In The New Atheists Are Simpering Cowards I wrote:
For Nietzsche nature is cruel and indifferent to suffering, and that cruel indifference is a good thing. The strong rule the weak and that is as it should be. And why should the strong rule the weak? Because that is the natural order of things of course. In a world where God is dead, objective morality is merely an illusion slaves have foisted on masters as a sort of self-defense mechanism.
When Nietzsche urges us to go beyond good and evil, he is urging us to recognize the implications of God’s death for morality. God is the only possible source of transcendent objective moral norms. If God does not exist then neither do transcendent objective moral norms. And if transcendent objective moral norms do not exist, neither do “good” and “evil” in the traditional senses of those words. There is only a perpetual battle of all against all, and “good” is a synonym for prevailing in that battle, and “evil” is a synonym for losing. . . .
I feel like my ears are going to bleed at the bleating of the new atheists who write in these pages. They go on and on and on and on about how morality is rooted in empathy and the avoidance of suffering. Nietzsche would have spit his contempt on them, for they are espousing the “herd animal” Christian slave-morality he disdained and which, ironically, they claim to have risen above. How many times have the atheists insisted, “we are just as ‘good’ as you”? Why have they failed to learn from Nietzsche that “good” means nothing. Why do they insist that they conform to a standard that they also insist does not exist?
The answer to these questions is the same: They refuse to acknowledge the conclusions that are logically compelled by their premises. And why do they refuse? Because they are simpering cowards.
In the comments to KF’s recent post, the bleating from one “JSmith” is especially repulsive. William J. Murray asked JSmith why his subjective preference for certain moral positions was different from his subjective preference for a particular flavor of ice cream. JSmith refused to respond. Instead, he argued that even asking the question was dishonest. JSmith wrote:
[WJM] was using a dishonest tactic which he always uses. Trying to equate the dislike you have for your child being killed with the dislike you have for chocolate ice cream.
Umm, JSmith, did you not notice that you just used the word “dislike” twice? WJM argued that you base your morality on subjective preference (i.e., what you “like”). He argued further that people base their decision about which ice cream to eat based on subjective preference (i.e., which ice cream they “like”). Everyone concedes that the felt intensity of your subjective preference that your child not be killed is much greater than the felt intensity of your subjective preference for, say, vanilla ice cream.
OK. You feel the subjective preferences differently. They are still both subjective preferences.
This is glaringly obvious and admitted — even celebrated — by brave atheists. Nietzsche again:
The noble type of man regards HIMSELF as a determiner of values; he does not require to be approved of; he passes the judgment: “What is injurious to me is injurious in itself;” he knows that it is he himself only who confers honour on things; he is a CREATOR OF VALUES. He honours whatever he recognizes in himself: such morality equals self-glorification. . . . one may act towards beings of a lower rank, towards all that is foreign, just as seems good to one, or “as the heart desires,” and in any case “beyond good and evil”
Why does JSmith run from conclusions absolutely compelled by his own premises? Because he is a simpering coward. In his own mind he cannot possibly be a nihilist. He lives his comfortable little bourgeois life, a life that has been built upon a foundation of a Christian cultural heritage centuries in the making. And standing on that foundation he thinks of himself as a decent fellow. And so he spews his oh-so-progressive views into our combox with never a thought to the end of the logical road to which his premises lead.
Mr. Smith, allow me to show you the end of that road: