Can Nietzsche and Western Democracy Be Reconciled?

Essay completed 12 September 2016

Nietzsche’s ideas are unsettling to the modern Western reader, perhaps even more so to his audience in the 21st century than to his audience in the 19th. He excoriates liberalism, altruism, and equality, all central ideals of Western society. The modern democratic citizen might share my initial reaction upon reading Nietzsche’s philosophy for the first time and feel the temptation to reject him as a regressive bully. Passages of On the Genealogy of Morals in which Nietzsche decries “the suffering, deprived, sick [and] ugly” and praises the “noble, the powerful, the masters, [and] the rulers” are antithetical to democratic notions of equality (Nietzsche 121). What can the modern West learn from an ideology that seems to celebrate tyrannical subjugation? Continue reading “Can Nietzsche and Western Democracy Be Reconciled?”

Liberal Democracy and the Paradox of Nietzsche: A Comparative Analysis

Image by Grady Pearson

Essay completed 24 November 2015

It is peculiar to think that Friedrich Nietzsche, perhaps the most influential thinker of the present age, held such contempt for liberal democracy, the leading political ideology of the postmodern world. Is Nietzsche’s argument for renewed spiritual fervor compatible with the postmodern democratic world’s aversion to religious extremism? How can a liberal global society draw so much from democracy’s greatest critic?Perhaps the answer becomes more apparent upon considering the relationship between Nietzsche’s philosophy and democracy. An exploration of Nietzsche’s cold analysis of its characteristics as well as his scathing dissection of its weaknesses reveals the what he finds lacking in democracy. Continue reading “Liberal Democracy and the Paradox of Nietzsche: A Comparative Analysis”

We All Want to Change the World: Locke and the Right to Revolt

Image by Grady Pearson

Essay completed 9 October 2015

In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke argues that all people possess a right to overthrow an oppressive government. While Locke’s theory seems to protect society from oppression, one could argue that granting the people such influence over their government could produce a chaotic society rather than a free one. Is it logical to claim that all people have a natural right to overthrow the government? Is it reasonable to entrust the fate of the government to the whims of the people? Does Locke’s political theory promote anarchy? Locke addresses these questions through his belief in the fundamental rights of humans and his argument of how best to protect societies from tyrannical leaders. Continue reading “We All Want to Change the World: Locke and the Right to Revolt”