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Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand


science, about coming conditions of society in which ‘the exploiting character’ is to be absent:—that sounds to my ear as if they promised to invent a mode of life which should refrain from all organic functions” (BGE, 259).

Any code, then, requires the sacrifice of some for the benefit of others. The altruist code calls for the sacrifice of the strong to the weak, and the egoist code is simply the converse: “There is no egoism that remains by itself and does not encroach . . . ‘One furthers one’s I always at the expense of others’” (WP, 369). And putting the point in terms of Nietzsche opposition of the master and slave moralities, “The well-being of the majority and the well-being of the few are opposite viewpoints of value” (GM, end of First Essay note). Consequently, rather than committing to peaceful and voluntary trade

with others, Nietzsche urges war, at following famous “Live dangerously” harvesting from existence the greatest

least metaphorically, in the quotation: “the secret for fruitfulness and the greatest

enjoyment is—to live dangerously! Build your cities under Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your yourselves!” (GS, 283).

Vesuvius! peers and

Rights, Liberty, Equality Before the Law?

All of the above differences between Nietzsche and Rand naturally lead to major differences in social and political philosophy. Rand’s strong advocacy of individual rights is a consequence of her egoism: individuals’ lives are their own to live, and the mutual recognition of that fact is an objective value to individuals in a social context; rights are “the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context” (“Man’s Rights,” VOS, 93). That mutual recognition is best institutionalized in the form of explicit rights that

apply universally and are protected based on objectively valid principles,

equally: “A complex legal system, is required to make a society free

and keep it free” ethical egoism is

(“The Nature of Government,” VOS, 113). thus integrated with her political liberalism.6


Nietzsche, by direct and accurate contrast, proclaims that he is “not by any means ‘liberal’” (GS, 377). Liberalism is only one more manifestation of the slave morality: “Liberalism: in plain language, reduction to the herd animal.” (TI, “Skirmishes of an Untimely Man,” 38). The freedom of the large majority of human beings, Nietzsche

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