The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol. 10, No. 2
all means a matter of taste, nothing more” (GS, 184).
Yet Nietzsche often does also adopt an implicit (lower-case “o”) objectivist stance in claiming that the slave code represents a decline of the species and urging the redevelopment of master codes as the only route to genuine human improvement. “The ideas of the herd should rule in the herd—but not reach out beyond it” (WP, 287) and those few of us with master potential should live a code that enables the development of that potential.
So there is a core problem remaining for Nietzsche scholarship: Is Nietzsche arguing with a forked tongue, so to speak, holding that slave values are objectively bad and that his revulsion toward them is only a subjective response on his part? Is his sympathy to master values merely an expression of his bio-physiology and a recommenda-
tion of a code that is in fact best for humanity?
Are the Relations of Individuals Win/Lose?
Rand’s ethic is striking for its argument that no conflicts of interest exist among rational human beings. Self-responsible, productive individuals are value creators, and it is to the mutual self- interest of all such individuals that other such individuals exist and flourish (“The ‘Conflicts’ of Men’s Interests,” VOS). The basic principle of social interaction, then, is the principle of voluntary, mutually-beneficial exchange—what Rand called the “trader princi- ple” in her notes for Galt’s Speech (JAR, 584).
For Nietzsche, by strong contrast, “Culture absolutely cannot do without passions, vices, and acts of malice” (HA, 477). Conflicts of interest are fundamental and inescapable:
Here one must think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation—but why should one for ever use precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose has been stamped? (BGE, 259)