This piece originally appeared in City Journal.
Friedrich Nietzsche would doubtless have millions of social-media followers if he were alive today. A master of the aphorism, the nineteenth-century German philosopher’s greatest hits include such bangers as “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger;” “Gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you;” and the classic, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”
From Andrew Tate to Bronze Age Pervert, Nietzschean thought is even undergoing a minor online revival thanks to the excesses of the progressive Left. As his day’s “red-pilled edgelord,” Nietzsche waged polemical war against Christianity and the philosophies of asceticism and egalitarianism that Christianity inspired. Wokeism, a modern Nietzschean would argue, traces its genealogy to Christian “slave morality”: an inversion of classic aristocratic morality that imputes virtue to victimhood, levels down human excellence, and strives to protect the innocent above all.
Between the woke assault on gifted and talented programs and growing tolerance for public disorder across American cities, our modern-day Nietzscheans surely are onto something. Yet according to his latest torchbearer—venture capitalist and early Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen—Nietzsche may even help us make sense of the perennial backlash to emerging technology.