Near the end of his life in 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche was a man in his silence and in his complete madness. Despite his anti-semitic views and his incurable misogynistic outlook, his writings bring crucial insights regarding the history of civilization and our current era of "post truth".
Nietzsche's idea of will to power, which refers to the motivating life force experienced as a desire to assert dominance and power over ourselves and others, has been a common theme in the history of our human civilization. The idea of one asserting dominance over the weaker "other" is found in patriarchal societies such as Saudi Arabia.
Social groups enforce what they see as their racial superiority by oppressing the weaker "other". Just look at the plight of African Americans in the U.S, the Kurds in Arab and Turkish territories and Uyghur Muslims in China.
The idea of a person or a group enforcing superiority over the weaker "other" has not eroded with the rise of free market capitalism. Free market capitalism has created new exploitative relationships in which the bourgeoisie assert dominance and degrade the weak "other", which is the proletariat.
In light of these grim revelations, Nietzsche proposes a transvaluation of values — which refers to a re-evaluation of all values dictated by others. This enables one to create an individual ethical framework that reflects one's own will to power.
Nietzsche's proposal is the pre-cursor to Postmodernism, which has ushered in our era of post truth. Like the Postmodernists, Nietzsche shuns 19th century European Enlightenment universalities and instead proposes personal subjectivity as the guide to spiritual and ethical fulfillment.
President Donald Trump is the ultimate Postmodern President. His behavior fits seamlessly with Nietzsche's central thesis. He has encouraged the decay of universalities such as Science and Ethics. For instance, Trump's blatant disregard for the science of climate change and his vulgarity towards women are examples of a gradual decay of scientific and ethical norms.
President Trump creates his own moral framework and his own versions of reality. His supporters are willing to forgive his imperfections, thus compromising on their own ethics and religious beliefs. Trump supporters are willing to sacrifice 19th Century European Enlightenment values in order to purify the supposed evils of political correctness and multiculturalism.
If alive today, Nietzsche would view Trump as the ultimate Übermensch — which refers to the person who will deliver society to a new day that opens the way for transcendence of morality — beyond good and evil.
To his supporters, Trump transcends any notions of good and evil — as he is the person that will restore false narratives American exceptionalism. Notions of good and evil can not be applied to the savior of white America.
The mentality of Trump supporters evokes another crucial Nietzschean concept. Ressentiment describes the bitterness and hostility that accompanies an impression of one’s own inferiority. According to Nietzsche, ressentiment naturally leads to the projection of one’s weakness as strength and the scapegoating of another/other.
In the case of Trump and his supporters, they fail to admit the failures of American nationalism and economy, therefore, they use immigrants, political correctness and the decay of family values as scapegoats.
The use of scapegoats will prevent them from addressing the real problems of America, such as the rise of Artificial Intelligence, a lack of affordable health care and the decay of mother nature. Liberals use Trump as a scapegoat that explains all evil, and this often prevents them from crafting creative solutions to address global issues.
Trump is not the only one who has enabled our current era of Post truth. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are also to blame for the mass sharing of disinformation.
Social media designs and models often encourage partisan click bait that ignite our most dangerous tribal instincts. In our era of postmodernity, it is as if each user is living in a separate reality that is completely detached from truth and objectivity.
Nietzsche left us with one incredibly crucial insight about authenticity. Nietzsche believes that we must free ourselves to express the “dark” side of our humanity and not simply the more positive aspects of humanity.
He says we should not fear to express hate, envy, jealousy any more than love, joy, and caring. This sort of authenticity is at the core of what makes free expression so valuable and is an antidote to oppressive and unimaginative political correctness. Nietzsche correctly views anger as a valuable and beautiful emotion, just as love and lust are.