The New Idol
Section XI of Thus Spake Zarathustra
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brothers:
here there are states.
A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I
say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.
A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it also lies;
and this lie creeps from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a faith and
a love over them: thus they served life.
Destroyers, are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state: they
hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.
Where there is still a people, there the state is not understood, but hated
as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.
This sign I give unto you: every people speaks its language of good and
evil: this its neighbor understands not. Its language it has devised
for itself in laws and customs.
But the state lies in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it
says it lies; and whatever it has it has stolen.
False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it bites, the biting one.
False are even its bowels.
Confusion of language of good and evil; this sign I give unto you as the
sign of the state. Verily, the will to death, indicates this sign!
Verily, it beckons unto the preachers of death!
Many too many are born: for the superfluous ones was the state devised!
See just how it entices them to it, the many-too-many! How it swallows
and chews and re-chews them!
"On earth there is nothing greater than I: it is I who am the regulating
finger of God"—thus roars the monster. And not only the long-eared and
short-sighted fall upon their knees!
Ah! even in your ears, ye great souls, it whispers its gloomy lies! Ah!
it finds out the rich hearts which willingly lavish themselves!
Yea, it finds you out too, ye conquerors of the old God! Weary ye became
of the conflict, and now your weariness serves the new idol!
Heroes and honorable ones, it would fain set up around it, the new idol!
Gladly it basks in the sunshine of good consciences,—the cold monster!
Everything will it give you, if you worship it, the new idol:
thus it purchases the luster of your virtue, and the glance of your proud eyes.
It seeks to allure by means of you, the many-too-many! Yea, a hellish
artifice has here been devised, a death-horse jingling with the trappings
of divine honors!
Yea, a dying for many has here been devised, which glorifies itself as
life: verily, a hearty service unto all preachers of death!
The state, I call it, where all are poison-drinkers, the good and the bad:
the state, where all lose themselves, the good and the bad: the state,
where the slow suicide of all—is called "life."
Just see these superfluous ones! They steal the works of the inventors and
the treasures of the wise. Culture, they call their theft—and everything
becomes sickness and trouble unto them!
Just see these superfluous ones! Sick are they always; they vomit their
bile and call it a newspaper. They devour one another, and cannot even
Just see these superfluous ones! Wealth they acquire and become poorer
thereby. Power they seek for, and above all, the lever of power, much
money—these impotent ones!
See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another, and
thus scuffle into the mud and the abyss.
Towards the throne they all strive: it is their madness—as if happiness
sat on the throne! Ofttimes sits filth on the throne.—and ofttimes
also the throne on filth.
Madmen they all seem to me, and clambering apes, and too eager. Badly
smells their idol to me, the cold monster: badly they all smell to me,
My brothers, will ye suffocate in the fumes of their maws and appetites!
Better break the windows and jump into the open air!
Do go out of the way of the bad odor! Withdraw from the idolatry of the
Do go out of the way of the bad odor! Withdraw from the steam of these
Open still remains the earth for great souls. Empty are still many sites
for lone ones and twain ones, around which floats the odor of tranquil
Open still remains a free life for great souls. Verily, he who
possesses little is so much the less possessed: blessed be moderate
There, where the state ceases—there only commences the man who is not
superfluous: there commences the song of the necessary ones, the single
and irreplaceable melody.
There, where the state ceases—pray look there, my brothers! Do ye not
see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the Superman?—
Thus spake Zarathustra.