The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol. 10, No. 2
Here is another Friedrich Nietzsche—the critic of altruism, hypocrisy, and cowardice, and the best name-caller in the history of philosophy. Nietzsche calls Plato, the philosopher who projects another realm of perfect and static Forms in contrast to this messy and changeable physical world, “a coward in the face of reality” (TI, “What I Owe to the Ancients,” 2). “Christianity,” says Nietzsche, “is Platonism for ‘the people’”—that is to say, Plato for dummies—and also “a rebellion of everything that crawls on the ground against
that has height”
Nietzsche calls Immanuel in the nineteenth-century,
Kant’s “abhorrent scholasticism” (TI, “Skir- Man,” 49), that is, his predilection for spinning
neutered, rationalistic of a spider” (A, 11).
of ideas to snare the unwary—a “disaster emerging welfare state of the nineteenth
century of all is
is “the coldest of all called life” (Z, I:11).
Such quotations explain why Nietzsche’s writings can be attractive to those also attracted to Ayn Rand’s. Rand’s sparkling prose and heroic view of man are, like Nietzsche’s, a rush of adrena- line to intelligent young readers for whom the world is fresh and full of promise and whose whole lives are ahead of them. Her writings, like Nietzsche’s, remain a powerful source of inspiration for older readers who have succeeded in remaining young at heart in a world that contains much compromise, complacency, disappointment, and outright evil. Nietzsche and Rand are kindred spirits of passion and exaltation.
Those who stay with Rand philosophically as well as literarily do so because they judge that her philosophy of reason, independence, and freedom is true—and they hold onto those principles in the face of vigorous opposition from philosophers of irrationality, conformity, and authoritarianism. In most cases, Nietzsche’s enemies are Rand’s enemies, so philosophical readers of Rand resonate with Nietzsche when he attacks their common enemies in Plato, Kant, and the statists.
Yet thirsty. explains
there is a third Nietzsche—one more ruthless and blood- Speaking well of the noble races of the past, Nietzsche their accomplishments this way: “One cannot fail to see at