Nietzsche's Critique of Wokeness

Eddie Ejjbair
4 min readAug 2

Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity applies so well to Wokeness because they’re basically the same thing. As Andrew Doyle argues in his recent book, The New Puritans, the question of whether or not ‘wokeness is the new religion’ is no longer dismissible:

For all its flaws, the analogy is now commonplace and many pundits speak freely of ‘the religion of social justice’ without any need for further qualification. Culture warriors of all stripes have become increasingly doctrinaire and sectarian. Many of them favour slogans as a substitute for thought, almost as a form of holy writ. They have their own esoteric language, originating in largely outdated postmodernist jargon, and enshrined in foundational sacred texts by the likes of thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, or the intersectional theories popularised by Kimberlé Crenshaw. And although heretics are unlikely to be burned at the stake, their inquisitors are convinced that non-believers must convert for their own good

More specifically, Wokeness is a secular form of Puritanical Christianity, defined by a ‘prohibitionist and precisionist tendency to refashion society in accordance with its own ideological fervour’. Nietzsche not only predicted this non-theistic Christianity, he also saw through the superficial humanitarianism of its clergy, into its persecutory core.

According to Nietzsche, Christianity is ‘the one great curse’ of mankind. He calls it life-denying, the ‘innermost corruption’, the stealthy ‘instinct for revenge’. To understand why, we must observe the ‘soil out of which it grew’ — Judaism’s rebellion against pagan values. According to Nietzsche, Christianity ‘is not a counter-movement to the Jewish instinct, it is its very consequence, one inference more in its awe-inspiring logic’. This instinct ‘says No to what is “outside,” what is “different,” what is “not itself”’. At its core, it’s ‘hatred of all who think differently; [it’s] the will to persecute’. This is why it was predestined to cannibalise aspects of itself; Judaism produced a formula for its instinct that was ‘logical to the point of self-negation’:

as Christianity, it negated even the last form of reality, the “holy people,” the “chosen people,” the Jewish reality itself. This case is of the first rank: the little rebellious movement which is…

Eddie Ejjbair

‘Gradually it’s become clear to me what every great philosophy has been: a personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir’