After all these helpful comments, I’ve done more reading and thinking about Nz’s politics. One good collection of essays I recommend is Nietzsche, godfather of fascism? (Princeton). The introduction, and essays by Golomb and Conway were especially illuminating. The volume also includes a partial defense of sister Elisabeth, which will probably make me go back and edit out many of the unkind things I have written about her.
Anyway, I have rethought the way to see Nz’s politics. Now I think it makes sense to look first at what he wants to see emerge from society. He’d like to see an elitist structure of classes, which allows for the “greater in spirit” to be in control, and the “mediocre” to lead happy little lives, providing the wealth and materials for everyone. This is why he hates the liberalism and socialism of his day: he sees that they are both driving toward a classless society, or a class society oriented along the wrong axis (like wealth or, God forbid, public service). Instead he wants some sort of society which will allow for the emergence of classes oriented along an axis of intelligence, strength of spirit, creative vision, and appetite for conflict, change, and challenge.
It may be that a range of different political structures could in fact allow for such an emergence. In the end, though, the structure will be somewhat fascistic in form, inasmuch as the mediocre ones will have no meaningful role in political governance, and will be kept in check by any means necessary. (We wouldn’t want another slave revolt, now, would we?) But, generally, the mediocre will be treated gently, since the drones need to be fairly happy and secure in order to produce. The elite, on the other hand, will be in a state of war among themselves, since that’s what they want and need in order to flourish. They wouldn’t fight over who is in political control, since they all recognize the necessity of the mediocre. But they’d fight over … what? Ideas? Anything, for thrills? Maybe they’d step into the roles vacated by the Olympian gods, playing chess with one another, using the plebs as the pieces. A good war now and then might help production, and it would all be in good fun (for the elites). This, obviously, is the scary part of the vision Nz advocates, the one he boasts about and warns us about.
I find it interesting that Nz’s politics, if this is right, would be based upon the same principle as Plato’s republic: a natural division of labor. Somehow, people need to be sorted out into the two main classes on the basis of their spirit, or nature, or potential. And the plebs need to be kept happy. But the elites look very different. Plato’s are serene, while Nz’s are in turmoil with themselves and one another. And the objectives are different. For Plato, the the state is the way it is for the sake of justice. For Nz, it’s for the sake of producing the highest/strongest specimens.
To the extent that Nz thinks is value of “health” is grounded in some sort of biological structure, his thinking is probably racist — though racist in a unique way. He probably thought that, through eugenics, you could get better over time at producing a race of elites (here again he echoes Plato). I don’t think he thought the races identified in his day or ours (Jewish, Aryan, etc.) were divided along useful lines. Meaning: he probably believed these races really exist, but thought they had evolved under conditions which did not yield anything like the race he wanted to see developed. Under scientific care, such a race could develop.
I think this view fits many of Nz remarks. (Please, shout out again if you disagree.) And it has plenty of gaps in the right places, for Nz did not develop detailed views of political structures. I think he had a hazy vision of what he would have liked to have seen, and it was elitist, scary, and opposed to the morality of liberals.