Nietzsche – UPSC Ethics Thinkers

“A moral system valid for all is basically immoral.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

What do you understand by the above statement? Comment on it in the context of current developments you see in India and around the world. (150 Words)
Nietzsche’s quote lends itself to validate moral relativism. There are different interpretations of morality over space and time. The basis for morality lies in societal norms that differ from one culture to another. These norms could be determined by religious ideology, philosophical thinkers, the law of the land and of course our conscience which give context to ‘a’ moral system. That’s the reason why it’s possible to do something that is morally wrong subject to our moral interpretation.
Our justification for what is morally right and morally wrong is ‘intent’ and ‘outcome’. So, if AFSPA in Kashmir and some of the North eastern states helps eliminate insurgents even though it might result in killing of innocent civilians it is accepted. On the other hand, Irom Sharmila’s 15 year’s hunger strike demanding the repeal of the military act is rejected because it is not supported by the law of the land. In another instance, those who indulge in divisive activities with the intention to polarise and communalise are condemned because they are against the moral fabric of our society which is termed ‘secular’ but those who adhere to the majoritarian project see themselves as nationalists and believe they are morally right.
Similarly, around the world, there are moral discrepancies. The Hindu majority in India considers the cow holy and its slaughter and eating is banned but it’s not so in other parts of the world. For America, its war on terrorism and bombing of entire countries is morally right because its intention is to protect the lives of innocent people by killing terrorists but for others it’s not. For the jihadi terrorist, his justification of committing barbaric killings lies in Wahabi Islamic ideology. The Islamic State and for that matter other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran believe that the Sharia Law is morally right because it is ordained by God which is not so in democratic societies. Norms differ around the world and so do moral systems. In the words of Nietzsche, ‘There is no such thing as moral phenomenon, but only moral interpretation of the phenomenon.



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