The following letter was to Heraclitus No. 19, May 1989. Heraclitus was published by the Sydney Libertarians, “Pluralists and Critical Drinkers.” Broadsheet was published 1957-1979. It was continued by Heraclitus 1980-2006 and that continued by The Sydney Realist 2005- (current).
Scans of the original journal were provided by Voluntary Committee of Sydney Realists.
LETTER TO THE EDITORS
I read with interest and appreciation the article on Max Stirner by my old “comrade-in-arms” of the sixties, David Miller, which appeared in the September 1988 issue of Heraclitus. He is right to point out that, despite the “traditional view”, Stirner cannot be classified as an anarchist. After many years of trying to fit him into an anarchist framework I came to the same conclusion. At the same time, some seven years ago, I abandoned the last vestiges of the anarchism I had adhered to for thirty five years
and decided that the philosophy of egoism sufficed for me. Even such a seemingly amoral attitude as that of the Sydney Libertarians is no longer acceptable to me since it carries with it the implicit moral injunction “thou shalt not coerce” (e.g. Libertarians “do not seek to impose their wishes upon other people by… coercion.” A.J. Baker, “The Illusions of Moralism”, Libertarian No. 1).
Whether or not I use coercion, or support its use by others, is for me a mere matter of expediency. If my interests can be served by coercing someone and I am capable of doing so, then I will coerce that someone. If a government does something to my advantage then I will support it just as readily as I will oppose it (to the extent of my power) if it does something to my disadvantage. Because I have freed myself from “Freedom” I no longer experience any taboo against using coercion, or dominating, because I no longer believe that coercing or dominating people is “wrong”. The only limit that I acknowledge is that set by my competence.
All of this, of course, can be found in Stirner’s The Ego and His Own by anyone prepared to see it. Unfortunately, some anarchists are apparently incapable of seeing it and still insist on incorporating Stirner into the anarchist pantheon. They want both
the penny of Stirner and the bun of anarchism, not realizing that they cannot have both.
S.E. Parker 21-1-89
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