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To Nietzsche ‘s Question: Do Right and Wrong Exist, or Is It All About Power?

The deist will say that good is better than bad.
In a similar way, Nietzsche would say that strength is better than weakness.

From this developed the idea of the übermensch, or overman/superman, and the üntermensch, or underman. There are those capable of making their own free decisions, and therefore, their own systems of ethics, and those who like sheep follow in their footsteps.

Nietzsche consistently railed against Christianity because it not only praised weakness and humility, but its founder was someone who voluntarily laid His life down for His enemies. It’s a religion for weakness, he would say over and over. And in the mind of Nietzsche, nothing is worse than weakness.

Now, on a personal level, reading Nietzsche can always be dangerous despite your circumstances, but reading him while your government seems to be fear mongering its citizens into wearing masks and staying away from other humans, because…they’re dangerous…can lead to some ballsy rebellion. I revolted against the idea of masks, not only because they made it hard to breathe, I already had had Covid, and then got vaccinated, but because they also made me into another rule-following sheep.

Is that all I am? Am I just someone who follows rules and does what I’m supposed to because I’m told to?

Suddenly the thought that I’m just another sheep became more scary than Covid itself. What if, ontologically, down to my core, I am just an underman who does what he’s told and is incapable of thinking for himself?

These were the sorts of things I was wrestling with toward the tail end of the pandemic, but fortunately it ended before too long and I could once again live in bare-faced freedom. It wasn’t just about the inconvenience of wearing a mask, but the mark of submission to an authority for authority’s sake—not science or safety’s sake. After all, the undermen outnumber the overmen a thousand to one…Would I rise up?

Anyway, the entire pandemic rant aside, we are still left with Nietzsche’s core question: are right and wrong real, or are ethics simply invented by those in power at the moment? You could easily come up with examples of shifting ethical stances which have changed in the last 100 years. A century ago, being gay was outlawed by nearly every US state. It could get you arrested. Those in power were WASPy and narrow.

Now, the reverse is true. Any hints of discrimination against the LGBT+ community could get you doxxed, disbarred, cancelled, and so on.

The voices in power have spoken.
The people follow.

Is it a matter of right and wrong, or a matter of power vs. weakness? Which is wrong—being homosexual, or discriminating against it? Depends on who you ask…or when you ask. Or if you can think for yourself.

We could explore the same idea through the lens of tattoos, women, sexual liberty, nationalism, slavery, race, and a plethora more. Do ethics change, does power change, or does the constantly shifting power dictate what’s ethical at the time?