From “The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche” by Henry Louis Mencken:
“Reduced to elementals, Nietzsche’s philosophy consists of the following propositions:
- That the ever-dominant and only inherent impulse in all living beings, including man, is the will to remain alive — the will, that is, to attain power over those forces which make life difficult or impossible.
- That all schemes of morality are nothing more than efforts to put into permanent codes the expedients found useful by some given race in the course of its successful endeavors to remain alive.
- That, despite the universal tendency to give these codes authority by crediting them to some god, they are essentially man-made and mutable, and so change, or should change, as the conditions of human existence in the world are modified.
- That the human race should endeavor to make its mastery over its environment more and more certain, and that it is its destiny, therefore, to widen more and more the gap which now separates it from the lower races of animals.
- That any code of morality which retains its permanence and authority after the conditions of existence which gave rise to it have changed, works against this upward progress of mankind toward greater and greater efficiency. I
- That all gods and religions, because they have for their main object the protection of moral codes against change, are inimicable to the life and well-being of healthy and efficient men.
- That all the ideas which grow out of such gods and religions — such, for example, as the Christian ideas of humility, of self-sacrifice and of brotherhood — are enemies of life, too.
- That human beings of the ruling, efficient class should reject all gods and religions, and with them the morality at the bottom of them and the ideas which grow out of them, and restore to its ancient kingship that primal instinct which enables every efficient individual to differentiate between the things which are beneficial to him and the things which are harmful.”
“Let a boy of alert, restless intelligence come to early manhood in an atmosphere of strong faith, wherein doubts are blasphemies and inquiry is a crime, and rebellion is certain to appear with his beard. So long as his mind feels itself puny beside the overwhelming pomp and circumstance of parental authority, he will remain docile and even pious. But so soon as he begins to see authority as something ever finite, variable and all-too-human — when he begins to realize that his father and his mother, in the last analysis, are mere human beings, and fallible like himself — then he will fly precipitately toward the intellectual wailing places, to think his own thoughts in his own way and to worship his own gods beneath the open sky.”