Power, Resentment, and Self-Preservation: Nietzsche’s Moral Psychology as a Critique of Trump

  • Aaron Harper
  • Eric Schaaf
Chapter

Abstract

We use Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality as a touchstone for comprehending Trump’s appeal and victory. Following Nietzsche’s concerns, the most noteworthy puzzle is that of Trump’s peculiar popularity, especially given his impolitic statements and policy proposals that often appear in tension with the interests of his voter base. While Nietzsche’s discussions of power and resentment would seem obvious starting points to examine the success of Trump and Trumpism, we contend that these provide largely superficial and, at best, incomplete explanations. Instead, informed by Nietzsche’s moral psychology, we analyze Trump’s strategy in the context of the instinctual need for self-preservation. Trump’s amplification of this need through his rhetoric and cultivation of negative emotions, including resentment, has led to a revaluation that diminishes humanity. We conclude by drawing out the implications of Nietzsche’s view, revealing a forceful Nietzschean critique of Trump’s methods and values.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Harper
    • 1
  • Eric Schaaf
    • 2
  1. 1.West Liberty UniversityWest LibertyUSA
  2. 2.Lincoln CollegeLincolnUSA

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