Nietzsche and the Women's March: What He Would Think
Politics and Activism

Nietzsche and the Women's March: What He Would Think

Hey ladies, let's hear what a dead, white male philosopher have to say about your social movement!

New York Times

When protestors of all backgrounds descend onto the streets of Washington DC in mass numbers, it was a sight to behold. Nothing's more like millions of people engaging in a practice that democracy allows them to: freedom of speech and protest. They do not like the President's offensive rhetoric and so, they show their distaste by appearing masses. Already, the picture of the women's march can be pictured in textbooks. When you look at this picture, you will be inspired.

When Nietzsche looks at this picture, he will feel smug because the women's march proves that he is right on what he said about democracy.

Now, I am not endorsing Nietzsche's beliefs. But, I do find them fascinating in a polarized political climate. In a country where the millions vow to protect democratic institutions from the other millions who wouldn't mind if those democratic institutions are eroded, Nietzsche would condemn them both. Nietzsche hates all forms of political authority and only emphasizes in the atomized individual. Even though he is sadly misinterpreted by the Nazis thanks to his sister, he actually hates German nationalism. But, he hates democracy equally as it's authoritarian counterpart.

Nietzsche advocates for the power of the individual. One can see that numerous times in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In Chapter 11, The New Idol, Nietzsche used his character, Zarathustra, to advocate the abandonment of worshiping the new idol that is the state. According to Nietzsche, the state is "lieth in the language of good and evil." Nietzsche criticized the moral framework of good and evil as signs of "confusion." By that, he meant that "good and evil" lulls people into the lack of critical thinking that reinforces conformity in the first place. Political beliefs like democracy and authoritarianism reinforce the moralistic binary thinking. Commentators declared the Women's March as a show of democracy. What the commentators meant is that the Women's March demonstrates binary moralistic thinking, with the mass numbers of protestors marching for "good" against the "evil" that is the Trump administration.

But, the moralistic binary thinking that the Women March demonstrates can hinder the personal development of the individual. By rallying all the people into becoming "the good guys", then everyone loses their individuality. They are now part of a collective-the "good guys." But, would being part of the collective can make an individual create their own meaning and goals? Nietzsche said no.

In Chapter 15, the One Thousand and One Goals, Nietzsche used the character, Zarathustra, to state that different groups of people use different conceptions of "good and evil" to advance their goals. Yet, Zarathustra argued that humanity still has no "one goal" because those different groups lack their own "humanity." By "humanity", Zarathustra clearly meant individuality because those different goals have a thousand goals in the first place based on the standards set by the collective, not by the individual. In order for humanity to have one goal, the individual must escape from the collective in order to abandon "good and evil." By isolating themselves, the individual would be able to set their own standards for their own goal rather than goals set by the collective. Their standards would reflect the needs of themselves rather than the need of the collective which, Nietzsche argues, better sustains life and to an extent, humanity itself.

Therefore, Nietzsche would detest the Women's March because it is one of the many different groups that reinforce the binary thinking of "good and evil" in order to sustain conformity. The masses of people in Washington DC were all there to fight against the "evils" of the Trump administration. But, those masses are groups of individuals who have not realized the ability to create their own standards of their own goals. Rather, the masses are merely in Washington DC because of the goal set by the collective that is the Women's March. The goal of the Women's March is to protest against the "evil" that is the Trump administration. But, the goal is merely the goal of the collective-not the individual. The goal of the collective doesn't have anything to do with improving the individual other than reinforcing the comformity of the group, which is the Women's March is doing. Overall, Nietzsche would argue that the Women's March has done nothing to improve on life and, to an extent, humanity.

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