A review of “The Unique and Its Property” by Max Stirner. Translated with a new introduction by Wolfi Landstreicher. Underworld Amusements.
By Keith Preston
An apparently controversial publisher has issued a new translation of a controversial book. The original work in question is Max Stirner’s egoist classic, originally published in Germany in 1844 under the title Der Einzige und sein Eigentum. This book was later translated into English by the American individualist-anarchist writer Steven T. Byington, and published in 1907 by Benjamin R. Tucker, the most prominent of the American individualist-anarchists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, under the title The Ego and His Own. All subsequent English editions of Stirner’s work have essentially been reprints of the 1907 translation. However, Underworld Amusements has released a new translation by Wolfi Landstreicher under the title The Unique and Its Property. Landstreicher has also provided an interesting introduction of his own to this new translation that touches on many of the most salient aspects of Stirner’s thought.
Special thanks to Peter Topfer, Adam Ormes, Thom Forester, and Sean Jobst for their assistance in the writing of this summary.
On June 17 and 18, the first ever conference of the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) took place in Madrid. The process of arranging this conference was certainly not without its difficulties, and the organizers deserve much praise for their diligence in this regard. Originally, the conference was supposed to be hosted by the Madrid section of N-AM, who dropped out of the project shortly (and out of N-AM altogether) before the conference took place. This led to the irony of a conference being held in Spain where no actual Spanish people were among the attendees. Because National-Anarchists are widely despised by leftists who mistakenly regard N-A as a “fascist” tendency, security was a paramount concern.
Jared Taylor of American Renaissance tries to understand the concept of “institutional racism.” Racism is said to be what holds back blacks and whites in American society, but there just don’t seem to be enough racist people or deliberately racist practices to explain large gaps in achievement. The culprit must therefore be institutions, or the structure of society. Jared Taylor shows why this explanation makes no sense, and explains what the real problem is.
Are blacks more likely to be arrested for drug offenses despite using drugs at the same rates as whites? Conventional wisdom has it that the war on drugs is inherently discriminatory, but a closer look at black crime statistics undermines explanations that rely exclusively on racial bias or police discrimination. Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, discusses several empirical studies that support a more nuanced understanding of differential arrest rates for drug-related crimes, one that avoids the pitfalls of the typically reductive explanations that emphasize systemic anti-black discrimination by a hopelessly racist police force.
Are you familiar with the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell shares in his book, “Outliers?” It basically states that it takes about 10,000 hours of time and effort in a field to become an expert in it. I’m now nearing my 10,000 hours on police brutality and injustice in America. Going on four straight years, it’s dominated my life as I’ve studied not hundreds, but thousands of cases from top to bottom. I’ve written over a thousand articles on the topic. I’ve organized, agonized, strategized, fundraised, recorded, presented, brainstormed, protested, researched, counseled, and dreamed about how we can solve this crisis — or at least drastically improve it.
And in all of those hours, in all of those cases, I’ve never seen what I’m seeing in Minnesota at this very moment surrounding the horrific police killing of Justine Damond — an Australian immigrant and yoga instructor who was just weeks away from getting married when she called 911 to report suspicious noises outside of her Minneapolis home. The police showed up. Justine, in her pajamas, went outside to meet them, but was fatally shot by one of the reporting officers.
All of that is textbook police brutality. I could name a dozen cases off the top of my head where a family called 911 for help but ended up being victimized by the police instead. Everything about what happened to Justine Damond is normal in America — except the demographics.
She’s white — a sweet, popular, peaceful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman at that.
Almost daily I encounter messages saying that conservative Christians should stop “pretending” to be victims of discrimination. I encounter these messages about as often as messages arguing in favor of discriminating against Christians. Why the cognitive dissonance?
“Christians haven’t been discriminated against like blacks, gays and Muslims, and they aren’t being persecuted like Christians in China or the Middle East,” I often hear in response, which is both true and beside the point. Discrimination doesn’t have to be the worst ever for it to still be a cause of concern.
Here are a few examples of Christian discrimination.
Christians who post biblical yet unpopular views on social media can be subject to business losses or unemployment. Steve Tennes posted a message consistent with his Christian views to his Facebook page and because of that his business was excluded from the East Lansing farmer’s market.
It’s acceptable to exclude Christians from governmental positions. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen voted against a Trump appointee due to his orthodox Christian beliefs. When the Department of Education recently hosted a panel discussion on fatherhood, LGBT groups protested its inclusion of conservative viewpoints.
The photo blog series Human of New York recently shared a portrait that has the LGBT community involved in a debate on discrimination. The series was started four years ago by photographer Brandon Stanton and captures diverse street portraits of New Yorkers, all different ages, races and backgrounds, accompanied by a quote or a snippet from each subject’s story. Brandon leaves the quote or accompanied life snippet up to the subject — this sometimes leads to controversial and shocking statements. A snippet that got many people talking was from a gay man. According to HNY, he said
I know this isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but I’m gay, and I don’t think there’s nearly as much discrimination as people claim. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced discrimination. But it hasn’t been a huge factor in my life. I feel like a lot of people bring discrimination on themselves by getting in people’s faces too much. They like to say: “Accept me or else!” They go around demanding respect as a member of a group, instead of earning respect as an individual. And that sort of behavior invites discrimination. I’ve never demanded respect because I was gay, and I haven’t experienced much discrimination when people find out that I am.
He was right on one thing: It was not a popular opinion.
Validating his experience is important. We should never ignore the testimony of experience a gay person puts forth. But the fact discrimination hasn’t been a huge factor in his life is a blessing, not the norm. There are many of us who can’t say the same, no matter how much we wish we could. His experience is his own, but it’s not the rule — it’s the exception.
A discussion of the internal workings of contemporary British politics. Meanwhile, American politics could probably be summarized by a single song.
By Sean Gabb
Ludwig von Mises Centre
I have been asked to write a weekly column on British politics. Since I am writing for a largely American readership, and since Americans mostly know little of what happens outside their own country, and since American politics are presently in themselves of consuming interest, I think it would be best if I were to begin with a brief overview not only of what is happening here, but also of what has been happening.
David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010 at the head of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. The Conservatives had won more seats than any other party in the House of Commons, but fallen short of an overall majority. Whether he governed the country well during the next five years is beside the point. What matters is that he governed effectively within the assumptions of British politics.
He went into the 2015 General Election with the aim of getting an overall majority for the Conservative Party. His main difficulty was not in beating the Labour Party, which was in no position to beat him, but in making sure that millions of disaffected conservatives would vote Conservative and not for the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Britain had joined the European Economic Community in 1973. This was a controversial change of national strategy, and it had split the Conservative Party. Membership raised fundamental issues of sovereignty and of economic policy. Without ever going away, this split had been of little practical importance between 1979 and 1990, while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister between. Once she was gone, it had re-emerged with growing force, to cripple the government of her successor, John Major.
An interesting discussion of the church/state separation issue. I generally agree with the arguments made by this author.
By Millennial Transmissions
Libertarianism Without Adjectives
I’m not a very “principled” person. I am in the sense that my actions are guided by a number of principles defined loosely and amorphously, but I’m not dogmatic, I don’t subscribe to Kant’s categorical imperative, I’m not a utopian or an idealist. I’m a realist and a pragmatist before I’m even a libertarian.
I was recently considering a conversation between Penn Jillette and Glenn Beck on the subject of libertarianism. If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to, it’s very good viewing. Penn Jillette was one of the guiding lights that lead me out of my socialist slumber, and Glenn Beck himself makes some great contributions too. They don’t just discuss libertarianism; a friendly conversation about atheism also takes place. Glenn Beck raises an example:
“In Pennsylvania, a mostly Catholic Italian town had to relocate their nativity scene…it was outside of city hall…because of an outside atheist group, the ‘Freedom from Religion Foundation’, they came in and threatened legal action. Thomas Jefferson, in his writings, was proud that city hall was being used for meetings, church meetings on Sundays, four different ones. He thought that was not a problem…it’s not freedom from religion it’s freedom of…if I can put a menorah and everything else on the town square, why do atheists get so pissy about this…as long as it’s not the endorsement of one religion?” (lightly paraphrased)
Wait, does the United States have 1.3 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture.
This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why people are locked up in all of those different types of facilities.
An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the U.S.-backed international order established after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.
The solution proposed to protect U.S. power in this new “post-primacy” environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military expansionism.
The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which U.S. power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.
Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence”, the U.S. now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority”.
Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.
Lately on the right, a sense has been developing that the American project is heading for a profound, perhaps bloody crisis. More and more, we hear talk of “civil war” – some say we have already embarked on a “cold” one.
SJW leftist: “The solution to police violence is to hire MORE MINORITIES as cops! Whites are incurably racist and violent. Get some DIVERSITY on the force, and the senseless killings of civilians will END!”
[Somali Muslim cop sits in his car and blows away an unarmed mom and bride-to-be who was on her own property in her pajamas after calling 911 to report a disturbance behind her house]
White nationalist: “Whites must BAND TOGETHER as brothers against those with whom we are genetically and culturally incompatible! WHITE HOMELAND! All whites unite, as we are ONE!”
[Spends the entire year feuding with and piling hatred upon fellow white nationalists, who he accuses of being pedophiles, homos, race-mixers, Jew-sympathizers, frauds, liars, slanderers, and losers]
SJW: “Hey, white nationalist, is it possible that we’re BOTH fucking idiots with sweeping, nonsensical racial theories that don’t work in the real world?”
White nationalist: “Dang, you know what, I think you’re right! Maybe WE’RE the ones who oughta start our own homeland together!”
wrote Independent Diplomat shortly after resigning from the Foreign Office. I had worked on Iraq and WMD for more than four years at the UN security council, but resigned in 2004 after giving secret testimony to the Butler review on the Iraq war. It was a difficult time for me. My future was unclear; I had thought I would be a diplomat all my life.
Celena Celestino: How do you explain the Brexit vote? What must Europe must to avoid losing more members states?
Zygmunt Bauman: Starting from the second sub-question: let’s hope that the mess that the Brexit adventure has cast and will be casting further on the (no longer…)United Kingdom may (just may) prove to be the best imaginable sobering concoction for those intoxicated enough to support the tribal “Euro-skeptics” in other member states of the EU.
But now to your first and fundamental question: for the millions of Britons left behind or fearing to be left at any moment without warning; for the victims of deregulated labour markets and financial forces, which have been let off the leash; of the reckless rising of inequality; of the fast shrinking of the ranks of the beneficiaries of the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher inheritance and equally fast multiplication of the mass of their losers; of the on-going descent of the once self-confident middle-classes into the condition of a frightened, disabled and unsure of itself “precariat” – the British referendum was the rare, well-nigh unique chance to unload their long accumulated, blistering/festering anger against the establishment as a whole: the system notorious for failing to deliver on its promises. In normal parliamentary elections, such a chance is severely constrained: rejecting one party, one part of the establishment, only to willy-nilly admit other to the same establishment who eager to manage it but who are willing to do very little to change it. In the British referendum, however, all major parties of the establishment were on one side: the voters could manifest their indignation, disgust, resentment with and refusal to trust the whole establishment in one go: to the “order (or rather disorder) of things” as such.
The basic definition of the Alt-Center as rejecting the far left, the far right, and the establishment
The Alt-Center as non-aligned; a new movement that is flexible and evolving
How the left and the right have become merely reactions to one another
The importance of debate and an open exchange of ideas
How political polarization has lead to a rise in censorship
How the Alt-Right and Alt-Left emerged Top Hats and Champaign: The original alt-centrism
Yan’s observation that the Hippie Culture he grew up with was much more free than today’s left
The immigration debate, the left’s suppression of debate, and the right’s monopoly on the opposition
European immigration restriction parties adopting left and center positions Naser Khader and his book “Honor and Shame”
There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested over time. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter should not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who is trying to figure things out, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:
1. Seeking purity
There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life towards an impossible destination of perfection.
A veteran anarcho-communist questions the Marcusean approach appropriated by the Antifa and SJWs.
By Wayne Price
There has recently been controversy on the Left over “free speech” for right-wingers (not necessarily fascists). Should it be supported or physically opposed? Some leftists have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse on “repressive tolerance” and why it should be opposed. Marcuse’s theory is reviewed and arguments are raised against it from a revolutionary anti-authoritarian perspective.
There has been, recently, controversy on the Left over “free speech.” Should radical leftists and anti-fascists disrupt speeches by right-wingers? Should leftists break up such meetings, charge the stage, and smash windows? Or should the leftists limit themselves to counter-demonstrations, boycotts, protest leaflets, and, perhaps, heckling? The controversy is not so much over public events by fascists—U.S. Nazis or Klan members, for example—but over right wingers who claim to not be fascists but “conservatives” who value free speech.
In working out an approach to this issue, a number of leftist thinkers—anarchists and Marxists—have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse (1969). In 1965 (updated 1968), Marcuse wrote an influential essay, “Repressive Tolerance” (which appeared with essays by two others in the little book, Critique of Pure Tolerance). Marcuse (1898—1979) was one of the most influential Left theorists of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies. A member of the Frankfort School, he was a scholar of Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Marcuse had an enormous impact and following. Given the general ignorance and muddle of much of today’s radical thinking, it is not surprising that there has been an attempt to revive Marcuse’s ideas about free speech and the limits of “pure tolerance.”
Shawn Wilbur argues that “anarchy” and “democracy” are completely distinct principles—philosophically. Philosophically, there is “no middle ground.” However, in actual living, there is “the likelihood that we might continue to have recourse to practices that we think of as ‘democratic.’ It is difficult to imagine a society in which we are not at times forced to…engage in practices like voting.” How often will these times happen? Perhaps a lot during the “transition” from statism to anarchy.
Shawn seems to want to have his cake and eat it too. He fiercely rejects even the most decentralized, direct, participatory, democracy in the name of anarchism (philosophically). This is combined with a willingness to support actual democratic procedures in solving collective problems (practically).
Let us leave aside philosophical definitions, as well as considerations of what Proudhon and Bakunin really meant (although Bakunin’s anarchist association called itself the Alliance of Socialist Democracy). Does Shawn really disagree with me and other democratic anarchists, in praxis (integrating theory and practice)? He and I are both for as much freedom as possible, both individual and collective—rejecting the state and any other institution of oppression. We both want collective decisions to be as free and uncoerced as is possible. We both accept that there have to be some conflicts in which everyone is not satisfied with the outcome, conflicts which must be managed through democratic procedures of some sort (even if he compares this to cannibalism!). If we can agree on this much, then I am willing to accept that we have differences in philosophy.
Gabriel Amadej also bases her argument on principles developed by Proudhon. Unlike Shawn Wilbur, her solution to collective decisionmaking is not through democratic procedures but through “the market.” But our societies are so intertwined and interconnected, economically and otherwise, that even decentralization will not end the need for working and living together collectively—and making collective decisions in our workplaces and communities—democracy.
Personally, I don’t think “the left” ultimately represents much of anything coherent, but rather constitutes a historically contingent coalition of ideological positions. Bastiat and other free market folks sat on the left of the french assembly, and while we might try to claim that as part of a consistent leftist market tradition, we should be honest that one’s position in that particular revolution — much less revolution in general — is hardly indicative of very much. There are always revolutionaries who desire systems far worse than our own, and similarly there have been many broadly recognized “leftists” whose desires were utterly anathema to liberation.
It’s popular these days to paint the left and right as egalitarian versus hierarchical. But not only is this an imposed read on a far messier historical and sociological reality, but it’s honestly quite philosophically contentless. No one is particularly clear on what egalitarianism means, or even hierarchy, and many interpretations are not only mutually exclusive, they reveal supposedly identical claims as actually deeply antagonistic. Does egalitarianism mean everyone gets precisely the same wealth (however that’s supposed to be measured)? Does it mean mere legal or social equality in the abstract realm of relations before The People or The State’s legal system? Does it mean equal opportunity for economic striving or does it mean equal access to the people’s grain stores? Does equality supersede all other virtues like liberty? Is it better to all be oppressed equally than to have some achieve greater freedom? I’m not being facetious. We paper over these deep issues with “well but common sense” and the wishful assumption that our comrades will come down on the minutia the same way we would, sharing our intuitions on various tradeoffs, but that’s empirically not the case. We constantly differ.
People talk about “collective direct democracy” as if something being the near unanimous will of some social body constitutes an egalitarian condition. And, sure, it does under some definitions. But the moment I see some collective body trying to vote on my life I don’t want to “participate,” I want to chuck a bomb at it. Leftists use both the slogans “power to the people” and “abolish power” — this should be an intense red flag to everyone that completely different conceptual systems and values are at play. It’s delusional in the extreme to suppose that if we sat down and talked about things we’d all end up on the same page. The assumption of pan-leftist solidarity or a shared common goal is a comforting lie.
Any discussion of the relationship between Zionism and the “power elite” in Western countries must inevitably begin with a qualification of meanings, as these terms have been used in ways as to imply multiple definitions. For purposes of this discussion, the term “Zionism” is meant to describe an outlook that prioritizes the defense and promotion of the state of Israel as a bastion of Jewish nationalism, and which more broadly and implicitly favors a Jewish ethno-nationalism that spans the spectrum of the Jewish diaspora. The term “power elite” is being utilized in the manner suggested by the sociologist C. Wright Mills, who coined the term in order to describe those holding the dominant positions in the dominant institutions in society, such as government, business, industry, finance, military, education, religion, and the mass media. The central question involved in the analysis of this relationship is the matter of to what degree political decisions are shaped by the influence of Zionist sympathies. The evidence indicates that Zionists exercise considerable influence over the process of political decision-making in many Western countries, and particularly in the United States.