect catch, he quotes St. Thomas Aquinas: “In order that the bliss of the saints may be more delightful for them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, it is given to them to see perfectly the punish- ment of the damned” (GM, 1:15n.).2
So we have Nietzsche’s views on the morality of altruism. It is a two-fold strategy of slave-types: (1) a survival code for the weak; and (2) as revenge and a power play against the strong.
Historically, in Nietzsche’s judgment there is no question who is winning the age-old battle between the weak and the strong. He takes Tertullian’s question—“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”— and substitutes Rome for Athens, Rome being the greatest empire of classical times, Rome’s values thus being the antipode of Jerusalem’s (GM, 1:16). As evidence of whether Rome or Judea is winning, he invites us to consider to whom we kneel down before in Rome today. In the nineteenth century, “everything is visibly becoming Judaized, Christian-ized, mob-ized” (GM, 1:9), and the chief slave—that is, the Pope—has for a long time established his camp and planted his flag in the center of what was the greatest master empire the world had ever seen (GM, 1:16).
So for Nietzsche the modern world is in a moral crisis. The code of the slaves, i.e., altruism, is ascendant and the moral code of the masters is in decline. The master code is the one that will best enable and foster human development, yet virtually everyone either believes altruism, pays lip service to it, or feels guilty about not living it.3
Comparing Nietzsche’s and Rand’s Critiques of
For purposes of comparison of Nietzsche and Rand, let us distinguish five varieties of altruism, in increasing order of destructive- ness:
(1) Altruism as a policy of collectivism for the purpose of mutual self support;
(2) Altruism as a tactic of the weak to protect themselves against the strong;