Aristocratic Radical, 1886–1887



Nietzsche’s ‘campaign against morality’ in its political dimension extends to the writings of 1886–87. In Beyond Good and Evil, the ‘critique of modernity’ that Nietzsche describes as his task includes ‘modern politics’,1 and the ‘herd animal morality’ he analyses finds expression in ‘political and social arrangements’.2 It is now more evident that he is increasingly critical of the Reich and its democratic concessions. In fact, his view in 1886 is that since its founding in 1871 the Reich has been making a progressive ‘transition … to a levelling mediocrity, democracy’.3 Democracy is declared to be a‘degenerating form of political organisation’,4 which makes men mediocre and reduces their value.


French Revolution Good Opinion Modern Idea Grand Politics Political Writing 
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  1. 21.
    See Lionel Gossman, Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), p. 391. To Overbeck in 1882, Nietzsche writes: ‘For me, the Renaissance remains the climax of this millennium, and what has happened since then is the grand reaction of all kinds of herd instincts against the “individualism” of that epoch’. Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Christopher Middleton (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1969; repr. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996), p.195.Google Scholar
  2. 34.
    Peter Bergmann, Nietzsche, ‘the Last Antipolitical German’ (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987), p. 162.Google Scholar
  3. 46.
    Uriel Tal, Christians and Jews in Germany: Religion, Politics, and Ideology in the Second Reich, 1870–1914, trans. Jonathan Jacobs (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975), p. 122.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Frank Cameron and Don Dombowsky 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityCanada
  2. 2.Bishop’s UniversityCanada

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