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Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand


the bottom of all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness” (GM, I).

About slavery, Nietzsche says that a healthy aristocracy “accepts with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings, who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings, to slaves, to instruments” (BGE, 258).

About war, Nietzsche says, “One must learn from war: … one must learn to sacrifice many and to take one’s cause seriously enough not to spare men” (WP, 982).

And about violence in general, Nietzsche says, approvingly, “The beginnings of everything great on earth [are] soaked in blood thoroughly and for a long time” (GM, II:6).

Remarks such as these should give pause to any identification of Rand’s views with Nietzsche’s, given Rand’s vehement opposition to slavery and the zero-sum conflict view of the world.

Nietzsche has become part of the philosophical canon and Rand is becoming so. Commonly the two are identified, and this is why the issue of the intellectual relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand is an important one. Nietzsche is usually interpreted as an arch-individualist, as anti-altruistic, and as an iconoclast outside the mainstream. The same points are true of Rand. So to many casual readers a simple identification of Nietzsche and Rand follows.

Some Intellectuals on Nietzsche and Rand

A sampling of popular intellectual culture yields many such identifications:

Norman Markowitz (2005), a leftist critic, speaks of “Ragnor [sic] Danneskjöld, a character in Ayn Rand’s campy glorification of Social Darwinism and Laissez-Faire capitalism, Atlas Shrugged. (Rand called her jivey mish mash of Herbert Spencer and Friedrich Nietzsche ‘objectivism’ meaning that a social law of the jungle represents the highest level of science.)”

Philosophy blogger Marijo (2003) connects Nietzsche and Rand this way: “Nietzsche is explicitly on the side of the aristocracy— another admirer of Napoleon—and he is unashamedly opposed to democracy, and Buddhism, which he equates with nihilism. In these

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