Nietzsche was a right-leaning anarchist, a "rebel aristocrat" (Domenico Losurdo).

He was vividly against democracy, socialism, and equality.

He criticized John Stuart Mill, rejecting his Utilitarianism and his "harm principle" (cf. Russell's History of Western Philosophy).

But did he positioned himself explicitly against classical liberalism?

In particular, what about the position of Nietzsche on these tenets of classical liberalism:

_religious toleration

_equality before the law

_rule of law

_free market

_freedom of expression

Did he clearly and explicitly oppose to them?

  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Philosophy Meta, or in Philosophy Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 18:37
  • Gosh, I was trying to end the discussion.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


In general Nietzsche is concerned with foundational values like pity rather than these 'low level' political and especially economic concerns. So there's not always a clear and explicit statement on issues like these. That said, he did call (classical) liberalism 'the herd animalization of man.'

It's worth citing the full quote:

My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. One knows, indeed, what their ways bring: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic [genüsslich] — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization.

As you noted, Nietzsche is properly placed on the political right (although nothing like what goes by the name 'conservatism' today). I would disagree that he's an anarchist, but some people argue this based on his criticism of the state. I think given his general outlook it's fairly easy to deduce his opinions on the things you listed:

religious toleration - he wouldn't care to support this. He wanted Christianity to disappear (and predicted it would), to be replaced with a new pagan-like ethos.

equality before the law - he rejects all forms of egalitarianism, so there's no reason to think he'd support this.

rule of law - he wanted 'artist tyrants' ruling over mankind, their will would be sovereign, not a law that applies equally to all.

free market - He would prefer it to the welfare state and communism, but economics is just not a big concern of his.

freedom of expression - not entirely clear. He wanted liberation for the 'higher types' or aristocrats, which presumably would include free speech. As for the herd, the great mass of humanity, he wanted them either to be slaves (so that the aristocrats could be liberated from work and focus on higher things, i.e. culture), or at least live and work without significant rights.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .