Nietzsche and governance: meritocracy, democracy, and agonal oligarchy
Kokot, Jordan Douglas
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In recent years, there has been a move among Nietzsche scholars to attempt to smooth over many of Nietzsche's seemingly reprehensible moral attitudes, and in so doing, make Nietzsche's philosophy both less radical and more amicable to the existing moral ethos. Nowhere is this trend more apparent then as regards Nietzsche's stance on democracy and egalitarianism. The intent of this paper is to push back against this trend by demonstrating the necessary role Nietzsche's anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian stance plays in his overarching philosophical position. To do so, and in order to elucidate the core of Nietzsche's critique of democracy, two of the strongest proponents of what will be called the "reconciliatory project," Maudemarie Clark and David Owen, will be challenged. As will be demonstrated, Nietzsche is ultimately concerned with the aggrandizement of humanity, both in general and on an individual level, by allowing for radical competitive pluralism, tempered by the unifying greatness of his "higher" humans. This goal, in conjunction with his understanding of human flourishing, leads him to reject egalitarianism wholesale, and in so doing, any democracy rooted therein. This critique will be used to illuminate several of the defining characteristics of a political and social organization conducive to (and perhaps necessary for) the full realization of Nietzsche's ethical perfectionism. Consequently, my conclusions will largely concern the structure of a Nietzschean politics, not its content. This structure is roughly oligarchic, rooted in a culture steeped in agonalism.