Equality as Defined by Aristotle, Tecumseh, and Nietzsche

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The idea of human equality has been defined in several ways throughout history. The concept of equality which most Americans relate to is based upon the idea of divine, God-granted natural rights. In a context relating to government, this would be a system of fair treatment and equal opportunity, which rewards all citizens equally, regardless of their contributions. This system is also known as Egalitarianism. Egalitarianism requires a powerful central government which closely resembles current-day socialist governments.

The 19th century German philosopher, Frederick Nietzsche, viewed equality as being “rooted” in a “slave morality” (Grigsby, 2012, p. 84). His view was not based upon God-given rights but on a more natural order such as Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

Nietzsche believed that Christianity withheld a structure for slave morality within Europe. His beliefs did not identify with equality, compassion, pity, and selflessness in the sense that Christian-based morals do. Instead, Nietzsche believed that superior people possess the will to power. Nietzsche claims these people live natural and actualized human lives. These beliefs can be closely related to the present-day libertarian outlook. On the contrary, Nietzsche defines Slave morality as:

"Slave morality is timid, and favors a limited existence; it “makes the best of a bad situation.” It promotes the virtues that “serve to ease existence for those who suffer: here pity, the complaisant and obliging hand, the warm heart, patience, industry, humility, and friendliness are honored — for here these are the most useful qualities and almost the only means for enduring the pressure of existence." (La Fave, 2010)

Nietzsche stated that Christianity, Utilitarianism, and Marxism all promulgate virtues regarding equality. But these among their other virtues were created for the cowardly majority in order to deny the will to power. By doing so, they are omitting facts which are apparent in...
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