Nietzsche and individualismNietzsche often referred to the common people who participated in mass movements and shared a common mass psychology as "the rabble", or "the herd". He allegedly valued individualism above all else, although this has been considered by many philosophers to be an oversimplification, as Nietzsche criticized the concept of the subject and of atomism (that is, the existence of an atomic subject at the foundation of everything, found for example in social contract theories). He considered the individual subject as a complex of instincts and wills-to-power, just as any other organization. Beginning in the 1890s some scholars have attempted to link his philosophy with Max Stirner's radical individualism of The Ego and Its Own (1844). The question remained pendant. Recently there was unearthed further, still circumstantial, evidence clarifying the relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner. In any case, few philosophers really consider Nietzsche an "individualist" thinker. He is best characterized as a thinker of "hierarchy", although the precise nature of this hierarchy does not cover the current social order (the "establishment") and is related to his thought of the Will to Power. Against the strictly "egoist" perspective adopted by Stirner, Nietzsche concerned himself with the "problem of the civilization" and the necessity to give humanity a goal and a direction to its history, making him, in this sense, a very political thinker.
Furthermore, in the context of his criticism of morality and Christianity, expressed, among others works, in On the Genealogy of Morals and in The Antichrist, Nietzsche often criticized humanitarian feelings, detesting how pity and altruism were ways for the "weak" to take power over the "strong". However, he qualified his critique of Christianism as a "particular case" of his criticisms of free will. Along with the rejection of teleology, this critique of free will is one of the common points he shared with Spinoza, whom he qualified as a "precursor". To the "ethics of compassion" (Mitleid, "shared suffering") exposed by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche opposed an "ethics of friendship" or of "shared joy" (Mitfreude).
While he had a dislike of the state in general, which he called a "cold monster" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche also spoke negatively of anarchists and socialism, and made it clear that only certain individuals could attempt to break away from the herd mentality. This theme is common throughout Thus Spoke Zarathustra.