Nietzsche and Napoleon
This book argues that Nietzsche’s political thought and his own proposed model of governance is Bonapartist in conception: autocratic will in the guise of popular rule. Bonaparte is the model for the Nietzschean commander; not only his virtu, his ethics of martial valour, but his political institutions and techniques of power. Nietzsche understood that Napoleon manipulated the democratic process, abandoned the concept of popular sovereignty and undermined the principle of equality, that he was opposed to parliamentary politics but maintained their simulacra, a manoeuvre Nietzsche admired in respect of tactics. Nietzsche desired a revaluation of all values which endorsed many features of the Bonapartist regime. One can see Nietzsche not merely situated in the Napoleonic historiography of the cult of personality, but also situated ideologically in terms of a Napoleonic political policy and theory of government, in so far as he affirms certain political structures of the Napoleonic Empire. Nietzsche moves beyond the Napoleonic cult of personality to an analysis of the underlying structures of the Napoleonic empire. Nietzsche admires the ‘artist of government’ Napoleon (Napoleonic Caesarism) not only for his force of will but also for his political policies and tactics or political techniques.
All ex GB, US, CA
Don Dombowsky is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies and in the Department of Philosophy, Bishop's University, Canada.