Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche are modern philosophers who hold differing views on economics, politics, individual ideas of freedom, and the state of government.
Concerning economics, Mill who is a utilitarian believes that capitalism is all right as long as it does not hurt people. If capitalism starts to harm citizens, then it is fine for the government to step in. In some of his works, Mill discusses the virtues of socialism and considers implementing them into the economic system. Marx, on the other hand, hates capitalism and writes an excellent critique of capitalism for his time. He thinks that private property is evil, because it causes inequality and division among the social classes. Marx concludes that the economic market is bad and capitalism should be thrown out for communism where wealth is equal for all. Nietzsche’s economic policy is based on the need of the society. If the superman who leads the nation would profit by capitalism, then he should use capitalism. If socialism is the better answer, then socialism should be used. Nietzsche believes in using whatever economic system will bring the superman to power.
In the realm of politics, Mill loves democracy. He is a strong advocate for women’s suffrage and believes that everyone should be able to vote for elected officials. Marx, who hates the middle class, develops his own system based on the social classes. He advocates a government ruled by the common masses where the workman is the politician. Nietzsche’s idea of politics revolves around his theory of the superman whose “will to power” would give him the victory. He believes that any individual who has a strong will could take power. Nietzsche also attacks biological evolution and holds a very low opinion of women.
Each of these men holds high views of individual freedom, but with slightly different twists. Mill argues that people need liberty for ideas and moral progress. He strongly advocates for freedom of choice and the expression of opinions. He also believes that men should focus on self-development and that the only time society should intervene with individual freedom is when that freedom harmed others. Marx, on the other hand, believes people should have individual freedom and that everyone deserves to be equal. He takes his freedoms so far as to say that men have the right to rebel against government and that they could start revolutions to overthrow governments that inhibit their freedoms. Nietzsche, the most liberal on freedom, claims that people should be free spirits. He states that everyone has the right to create their own values in order to rise above the ordinary man.
None of these three men agree on the state of government. Mill believes in utilitarianism and values the quality of pleasure. He says that man should pursue whatever he wishes as long as it brings him pleasure. He also says that government should include liberty for the intellectual and moral development of the people. Marx establishes his own form of government by devising the communist system. He wishes for the true equality of the masses. Communism is based on the premise of a workers’ state where the government is run by the working man. Marx also states that wealth should be redistributed so that all are equal. Nietzsche, compared to the others, has radical ideas which could only lead in the direction of fascism. He loves violence and acts of terror. His theory of the superman says that personal power is the key to ruling government. The idea of nationalism also plays a key role in Nietzsche’s fascism because nationalism sways the hearts of the people to follow the superman’s rule.
Even though these men are modern philosophers, their ideas are completely different. Although conservatives would not agree with the majority of their theories, some piece of truth can always be gleaned, because even these men were made in the image of God and truth is still part of them in some small way.
– Hannah S. Bowers