What would Nietzsche have said about moral relativism in leftwing politics?


The concept of superman or übermensch is someone that overcomes nihilism and learns to see above what's considered right or wrong.
The latter is a leftist's trait, because right-wing mentality has very fixed ideas of what's good and bad. I told someone that I could see above what is considered good and evil and she replied by saying that the relativisation of morals is a tool used by leftists against ethics. So in some sense she presented my ability to "see beyond good and evil" as a bad trait. On one hand I do believe it is good to be able to be more flexible when it comes to morals, but on the other hand I understand how this relativism could deteriorate ethics, the moral code of a society, which is something quite fixed.
Nietzsche saw the transvaluation of moral values as a trait of the übermensch because it allows the individual to break free from the moral chains to in some sense achieve intellectual freedom. Can this facet of Nietzsche be considered leftist? How can I deal with this paradox of willing to see beyond the moral code, but at the same time being fond of "good ethics"?

Yuri Borges

Posted 2017-06-27T14:09:52.327

Reputation: 121

Why do you think that "to be leftist" is better than "to be right-wing" ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-06-27T14:37:06.783

1Why do you think that " it is good to be able to be more flexible when it comes to morals" ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-06-27T14:37:30.683

I am quite sick of this "left wing right wing" generalize labels. – mootmoot – 2017-06-27T15:45:01.730

You don't understand what the terms "leftwing" and "rightwing" mean. They refer to economic issues, social issues are a completely different spectrum, it all comes out to being a two dimensional graph instead of just "right or left." Your charge of "lefts" being moral relativists is severely lacking in nuance, left what? Left top, authoritarian leftists like Mao? Mao was hardly a moral relativist. And you realize that libertarians, bottom rights, have those same sympathies, right?

– Not_Here – 2017-06-27T17:49:26.850

The terms "left" and "right" do not give the complete picture, there are different spectrums within just that one axis and the idea that "right wing people have a fixed idea of whats right and wrong but leftist people don't" is incredibly ignorant of the terms you're using. Left and right have to do with economic issues, they have nothing to do with social issues which is what morality and ethics has to do with. Top and bottom, when using that type of graph, have to do with social issues, so saying "all people on the left believe x about social issues" is just factually wrong. – Not_Here – 2017-06-27T17:52:11.323

There are moral revisionists both on the left and the right, the difference is in how they wish to revise the traditional morals. Nietzsche aimed at individualistic amoralism whereas far left favors socialistic ones (subordinating one to the good of the many). Since Christianity has a distinct socialist leaning in public policy we can get the flavor of what he would have said about " the good of the many" from what he said about the slave morality. Nothing good.

– Conifold – 2017-06-27T23:57:52.903

@Not-Here, Of course, we do not speak of China when we refer to Nietzsche. Anyway China was (and is) not a free society. — Left-wing people (in Europe and USA etc.) have a tendency to say that the negation of all natural laws of social life is the new ethics. This is so paradoxical that it is understandable that you misinterpreted their POV as a kind of ethical codex, though it is just doublethink mystified by incessant confusing left-wing propaganda. … – None – 2017-06-28T00:21:30.797

… Your claim that “right-wing politics” had nothing to do with social order is really peculiar, you should give some references. — Even Wikipedia, the “World English Speaking University textbook” (Dwarf) does not at all underpin this, quite on the contrary.

– None – 2017-06-28T00:22:05.470

there's lots on nietzsche and relativism, can't see what difference it makes if it's "left wing" or fascistic or whatever. ps there's plenty of left wing people who have fixed ideas about morality, whether or not they have any principles, ofc – None – 2017-06-28T14:46:05.727



To answer your question, yes, it is a leftist ideology. To take it one step further, I think whether it is good or not to be flexible on your morals is also relative and can not be a sweeping decision. Right-wing people still bend on their morals in their daily lives to some degree. The individual decides what to let pass and what not to depending on the importance of said thing in their own reality. Bending on a diet is not the same as bending on religion, etc.


Posted 2017-06-27T14:09:52.327

Reputation: 19

opinions so many uncited opinions – None – 2017-06-28T15:11:34.497


Neitzsche explicitly said (in longer terms) "Stay sheltered, to remain free. Put three centuries between yourself and current affairs. Do not know who is on which side of what war." So the idea he would care about what wing you are on politically is kind of ludicrous.

Left vs Right is about an approach to history, so it shifts over time, and it is not really theoretically sound. Therefore it is not a thing that really applies to any morality that attempts to be trans-historical. This goes double for Nietzsche.

At the same time you see him as 'leftist' because of his 'relativism', Nietzsche put a great deal of weight on decent taste and on a certain sort of honor that can only really exist in a 'master' society, one that does not consider everyone anywhere close to equal. (Fascism and the alt-right latch on to this and ignore the whole context.)

He explicitly disparaged the Christian leaning toward helping and supporting everyone -- the thing that currently makes the Left the Left, at least currently, in the U.S. He explicitly despised helping people whose problems you have not experienced first hand, or at least come to know through close friendships -- a standard criticism of the 'elite' Left and our current welfare state, which the actual long-term poor often vote against.

Also, moral relativism exists in the form it currently has in order to hold 'the herd' together, in the form of multicultural democracy. It is the new Christianity, a new dominant religion. And it still encourages submission -- only submission to something more objective and less precise. So he would probably absolutely despise most of the modern Left (three hundred years from now, of course.)

Perspectivism is not relativism because it does not encourage compromise and acceptance. It encourages a sort of intellectual domination, enfolding others' worlds into your own entirely, while maintaining your own position. You are not supposed to temper the idea you are right, you are just supposed to understand everyone else enough to know why you are right.

His succession of Creators do not accommodate variant traditions in a broadly multicultural way, they advance totally contrary values in a way that controls and dominates them. Christianity does not remain Jewish... Judaism did not abide the cult of Baal... This approach to reality is far closer to modern Evangelicalism than it is to any liberal or even most Socialist views.


Posted 2017-06-27T14:09:52.327


Great answer (+1). I particularly like your (correct) identification of modern Leftist thought as being rooted in the Christian morality that Nietzsche despised. "So he would probably absolutely despise most of the modern Left (three hundred years from now, of course.)" Exactly correct. – Ben – 2018-10-25T03:12:33.033


Unfortunatelly my english is not good enough to right a credible answer but I have some reading advices wich can help you understand how Nietzsche is far away from what we usualy call "right" and "left".

First you should read "On the Genealogy of Morality" (1887) from Nietzsche himself, you'll understand that in fact, at his time, he hated everyone socialist and conversvativ.

In a second time, and this is the most important point, read "Nietzsche and Philosophy" (1983) from Giles Deleuze. He explain really well how "beyond good and evil" isn't equal at all to "beyond brillant and poor" (excuse the poor translate, don't know the english version). To explain the thing, Nietzsche fight the Jew, the Christain and the ascetic morality system but that not mean at all that he think everyone is equal or that everything is equally valid. It is the opposit of that. He think "strong" person "affirm" their own value, and that's for him the right one, the morality of the strong opposed to the morality of the weak, the slave, etc.

So, I'm sorry for you, but nietzsche isn't a leftwing at all. When I was younger I used to think so as well but re-reading Nietzsche and, more important, commentary on his work, made me realize I was totally wrong...

I wish you good reading, it is in the book you will find what you are looking for..

Abel Aussant

Posted 2017-06-27T14:09:52.327

Reputation: 11


So called left and right do not easily and neatly divide into relativism and absolutism.

Harman, a relativist, argues that there is no reason for Hitler to give up his genocidal mania. She claims that she is no better a judge than him about what to do about "the jews". Seems safe to assume that very many fascists took the same approach, and that there were quite a few forms of reasoning that Hitler himself didn't take so seriously.

At the other end of the political compass, the left doesn't universally espouse any form tolerance at all (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot). Which is perhaps what you are asking about, as moral relativism is just a meta-ethical and philosophical claim. Not really political.

On the subject of principles, Marx and Engels sought to differentiate themslves from the failures of the 1848 revolution by appeal to it.


Posted 2017-06-27T14:09:52.327