The German Ideology by Marx and Engels

5. “Stirner” Delighted in His Construction

We now find ourselves again exactly where we were on page 19 in connection with the youth, who became the man, and on page 90 in connection with the Mongoloid Caucasian, who was transformed into the Caucasian Caucasian and “found himself”. We are, therefore, at the third self-finding of the mysterious individual whose “arduous life struggle” Saint Max depicts for us. Only the whole story is now behind us, and, in view of the extensive material we have worked through, we must take a retrospective look at the gigantic corpse of the ruined man.

Though on a later page, where he has long ago forgotten his history, Saint Max asserts that “genius has long since been regarded as the creator of new world-historic productions” (p. 214), we have already seen that even his bitterest enemies cannot revile his history on that score, at any rate, for in it no individuals, let alone geniuses, make their appearance, but only ossified, crippled thoughts and Hegelian changelings.

Repetitio est mater studiorum. Saint Max, who expounded his whole history of “philosophy or time” only in order to find an opportunity for a few hurried studies of Hegel, finally repeats once again his whole unique history. However, he does it with a turn towards natural history, offering us important information about “unique” natural science, the reason being that for him, whenever the “world” has to play an important role, it immediately becomes transformed into nature. “Unique” natural science begins at once with the admission of its impotence. It does not examine the actual relation of man to nature, determined by industry and natural science, but proclaims a fantastic relation of man to nature.

“How little can man conquer! He has to allow the sun to trace its course, the sea to roll its waves, the mountains to tower to the sky” (p. 122).

Saint Max who, like all saints, loves miracles, but can only perform a logical miracle, is annoyed because he cannot make the sun dance the cancan, he grieves because he cannot still the ocean, he is indignant because he must allow the mountains to tower to the sky.

Although on page 124 the world already becomes “prosaic” at the end of antiquity, it is still, for our saint, highly unprosaic. For him it still is the “sun” and riot the earth that traces its course, and to his sorrow he cannot à la Joshua command “sun, stand thou still: On page 123, Stirner discovers that

at the end of the ancient world, “spirit” “again foamed and frothed over irresistibly because gases” (spirits) “developed within it and, after the mechanical impact from outside became ineffective, chemical tension, which stimulate in the interior, began to come into wonderful play”.

This sentence contains the most important data of the “unique” philosophy of nature, which on the previous page had already arrived at the conclusion that for man nature is the “unconquerable”. Earthly physics knows nothing about a mechanical impact which becomes ineffective — unique physics alone has the merit of this discovery. Earthly chemistry knows no “gases” which stimulate “chemical tensions” and, what is more, “in the interior”. Gases which enter into new combinations, into new chemical relations, do not stimulate any “tensions”, but at most lead to a fall of tension, insofar as they pass into a liquid state of aggregation and thereby their volume decreases to something less than one-thousandth of their former volume. If Saint Max feels “tensions” “in” his own “interior” due to “gases”, these are highly “mechanical impacts”, and by no means “chemical tensions”. They are produced by a chemical transformation, determined by physiological causes, of certain mixtures into others, whereby part of the constituents of the former mixture becomes gaseous, therefore, occupies a larger volume arid, in the absence of space for it, causes a “mechanical impact” or pressure towards the outside. [That] these nonexistent “chemical tensions” “come” into extremely “wonderful play” in Saint Max’s “interior”, namely, this time in his head, “we see” from the role they play in “unique” natural science. Incidentally, it is to be desired that Saint Max would no longer withhold from the profane natural scientists what nonsense he has in mind with the crazy expression “chemical tensions”, which moreover “stimulate in the interior” (as though a “mechanical impact” on the stomach does not “stimulate it in the interior” as well).

Saint Max wrote his “unique” natural science only because on this occasion he was unable to touch on the ancients in decent fashion without at the same time letting fall a few words about the “world of things”, about nature.

At the end of the ancient world the ancients, we are assured here, are all transformed into Stoics, “whom no collapse of the world” (how many times is it supposed to have collapsed “could put out of countenance” (p. 123). Thus, the ancients become Chinese, who also cannot be thrown down from the heavens of their tranquillity by any unforeseen event” (or idea”) (p. 90). Indeed, Jacques le bonhomme seriously believes that against the last of the ancients “the mechanical impact from outside became ineffective”. How far this corresponds to the actual situation of the Romans and Greeks at the end of the ancient world, to their complete lack of stability and confidence, which could hardly oppose any remnant of vis inertiae to the “mechanical impact” — on this point compare, inter alia, Lucian. The powerful mechanical shocks which the Roman empire received as a result of its division among several Caesars and their wars against one another, as a result of the colossal concentration of property, particularly landed property, in Rome, and the decrease in Italy’s population caused by this, and as a result of the [pressure of the] Huns and Teutons — these shocks, in the opinion of our saintly historian, “became ineffective”; only the “chemical tensions”, only the “gases” which Christianity “stimulated in the interior” overthrew the Roman Empire. The great earthquakes [in the West] and in the East, and other “mechanical impacts” which buried hundreds of thousands of people under the [ruins] of their towns and [which by no] means left the consciousness of people unchanged, were presumably, according to “Stirner”, also “ineffective” or were chemical tensions. And “ in fact” (!) “ancient history ends in this, that I have made the world my property” — which is proved by means of the biblical saying: “All things are delivered unto me” (i.e., Christ) “of my Father. ,a Here, therefore, I = Christ. In this connection, Jacques le bonhomme cannot refrain from believing the Christian that he could move mountains, etc., if he “only wanted to”. As a Christian he proclaims himself the lord of the world, but he is this only as a Christian; he proclaims himself the “owner of the world”. “Thereby egoism won its first full victory, since I elevated myself to be the owner of the world” (p. 124). In order to rise to the level of the perfect Christian, Stirner’s ego had only to carry through the struggle to become poor in spirit as well (which he succeeded in doing even before the mountains arose). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."’ Saint Max has reached perfection as regards poverty of spirit and even boasts of it in his great rejoicing before the Lord.

Saint Max, poor in spirit, believes in the fantastic gas formations of the Christians arising from the decomposition of the ancient world. The ancient Christian owned nothing in this world and was, therefore, satisfied with his imaginary heavenly property and his divine right to ownership. Instead of making the world the possession of the people, he proclaimed himself and his ragged fraternity to be “God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2: 9). According to “Stirner”, the Christian idea of the world is the world into which the ancient world is actually dissolved, although this is at most [a world] of fantasy into which the world of ancient ideas has [been transformed] and in which the Christian [by faith] can move mountains, can feel [all-powerful] and press forward to a position where the “mechanical impact is ineffective”. Since for “Stirner” people are no longer determined by the [external] world, are no longer driven forward by the mechanical impact of the need to produce, since, in general, the mechanical impact, and with it the sexual act as well, has ceased to operate, it is only by a miracle that they have been able to continue to exist. Of course, for German prigs and school-masters with a gaseous content like that of “Stirner”, it is far easier to be satisfied with the Christian fantasy about property — which is truly nothing but the property of Christian fantasy — than to describe the transformation of the real property relations and production relations of the ancient world.

That same primitive Christian who, in the imagination of Jacques le bonhomme, was the owner of the ancient world, actually belonged for the most part to the world of owners; he was a slave and could be sold on the market. But “Stirner”, delighted in his construction, irrepressibly continues his rejoicing.

“The first property, the first splendour has been won!” (p. 124).

In the same way ‘ Stirner’s egoism continues to gain property and splendour and to achieve “complete victories”. The theological attitude of the primitive Christian to the ancient world is the perfect prototype of all his property and all his splendour.

The following are the grounds given for this property of the Christian:

“The world has lost its divine character ... it has become prosaic, it is my property, which I dispose of as I (viz., the spirit) choose” (p. 124).

This means: the world has lost its divine character, therefore, it is freed from my fantasies for my own consciousness; it has become prosaic, consequently its relation to me is prosaic and it disposes of me n the prosaic way it favours, by no means to please me. Apart from the fact that “Stirner” here actually thinks that in ancient times the prosaic world did not exist and the divine principle held sway in the world, he even falsifies the Christian concept, which continually bemoans its impotence in relation to the world, and itself depicts its victory over the world in its fantasy as merely an ideal one, by transferring t to the day of judgment. Only when a great secular power took possession of Christianity and exploited it, whereupon, of course, it ceased to be unworldly, could Christianity imagine itself to be the owner of the world. Saint Max ascribes to the Christian the same false relation to the ancient world as he ascribes to the youth with regard to the “world of the child”; he puts the egoist in the same relation to the world of the Christian as he puts the man to the world of the youth.

The Christian has now nothing more to do than to become poor in spirit as quickly as possible and perceive the world of spirit in all its vanity — just as he did with the world of things — in order to be able to “dispose as he chooses” of the world of spirit also, whereby he becomes a perfect Christian, an egoist. The attitude of the Christian to the ancient world serves, therefore, as the standard for the attitude of the egoist to the modern world. The preparation for this spiritual poverty was the content of “almost two thousand years” of life — a life whose main epochs, of course, took place only in Germany.

After various transformations the holy spirit in the course of time became the absolute idea, which again in manifold refractions split up into the various ideas of love of mankind, civic virtue, rationality, etc.” (pp. 125, 126).

The German stay-at-home again turns the thing upside-down. The ideas of love of mankind, etc. — coins whose impressions had already been totally worn away, particularly owing to their great circulation in the eighteenth century — were recast by Hegel in the sublimate of the absolute idea, but after this re-minting they were just as little successful in retaining their value abroad as Prussian paper money.

The consistent conclusion — which has already appeared again and again — of Stirner’s view of history is as follows:

“Concepts should play the decisive roll everywhere, concepts should regulate life, concepts should rule. That is the religious world to which Hegel gave systematic expression” (p. 126),

and which our good-natured philistine so much mistakes for the real world that on the following page (p. 127) he can say:

“Now nothing but spirit rules in the world.”

Stuck fast in this world of illusion, he can (on p. 128) build first of all an “altar” and then “erect a church” “round this altar”, a church whose “walls” have legs for making progress and “move ever farther forward”. “Soon this church embraces the whole earth.” He, the unique, and Szeliga, his servant, stand outside, they “wander round these walls, and are driven out to the very edge”. “Howling with agonising hunger”, Saint Max calls to his servant: “One step more and the world of the holy has conquered.” But Szeliga suddenly ‘,sinks into the outermost abyss”, which lies above him — a literary miracle! For, since the earth is a sphere, the abyss can only lie above Szeliga as soon as the church embraces the whole earth. So he reverses the laws of gravity, ascends backwards into heaven and thereby reflects honour on “unique” natural science, which is all the easier for him since, according to page 126, “the nature of the thing and the concept of relation” are a matter of indifference to “Stirner”, “do not guide him in his treatment or conclusion”, and the “relationship into which” Szeliga “entered” with gravity “is itself unique” by virtue of Szeliga’s “uniqueness”, and by no means “depends” on the nature of gravity or on how “others”, for instance, natural scientists, “classify it”. “Stirner” moreover objects to Szeliga’s “action being separated from the real” Szeliga and ,assessed according to human standards”.

Having thus arranged for decent accommodation in heaven for his I faithful servant, Saint Max passes on to the subject of h’ is own I passion. On page 95 he discovers that even the “gallows” has the “colour of the holy”; “people loathe coming into contact with it, there is something uncanny, i.e., unfamiliar, strange about it”. In order to transcend this strangeness of the gallows, he transforms it into his own gallows, which he can only do by hanging himself on it. The lion of Judah makes also this last sacrifice to egoism. [cf. Revelation of John 5:,5] The holy Christian allows himself to he nailed to the cross, not to redeem the cross, but to redeem people from their impiety; the unholy Christian hangs himself on the gallows in order to redeem the gallows from holiness or to redeem himself from the strangeness of the gallows.

“The first splendour, the first property has been won, the first complete victory achieved!” The holy warrior has now conquered history, he has transformed it into thoughts, pure thoughts, which are nothing but thoughts — and at the end of time only a host of thoughts confront him. And so Saint Max, having taken his “gallows” on his back, just like an ass that carries a cross, and his servant Szeliga, who was welcomed in heaven with kicks and has returned to his master with his head hanging, set out to fight against this host of thoughts or, rather, against the mere halo of these thoughts. This time ‘t is Sancho Panza, full of moral sayings, maxims and proverbs, who takes on himself the struggle against the holy, and Don Quixote plays the role of his pious and faithful servant. The honest Sancho fights just as bravely as the caballero Manchego [Don Quixote] did in the old days, and like him does not fail several times to mistake a herd of Mongolian sheep for a swarm of spectres. The plump Maritornes “in the course of time, after various transformations in manifold refractions”, is transformed into a chaste Berlin seamstress, [Marie Wilhelmine Dähnhardt] dying of anaemia, a subject on which Saint Sancho composes an elegy, one which causes all young graduates and Guards lieutenants to remember Rabelais’ statement that the world-liberating “soldier’s prime weapon is the flap of his trousers”. [Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagmel]

Sancho Panza achieves his heroic feats by perceiving the entire opposing host of thoughts in its nullity and vanity. All his great deed is confined to mere perception which in the end leaves everything existing as it was, changing only his conception, and that not even of things, but of philosophical phrases about things.

Thus, after the ancients have been presented realistically as child, Negro, Negroid Caucasians, animal, Catholics, English philosophy, the uneducated, non-Hegelians, and the world of things, and the moderns have been presented idealistically as youth, Mongol, Mongoloid Caucasians, man, Protestants, German philosophy, the educated, Hegelians, and the world of thoughts — after everything has happened that was from time immemorial decided in the Council of Guardians, the time has at last arrived. The negative unity of the ancient and the modern, which has already figured as the man, the Caucasian, the Caucasian Caucasian, the perfect Christian, in servant’s clothing, seen “through a glass darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12), can now, after the passion and death of Stirner on the gallows and Szeliga’s ascent to heaven in full glory, return to the simplest nomenclature and appear in the clouds of heaven endowed with great power and majesty. [cf. Matthew 24:30] “And so it is said": what was previously “One” (see “Economy of the Old Testament"'/ has become “ego” — the negative unity of realism and idealism, of the world of things and the world of spirit. Schelling calls this unity of realism and idealism “indifference” or, rendered in the Berlin dialect, “Jeichjiltigkeit; in Hegel it becomes the negative unity in which the two moments are transcended. Saint Max who, being a proper German speculative philosopher, is still tormented by the “unity of opposites”, is not satisfied with this; he wants this unity to be visible to him in the form of a “corporeal individual”, in a “whole fellow”, and he is encouraged in this by Feuerbach’s views expressed in the Anekdota [Ludwig Feuerbach, “Vorläufige Thesen zur Reformation der Philosophie"] and in the Philosophie der Zukunft. This “ego” of Stirner’s which is the final outcome of the hitherto existing world is, therefore, not a “corporeal individual”, but a category constructed on the Hegelian method and supported by oppositions, the further “flea-jumps” of which we shall trace in the New Testament. Here we shall merely add that in the final analysis this ego comes into existence because it has the same illusions about the world of the Christian as the Christian has about the world of things. just as the Christian takes possession of the world of things by “getting into his head” fantastic nonsense about them, so the “ego” takes possession of the Christian world, the world of thoughts, by means of a series of fantastic ideas about it. What the Christian imagines about his own relation to the world, “Stirner” accepts in good faith, finds excellent, and good-naturedly repeats after him.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds” (Epistle to the Romans 3 : 28).

Hegel, for whom the modern world was also resolved into the world of abstract ideas, defines the task of the modern philosopher, in contrast to that of the ancient, as consisting in the following: instead of, like the ancients, freeing himself from “natural consciousness” and “purging the individual of the immediate, sensuous method and making him into conceived and thinking substance” (into spirit), the modern philosopher should “abolish firm, definite, fixed ideas”. This, he adds, is accomplished by “dialectics” (Phänomenologie, pp. 26, 27). The difference between “Stirner” and Hegel is that the former achieves the same thing without the help of dialectics.

6. The Free Ones

What role “the free ones” have to play here is stated in the economy of the Old Testament. We cannot help it that the ego, which we had approached so closely, now recedes from us again into the nebulous distance. It is not at all our fault that we did not pass at once to the ego from page 20 of “the book”.

A. Political Liberalism

The key to the criticism of liberalism advanced by Saint Max and his predecessors is the history of the German bourgeoisie. We shall call special attention to some aspects of this history since the French Revolution.

The state of affairs in Germany at the end of the last century is fully reflected in Kant’s Critik der Practischen Vernunft. While the French bourgeoisie, by means of the most colossal revolution that history has ever known, was achieving domination and conquering the Continent of Europe, while the already politically emancipated English bourgeoisie was revolutionising industry and subjugating India politically, and all the rest of the world commercially, the impotent German burghers did not get any further than “good will”. Kant was satisfied with “good will” alone, even if it remained entirely without result, and he transferred the realisation of this good will, the harmony between it and the needs and impulses of individuals, to the world beyond. Kant’s good will fully corresponds to the impotence, depression and wretchedness of the German burghers, whose petty interests were never capable of developing into the common, national interests of a class and who were, therefore, constantly exploited by the bourgeois of all other nations. These petty, local interests had as their counterpart, on the one hand, the truly local and provincial narrow-mindedness of the German burghers and, on the other hand, their cosmopolitan swollen-headedness. In general, from the time of the Reformation German development has borne a completely petty-bourgeois character. The old feudal aristocracy was, for the most part, annihilated in the peasant wars; what remained of it were either imperial petty princes who gradually achieved a certain independence and aped the absolute monarchy on a minute, provincial scale, or lesser landowners who partly squandered their little bit of property at the tiny courts, and then gained their livelihood from petty positions in the small armies and government offices — or, finally, Junkers from the backwoods, who lived a life of which even the most modest English squire or French gentilhomme de province would have been ashamed. Agriculture was carried on by a method which was neither parcellation nor large-scale production, and which, despite the preservation of feudal dependence and corvées, never drove the peasants to seek emancipation, both because this method of farming did not allow the emergence of any active revolutionary class and because of the absence of the revolutionary bourgeoisie corresponding to such a peasant class.

As regards the middle class, we can only emphasise here a few significant factors. It is significant that linen manufacture, i.e., an industry based on the spinning wheel and the hand-loom, came to be of some importance in Germany at the very time when in England those cumbersome tools were already being ousted by machines. Most characteristic of all is the position of the German middle class in relation to Holland. Holland, the only part of the Hanseatic League[60] that became commercially important, tore itself free, cut Germany off from world trade except for two ports (Hamburg and Bremen) and since then dominated the whole of German trade. The German middle class was too impotent to set limits to exploitation by the Dutch. The bourgeoisie of little Holland, with its well-developed class interests, was more powerful than the far more numerous German middle class with its indifference and its divided petty interests. The fragmentation of interests was matched by the fragmentation of political organisation, the division into small principalities and free imperial cities. How could political concentration arise in a country which lacked all the economic conditions for it?

The impotence of each separate sphere of life (one can speak here neither of estates nor of classes, but at most of former estates and classes not yet born) did not allow any one of them to gain exclusive domination. The inevitable consequence was that during the epoch of absolute monarchy, which assumed here its most stunted, semi-patriarchal form, the special sphere which, owing to division of labour, was responsible for the administration of public interests acquired an abnormal independence, which became still greater in the bureaucracy of modern times. Thus, the state built itself up into an apparently independent force, and this position, which in other countries was only transitory — a transition stage — it has maintained in Germany until the present day. This position of the state explains both the conscientiousness of the civil servant, which is found nowhere else, and all the illusions about the state which are current in Germany, as well as the apparent independence of German theoreticians in relation to the middle class — the seeming contradiction between the form in which these theoreticians express the interests of the middle class and these interests themselves.

The characteristic form which French liberalism, based on real class interests, assumed in Germany we find again in Kant. Neither he, nor the German middle class, whose whitewashing spokesman he was, noticed that these theoretical ideas of the bourgeoisie had as their basis material interests and a will that was conditioned and determined by the material relations of production. Kant, therefore, separated this theoretical expression from the interests which it expressed; he made the materially motivated determinations of the will of the French bourgeois into pure self-determinations of “free will”, of the will in and for itself, of the human will, and so converted it into purely ideological conceptual determinations and moral postulates. Hence the German petty bourgeois recoiled in horror from the practice of this energetic bourgeois liberalism as soon as this practice showed itself, both in the Reign of Terror and In shameless bourgeois profit-making.

Under the rule of Napoleon, the German middle class pushed its petty trade and its great illusions still further. As regards the petty-trading spirit which predominated in Germany at that time, Saint Sancho can, inter alia, compare Jean Paul, to mention only works of fiction, since they are the only source open to him. The German citizens, who railed against Napoleon for compelling them to drink chicory [61] and for disturbing their peace with military billeting and recruiting of conscripts, reserved all their moral indignation for Napoleon and all their admiration for England; yet Napoleon rendered them the greatest services by cleaning out Germany’s Augean stables and establishing civilised means of communication, whereas the English only waited for the opportunity to exploit them à tort et à travers [at random, recklessly] In the same petty-bourgeois spirit the German princes imagined they were fighting for the principle of legitimism and against revolution, whereas they were only the paid mercenaries of the English bourgeoisie. In the atmosphere of these universal illusions it was quite in the order of things that the estates privileged to cherish illusions — ideologists, school-masters, students, members of the Tugendbund [62] — should talk big and give a suitable high-flown expression to the universal mood of fantasy and indifference.

The political forms corresponding to a developed bourgeoisie were passed on to the Germans from outside by the July [1830] revolution — as we mention only a few main points we omit the intermediary period. Since German economic relations had by no means reached the stage of development to which these political forms corresponded, the middle class accepted them merely as abstract ideas, principles valid in and for themselves, pious wishes and phrases, Kantian self-determinations of the will and of human beings as they ought to be. Consequently their attitude to these forms was far more moral and disinterested than that of other nations, i.e., they exhibited a highly peculiar narrow-mindedness and remained unsuccessful in all their endeavours.

Finally the ever more powerful foreign competition and world intercourse — from which it became less and less possible for Germany to stand aside — compelled the diverse local interests in Germany to adopt some sort of common attitude. Particularly since 1840, the German middle class began to think about safeguarding these common interests; its attitude became national and liberal and it demanded protective tariffs and constitutions. Thus it has now got almost as far as the French bourgeoisie in 1789.

If, like the Berlin ideologists, one judges liberalism and the state within the framework of local German impressions, or limits oneself merely to criticism of German-bourgeois illusions about liberalism, instead of seeing the correlation of liberalism with the real interests from which it originated and without which it cannot really exist — then, of course, one arrives at the most banal conclusions. This German liberalism, in the form in which it expressed itself up to the most recent period, is, as we have seen, even in its popular form, empty enthusiasm, ideological reflections about real liberalism. How easy it is, therefore, to transform its content wholly into philosophy, into pure conceptual determinations, into “rational cognition"! Hence if one is so unfortunate as to know even this bourgeoisified liberalism only in the sublimated form given it by Hegel and the school-masters who depend on him, then one will arrive at conclusions belonging exclusively to the sphere of the holy. Sancho will provide us with a pitiful example of this.

“Recently” in active circles “so much has been said” about the rule of the bourgeois, “that it is not surprising that news of it”, if only through the medium of L. Blanc (translated by the Berliner Buhl), [reference to Louis Blanc, Histoire de dix ans 1830-1840, which appeared in Berlin in 1844-45 in Ludwig Buhl’s translation under the title Geschichte der zehn jahre] etc., “has even penetrated to Berlin” and there attracted the attention of easy-going school-masters (Wigand, p. 190). It cannot, however, be said that “Stirner” in his method of appropriating current ideas has “adopted a particularly fruitful and profitable style” (Wigand, ibid.) — as was already evident from his exploitation of Hegel and will now be further exemplified.

It has not escaped our school-master that in recent times the liberals have been identified with the bourgeois. Since Saint Max identifies the bourgeois with the good burghers, with the petty German burghers, he does not grasp what has been transmitted to him as it is in fact and as it is expressed by all competent authors — viz., that the liberal phrases are the idealistic expression of the real interests of the bourgeoisie — but, on the contrary, as meaning that the final goal of the bourgeois is to become a perfect liberal, a citizen of the state. For Saint Max the bourgeois is not the truth of the citoyen, but the citoyen the truth of the bourgeois. This conception, which is as holy as it is German, goes to such lengths that, on page 130, “the middle class” (it should read: the domination of the bourgeoisie) is transformed into a “thought, nothing but a thought” and “the state” comes forward as the “true man”, who in the “Rights of Man” confers the rights of “Man”, the true solemnisation on each individual bourgeois. And — all this occurs after the illusions about the state and the rights of man had already been adequately exposed in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, [In the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher this was done, in view of the context, only in relation to the rights of man proclaimed by the French Revolution. [Cf. Marx, On the Jewish Question] incidentally, this whole conception of competition as “the rights of man” can already be found among representatives of the bourgeoisie a century earlier (John Hampden, Petty, Boisguillebert, Child, etc.). On the relation of the theoretical liberals to the bourgeois compare what has been said [above] on the relation of the ideologists of a class to the class itself.] a fact which Saint Max notices at last in his “Apologetical Commentary” anno 1845. Hence he can transform the bourgeois — having separated the bourgeois as a liberal from the empirical bourgeois — into a holy liberal, just as he transforms the state into the “holy”, and the relation of the bourgeois to the modern state into a holy relation, into a cult (p. 131) — and with this, in effect, he concludes his criticism of political liberalism. He has transformed it into the “holy”.

We wish to give here a few examples of how Saint Max embellishes this property of his with historical arabesques. For this purpose he uses the French Revolution, concern rig which a small contract to supply him with a few data has been negotiated by his history-broker, Saint Bruno.

On the basis of a few words from Bailly, obtained moreover through the intermediary of Saint Bruno’s Denkwürdigkeiten, [reference to Edgar Bauer’s essay “Bailly und die ersten Tage der Französischen Revolution” in Denkwürdigkeiten zur Geschichte der neueren Zeit seit der Revolution, by Bruno and Edgar Bauer] the statement is made that through the convening of the States General “those who hitherto were subjects arrive at the consciousness that they are proprietors” (p. 132). On the contrary, mon brave! By the convening of the States General, those who hitherto were proprietors show their consciousness of being no longer subjects — a consciousness which was long ago arrived at, for example in the Physiocrats, and — in polemical form against the bourgeoisie — in Linguet (Théorie des lois civiles, 1767), Mercier, Mably, and, in general, in the writings against the Physiocrats. This meaning was also immediately understood at the beginning of the revolution — for example by Brissot, Fauchet, Marat, in the Cercle social [63] and by all the democratic opponents of Lafayette. If Saint Max had understood the matter as it took place independently of his history-broker, he would not have been surprised that “Bailly’s words certainly sound [as if each man is ... were now a proprietor...” and that the bourgeois express... the rule of the proprietors ... that now the proprietors have become the bourgeoisie par excellence. ] [64]

The “statement of the Bishop of Autun and Barère” is a motion tabled by the former on July 4 (not 8), with which Barère had nothing to do except that together with many others he supported it on July 8. It was carried on July 9, hence it is not at all clear why Saint Max speaks of “July 8”. This motion by no means “destroyed” “the illusion that each man, the individual, was of importance”, etc.; but it destroyed the binding force of the Cahiers given to the deputies, that is, the influence and the “importance”, not of “each man, the individual”, but of the feudal 177 bailliages and 431 divisions des ordres. By carrying the motion, the Assembly discarded the characteristic features of the old, feudal États généraux. [65] Moreover, it was at that time by no means a question of the correct theory of popular representation, but of highly practical, essential problems. Broglie’s army held Paris at bay and drew nearer every day; the capital was in a state of utmost agitation; hardly a fortnight had passed since the jeu de paume and the lit de justice [66], the court was plotting with the bulk of the aristocracy and the clergy against the National Assembly; lastly, owing to the still existing feudal provincial tariff barriers, and as a result of the feudal agrarian system as a whole, most of the provinces were in the grip of famine and there was a great scarcity of money. At that moment it was a question of an assemblée essentiellement active, as Talleyrand himself put it, while the Cahiers of [the] aristocratic’ and other reactionary groups provided the court with an opportunity, to declare [the] decision of the Assembly [void by referring] to the wishes of the constituents. The Assembly proclaimed its independence by carrying Talleyrand’s motion and seized the power it required, which in the political sphere could, of course, only be done within the framework of political form and by making use of the existing theories of Rousseau, etc. (cf. Le point du jour, par Barère de Vieuzac, 1789, Nos. 15 and 17.) The National Assembly had to take this step because it was being urged forward by the immense mass of the people that stood behind it. By so doing, therefore, it did not at all transform itself into an “utterly egoistical chamber, completely cut off from the umbilical cord and ruthless” [p. 147]; on the contrary it actually transformed itself thereby into the true organ of the vast majority of Frenchmen, who would otherwise have crushed it, as they later crushed “utterly egoistical” deputies who “completely cut themselves off from the umbilical cord”. But Saint Max, with the help of his history-broker, sees here merely the solution of a theoretical question; he takes the Constituent Assembly, six days before the storming of the Bastille, for a council of church fathers debating a point of dogma! The question regarding the “importance of each man, the individual”, can, moreover, only arise in a democratically elected representative body, and during the revolution it only came up for discussion in the Convention, and for as empirical reasons as earlier the question of the Cahiers. A problem which the Constituent Assembly decided also theoretically was the distinction between the representative body of a ruling class and that of the ruling estates; and this political rule of the bourgeois class was determined by each individual’s position, since it was determined by the relations of production prevailing at the time. The representative system is a very specific product of modern bourgeois society which is as inseparable from the latter as is the isolated individual of modern times.

Just as here Saint Max takes the 177 bailliages and 431 divisions des ordres for “individuals”, so he later sees in the absolute monarch and his car tel est notre plaisir ["for this is our will” — the concluding words of royal edicts] the rule of the “individual” as against the constitutional monarch, the “rule of the apparition” (p. 141), and in the aristocrat and the guild-member he again sees the “individual” in contrast to the citizen (p. 137).

“The Revolution was not directed against reality, but against this reality, against this definite existence” (p. 145).

Hence, not against the really existing system of landownership, of taxes, of customs duties which hampered commerce at every turn, and the [... gap in the manuscript]

[... “Stirner” thinks] it makes no difference ["to ‘the good burghers’ who defends them] and their principles, whether an absolute or a constitutional king, a republic, etc. — For the “good burghers” who quietly drink their beer in a Berlin beer-cellar this undoubtedly “makes no difference”; but for the historical bourgeois it is by no means a matter of indifference. The “good burgher” “Stirner” here again imagines — as he does throughout this section — that the French, American and English bourgeois are good Berlin beer-drinking philistines. If one translates the sentence above from the language of political illusion into plain language, it means: “it makes no difference” to the bourgeoisie whether it rules unrestrictedly or whether its political and economic power is counterbalanced by other classes. Saint Max believes that an absolute king, or someone else, could defend the bourgeoisie just as successfully as it defends itself. And even “Its principles”, which consist in subordinating state power to “chacun pour soi, chacun chez soi[each for himself and the devil take the hindmost] and exploiting it for that purpose — an “absolute monarch” is supposed to be able to do that! Let Saint Max name any country with developed trade and industry and strong competition where the bourgeoisie entrusts its defence to an “absolute monarch”.

After this transformation of the historical bourgeois into German philistines devoid of history, “Stirner”, of course, does not need to know any other bourgeois than “comfortable burghers and loyal officials"(!!) — two spectres who only dare to show themselves on “holy” German soil — and can lump together the whole class as ,obedient servants” (p. 138). Let him just take a look at these obedient servants on the stock exchanges of London, Manchester, New York and Paris. Since Saint Max is well under way, he can now go the whole hog and, believing one of the narrow-minded theoreticians of the Einundzwanzig Bogen who savs that “liberalism is rational cognition applied to our existing conditions” [from the article “Preussen seit der Einsetzung Arndt’s bis zur Absetzung Bauer’s” published anonymously in the Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz], can declare that the “liberals are fighters for reason”. It is evident from these [...] phrases how little the Germans have recovered [from] their original illusions about liberalism. Abraham “against hope believed in hope” ... and his faith “was imputed to him for righteousness” (Romans 4: 18 and 22).

“The state pays well, so that its good citizens can without danger pay poorly; it provides itself by means of good payment with servants from whom it forms a force — the police — for the protection of good citizens and the good citizens willingly pay high taxes to the state in order to pay so much lower amounts to their workers” (p. 152).

This should read: the bourgeois pay their state well and make the nation pay for it so that without risk they should be able to pay poorly; by good payment they ensure that the state servants are a force available for their protection — the police; they willingly pay, and force the nation to pay high taxes so as to be able without danger to shift the sums they pay on to the workers as a levy (as a deduction from wages). “Stirner” here makes the new economic discovery that wages are a levy, a tax, paid by the bourgeois to the proletarian; whereas the other, mundane economists regard taxes as a tribute which the proletarian pays to the bourgeois.

Our holy church father now passes from the holy middle class to the Stirnerian “unique” proletariat (p. 148). The latter consists of “rogues, prostitutes, thieves, robbers and murderers, gamblers, propertyless people with no occupation and frivolous individuals” (ibid.). They form the “dangerous proletariat” and for a moment are reduced by “Stirner” to “individual shouters”, and then, finally, to 1I vagabonds”, who find their perfect expression in the “spiritual vagabonds” who do not “keep within the bounds of a moderate way of thinking...

So wide a meaning has the so-called proletariat or” (per appos.) “pauperism"! (p. 149).

On page 151 ["on the other hand,] the state sucks the life-blood” of the proletariat. Hence the entire proletariat consists of ruined bourgeois and ruined proletarians, of a collection of ragamuffins, who have existed in every epoch and whose existence on a mass scale after the decline of the Middle Ages preceded the mass formation of the ordinary proletariat, as Saint Max can ascertain by a perusal of English and French legislation and literature. Our saint has exactly the same notion of the proletariat as the “good comfortable burghers” and, particularly, the “loyal officials”. He is consistent also in identifying the proletariat with pauperism, whereas pauperism is the position only of the ruined proletariat, the lowest level to which the proletarian sinks who has become incapable of resisting the pressure of the bourgeoisie, and it is only the proletarian whose whole energy has been sapped who becomes a pauper. Compare Sismondi, [Simonde de Sismondi, Nouveaux principes d'économie politique] Wade, [John Wade, History of the Middle and Working Classes] etc. “Stirner” and his fraternity, for example, can in the eyes of the proletarians, in certain circumstances count as paupers but never as proletarians.

Such are Saint Max’s “own” ideas about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. But since with these imaginations about liberalism, good burghers and vagabonds he, of course, gets nowhere, he finds himself compelled in order to make the transition to communism to bring in the actual, ordinary bourgeois and proletarians insofar as he knows about them from hearsay. This occurs on pages 15I and 152, where the lumpen-proletariat becomes transformed into “workers”, into ordinary proletarians, while the bourgeois “in course of time” undergoes “occasionally” a series of “various transformations” and “manifold refractions”. In one line we read: “The propertied rule”, i.e., the profane bourgeois; six lines later we read: “The citizen is what he is by the grace of the state”, i.e., the holy bourgeois; yet another six lines later: “The state is the status of the middle class”, i.e., the profane bourgeois; this is then explained by saying that “the state gives the propertied” “their property in feudal possession” and that the “money and property” of the “capitalists”, i.e., the holy bourgeois, Is such “state property” transferred by the state to “feudal possession”. Finally, this omnipotent state is again transformed into the “state of the propertied”, i.e., of the profane bourgeois, which is in accord with a later passage: “Owing to the revolution the bourgeoisie became omnipotent” (p. 156). Even Saint Max would never have been able to achieve these “heart-rending” and “horrible” contradictions — at any rate, he would never have dared to promulgate them — had he not had the assistance of the German word “Bürger”, which he can interpret at will as “citoyen” or as bourgeois” or as the German “good burgher”.

Before going further, we must take note of two more great politico-economic discoveries which our simpleton “brings into being” “in the depths of his heart” and which have in common with the “joy of youth” of page 17 the feature of being also “pure thoughts”.

On page 150 all the evil of the existing social relations is reduced to the fact that “burghers and workers believe in the ‘truth’ of money”. Jacques le bonhomme imagines that it is in the power of the “burghers” and “workers”, who are scattered among all civilised states of the world, suddenly, one fine day, to put on record their “disbelief” in the “truth of money”; he even believes that if this nonsense were possible, something would be achieved by it. He believes that any, Berlin writer could abolish the “truth of money” with the same ease as he abolishes in his mind the “truth” of God or of Hegelian philosophy. That money is a necessary product of definite relations of production and intercourse and remains a “truth” so long as these relations exist — this, of course, is of no concern to a holy man like Saint Max, who raises his eyes towards heaven and turns his profane backside to the profane world.

The second discovery is made on page 152 and amounts to this, that “the worker cannot turn his labour to account” because he “falls into the hands” of “those who” have received “some kind of state property” “in feudal possession”. This is merely a further explanation of the sentence on page 15I already quoted above where the state sucks the life-blood of the worker. And here everyone will immediately “put forward” “the simple reflection” — that “Stirner” does not do so is not “surprising” — how does it come about that the state has not given the “workers” also some sort of “state property” in “feudal possession”. If Saint Max had asked himself this question he would probably have managed to do without his construction of the “holy” burghers, because he would have been bound to see the relation in which the propertied stand to the modern state.

By means of the opposition of the bourgeoisie and proletariat — as even “Stirner” knows — one arrives at communism. But how one arrives at it, only “Stirner” knows.

“The workers have the most tremendous power in their hands ... they have only to cease work and to regard what they have produced by their labour as their property and to enjoy it. This is the meaning of the workers’ disturbances which flare up here and there” (p. 153).

Workers’ disturbances, which even under the Byzantine Emperor Zeno led to the promulgation of a law (Zeno, de novis operibus constitutio [Decree on New Works]), which “flared up” in the fourteenth century in the form of the Jacquerie and Wat Tyler’s rebellion, in 1518 on the Evil May Day in London, and in 1549 in the great uprising of the tanner Kett [67] and later gave rise to Act 15 of the second and third year of the reign of Edward VI, and a series of similar Acts of Parliament; the disturbances which soon afterwards, in 1640 and 1659 (eight uprisings in one year), took place in Paris and which already since the fourteenth century must have been frequent in France and England, judging by the legislation of the time; the constant war which since 1770 in England and since the revolution in France has been waged with might and cunning by the workers against the bourgeoisie — all this exists for Saint Max only “here and there”, in Silesia, Poznan, Magdeburg and Berlin, “according to German newspaper reports”.

What is produced by labour, according to Jacques le bonhomme’s imagination, would continue to exist and be reproduced, as an object to be “regarded” and “enjoyed”, even if the producers “ceased work”.

As he did earlier in the case of money, now again our good burgher transforms “the workers”, who are scattered throughout the civilised world, into a private club which has only to adopt a decision in order to get rid of all difficulties. Saint Max does not know, of course, that at least fifty attempts have been made in England since 1830, and at the present moment yet another is being made, to gather all the English workers into a single association and that highly empirical causes have frustrated the success of all these projects. He does not know that even a minority of workers who combine and go on strike very soon find themselves compelled to act in a revolutionary way — a fact he could have learned from the 1842 uprising in England and from the earlier Welsh uprising of 1839, in which year the revolutionary excitement among the workers first found comprehensive expression in the “sacred month”, which was proclaimed simultaneously with a general arming of the people. [68] Here again we see how Saint Max constantly tries to pass off his nonsense as “the meaning” of historical facts (in which he is successful at best in relation to his “one”) — historical facts “on which he foists his own meaning, which are thus bound to lead to nonsense” (Wigand, p. 194). Incidentally, it would never enter the head of any proletarian to turn to Saint Max for advice about the “meaning” of the proletarian movements or what should be undertaken at the present time against the bourgeoisie.

After this great campaign, our Saint Sancho returns to his Maritornes with the following fanfare:

“The state rests on the slavery of labour. If labour were to become free, the state would be lost” (p. 153).

— Free Labour —

The modern state, the rule of the bourgeoisie, is based on freedom of labour. The idea that along with freedom of religion, state, thought, etc., and hence “occasionally” “also” “perhaps” with freedom of labour, not I become free, but only one of my enslavers — this idea was borrowed by Saint Max himself, many times, though in a very distorted form, from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. Freedom of labour is free competition of the workers among themselves. Saint Max is very unfortunate in political economy as in all other spheres. Labour is free in all civilised countries; it is not a matter of freeing labour but of abolishing it.

B. Communism

Saint Max calls communism “social liberalism”, because he is well aware how great is the disrepute of the word liberalism among the radicals of 1842 and the most advanced Berlin “free-thinkers”. [69] This transformation gives him at the same time the opportunity and courage to put into the mouths of the “social liberals” all sorts of things which had never been uttered before “Stirner” and the refutation of which is intended to serve also as a refutation of communism.

Communism is overcome by means of a series of partly logical and partly historical constructions.

First logical construction.

Because “we have seen ourselves made into servants of egoists”, “we should” not ourselves “become egoists ... but should rather see to it that egoists become impossible. We want to turn them all into ragamuffins, we want no one to possess anything, in order that ‘all’ should be possessors. — So say the social [liberals]. — Who is this person whom you call ‘all'? It is ‘society'” (p. 153).

With the aid of a few quotation marks Sancho here transforms “all” into a person, society as a person, as a subject = holy society, the holy. Now our saint knows what he is about and can let loose the whole torrent of his flaming anger against “the holy”, as the result of which, of course, communism is annihilated.

That Saint Max here again puts his nonsense into the mouth of the “social [liberals]”, as being the meaning of their words, is not “surprising”. He identifies first of all “owning” as a private property-owner with “owning” in general. Instead of examining the definite relations between private property and production, instead of examining “owning” as a landed proprietor, as a rentier, as a merchant, as a factory-owner, as a worker — where “owning” would be found to be a quite distinct kind of owning, control over other people’s labour — he transforms all these relations into “owning as such”.

[...four pages of the manuscript missing here.

...] political liberalism, which made the nation” the supreme owner. Hence communism has no longer to “abolish” any “personal property” but, at most, has to equalise the distribution of “feudal possessions”, to introduce égalité there.

On society as “supreme owner” and on the “ragamuffin”, Saint Max should compare, inter alia, L'Égalitaire for 1840:

“Social property is a contradiction, but social wealth is a consequence of communism. Fourier, in contradistinction to the modest bourgeois moralists, repeats a hundred times that it is not a social evil that some have too much but that ill have too little”, and therefore draws attention also to the “poverty of the rich”, in La fausse industrie, Paris, 1835, p. 410.

Similarly as far back as 1839 — hence before Weitling’s Garantien [der Harmonie und Freiheit] — it is stated in the German communist magazine Die Stimme des Volks (second issue, p. 14) published in Paris:

“Private property, the much praised, industrious, comfortable, innocent ‘private gain’, does obvious harm to the wealth of life.” [This seems to be a quotation from the article “Politischer und Socialer Umschwung” published in Blätter der Zukunft, 1846, No. 5. Die Stimme des folks was probably mentioned by mistake]

Saint Sancho here takes as communism the ideas of a few liberals tending towards communism, and the mode of expression of some communists who, for very practical reasons, express themselves in a political form.

After “Stirner” has transferred property to “society”, all the members of this society in his eyes at once become paupers and ragamuffins, although — even according to his idea of the communist order of things — they “own” the “supreme owner”. — His benevolent proposal to the communists — “to transform the word ‘Lump’ into an honourable form of address, just as the revolution did with the word ‘citizen’ “ — is a striking example of how he confuses communism with something which long ago passed away. The revolution even “transformed” the word sansculotte “into an honourable form of address”, as against “honnêtes gens”, which he translates very inadequately as good citizens. Saint Sancho does this in order that there may be fulfilled the words in the book of the prophet Merlin about the three thousand and three hundred slaps which the man who is to come will have to give himself:

Needful it is that your squire, Sancho Panza,
Shall deal himself three thousand and three hundred
Lashes upon his two most ample buttocks,
Both to the air exposed, and in such sort
That they shall smart, and sting and vex him sorely.
(Don Quixote, Vol. If, Ch. 35.)

Saint Sancho notes that the “elevation of society to supreme owner” is a “second robbery of the personal element in the interests of humanity”, while communism is only the completed robbery of the “robbery of the personal element”. “Since he unquestionably regards robbery as detestable”, Saint Sancho “therefore believes for example” that he “has branded” communism “already by the” above “proposition” (“the book”, p. 102). “Once” “Stirner” has “detected” “even robbery” in communism, “how could he fail to feel profound disgust’ at it and ‘just indignation"'! (Wigand, p. 156.) We now challenge “Stirner” to name a bourgeois who has written about communism (or Chartism) and has not put forward the same absurdity with great emphasis. Communism will certainly carry out “robbery” of what the bourgeois regards as “personal”.

First corollary.

Page 349: “Liberalism at once came forward with the statement that it is an essential feature of man to be not property, but property-owner. Since it was a question here of man, and not of an individual, the question of how much, which was precisely what constituted the particular interest of individuals, was left to their discretion. Therefore, the egoism of individuals had the widest scope as regards this how much and carried on tireless competition.”

That is to say: liberalism, i.e., liberal private property-owners, at the beginning of the French Revolution gave private property a liberal appearance by declaring it one of the rights of man. They were forced to do so if only because of their position as a revolutionising party; they were even compelled not only to give the mass of the French [rural] population the right to property, [but also] to let them seize actual property, and they could do all this because thereby their own “how much”, which was what chiefly interested them, remained intact and was even made safe.

We find here further that Saint Max makes competition arise from liberalism, a slap that he gives history in revenge for the slaps which he had to give himself above. A “more exact explanation” of the manifesto with which he makes liberalism “at once come forward” can be found in Hegel, who in 1820 expressed himself as follows:

“In respect of external things it is rational” (i.e., it becomes me as reason, as a man) “that I should possess property ... what and how much I possess is, therefore, legally a matter of chance” (Rechtsphilosophie, § 49).

It is characteristic of Hegel that he turns the phrase of the bourgeois into the true concept, into the essence of property, and “Stirner” faithfully imitates him. On the basis of the above analysis, Saint Max now makes the further statement, that communism

raised the question as to how much property, and answered it in the sense that man should have as much as he needs. Can my egoism be satisfied with that?... No. I must rather have as much as I am capable of appropriating” (p. 349).

First of all it should be remarked here that communism has by no means originated from § 49 of Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie and its “what and how much”. Secondly, “communism” does not dream of wanting to give anything to “man”, for “communism” is not at all of the opinion that “man” 1I needs” anything apart from a brief critical elucidation. Thirdly, Stirner foists on to communism the conception of “need” held by the present-day bourgeois; hence he introduces a distinction which, on account of its paltriness, can be of importance only in present-day society and its ideal copy — Stirner’s union of “individual shouters” and free seamstresses. “Stirner” has again achieved great “penetration” into the essence of communism. Finally, in his demand to have as much as he is capable of appropriating (if this is not the usual bourgeois phrase that everyone should have as much as his ability [The German word Vermögen used several times in this passage means not only ability, capability but also wealth, fortune, means, property; the authors here play on the various meanings of the word] permits him, that everyone should have the right of free gain), Saint Sancho assumes communism as having already been achieved in order to be able freely to develop his “ability” and put it into operation, which by no means depends solely on him, any more than his fortune itself, but depends also on the relations of production and intercourse in which he lives. (Cf. the chapter on the “Union” b) Incidentally, even Saint Max himself does not behave according to his doctrine, for throughout his “book” he “needs” things and uses things which he was not “capable of appropriating”.

Second corollary.

“But the social reformers preach a social law to us. The individual thus becomes the slave of society” (p. 246). “in the opinion of the communists, everyone should enjoy the eternal rights of man” (p. 238).

Concerning the expressions “law”, “labour”, etc., how they are used by proletarian writers . and what should be the attitude of criticism towards them, we shall speak in connection with “True Socialism” (see Volume 11). As far as law is concerned, we with many others have stressed the opposition of communism to law, both political and private, as also in its most general form as the rights of man. See the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, where privilege, the special right, is considered as. something corresponding to private property inseparable from social classes, and law as something corresponding to the state of competition, of free private property (p. 206 and elsewhere); equally, the rights of man themselves are considered as privilege, and private property as monopoly. Further, criticism of law is brought into connection with German philosophy and presented as the consequence of criticism of religion (p. 72); further, it is expressly stated that the legal axioms that are supposed to lead to communism are axioms of private property, and the right of common ownership is an imaginary premise of the right of private property (pp. 98, 99). Incidentally, even in the works of German communists passages appeared very early — e.g., in the writings of Hess, Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz, 1843, p. 326 and elsewhere — which could be appropriated and distorted — “by Stirner” in his criticism of law.

Incidentally, the idea of using the phrase quoted above against Babeuf, of regarding him as the theoretical representative of communism could only occur to a Berlin school-master. “Stirner”, however, has the effrontery to assert on page 247 that

communism, which assumes “that all people by nature have equal rights, refutes its own thesis and asserts that people by nature have no rights at all. For it does not want, for example, to admit that parents have rights in relation to their children; it abolishes the family. in general, this whole revolutionary or Babouvist principle (compare Die Kommunisten in der Schweiz, Kommissionalbericht, p. 3) is based on a religious, i.e., false, outlook”.

A Yankee comes to England, where he is prevented by a justice of the Peace from flogging his slave, and he exclaims indignantly: “Do you call this a land of liberty, where a man can’t larrup his nigger? ,d Saint Sancho here makes himself doubly ridiculous. Firstly, he sees an abolition of the “equal rights of man” in the recognition of the “equal rights by nature” of children in relation to parents, in the granting of the same rights of man to children as well as to parents. Secondly, two pages previously Jacques le bonhomme tells us that the state does not interfere when a father beats his son, because it recognises family rights. Thus, what he presents, on the one hand, as a particular right (family right), he includes, on the other hand, among the “equal rights of man by nature”. Finally, he admits that he knows Babeuf only from the Bluntschli report, while this report (p. 3), in turn, admits that its wisdom is derived from the worthy L. Stein, [Lorenz von Stein, Der Socialismus und Communismus des heutigen Frankreichs] Doctor of Law. Saint Sancho’s thorough knowledge of communism is evident from this quotation. just as Saint Bruno is his broker as regards revolution, so Saint Bluntschli is his broker as regards communists. With such a state of affairs we ought not to be surprised that a few lines lower down our rustic word of God reduces the fraternité of the revolution to “equality of the children of God” (in what Christian dogma is there any talk of égalité?).

Third corollary.

Page 414: Because the principle of community culminates in communism, therefore, communism = “apotheosis of the state founded on love”.

From the state founded on love, which is Saint Max’s own fabrication, he here derives communism which then, of course, remains an exclusively Stirnerian communism. Saint Sancho knows only egoism on the one hand or the claim to the loving services, pity and aims of people on the other hand. Outside and above this dilemma nothing exists for him at all.

Third logical construction.

“Since the most oppressive evils are to be observed in society, it is especially” (!) “the oppressed” (!) who “think that the blame is to be found in society and set themselves the task of discovering the right society” (p. 155).

On the contrary, it is “Stirner” who “sets himself the task” of discovering the “society” which is “right” for him, the holy society, the society as the incarnation of the holy. Those who are ,oppressed” nowadays “in society”, “think” only about how to achieve the society which is right for them, and this consists primarily in abolishing the present society on the basis of the existing productive forces. If, e.g., “oppressive evils are to be observed” in a machine, if, for example, it refuses to work, and those who need the machine (for example, in order to make money) find the fault in the machine and try to alter it, etc. — then, in Saint Sancho’s opinion, they are setting themselves the task not of putting the machine right, but of discovering the right machine, the holy machine, the machine as the incarnation of the holy, the holy as a machine, the machine in the heavens. “Stirner” advises them to seek the blame “in themselves”. Is it not their fault that, for example, they need a hoe and a plough? Could they not use their bare hands to plant potatoes and to extract them from the soil afterwards? The saint, on page 156, preaches to them as follows:

“It is merely an ancient phenomenon that one seeks first of all to lay the blame anywhere but on oneself — and therefore on the state, on the selfishness of the rich, for which, however, we ourselves are to blame.”

The “oppressed” who seeks to lay the “blame” for pauperism on the “state” is, as we have noted above, no other than Jacques le bonhomme himself. Secondly, the “oppressed” who comforts himself by causing the “blame” to be laid on the “selfishness of the rich” is again no other than Jacques le bonhomme. He could have learned something better about the other oppressed from the Facts and Fictions of John Watts a tailor and doctor of philosophy, from Hobson’s Poor Man’s Companion, etc. And, thirdly, who is the person that should bear the “blame"? Is it, perhaps, the proletarian child who comes into the world tainted with scrofula, who is reared with the help of opium and is sent into the factory when seven years old — or is it, perhaps, the individual worker who is here expected to “revolt” by himself against the world market — or is it, perhaps, the girl who must either starve or become a prostitute? No, not these but only he who seeks “all the blame”, i.e., the “blame” for everything in the present state of the world, “in himself”, viz., once again no other than Jacques le bonhomme himself. “This is merely the ancient phenomenon” of Christian heart-searching and doing penitence in a German-speculative form, with its idealist phraseology, according to which 1, the actual man, do not have to change actuality, which I can only change together with others, but have to change myself in myself. “It is the internal struggle of the writer with himself” (Die heilige Familie, p. 122, cf. pp. 73, 121 and 306)

According to Saint Sancho, therefore, those oppressed by society seek the right society. If he were consistent, he should make those who “seek to lay the blame on the state” — and according to him they are the very same people — also seek the right state. But he cannot do this, because he has heard that the communists want to abolish the state. He has now to construct this abolition of the state, and our Saint Sancho once more achieves this with the aid of his “ass”, the apposition, in a way that “looks very simple":

“Since the workers are in a state of distress” [Notstand], “the existing state of affairs” [Stand der Dinge], “i.e., the state” [Staat] (status = state or estate) “must be abolished” (ibid.).


the state of distress = the existing state of affairs
the existing state of affairs = state or estate
state, estate = status
status = the State

Conclusion: the state of distress = the State.

What could “look simpler"? “It is only surprising” that the English bourgeois in 1688 and the French in 1789 did not “put forward” the same “simple reflections” and equations, since in those times it was much more the case that estate = status = the State. It follows from this that wherever a “state of distress” exists, “the State”, which is, of course, the same in Prussia and North America, must be abolished.

As is his custom, Saint Sancho now presents us with a few proverbs of Solomon.

Proverb of Solomon No. 1

Page 163: “That society is no ego, which could give, etc., but an instrument from which we can derive benefit; that we have no social duties, but only interests; that we do not owe any sacrifices to society, but if we do sacrifice something we sacrifice it for ourselves — all this is disregarded by the social [liberals], because they are in — thrall to the religious principle and are zealously striving for a — holy society.”

The following “penetrations” into the essence of communism result from this:

1. Saint Sancho has quite forgotten that it was he himself who transformed “society” into an “ego” and that consequently he finds himself only in his own “society”.

2. He believes that the communists are only waiting for “society” to “give” them something, whereas at most they want to give themselves a society.

3. He transforms society, even before it exists, into an instrument from which he wants to derive benefit, without him and other people by their mutual social relations creating a society, and hence this “instrument”.

4. He believes that in communist society there can be a question of “duties” and “interests”, of two complementary aspects of an antithesis which exists only in bourgeois society (under the guise of interest the reflecting bourgeois always inserts a third thing between himself and his mode of action — a habit seen in truly classic form in Bentham, whose nose had to have some interest before it would decide to smell anything. Compare “the book” on the right to one’s nose, page 247).

5. Saint Max believes that the communists want to “make sacrifices” for “society”, when they want at most to sacrifice existing society; in this case he should describe their consciousness that their struggle is the common cause of all people who have outgrown the bourgeois system as a sacrifice that they make to themselves.

6. That the social [liberals] are in thrall to the religious principle and

7. that they are striving for a holy society — these points have already been dealt with above. How “zealously” Saint Sancho “strives” for a “holy society”, so as to be able to refute communism by means of it, we have already seen.

Proverb of Solomon No. 2.

Page 277: “If interest in the social problem were less passionate and blind, then one ... would understand that a society cannot be turned into a new one so long as those of whom it consists and who constitute it remain as of old,”

“Stirner” believes that the communist proletarians who revolutionise society and put the relations of production and the form of intercourse on a new basis — i.e., on themselves as new people, on their new mode of life — that these proletarians remain “as of old”. The tireless propaganda carried on by these proletarians, their daily discussions among themselves, sufficiently prove how little they themselves want to remain “as of old”, and how little they want people to remain “as of old”. They would only remain “as of old” if, with Saint Sancho, they “sought the blame in themselves”; but they know too well that only under changed circumstances will they cease to be “as of old”, and therefore they are determined to change these circumstances at the first opportunity. In revolutionary activity the changing of oneself coincides with the changing of circumstances. — This great saying is explained by means of an equally great example which, of course, is again taken from the world of “the holy”.

“If, for example, the Jewish people was to give rise to a society which spread a new faith throughout the world, then these apostles could not remain Pharisees.”

The first Christians = a society for spreading faith (founded anno 1).
Congregatio de propaganda fide [70]
(founded anno 1640).
Anno 1 =Anno 1640.

This society which should arise = These apostles.
These apostles = Non-Jews.
The Jewish people = Pharisees.
Christians = Non-Pharisees.
= Not the Jewish people.

What can look simpler?

Reinforced by these equations, Saint Max calmly utters the great historic words [paraphrase of line from Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris]:

“Human beings, by no means intending to achieve their own development, have always wanted to form a society.” .

Human beings, by no means wanting to form a society, have, nevertheless, only achieved the development of society, because they have always wanted to develop only as isolated individuals and therefore achieved their own development only in and through society. Incidentally it would only occur to a saint of the type of our Sancho to separate the development of “human beings” from the development of the “society” in which they live, and then let his fantasy roam on this fantastic basis. Incidentally, he has forgotten his own proposition, inspired by Saint Bruno, in which just previously he set people the moral demand of changing themselves and thereby changing their society — a proposition, therefore, in which he identifies the development of people with the development of their society.

Fourth logical construction.

On page 156 he makes the communists say, in opposition to the citizens:

“Our essence” (!) “does not consist in all of us being equal children of the state” (!) “but in that we all exist for one another. We are all equal in that we all exist for one another, that each works for the other, that each of us is a worker.” He then regards ‘,to exist as a worker” as equivalent to “each of us exists only through the other”, so that the other, “for example, works to clothe me, and I to satisfy his need of entertainment, he for my food and I for his instruction. Hence participation in labour is our dignity and our equality.

“What advantage do we derive from citizenship? Burdens. And what value is put on our labour? The lowest possible What can you put against us? Again, only labour!” “Only for labour do we owe you a recompense”; “only for what you do that is useful to us” “have You any claim on us”. “We want to be only worth so much to you as we perform for you; but you should be valued by us in just the same way.” “Deeds which are of some value to us, i.e., work beneficial to the community, determine value.... He who does something useful takes second place to no one, or — all workers (beneficial to the community) are equal. Since however the worker is worthy of his wage, then let the wage also be equal” (pp. 157,158).

With “Stirner”, “communism” begins with searchings for “essence”; being a good “youth” he wants again only to “ penetrate behind things”. That communism ‘s a highly practical movement, pursuing practical aims by practical means, and that only perhaps in Germany, in opposing the German philosophers, can it spare a moment for the problem of “essence” — this, of course, is of no concern to our saint. This Stirnerian “communism”, which yearns so much for “essence”, arrives, therefore, only at a philosophical category, i.e., “being-for-one-another”, which then by means of a few arbitrary equations:

Being-for-one-another = to exist only through another
= to exist as a worker
= universal community of workers

is brought somewhat closer to the empirical world. We would, moreover, challenge Saint Sancho to indicate, for example, in Owen (who, after all, as a representative of English communism can serve as an example of “communism” just as well as, for example, the non-communist Proudhon, [Proudhon, who was as early as 1841 strongly criticised by the communist workers’ journal La Fraternité for advocating equal wages, community of workers in general and also the other economic prejudices which can be found in the works of this outstanding writer; Proudhon, from whom the communists have accepted nothing but his criticism of property, ... unfinished note] from whom the greater part of the above propositions were abstracted and then rearranged) a passage containing anything of these propositions about “essence”, universal community of workers, etc. Incidentally we do not even have to go so far back. The third issue of Die Stimme des Volks, the German communist magazine already quoted above, says:

“What is today called labour is only a miserably small part of the vast, mighty process of production; for religion and morality honour with the name of labour only the kind of production that is repulsive and dangerous, and in addition they venture to embellish such labour with all kinds of maxims — as it were words of blessing (or witchcraft) — ‘labour in the sweat of thy brow’ as a test imposed by God; ‘labour sweetens life’ for encouragement, etc. The morality of the world in which we live takes very good care not to apply the term work to the pleasing and free aspects of human intercourse. These aspects are reviled by morality, although they too constitute production. morality eagerly reviles them as vanity, vain pleasure, sensuality. Communism has exposed this hypocritical preaching, this miserable morality.”

As universal community of workers, Saint Max reduces the whole of communism to equal wages — a discover which is then repeated in the following three “refractions": on page 351, “Against competition there rises the principle of the society of ragamuffins — distribution. Is it possible then that I, who am very resourceful, should have no advantage over one who is resourceless?” Further, on page 363, he speaks of a “universal tax on human activity in communist society”. And, finally, on page 350, he ascribes to the communists the view that “labour” is “the only resource” of man. Thus, Saint Max re-introduces into communism private property in its dual form — as distribution and wage-labour. As before in connection with “robbery”, Saint Max here again displays the most ordinary and narrow-minded bourgeois views as “his own” “penetrations” into the essence of communism. He shows himself fully worthy of the honour of having been taught by Bluntschli. As a real petty bourgeois, he is then afraid that he, “who is very resourceful”, “should have no advantage over one who is resourceless” — although he should fear nothing so much as being left to his own “resources”.

Incidentally, he “who is very resourceful” imagines that citizenship is a matter of indifference to the proletarians, after he has first assumed that they have it. This is just as he imagined above that for the bourgeoisie the form of government is a matter of in difference. The workers attach so much importance to citizenship, i.e., to active citizenship, that where they have it, for instance in America, they make good use” of it, and where they do not have it, they strive to obtain it. Compare the proceedings of the North American workers at innumerable meetings, the whole history of English Chartism, and of French communism and reformism. [71]

First corollary.

“The worker, being conscious that the essential thing about him is that he is a worker, keeps himself away from egoism and subordinates himself to the supremacy of a society of workers, just as the bourgeois adhered with devotion” (!) “to the state based on competition” (p. 162).

The worker’ is at most conscious that for the bourgeois the essential thing about him is that he is a worker, who, therefore, can assert himself against the bourgeois as such. Both these discoveries of Saint Sancho, the “devotion of the bourgeois” and the “state based on competition”, can be recorded only as fresh proofs of the resourcefulness” of the “very resourceful” man.

Second corollary.

The aim of communism is supposed to be the ‘well-being of all’. This indeed really looks as though in this way no one need be in an inferior position. But what sort of well-being will this be? Have all one and the same well-being? Do all people feel equally well in one and the same circumstances?... If that is so, then it is a matter of ‘true well-being’. Do we not thereby arrive precisely at the point where the tyranny of religion begins?... Society has decreed that a particular sort of well-being is ‘true well-being’, and if this well-being were, for example, honestly earned enjoyment, but you preferred enjoyable idleness, then society ... would prudently refrain from making provision for what is for you well-being. By proclaiming the well-being of all, communism destroys the well-being of those who up to now have lived as rentiers”, etc. (pp. 411. 412).

“If that is so”, the following equations result from it:

The well-being of all = Communism
= If that is so
= One and the same well-being of all
= Equal well-being of all in one and the same circumstances
= True well-being
= [Holy well-being, the holy, the rule of the holy, hierarchy]
= Tyranny of religion.

Communism = Tyranny of religion.

“This indeed really looks as though” “Stirner” has said the same thing about communism as he has said previously about everything else.

How deeply our saint has “penetrated” into the essence of communism is evident also from the fact that he ascribes to communism the desire to bring about “true well-being” in the shape of “honestly earned enjoyment”. Who, except “Stirner” and a few Berlin cobblers and tailors, thinks of “honestly earned enjoyment"!

And, what is more, to put this into the mouth of communists, for whom the basis of this whole opposition between work and enjoyment disappears. Let our highly moral saint put his mind at rest on this score. “Honest earning” will be left to him and those whom, unknown to himself, he represents — his petty handicraftsmen who have been ruined by industrial freedom and are morally indignant”. “Enjoyable idleness”, too, belongs wholly to the most trivial bourgeois outlook. But the crowning point of the whole statement is the artful bourgeois scruple that he raises against the communists: that they want to abolish the “well-being” of the rentier and yet talk about the “well-being of all”. Consequently, he believes that in communist society there will still be rentiers, whose “well-being” would have to be abolished. He asserts that “wellbeing” as rentier is inherent in the individuals who are at present rentiers, that it is inseparable from their individuality, and he imagines that for these individuals there can exist no other “wellbeing” than that which is determined by their position as rentiers.

He believes further that a society which has still to wage a struggle against rentiers and the like, is already organised in a communist way. The communists, at any rate, will have no scruples about overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie and abolishing its “wellbeing”, as soon as they are strong enough to do so. It does not matter to them at all whether this “well-being” common to their enemies and determined by class relations also appeals as personal “well-being” to a sentimentality which is narrow-mindedly presumed to exist.

Third corollary.

On page 190, in communist society

“Worry arises again in the form of labour”.

The good citizen “Stirner”, who is already rejoicing that he will again find his beloved “worry” ‘n communism, has nevertheless miscalculated this time. “Worry” ‘s nothing but the mood of oppression and anxiety which in the middle class is the necessary companion of labour, of beggarly activity for securing scanty earnings. “Worry” flourishes in its purest form among the German good burghers, where it is chronic and “always identical with itself”, miserable and contemptible, whereas the poverty of the proletarian assumes an acute, sharp form, drives him into a life-and-death struggle, makes him a revolutionary, and therefore engenders not “worry”, but passion. If then communism wants to abolish both the “worry” of the burgher and the poverty of the proletarian, it goes without saying that it cannot do this without abolishing the cause of both, i.e., “labour”.

We now come to the historical constructions of communism.

First historical construction.

“So long as faith was sufficient for the honour and dignity of man, no objection could be raised against any, even the most arduous labour.... The oppressed classes existing social classes. could tolerate their misery only so long as they were Christians” (the most that can be said is that they were Christians so long as they tolerated their miserable position), “for Christianity” (which stands behind them with a stick) “keeps their grumbling and indignation in check” (p. 158).

“How ‘Stirner’ knows so well” what the oppressed classes could do, we learn from the first issue of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, where “criticism in the form of a master-bookbinder” quotes the following passage from an unimportant book. [from August Theodor Woeniger’s book Publicistische Abhandlungen, quoted by Carl Ernst Reichardt — “the master-bookbinder” — in his article “Schriften über den Pauperismus"]

“Modern pauperism has assumed a political character; whereas formerly the beggar bore his fate submissively and regarded it as God’s will, the modern ragamuffin asks whether he is forced to drag out his life in poverty just because he chanced to be born in rags.”

It was due to this power of Christianity that during the liberation of the feudal serfs the most bloody and embittered struggles were precisely those against the spiritual feudal lords, and it was carried through despite all the grumbling and indignation of Christianity as embodied in the priests (cf. Eden, History of the Poor, Book I; Guizot, Histoire de la civilisation en France; Monteil, Histoire des français des divers états, etc.), while, on the other hand, the minor priests, particularly at the beginning of the Middle Ages, incited the feudal serfs to “grumbling” and “Indignation” against the temporal feudal lords (cf., inter alia, even the well-known capitulary of Charlemagne[72]). Compare also what was written above in connection with the “workers’ disturbances which flared up here and there”, about the “oppressed classes” and their revolts in the fourteenth century.’ The earlier forms of workers’ uprisings were connected with the degree of development of labour in each case and the resulting form of property; direct or indirect communist uprisings were connected with large-scale industry. Instead of going into this extensive history, Saint Max accomplishes a holy transition from the patient oppressed classes to the impatient oppressed classes:

“Now, when everyone ought to develop into a man” (“how,” for example, do the Catalonian workers [73] “know” that “everyone ought to develop into a man"?), “the confining of man to machine labour amounts to slavery” (p. 158).

Hence, prior to Spartacus and the uprising of the slaves, it was Christianity that prevented the “confining of man to machine labour” from “amounting to slavery”; and in the days of Spartacus it was only the concept of “man” that removed this relation and brought about slavery. “Or did” Stirner “perhaps” “even” hear something about the connection between modern labour unrest and machine production and wanted here to give an intimation of this? In that case it was not the introduction of machine labour that transformed the workers into rebels, but the introduction of the concept of “man” that transformed machine labour into slavery. — “If that is so” then “it indeed really looks as though” we have here a “unique” history of the workers’ movements.

Second historical construction.

“The bourgeoisie has preached the gospel of material enjoyment and is now surprised that this doctrine finds supporters among us proletarians” (p. 159).

Just now the workers wanted to realise the concept of “man”, the holy; now it is “material enjoyment”, the worldly; above it was a question of the “drudgery” of labour, now it is only the labour of enjoyment. Saint Sancho strikes himself here on ambas sus valientes posaderasa [his two most ample buttocks] — first of all on material history, and then on Stirner’s, holy history. According to material history, it was the aristocracy that first put the gospel of worldly enjoyment in the place of enjoyment of the gospel; it was at first for the aristocracy that the sober bourgeois’ ie applied itself to work and it very cunningly left to the aristocracy the enjoyment from which it was debarred by its own laws (whereby the power of the aristocracy passed i . n the form of money into the pockets of the bourgeoisie).

According to Stirner’s history, the bourgeoisie was satisfied to seek “the holy”, to pursue the cult of the state and to “transform all existing objects into imaginary ones”, and it required the Jesuits to “save sensuousness from complete decay”. According to this same Stirnerian history, the bourgeoisie usurped all power by means of revolution, consequently also its gospel, that of material enjoyment, although according to the same Stirnerian history we have now reached the point where “ideas alone rule the world”. Stirner’s hierarchy thus finds itself “entre ambas posaderas”.

Third historical construction.

Page 159: “After the bourgeois had given freedom from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals, there remained the arbitrariness which arises from the conjuncture of conditions and which can be called the fortuitousness of circumstances. There remained — luck and those favoured by luck.”

Saint Sancho then makes the communists “find a law and a new order which puts an end to these fluctuations” (the thingumbob), about which order he knows this much, that the communists should now proclaim: “Let this order henceforth be holy!” (whereas he ought now rather to have proclaimed: Let the disorder of my fantasies be the holy order of the communists). “Here is wisdom’ (Revelation of St. John, 13: 18). “Let him that bath understanding count the number” of absurdities which Stirner — usually so verbose and always repeating himself — [here] squeezes into a few [lines].

In its most general form the first proposition reads: after the bourgeoisie had abolished feudalism, the bourgeoisie remained. Or: after the domination of individuals had been abolished in “Stirner’s” imagination, precisely the opposite remained to be done. “It indeed really looks as though” one could bring the two most distant historical epochs into a relationship which is the holy relationship, the relationship as the holy, the relationship in heaven.

Incidentally, this proposition of Saint Sancho’s is not satisfied with the above-mentioned mode simple of absurdity, it has to bring it to the ,mode composé and bicomposé [terms used by Fourier] of absurdity. For, firstly, Saint Max believes the bourgeoisie which liberates itself that, by liberating itself from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals, it has liberated the mass of society as a whole from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals. Secondly, in reality it liberated itself not from the “commands and arbitrariness of individuals”, but from the domination of the corporation, the guild, the estates, and hence was now for the first time, as actual individual bourgeois, in a position to impose “commands and arbitrariness” on the workers. Thirdly, it only abolished the more or less idealistic appearance of the former commands and former arbitrariness of individuals, in order to establish instead these commands and this arbitrariness in their material crudity. He, the bourgeois, wanted his “commands and arbitrariness” to be no longer restricted by the hitherto existing “commands and arbitrariness” of political power concentrated in the monarch, the nobility and the corporations, but at most restricted only by the general interests of the whole bourgeois class, as expressed in bourgeois legislation. He did nothing more than abolish the commands and arbitrariness over the commands and arbitrariness of the individual bourgeois (see “Political Liberalism”).

Instead of making a real analysis of the conjuncture of conditions, which with the rule of the bourgeoisie became a totally different conjuncture of totally different conditions, Saint Sancho leaves it in the form of the general category “conjuncture, etc.”, and bestows on it the still more indefinite name of “fortuitousness of circumstances”, as though the “commands and arbitrariness of individuals” are not themselves a “conjuncture of conditions”. Having thus done away with the real basis of communism, i.e., the definite conjuncture of conditions under the bourgeois regime, he can now also transform this airy communism into his holy communism. “It indeed really looks” as though “Stirner” is a “man with only ideal”, imagined, historical “wealth” — the “perfect ragamuffin”. See “the book”, p. 362.

This great construction or, rather, its major proposition is once more and with great emphasis repeated on page 189 in the following form:

“Political liberalism abolished the inequality of master and servant; it made people masterless, anarchic” (!); “the master was then separated from the individual, from the egoist, to become a spectre, the law or the state.”

Domination of spectres = (hierarchy) = absence of domination equivalent to the domination of the “omnipotent” bourgeois. As we see, this domination of spectres is, on the contrary, the domination of the many actual masters; hence with equal justification communism could be regarded as liberation from this domination of the many. This, however, Saint Sancho could riot do, for then not only his logical constructions of communism but also the whole construction of “the free ones” would be overthrown. But this is how it is throughout “the book”. A single conclusion from our saint’s own premises, a single historical fact, overthrows the entire series of penetrations and results.

Fourth historical construction. On page 350, Saint Sancho derives communism directly from the abolition of serfdom.

I. Major proposition:

“Extremely much was gained when people succeeded in being regarded” (!) “as property-owners. Thereby serfdom was abolished and everyone who until then had himself been property henceforth became a master.”

(According to the mode simple of absurdity this means: serfdom was abolished as soon as it was abolished.) The mode composé of this absurdity is that Saint Sancho believes that people became “property-owners” by means of holy contemplation, by means of “regarding” and “being regarded”, whereas the difficulty consisted in becoming a “property-owner”, and consideration came later of itself. The mode bicomposé of the absurdity is that when the abolition of serfdom, which at first was still partial, had begun to develop its consequences and thereby became universal, people ceased to be able to “succeed” in being “regarded” as worth owning (for the property-owners those they owned had become too expensive); consequently the vast mass “who until then had themselves been property” i.e., unfree workers, became as a result not “masters”, but free workers.

II. Minor historical proposition, which embraces about eight centuries, although one “will of course not perceive how momentous” it is (cf. Wigand, p. 194).

“However, henceforth your having [Dein Haben] and what you have [Deine Habe] no longer suffices, and is no longer recognised; on the other hand, your working and your work increases in value. We now respect your mastery of things as previously” (?) “we respected your possession of them. Your labour is your wealth. You are now the master or possessor of what you have obtained by work and not by inheritance” (ibid.).

“Henceforth” — “no longer” — “on the other hand” — “now” — “as previously” — “now” — “or” — “not” — such is the content of this proposition.

Although “Stirner” has “now” arrived at this, that you (viz., Szeliga) are the master of what you have obtained by work and not by inheritance, it “now” occurs to him that just the opposite is the case at present — and so he causes communism to be born as a monster from these two distorted propositions.

III. Communist conclusion.

“Since, however, now everything is inherited and every farthing you possess bears not the stamp of work, but of inheritance” (the culminating absurdity), “SO everything must be remoulded.”

On this basis Szeliga is able to imagine that he has arrived at both the rise and fall of the medieval communes, and the communism of the nineteenth century. And thereby Saint Max, despite everything “inherited” and “obtained by work”, does not arrive at any “mastery of things”, but at most at “having” nonsense.

Lovers of constructions can now see in addition on page 421 how Saint Max, after constructing communism from serfdom, then constructs it again in the form of serfdom under a liege lord — society — on the same model as he already, above, transformed the means by which we earn something into the “holy”, by “grace” of which something is given to us. Now, in conclusion, we shall deal in addition only with a few “penetrations” into the essence of Communism, which follow from the premises given above.

First of all, “Stirner” gives a new theory of exploitation which consists in this:

“the worker in a pin factory performs only one piece of work, only plays into the hand of another and is used. exploited by that other” (p. 158).

Thus, here “Stirner” makes the discovery that the workers in a factory exploit one another, since they “play into the hands” of one another; whereas the factory-owner, whose hands do not work at all, cannot, therefore, exploit the workers. “Stirner” here gives a striking example of the lamentable position in which communism has put the German theoreticians. Now they have to concern themselves also with mundane things like pin factories, etc., in relation to which they behave like real barbarians, like Ojibbeway Indians and New Zealanders.

Stirnerian communism “on the contrary says” (ibid.):

“All work should have the aim of satisfying ‘man’. Therefore, he” (“man”) “must become master of it, i.e., be able to perform it as a totality.”

“Man” must become a master! — “Man” remains a maker of pin-heads, but he has the consolation of knowing that the pin-head is part of the pin and that he is able to make the whole pin. The fatigue and disgust caused by the eternally repeated making of pin-heads is transformed, by this knowledge, into the “satisfaction of man”. O Proudhon!

A further penetration:

“Since communists declare that only free activity is the essence” (iterum Crispinus) “of man, they, like every workaday mode of thought, need a Sunday, a time of exaltation and devotion, in addition to their dull labour.”

Apart from the “essence of man” that is dragged in here, the unfortunate Sancho is forced to convert “free activity”, which is for the communists the creative manifestation of life arising from the free development of all abilities of the “whole fellow” (in order to make it comprehensible to “Stirner”), into “dull labour”, for our Berliner notices that the question here is not one of the “hard work of thought”. By this simple transformation the communists can now also be transposed into the “workaday mode of thought”. Then, of course, together with the work-day of the middle-class its Sunday also is to be found again in communism.

Page 161: “The Sunday aspect of communism consists in the communist seeing in you the man, the brother.”

Thus, the communist appears here as “man” and as “worker”. This Saint Sancho calls (loc. cit.) “a dual employment of man by the communists — an office of material earning and one of spiritual earning”.

Here, therefore, he brings back even “earning” and bureaucracy into communism which, of course, thereby “attains its final goal” and ceases to be communism. Incidentally he has to do this, because in his “union”, which he will construct later, each also is given a “dual position” — as man and as the “unique”. For the present he legitimises this dualism by foisting it on communism, a method we shall find again in his theory of feudalism and of utilisation.

On page 344 “Stirner” believes that the “communists” want to “settle the question of property amicably”, and on page 413 he even makes them appeal to the self-sacrifice of people [and to] the self-denying disposition of the capitalists! The few non-revolutionary communist bourgeois who made their appearance since the time of Babeuf were a rare occurrence; the vast majority of the communists in all countries are revolutionary. All communists in France reproach the followers of Saint-Simon and Fourier with their peaceableness and differ from the latter chiefly in their having abandoned all hope of an “amicable settlement”, just as in Britain it is the same criterion which chiefly distinguishes the Chartists from the socialists. Saint Max could discover the communist view of the “self-denying disposition of the rich” and the “self-sacrifice of people” from a few passages of Cabet, the very communist who most of all could give the impression that he appeals for dévoûment, self-sacrifice. These passages are aimed against the republicans and especially against the attacks on communism made by Monsieur Buchez, who still commands the following of a very small number of workers in Paris:

“The same thing applies to self-sacrifice (dévoûment); it is the doctrine of Monsieur Buchez, this time divested of its Catholic form, for Monsieur Buchez undoubtedly fears that his Catholicism is repugnant to the mass of the workers, and drives them away. ‘In order to fulfil their duty (devoir) worthily’ — says Buchez — ‘self-sacrifice (dévoûment) is needed.’ — Let those who can understand the difference between devoir and dévoûment. — ‘We require self-sacrifice from everyone, both for great national unity and for the workers’ association ... it is necessary for us to be united, always devoted (dévoûés) to one another.’ — It is necessary, it is necessary — that is easy to say, and people have been saying it for a long time and they will go on saying it for a very long time yet without any more success, if they cannot devise other means! Buchez complains of the self-seeking of the rich; but what is the use of such complaints? All who are unwilling to sacrifice themselves Buchez declares to be enemies.

“'If,’ he says, ‘impelled by egoism, a man refuses to sacrifice himself for others, what is to be done?... We have not a moment’s hesitation in answering: society always has the right to take from us what our own duty bids us sacrifice to it.... Self-sacrifice is the only means of fulfilling one’s duty. Each one of us must sacrifice himself, always and everywhere. He who out of egoism refuses to fulfil his duty of self-sacrifice must be compelled to do it.’ — Thus Buchez cries out to all: sacrifice yourselves, sacrifice yourselves! Think only of sacrificing yourselves! Does this not mean to misunderstand human nature and trample it underfoot? Is not this a false view? We might almost say — a childish, silly view” (Cabet, Réfutation des doctrines de l'Atelier, pp. 19, 20).

Cabet, further, on page 22, demonstrates to the republican Buchez that he inevitably arrives at an “aristocracy of self-sacrifice” with various ranks, and then asks ironically:

“What then becomes of dévoûment? What remains of dévoûment if people sacrifice themselves only in order to reach the highest pinnacles of hierarchy?... Such a system might originate in the mind of a man who would like to become Pope or Cardinal — but in the minds of workers!!!” — “M. Buchez does not want labour to become a pleasant diversion, nor that man should work for his own well-being and create new pleasures for himself. He asserts ... ‘that man exists on earth only to fulfil a calling, a duty (une fonction, un devoir)’. ‘No,’ he preaches to the communists, ‘man, this great force, has not been created for himself (n'a point été fait Pour lui-même).... That is a crude idea. Man is a worker (ouvrier) in the world, he must accomplish the work (oeuvre) which morality imposes on his activity, that is his duty.... Let us never lose sight of the fact that we have to fulfil a high calling (une haute fonction) — a calling that began with the first day of man’s existence and will come to an end only at the same time as humanity.’ — But who revealed all these fine things to [M.] Buchez? (Mais qui a révélé toutes ces belles chases a M. Buchez lui-même” — which Stirner would have translated: How is it that Buchez knows so well what man should do?) — “Du reste, comprenne qui pourra. — Buchez continues: ‘What! Man had to wait thousands of centuries in order to learn from you communists that he was created for himself and has no other aim than to live in all possible pleasures.... But one must not fall into such an error. One must not forget that we are created in order to labour (faits pour travailler), to labour always, and that the only thing we can demand is what is necessary for life (la suffisante vie), i.e., the well-being that suffices for us to carry out our calling properly. Everything that is beyond this boundary is absurd and dangerous.’ — But just prove it, prove it! And do not be satisfied merely with delivering oracles like a prophet! At the very outset you speak of thousands of centuries! And then, who asserts that people have been waiting for us down all the centuries? But have people perhaps been waiting for you with all your theories about dévoûment, devoir, nationalité française, association ouvrière?’ ‘In conclusion,’ says Buchez, ‘we ask you not to take offence at what we have said.’ — We also are polite Frenchmen and we, too, ask you not to take offence” (p. 31). — “'Believe us,’ says Buchez, ‘there exists a communauté which was created long ago and of which you too are members.’ — Believe us, Buchez,” concludes Cabet, “become a communist!”

“Self-sacrifice”, “duty”, “social obligation”, “the right of society”, “the calling, the destiny of man”, “to be a worker the calling of man”, “moral cause”, “workers’ association”, “creation of what is indispensable for life” — are not these the same things for which Saint Sancho reproaches the communists, and for the absence of which the communists are reproached by M. Buchez, whose solemn reproaches are ridiculed by Cabet? Do we not find here even Stirner’s “hierarchy"?

Finally, Saint Sancho deals communism the coup de grace on page 169, by uttering the following proposition:

“By taking away also property” (!) “the socialists do not take into account that its continuance is safeguarded by the peculiarities of human beings. Are only money and goods property, or is not every opinion also something that is mine, that belongs to me? Hence, every opinion must be abolished or made impersonal.”

Or does Saint Sancho’s opinion, insofar as it does not become the opinion of others as well, give him command over anything, even over another’s opinion? By bringing into play against communism the capital of his opinion, Saint Max again does nothing but advance against it the oldest and most trivial bourgeois objections, and he thinks he has said something new because for him, the “educated” Berliner, these hackneyed ideas are new. Destutt de Tracy among, and after, many others said the same thing much better approximately thirty years ago, and also later, in the book quoted below. For example:

“Formal proceedings were instituted against property, and arguments were brought forward for and against it, as though it depended on us to decide whether property should or should not exist in the world; but this is based on a complete misunderstanding of our nature” (Traité de la volonté, Paris, 1826, p. 18).

And then M. Destutt de Tracy undertakes to prove that propriété, individualité and personnalité are identical, that the “ego” [moi] also includes “mine” [mien], and he finds as a natural basis for private property that

“nature has endowed man with an inevitable and inalienable property, property in the form of his own individuality” (p. 17). — The individual “clearly sees that this ego is the exclusive owner of the body which it animates, the organs which it sets in motion, all their capacities, all their forces, all the effects they produce, all their passions and actions; for all this ends and begins with this ego, exists only through it, is set in motion through its action; and no other person can make use of these same instruments or be affected in the same way by them” (p. 16). “Property exists, if not precisely, everywhere that a sentient individual exists, at least wherever there is a conative individual” (p. 19).

Having thus made private property and personality identical, Destutt de Tracy with a play on the words propriété and propre, like “Stirner” with his play on the words Mein and Meinung, Eigentum and Eigenheit, [one’s own, my, mine; opinion, view; property; peculiarity] arrives at the following conclusion:

“It is, therefore, quite futile to argue about whether it would not be better for each of us to have nothing of our own (de discuter s'il ne vaudrait pas mieux que rien ne fût propre à chacun de nous) ... in any case it is equivalent to asking whether it would not be desirable for us to be quite different from what we are, and even to examining whether it would not be better for us not to exist at all” (p. 22).

“these are extremely popular”, now already traditional objections to communism, and for that very reason “it is not surprising that Stirner” repeats them.

— Individuality and Property —

When the narrow-minded bourgeois says to the communists: by abolishing property, i.e., my existence as a capitalist, as a landed proprietor, as a factory-owner, and your existence as workers, you abolish my individuality and your own; by making it impossible for me to exploit you, the workers, to rake in my profit, interest or rent, you make it impossible for me to exist as an individual. — When, therefore, the bourgeois tells the communists: by abolishing my existence as a bourgeois, you abolish my existence as an individual; when thus he identifies himself as a bourgeois with himself as an individual, one must, at least, recognise his frankness and shamelessness. For the bourgeois it is actually the case, he believes himself to be an individual only insofar as he is a bourgeois.

But when the theoreticians of the bourgeoisie come forward and give a general expression to this assertion, when they equate the bourgeois’s property with individuality in theory as well and want to give a logical justification for this equation, then this nonsense begins to become solemn and holy.

Above “Stirner” refuted the communist abolition of private property by first transforming private property into “having” and then declaring the verb “to have” an indispensable word, an eternal truth, because even in communist society it could happen that Stirner will “have” a stomach-ache. In exactly the same way here his arguments regarding the impossibility of abolishing private property depend on his transforming private property into the concept of property, on exploiting the etymological connection between the words Eigentum and eigen and declaring the word eigen an eternal truth, because even under the communist system it could happen that a stomach-ache will be eigen to him. All this theoretical nonsense, which seeks refuge in etymology, would be impossible if the actual private property that the communists want to abolish had not been transformed into the abstract notion of “property”. This transformation, on the one hand, saves one the trouble of having to say anything, or even merely to know anything, about actual private property and, on the other hand, makes it easy to discover a contradiction in communism, since after the abolition of (actual) property it is, of course, easy to discover all sorts of things in communism which can be included in the concept “property”. In reality, of course, the situation is just the reverse. In reality I possess private property only insofar as I have something vendible, whereas what is peculiar to me [meine Eigenheit] may not be vendible at all. My frock-coat is private property for me only so long as I can barter, pawn or sell it, so long [as it] is [marketable]. If it loses that feature, if it becomes tattered, it can still have a number of features which make it valuable for me, it may even become a feature of me and turn me into a tatterdemalion. But no economist would think of classing it as my private property, since it does not enable me to command any, even the smallest, amount of other people’s labour. A lawyer, an ideologist of private property, could perhaps still indulge in such twaddle.

— Private Property and Alienation —

Private property alienates [entfremdet] the individuality not only of people but also of things. Land has nothing to do with rent of land, the machine has nothing to do with profit. For the landed proprietor, land has the significance only of rent of land; he leases his plots of land and receives rent; this is a feature which land can lose without losing a single one of its inherent features, without, for example, losing any part of its fertility; it is a feature the extent and even the existence of which depends on social relations which are created and destroyed without the assistance of individual landed proprietors. It is the same with machines. How little connection there is between money, the most general form of property, and personal peculiarity, how much they are directly opposed to each other was already known to Shakespeare better than to our theorising petty bourgeois:

Thus much of this will make black, white; foul, fair;
Wrong, right; base, noble; old, young; coward, valiant.
This yellow slave...
Will make the hear leprosy adored...

This it is

That makes the wappened widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again...

Thou visible god,

That solder’st close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss!"
[Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act IV, Scene 3]

In a word, rent of land, profit, etc., these actual forms of existence of private property, are social relations corresponding to a definite stage of production, and they are “individual” only so long as they have not become fetters on the existing productive forces.

According to Destutt de Tracy, the majority of people, the proletarians, must have lost all individuality long ago, although nowadays it looks as if it was precisely among them that individuality is most developed. For the bourgeois it is all the easier to prove on the basis of his language the identity of commercial and individual, or even universal, human relations, as this language itself is a product of the bourgeoisie, and therefore both in actuality and in language the relations of buying and selling have been made the basis of all others. For example, propriété — property [Eigentum] and characteristic feature [Eigenschaft]; property — possession [Eigentum] and peculiarity [Eigentümlichkeit]; “eigen” ["one’s own"] — In the commercial and in the individual sense; valeur, value, Wert; commerce, Verkehr; échange, exchange, Austausch, etc., all of which are used both for commercial relations and for characteristic features and mutual relations of individuals as such. In the other modern languages this is equally the case. If Saint Max seriously applies himself to exploit this ambiguity, he may easily succeed in making a brilliant series of new economic discoveries, without knowing anything about political economy; for, indeed, his new economic facts, which we shall take note of later, lie wholly within this sphere of synonymy.

Our kindly, credulous Jacques takes the bourgeois play on the words Eigentum [property] and Eigenschaft [characteristic feature] so literally, in such holy earnest, that he even endeavours to behave like a private property-owner in relation to his own features, as we shall see later on.

Finally, on page 421, “Stirner” instructs communism that

actually it” (viz., communism) “does not attack property, but the alienation of property”.

In this new revelation of his, Saint Max merely repeats an old witticism already used repeatedly by, for example, the Saint-Simonists. Cf., for example, Leçons sur l'industrie et les finances, Paris, 1832, where, inter alia, it is stated:

“Property will not be abolished, but its form will be changed ... it will for the first time become true personification ... it will for the first time acquire its real, individual character” (pp. 42, 43).

Since this phrase, introduced by the French and particularly enlarged on by Pierre Leroux, was seized on with great pleasure by the German speculative socialists and used for further speculation, and finally gave occasion for reactionary intrigues and sharp practices — we shall not deal with it here where it says nothing, but later on, in connection with true socialism.

Saint Sancho, [following the] example of Woeniger, whom Reichardt [used], takes delight in turning the proletarians, [and hence] also the communists, into “ragamuffins”. He defines his “ragamuffin” on page 362 as a “man possessing only ideal wealth”. If Stirner’s “ragamuffins” ever set up a vagabond kingdom, as the Paris beggars did in the fifteenth century, then Saint Sancho will be the vagabond king, for he is the “perfect” ragamuffin, a man possessing not even ideal wealth and therefore living on the interest from the capital of his opinion.