Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand
and as not to be sacrificed for the good of the species. Consequently, he warns, “If one regards individuals as equal, one calls the species into question, one encourages a way of life that leads to the ruin of the species” (WP, 246). The value of egoism, then, is to Nietzsche measured by evaluating the individual’s capacity for advancing the species.
Even for those rare, higher individuals, self-sacrifice is for Nietzsche their highest calling, for it is through their sacrifices that the better kind of man will come into being: “I love those who sacrifice themselves for the earth, that the earth may some day become the overman’s” (Z, I.P.3).
So while one can find many passages in Nietzsche in praise of egoism, those passages must be interpreted as being directed only to a few, exceptional individuals, not the vast majority of individuals— and in the context of knowing that for Nietzsche those individuals are themselves only the means to a higher end, an end for which they should sacrifice themselves when necessary. Nietzsche’s egoism is thus severely limited in scope and nested within a broader expectation of sacrifice for an end beyond man.
Are Fundamental Values Universal?
Two closely-related points are at work here. One is that Nietz- sche’s standard of value is collectivist: that which is species-advancing. The other is that since he divides the species into two basic types— the master- and slave-types—the value of the egoist code is relative to the values of the two human types. By contrast, Rand’s ethic is individualist and universalist: her standard of value is the life of the individual, and the egoist code is the appropriate code for all individu- als.
Nietzsche’s subjectivism also contributes to his relativism. As above, he argues that moral codes are conscious projections of psycho-physiological types, with different types projecting different codes, the master and slave codes being two basic types. If one is more master-like, the master code will feel right and the slave code disgusting; and if one is more slave-like, the slave code will feel right and the master code frightening. Nietzsche denies an objective criterion or perspective by which to evaluate codes, so one can, it seems, evaluate codes only subjectively. Justice, for example, “is by