Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand
violations of individual rights: “No people and no country has the right to choose a system of slavery: there can be no such thing as the right to violate rights” (“The Shanghai Gesture,” Part 2, ARL 1:14, 10 April 1972). The moral and political codes that liberate men are for Rand among the highest achievements of civilization.
Nietzsche, by contrast, holds that progressive society “needs slavery in some sense or other” (BGE, 257). What sense or other? He is sometimes vague, seeking “a noble mode of thought . . . that believes in slavery and in many degrees of subjection as the presuppo- sition of every higher culture” (WP, 464) or wondering “to what extent a sacrifice of freedom, even enslavement itself, gives the basis for the bringing-forth of a higher type” (WP, 859). Yet in other cases Nietzsche is well past the stage of wondering and advocates slavery in all forms: “Slavery is, as it seems, both in the cruder and in the more subtle sense, the indispensable means of spiritual discipline and cultivation, too” (BGE, 190). For the vast number of individuals who have no value in themselves, Nietzsche is open to their having some value as tools to be used by the master-types to bring about species- advancing ends.
On issues of war and peace, Nietzsche and Rand are again fundamentally opposed.
The system of individual rights, Rand argues, is “the only system that bans force from social relationships. By the nature of its basic principles and interests, it is the only system fundamentally opposed to war” (“The Roots of War,” CUI, 37). As a matter of moral principle, individual rights ban the use of force, except in cases of self- defense. As a matter of interests, individuals living in systems of individual rights develop trading relationships, and peace is to the interest of traders while war is destructive of trade. Rand points to the relatively-free, capitalist nineteenth-century as historical evidence: “Let those who are actually concerned with peace observe that capitalism gave mankind the longest period of peace in history—a period during which there were no wars involving the entire civilized world—from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914” (“The Roots of War,” CUI, 38).7
War, for Nietzsche, is an indispensable tool. Those attempting to survive and advance in a general zero-sum world cannot, on principle, rule out war and often should embrace war as a strategic