Might is Wrong and Right

Steven Gambardella
2 min readJun 6, 2022
Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Here’s a terrifying thought for you — morality wasn’t handed out equally. The compassion of those with the most power matters more than those with less. The more dangerous you become, the more moral you are permitted to be by your own nature.

This is an idea I found from Ryan Frawley, one of the best — if not the best — writers active here. He’s one of the few writers who I return to — again and again — to think, to learn, to just let the words rattle around my head. This must be the seventh time I’ve read this particular article.

While Frawley credits Nietzsche for this idea (Nietzsche wrote, “I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no claws.”), it’s the astonishing way the writer conveys the thought that drives it home like a punch in the gut. You’re left on your knees, mouth open, but nothing going in or out.

“Does it upset you to read that?” He writes. “It’s upsetting to do it. It’s not something you ever feel good about. But it needs to be done.”

Like much of his work, Frawley’s writing here is chiaroscuro — alternating in strong contrasts by quick turns. He melds autobiography, travelogue and philosophy in a way that stirs the senses. It’s the visceral, connective approach to ideas that makes them so compelling and lived in. This 1500-words-or-so essay feels like an odyssey.

Imagine wiping your mouth and seeing blood on the napkin. That’s what Frawley’s work is like, you get more than you bargained for.

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Steven Gambardella

History PhD. The lessons of history and philosophy for your life and work. Writes The Sophist: https://sophist.substack.com/