Against the impression that what he says about socialism is either indiscriminately hostile or somewhat superficial, I show Nietzsche to be a subtle and nuanced judge of socialism in his first three “middle period” works—Human, All Too Human, Assorted Opinions and Maxims, and The Wanderer and His Shadow. First, I argue that the critique of socialism contained within the two volumes of HH cuts deeper than generic dismissals of socialism found in later work. Second, I contend that Nietzsche's critique of socialism is not his final word, but comes with an equally pointed critique of the “property-minded.” Third, I demonstrate that although Nietzsche diagnoses both pro-socialists and anti-socialists as driven by factionalism, he is not committed to a position of neutrality. Finally, I examine his claim that when economic equalities grow extreme, determinedly socialist policies merit strong support, and argue for the contemporary relevance of Nietzsche's thinking about socialism.

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