Culture of Cruelty

Culture of Cruelty

Friedrich Nietzsche, in one of his most important works, "Beyond Good and Evil", postulated that: "Almost everything that we call 'higher culture' is based upon the spiritualising and intensifying of CRUELTY - this is my thesis". He didn't go far enough; What we regard to be "high culture" is a history of barbarism, exploitation, supremacy, imperialism, war and slavery.

John Stuart Mill, in 1859, during the peak of the British Empire, articulated his Harm Principle as: "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others". Although that sounds reasonable and even noble, it did not apply to those who he did not regard as "civilized". He argued that: " is likely to be for their [barbarians] benefit that they should be conquered and held in subjection by foreigners. Independence and nationality, so essential to the due growth and development of a people further advanced in improvement, are generally impediments to theirs". The "highly civilized" British Empire is responsible for some of the worst cruelties in human history.

"Higher culture" is also taking a toll on its own constituents. Even the "highest" are not immune to the emerging epidemics of mental disorders, suicides, drug abuse, loneliness, violence, cruelty...
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