Nietzsche’s Morality Isn’t

Nietzche had little understanding of law(dispute resolution), and less understanding if not no understanding of its opposite: economics (cooperation). When he says ‘morality’ he means ‘convention’. and in that sense, convention may or may not survive moral scrutiny. That does not mean that there are no moral statements. It’s easy to define them.

The question is instead whether moral action serves the desired purpose. Just as whether violence serves the desired purpose. Just as whether deception serves the desired purpose.

Convention places no limits on man other than the cost he bears for abridging it.

Not all our purposes need be moral, as long as the cost or benefit of immoral action is worth it to us.

That is different from saying that we cannot determine moral actions.

We can.

But whether we DESIRE COOPERATION or not is a test of morality. Whether something suites our PURPOSES or not is a question of utility and the cost of it.

This is where almost all philosophers are confused. They treat moral as the equivalent of good, rather than moral as what is necessary to achieve good through cooperation. But if the proposed good that might come from cooperation is undesirable, or a net negative, then moral action is not useful.

What do these words mean?

Moral = preserves or encourages cooperation by the non-imposition of costs.

Immoral = inhibits or discourages cooperation by the imposition of costs.

The fact that the MORAL is approximately equal to the good for ingroup members, with whom we wish to cooperate, has no bearing when we DO NOT WISH to cooperate with members ingroup or outgroup. Non cooperation is merely a question of cost. Is cooperation more or less valuable in the achievement of our ends?

If we do not wish to cooperate, then the moral or immoral is little more than an assistance to us in judging the long-term consequences of our actions because of the possible retaliation of others in times when we are not as strong as we are now.

I hope this helps because this appears to be a subject of confusion in the Nietzchean community.

Morality is a fairly simple, reasonably scientific fact at this point.

Whether a moral action is GOOD or not is a very different question.

It may or may not be Good. Just a violence may be moral or immoral, the moral may be useful or not useful. It may be beneficial or it may be harmful.

In my work I state that the moral is necessary for long-term competitive survival because of the productivity of labor in the production of everything from food to warfare. In this sense, the moral is good because it makes a group more powerful than others in every dimension – assuming they wish to allocate production to competitive ends.

I state that all disputes are resolvable by objectively moral judgments. And it’s true. But this only matters if we want to resolve disputes peacefully, so that we can continue to cooperate and gain the projected benefits of cooperation.

That says nothing about whether we want to cooperate – either as individuals or as groups or as nations, with other individuals or groups or nations. We may. Or we may not.

I argue only that those who cooperate more, will eventually be more powerful than those who cooperate less. And power enables us to bring about what we desire.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


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