In this chapter the authors explore how the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s reactionary ideas of ‘the herd’ and attitudes to empathy for the weakest members of society have resonated in uncomfortable ways in the response of some populist leaders to the coronavirus pandemic that swept the world in 2020. The chapter outlines aspects of the highly disputed intellectual legacy of Nietzsche, especially in relation to the murderous, eugenicist policies of Nazi Germany. It then explores the notion of ‘herd immunity’ discussed in the pandemic and the apparently casual disregard for the wellbeing of vulnerable groups or the wider safety of citizens by three leaders: Boris Johnson in the UK, Donald Trump in the USA and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. These leaders’ widely noted unpreparedness for, or indifference to, the spread of the virus indicated an alarming lack of social responsibility that was thrown into dramatic relief by the quick, decisive action of other leaders, organisations and businesses.
|Title of host publication||Values and Corporate Responsibility|
|Subtitle of host publication||CSR and Sustainable Development|
|Editors||Francisca Farache, Georgina Grigore, Alin Stancu, David McQueen|
|Number of pages||33|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sept 2020|
|Name||Studies in Governance, Leadership and Responsibility|
- Herd immunity