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On The Ideal of Nietzsche (A Polemic) Part 3

Nietzsche describes this destruction as a shift in what is considered ‘good’, and then goes on to describe exactly what kind of morality the slave upholds; “The wretched alone are the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good: the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God, blessedness is for them alone.”
This passage, in section 7 of the First Essay on the Genealogy of Morals, is Nietzsche admitting the inevitability, the direct and unavoidable consequences of any culture or society based around power. This is Nietzsche admitting, essentially, to being a Marxist. Nietzsche explicitly describes the movement from one dialectic to the next, from the notion of ‘good vs. bad’ to the notion of ‘Good vs. Evil’, from ‘strong vs. weak’ to ‘pure vs. impure’; from the morality of the strong, of the master, to the morality of the weak, of the slave. But he does not stop at merely describing the movement, the genealogy, as if it were random happenstance that such a movement even happened in the first place. He describes it as if this very notion of “Good vs. Evil”, this notion of the ‘weak’ being the ‘good’ instead of the ‘strong’, was something that naturally evolved out of the very power dynamic that existed during the period of pure master morality.
This is yet another clear parallel to Marx. Marx talks of the inevitability of the overthrow of Capitalism, of the proletariat usurping the beliefs and morals and values of the bourgeoisie. Marx does not merely say that this overthrow could or should happen, but that it will happen. Marx believes in the strength of the powerless, the collective ideal, that the many can overthrow and destroy the few, even if the few are those who control and rule and have authority over the many. Marx, and Nietzsche in his own way, believes in the overthrow of the ‘strong’, the ‘bourgeoisie’, by the ‘weak’, the ‘proletariat’.
“…that the strong man is free to be weak and the bird of prey to be a lamb – for thus they gain the right to make the bird of prey accountable for being a bird of prey.” Nietzsche finds this idea disgusting, and a twisting of the natural tendency of humanity, but he also sees it as an inevitable conclusion to the society under which the ‘birds of prey’ flourished. For birds of prey to flourish, there must be lambs, and when the lambs decide to deny the birds of prey the very ability to be birds of prey, the whole system collapses. The vultures, if you will; taking from the lambs such that the vulture is sustained.
It was Marx who claimed that without the proletariat, the bourgeoisie would be nothing. Without the ‘weak’, there would be no ‘strong’. However Nietzsche shows us that the ‘weak’ are more than capable of living without the ‘strong’, even despite the ‘strong’. It was also Marx who claimed that the proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains. This seems to be exactly what Nietzsche describes; the inevitability of Marx’s predictions. Nietzsche, of course, sees this as the slow, arduous, and horrible decay of humanity. But what do the weak view this as? To quote Nietzsche in “The Gay Science”, “What is the seal of attained freedom?—No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.”
Is this not exactly what the ‘weak’ are doing by throwing off the yoke of the strong? Is this not exactly what the lambs are doing in turning the tables on the birds of prey? Is this not exactly what the dog does when he goes against his master’s wishes, even disregards his master’s wishes and ceases caring what his master does or does not wish? Upon throwing off the shame of being ‘weak’, upon accepting one’s own impotence, one’s own lack of self-control, one’s own hatred, one’s own desire for revenge, one’s own ugliness, one’s own pitifulness, one’s own lack of ‘goodness’, one is finally free. And freedom is not something that ‘weak’ men have.
Marx believed that through the destruction of the bourgeoisie the proletariat would destroy themselves as a class. Through the destruction of the ‘strong’, the ‘weak’ themselves will cease to be ‘weak’. The very nature of a dialectic is that two opposing forces, each with its own power and benefits and detriments, will eventually destroy each other, and through this destruction a new, better force will be created. With the destruction of the bourgeoisie the proletariat will cease to be the proletariat, and through the destruction of the ‘strong’, the ‘weak’ will cease to be ‘weak’.
In destroying the ‘strong’, in making the ‘strong’ desire to be ‘weak’, the ‘weak’ will have really “inherited the earth”. By ending the exploitation, the oppression, the repression, the power struggle and the class struggle, by rejecting the pathos of distance and by destroying the ladder of hierarchy, the ‘weak’ are able, not to become ‘strong’ themselves, as that would imply the propagation of the same exploitation and power relationships that Nietzsche described as his ideal, but to transcend the whole notion of both ‘weakness’ and of ‘strength’. The ‘weak’ will have created a world unto themselves, a world in which all that was ‘bad’, all that was considered a threat to the power and the rule of the ‘strong’ is no more. This is, according to both Marx and Nietzsche, inevitable. And, according to both Marx and Nietzsche, this is what will separate us from beasts; this is what will make us human.
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