Trump Is Nietzsche’s Last Man Not Übermensch

Hugo Drochon: Trump Is Nietzsche's Last ManI’ve heard it said that Trump may represent some approximation of Nietzsche’s Übermensch, and I think that’s deeply mistaken. But the reasons why it’s mistaken can help us think about what Trump actually is. First, it’s wrong because Trump represents everything Nietzsche hated. The philistinism, the mediocrity, the worshipping of money for its own sake — this is exactly the opposite of what Nietzsche advocated. By Übermensch, Nietzsche meant someone who could live beyond good and evil, beyond conventional values, who refused to appeal to herd instincts.

There’s a passage in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra in which he talks about the Übermensch, and I think it’s quite relevant. Zarathustra, the protagonist, comes down from his mountain retreat and tells the people in the town square that he’s going to teach them about the Übermensch, about what mankind should become, and the people are having none of it. They don’t want to hear that they’ve stopped believing in God; that life is chaos; that nothing lasts; that they’re living in illusion.

Zarathustra realizes the people are too decadent to hear this and so he decides instead to teach them about the “Last Man.” And the “Last Man” is the kind of person who doesn’t want to think, who fears progress, who is risk-averse, and desirous of comfort — who just wants everything to stay the same. Of course, the people erupt in joy when they hear this because this is what they really want.

This is what Trump is to me. This is what he represents. He’s a kind of “Last Man” demagogue, telling the people that he’s going make things great again, which is to say simple and how they once were — and they love him for it.

For Nietzsche, the celebration of a man like Trump was the inevitable result of a democratic culture built on the virtues of ignorance and self-fulfillment.

–Hugo Drochon
In What Nietzsche’s Philosophy Can Tell Us About Why Brexit and Trump Won

1 thought on “Trump Is Nietzsche’s Last Man Not Übermensch

  1. >And the “Last Man” is the kind of person who doesn’t want to think

    Where did you get that from?

    “They are clever and know all that has happened: so there is no end to their derision.”

    The last man believes that he thinks, the last man takes pleasure in thinking that he thinks beyond the scope of those who preceded him.

    – “We have discovered happiness” — say the Last Men, and they blink.

    – “Formerly all the world was insane,” — say the subtlest of them, and they blink.

    The last man seeks nothing greater in life, the last man feels he has progressed from the past, last man is on a march to be more and more domesticated.

    ” They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him; for one needs warmth. ”

    Urbanites.

    ” One no longer becomes poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wants to rule? Who still wants to obey? Both are too burdensome. ”

    How is the last man compatible with a billionaire “demagogue”?

    Trump I’d argue is no overman, however he is in many ways a rebellion against the so called progress of the last men. Contemporary morality curses Trumps lack of values, his political incorrectness, his egotism, his arrogance and self aggrandisation. His apparent belief in his supremacy, he flirts with conventional morality for his benefit, he shirks notions of objective truth for his narrative and morality. He’s somewhere between pseudo master morality and Pseudo-Nietzschean

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