Nietzsche: The “Anti-Political” Thinker




Wilson, Elan

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Compared to other thinkers in the canon of political philosophy (Hobbes, Mill, Locke, Rousseau), Friedrich Nietzsche is an outlier. His comments on politics are cryptic at times and nearly impossible to organize into an airtight system. This ambiguity has spawned academic dialogues that orbit around the following question: what “flavor” of politics, if any, does Nietzsche’s philosophy promote? From my research, I have discovered four interpretive “camps” that most scholars can fit into: the “Apolitical” camp, the “Aristocratic Distinction” camp, the “Egalitarian” camp, and the “Anti-Political” camp. In this thesis, I will attempt to prove, through both primary and secondary-source evidence, that the Anti-Political camp offers the best lens through which to view Nietzsche’s work. Nietzsche is not concerned with promoting a political paradigm we would recognize (Democracy, Aristocracy, Oligarchy, etc). He is focused on clearing away life-denying iterations of politics to make room for a fresh, life-affirming political reality.