Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pull Between Good and Evil: Which side prevailed in the 20th Century?

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Sarah Metcalf

0th Century Final Exam


The Pull Between Good and Evil Which Side Prevailed in the 0th Century?

Order Custom The Pull Between Good and Evil: Which side prevailed in the 20th Century? paper

Since the beginning of time and history, there has been a constant struggle

between forces that I like to think of as “good,” being progressive, and “evil,”

being Nietzschian. Almost all of the events that have ever taken place during

the course of history can feasibly be classified under one of these two

categories. However, when it comes to giving away the 0th century to either one

predominant side or the other, I fear that I am torn. Every time I can think of

an extremely Nietzschian event that has taken place, I can also come up with a

progressive event that has sent humanity moving forward again. When it comes right down to it, however, Nietzschian events, however awful they may be, are usually short lived or are finished in a matter of years. Progressive people have been serving humanity and making it better consistently throughout the 0th Century. Although it truly can be considered an equal balance at times, the thing that sets Progressivism apart from Nietzscheism is its consistency and persistence.

Many of the Nietzschian events that have occurred in the 0th century are main

focuses of the entire past 100 years. The first major Nietzschian event that

transpired was the start of World War I. WWI is generally considered a giant

waste of millions of innocent lives. What started as an insecure feeling among

several European nations ended up turning into one of the biggest catastrophes

the world has ever seen. Germany has been compared to a little boy coming late

to Thanksgiving dinner and not getting a piece of the turkey, and millions of

people willingly gave their lives over colonies and greed. Paul Baumber and his friends were stripped of their youth and prematurely turned into hardened

killers for reasons they did not even understand. Each country was trying to

become their own “Superman” through colonies and greed, except Germany was

beating them all it. Due to this, the first world cataclysm erupted.

The end of the First World War brought about another Nietzschian event, the

Versailles Treaty. This was supposed to be the treaty that ended the war, and

all world wars, for the rest of time. However, the diplomats constructing the

treaty failed miserably. The Treaty was based on power, wealth and greed, with

each country not only trying to gain back what they lost, but also attempting to

gain as much land from the defeated Germany as possible. All of the blame was

placed on Germany by the other countries simply because they won and Germany

lost. However, the countries’ representatives failed to crush Germany

completely, and instead only created 0 years of hardship and poverty and an

undying grudge and heaps of bitterness in Germany. If the Versailles treaty had

been handled in a better fashion by European diplomats, I strongly believe that

the Second World War could have been avoided.

If the Second World War had been avoided, Hitler’s biocratic state would have

never taken place, and another Nietzschian event could have been eluded.

Hitler’s biocracy had to be one of the most disturbing and tragic events of the

0th century. Life and government as the world had known it was turned upside

down. The government held the right to decide who lived and who died, and they

did not hesitate to use it. Through the disturbing Wamsee conference, it gave

itself the right to destroy life that they considered to be “unworthy of life”

and started a eugenics program in order to breed a more perfect race. Also,

members of society that were considered weak or unfit were to be destroyed,

which led to the T-4 program, which ordered forced euthanasia in 6 mental

hospitals around Germany. Hitler and his cult following formed a Gleishatung,

and soon Germany was a running, working biocratic state. I believe that it was

this form of government that led to the inevitable start of WWII, which was the

most tragic world event history has ever seen. Fifty million were left dead and

another fifty million were left homeless. This was truly the ultimate

“Nietzschian Nightmare.” Millions upon millions of people suffered unimaginable

pain and sorrow because of Germany’s vision (created by Hitler) to become the

“Superman” country of the world.

Hitler’s existence and actions affected and changed the world in so many ways,

but it left one permanent Nietzschian stamp on the world that still predominates

today. Hitler brought about the idea of total war, which throws away the idea of

traditional fighting amongst soldiers and combatants only. Instead, Hitler

targeted anyone who had affiliation with his enemy countries, which included

women, children and civilians. Because of his strategies, the world was forced

to accept the idea of total war in order to defeat him. However, once the

concept was accepted, it was not dropped. The world still fights in a method

reminiscent of the total war that Hitler introduced. For instance, even after

Hitler was defeated, Harry S. Truman decided to drop two atomic bombs on

Nagasaki and Hiroshima in order to force Japan to surrender quickly. These bombs

killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians and non-combatants. Even

today, nuclear war is still a huge threat, and a country is not considered

powerful unless they have these types of weapons of mass destruction. In order

to defeat Osama bin Laden after /11, the US bombed Afghanistan relentlessly.

Hitler has left his permanent mark on the US and on the world, and our entire

technique of fighting wars has been changed due to his actions.

WWII also left the US as the most powerful democratic nation in the world.

However, it would soon enter into its own “Nietzschian Nightmare.” The US and

Russia were the only two world powers left, and Russia was obviously very

Communist. According to Nietzsche, happiness equals power plus domination. The

US could not achieve this (or so they thought) as long as Russia was around and

gaining followers. A huge fear of Communism began to grow and turn into a panic,

and soon the Truman Doctrine was announced. I believe that this is one of the

absolute most Nietzschian events of the 0th Century. America wanted to be the

best, to be the absolute one and only “Superman.” It wanted to become master to

the world and slave to no one. Thus, it vowed to defeat what it believed to be

its only true threat Communism. Communism is the epitome of what is supposed to

be equality, and America considered it evil. This is extremely Nietzschian

simply because Nietzsche also considered equality to be the most poisonous toxin

of them all. This mentality, however, led to many unnecessary foreign actions

and acted as a waste of precious human lives. America entered into Korea and

Vietnam, both civil wars that really did not concern them. The Cold War broke

out, and the US and Russia were locked in an intense arms race and general

competition with the other. This went on for over 0 years! The Truman Doctrine

sentenced young American soldiers to die and other Americans to turn against one

another, and it was all for truly Nietzschian reasons.

A main reason any of these events even occurred was a little thing called

American Exceptionalism. If one thinks about it, Nietzscheism and American

Exceptionalism are parallel to one another. Both hold themselves at a higher

standard than the rest of humanity and both are attempting to make themselves

into the ultimate Superman figure. American Exceptionalism is the mentality that

made us want to enter both world wars and straighten the whole things out. It

was the motivation behind the Truman Doctrine, the reason for so much bloodshed

and heartache. It has made certain Americans unaware and unsympathetic towards

any kind of “backwards” culture (a.k.a. Ugly Americans). It has triggered

bigotry and racism in our country and caused other countries to harbor hostile

feelings against us (also leading to September 11). It has been an element of

Nietzscheism that has been installed in all of us this century and continues to

shadow our every move.

However, with masses of bad going on around us this century, it is sometimes

easy to overlook all the good that has also taken place. Feminism has grown to

new heights in the past hundred years. Thanks to leaders such as Charlotte

Perkins Gilman, Susan B. Anthony, Anna Howard Shaw, Betty Friedan, and Margaret

Sanger, women have made huge strides. At one time, they were dominated by their

husbands and children, not educated, not allowed to vote or hold office, and

discouraged from having a job or career. Just thinking about how their roles in

society have changed over the past 100 years is astounding. Now, women are

scientists, doctors, soldiers, CEOs, legal voters and politicians, and have the

same opportunities for education and careers as men do. At one point this

century, the latter was unthinkable.

Also, among the same frame of mind, the Civil Rights Movement has made

incredible strides through peaceful demonstrations and protests in the 0th

Century. What used to be considered common practice in reference to blacks now

seems far away in the minds of most people. Segregation is only believed in by a

few Americans who are generally considered to be ignorant and bigots. Peaceful,

strong, intelligent leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, WEB

Dubois and Jesse Jackson have led a nation to the realization that all colors

are beautiful, not just white.

At one point this century, a rather unknown progressive came along and changed

the world forever. His influence still dictates the way that our Presidents act

today. His name was Woodrow Wilson, and he attempted to do some of the greatest

progressive things ever suggested by a President of the US. Not only did he

grant women the right to vote (see two paragraphs up), he also created 14 points

that still dominate foreign policy today and would have prevented many foreign

relations catastrophes if they had been more generally accepted. He called for

the spread of democracy and self-determination for colonies under the rule of

powerful European nations, which came only after all the bloodshed of WWI. He

suggested the US create arms control, which could have prevented much of the

hoopla associated with the Cold War. His greatest proposal, however, was the

League of Nations. By working together, he believed that the world’s most

powerful nations could prevent anything even remotely like WWI from ever

happening again. However, his theory was basically shot down, and instead the

world ended up fighting the second half of a war they had started 0 years

before. Today, a league of nations exists under the name the United Nations, and

it has prevented and helped to control what could have turned into catastrophic

world events. It also regulates arms control, another one of Wilson’s wished.

Basically, he was a man before his time, but his influence has not been lost and

probably never will be.

Another American President proved his progressive wills during this 0th

Century. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most beloved presidents this

country ever had. He was so endeared by the nation that he was elected to office

4 times and ended up passing away in his fourth term. During his time in office,

though, he took the country out of one of the direst times it had ever

experienced. He brought the country out of Depression with his “New Deal,” and

he created laws and associations that are still in existence today and prevent

the country from ever entering into another Depression. He also guided the

country through one of its darkest moments at Pearl Harbor and led them

valiantly to fight Hitler and the German state in WWII. He was revered by his

nation as a father figure, and he created many laws and procedures that still

endure today and offer us the opportunities that we are so lucky to have. He was

truly a Progressive and one of the most successful presidents this country has

ever seen.

In the area of art and literature, free speech has become a rally cry as

musicians, artists and authors become more and more concerned with our country’s

actions and the betterment of society. Art has evolved from simply a form of

entertainment, and is now on outlet for passionate people to speak their minds

about current events and use their fame in order to better the nation and the

world. Although I definitely cannot say this about all artists (Britney Spears

anyone?), many people throughout this century have successfully become active in

society and politics and have spoken their minds and opinions. Artists such as

John Lennon, David Siqierous, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bono from U, and Jim

Henson, among many others, have all stepped out of the simple fame spotlight and

onto the main stage of the world as they use their talents to have an effect on

humanity. Photographers now send messages about things they feel society needs

to see in their works, and most all artists dream of one day making a difference

on many different levels of society. I truly believe that although it seems

insignificant, this has been one of the greatest advances of the 0th Century.

However, what I consider the greatest advancement in the 0th Century has been

the amazing, incredible strides in technology. Computers, which were at one time

unimaginable, are now a common and necessary household possession. Men have

been to the moon, which was once unattainable, and is now almost a routine

occurrence. Diseases that were once considered immanently deadly are now cured

within a matter of months. Cell phones, cars, stereos, televisions, and

everything else imaginable now run rampant through daily life. The technological

advances made in this century are so incredible that it is almost

incomprehensible. So many people have contributed to the advances in

understanding science, surgery, the human body, electricity, and the other

innumerable technological advances in this century. It is amazing to think how

these people have contributed to the betterment of humanity as a whole. It has

truly been the definition of progressivism in the 0th Century.

Too many people in this world are pessimists. In a world with so much evil and hardship going on, it is very easy to overlook all the good things that are happening and simply look at the bad. I believe that this is the case in the 0th Century. So much focus is put on the horrible things that happened this century because they did cause so much heartache and pain. No one can deny that both world wars were catastrophic events that must be remembered and learned from simply because they cannot be allowed to occur again. However, if you think about all of the things that have happened, Nietzschian events take place quickly and then are usually resolved. Both world wars eventually ended. Hitler’s biocracy eventually failed. The cities that were destroyed by total war were eventually rebuilt. Most Nietzschian events end after a matter of time. However, most of the Progressive events have not stopped! They have consistently continued throughout the century. Despite all of the setbacks, horrible happenings, and unfortunate losses, progressivism has persisted and continued. There is still a strong women’s rights movement existent in the US. Also, the Civil Rights movement has morphed into movements today that create the same opportunities for blacks as whites. Our Presidents now attempt to model the conduct of our former Progressive Presidents, such as Wilson and FDR. Working for a good cause is now rewarded in all aspects of society, and is no longer just taken for granted and considered common practice. Also, throughout WWI and WWII, Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War, Hitler’s biocracy, etc, progressivism was still going on. While people were fighting out on the battlefield, doctors and nurses were continuing to care for them and attempt to advance their medical technology in order to save more lives. People were working to rebuild cities almost immediately after they were destroyed by total war. Progressivism is constantly working to defeat the Nietzschian influences in the world. This is why I strongly feel that in the 0th Century and for the rest of history, progressivism has prevailed and will prevail. It sets itself apart by its consistency and diligence. No one stops becoming Progressive because of the Nietzschian events and setbacks. Progressivism has even succeeded in reversing many of the effects that Nietzscheism has had on society. Although Nietzscheism will probably never fully disappear or be defeated, I am also confident that Progressivism will eventually prevail. The sad thing is that most people don’t hear about all of the little Progressive things people do every day for the purpose of improving our daily life. So many huge and catastrophic Nietzschian things happen, and everyone hears about them. But no one really hears about the normal everyday people who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place for those still to come. It is because of these people that I strongly believe that 0th Century has been mostly progressive; they have improved our lives so vastly that the Nietzschian events are simply a tragic thing of the past.

In fifty years, when the 0th century is no longer looming over us, but is simply a faint shadow, I believe that people will mainly remember the incredible advances that society has made as a whole. Although the tragic events of the past will still be in the minds and hearts of everyone, our society has become so sophisticated compared to our former standard of living that I believe it will predominate in everyone’s minds. The 0th Century has truly been a struggle between the two, but Progressivism has persisted and won out, in my opinion and the opinions of many others. The people who have given their lives for the betterment of society have succeeded in benefiting society enough to overcome all of the horrible things that have happened to it. In the end, I believe that the human spirit is generally progressive, and it will always prevail. The human spirit is said to be stronger than anything that happens to it, and this includes any form of Nietzschian action.

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