1999, March – Letter to “Heraclitus” (Sydney, AU)

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.


I see that Anderson (Heraclitus No. 71) believed that Stirner was an anarchist. So did I – once. Not having looked at the world through anarchist eyes for some fifteen years, and thus being able to pay closer attention to what Stirner actually did write, I no longer think that he can be described as an anarchist. The central tenet of the anarchist faith is: Dominating People Is Wrong. Stirner, however, made out no case for non-domination.. Indeed, he stated bluntly “I do not want the liberty of men, nor their equality; I want only my power over them” (The Ego and His Own, Dover 1973 edition, p. 318).

It is true that in his attacks upon the State he appeared to join forces with the advocates of anarchism* (although he did not recognize a kindred spirit in his contemporary Proudhon) but I would argue that the State he attacks is what Anderson aptly described as a “metaphysical object… (an) imaginary sanction for certain institutions or arrangements”. Whatever similarities existed between anarchism and Stirner regarding certain issues, they do not add up to enough to win him what R.W.K. Paterson called “an ornamental niche amid the embalmed ancestors of modern anarchism”.

As for Anderson’s reported claim that Stirner “was ready to treat anything that was not the ego as unreal”, since no evidence for this is given, I can make no comment.

S.E. Parker


* Nietzsche, too, fiercely attacked the State, but none but the woolly-minded or ignorant would classify him as an anarchist!