Letter: In defense of Nietzsche

Published: Saturday, April 12 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

I want to comment on an element of the article by Joe Cramer, "Try approaching parenting like Goldilocks, not like Nietzsche," (April 1). Cramer's articles on medical and family care for all of us are very important contributions to the people of Utah.

However, I have concerns about the accuracy and fairness of some of Cramer's claims regarding Nietzsche — both Nietzsche's words and intent. He quotes Nietzsche as saying, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." The actual quote, in German, is "Was mich nicht umbringt, mach mich starker." A correct translation, according to scholars, is "That which does not destroy me strengthens me."

Nietzsche was not speaking here of others, but of himself, in his search for mental stability and bodily health. His statement is famous (and oft misquoted), but is a reference to finding courage in the midst of sufferings, and in a search for how to face and overcome them — not at all for "power to combat the weak," or to build a "super race," as Cramer says.

Secondly, Nietzsche would never have supported the Nazis — whether or not his writings later became part of their doctrine. I have studied and taught Nietzsche for most of my university career, and I can state with confidence that Nietzsche would have detested the Nazis. In Nietzsche's concept of the Ubermensch ("Overman"), he was looking to individuals, not a race, developing higher capabilities.

Howard Tuttle

Salt Lake City

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