The Egoism Of Max Stirner Essay Research

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The Egoism Of Max Stirner Essay, Research Paper The Egoism of Max Stirner(The following extracts are taken from my booklet entitled THE EGOISM OF MAX STIRNER: SOME CRITICAL BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES to be published by the Mackay Society of New York)Albert CamusCamus devotes a section of THE REBEL to Stirner. Despite a fairly accurate summarization of some of Stirner’s ideas he nonetheless consigns him to dwelling in a desert of isolation and negation “drunk with destruction”. Camus accuses Stirner of going “as far as he can in blasphemy” as if in some strange way an atheist like Stirner can “blaspheme” against something he does not believe in. He proclaims that Stirner is “intoxicated” with the “perspective” of “justifying” crime without mentioning that

Stirner carefully distinguishes between the ordinary criminal and the “criminal” as violator of the “sacred”. He brands Stirner as the direct ancestor of “terrorist anarchy” when in fact Stirner regards political terrorists as acting under the possession of a “spook”. He furthermore misquotes Stirner by asserting that he “specifies” in relation to other human beings “kill them, do not martyr them” when in fact he writes “I can kill them, not torture them” – and this in relation to the moralist who both kills and tortures to serve the “concept of the ‘good’”. Although throughout his book Camus is concerned to present “the rebel” as a preferred alternative to “the revolutionary” he nowhere acknowledges that this distinction is taken

from the one that Stirner makes between “the revolutionary” and “the insurrectionist”. That this should occur in a work whose purpose is a somewhat frantic attempt at rehabilitating “ethics” well illustrates Stirner’s ironic statement that “the hard fist of morality treats the noble nature of egoism altogether without compassion.”Eugene FleischmannAcademic treatment of Stirner is often obfuscating even when it is not downright hostile. A marked contrast is Fleischmann’s essay STIRNER, MARX AND HEGEL which is included in the symposium HEGEL’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. Clearly preferring Stirner to Marx, Fleischmann presents a straightforward account of his ideas unencumbered by “psychiatric” interpretations and _ad_hominem_ arguments. He correctly points out

that the “human self” signifies for Stirner “the individual in all his indefinable, empirical concreteness. The word ‘unique’ [einzig] means for Stirner man as he is in his irreducible individuality, always different from his fellows, and always thrown back on himself in his dealings with them. Thus, when he talks of ‘egoism’ as the ultimate definition os the human ‘essence’ it is not at all a question of a moral category . . . . but of a simple existential fact.”Fleischmann contends that “Marx and Engels’ critique of Stirner is notoriously misleading. It is not just that ridicule of a man’s person is not equivalent to refutation of his ideas, for the reader is also aware that the authors are not reacting at all to the problems raised by their

adversary.” Stirner is not simply “just another doctrinaire ideologue”. His “reality is the world of his immediate experience” and he wants “to come into his own power now, not after some remote and hypothetical ‘proletarian revolution’. Marx and Engels had nothing to offer the individual in the present: Stirner has.”In his conclusion Fleischmann states that Stirner’s view that the individual “must find his entire satisfaction in his own life” is a reversion “to the resigned attitude of a simple mortal”. This is not a serious criticism. If I cannot find satisfaction in my own life, where can I find it? Even if it is _my_ satisfaction that I experience, any satisfaction that the other may have being something that he or she experiences – not _me_. If