As you can see from the title, this is a response to an article posted by a guy named “ Alexander Reid Ross” which is a member of a website called antifascistnews.net. Now, before I respond to this, I want to give first the context of this article and then a disclaimer in order to make aware the readers (and Alexander himself) that I am not in any way trying to deceive anyone. I first heard about him through a facebook group that posted one of his linked articles titled “THE LEFT-OVERS: HOW FASCISTS COURT THE POST-LEFT.”(1). In that article, he mentions Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche and Post-Left in which he claims that some of their writings contributed to either sympathizing to Fascists or downright supporting them. I couldn’t really care much about the Post-Left stuff considering that I don’t identify as a “Post-Leftists,” but I sure as hell don’t identify with the Right Wing either. I was focused more on Stirner and Nietzsche and the ways in which I disagreed with many of his propositions. Anyways, Facebook groups on Egoism started to post this article and the comments on the article were mostly negative. As a result, Dr. Bones From “The Conjure House” posted a response titled “Post-Left vs “Woke” Left: How Alexander R. Ross Got Max Stirner Wrong” (2) and sent it to Alexander. What happened between them after that I have no idea but as a result of said criticism from many people, Alexander made this article that I am responding to.
Disclaimer: The opinions that I express in this response is merely my own and not anyone else. I am not affiliated with any organization or group other than Facebook groups on egoism. If anyone shares this article, that doesn’t mean the person or group in question agrees with everything I have to say.
With all that out of the way let’s get to my response.
The first part of this article deals with talking about the Post-Left and people like John Zerzan. As mentioned earlier, I have no interest in Post-left because I don’t identify myself as that. Eventually, he mentions Stirner and talks about Dr. Bones’s criticism on it
“Bones accuses me of never having read Stirner or Nietzsche, although I have read virtually all of Stirner and Nietzsche. The sensitivity is incredible, given that I devote only one sentence to Max Stirner in “The Left-Overs,” writing that he held a “belief in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed.” For this, I have been subjected to some of the most intense invective I have ever experienced in my life. Bones calls me a “fucking asshole” in his piece and a leftist “class struggle” meme page attacks me as a liberal antifa cuck, deploying the racist vocabulary of the alt-right to denounce antifascism as if they were not proving my point.”
I have no control over what Dr. Bones said but his quote that Stirner believed “… in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed.” is a bit nonsensical. The reason being is because Alexander is trying to paint Stirner as supporting White Nationalism by stating “European.” This is the same dog whistling that comes from the Alt-Right where Richard Spencer claims that “America is a European Country.” The only difference is that you’re against White Supremacy whilst The Alt Right supports it. More on this soon
“Bones does not deny the Eurocentrism of Stirner’s insistence on a “really Caucasian” age following the purging of “innate Negroidity” and “Mongloidity.” Yet he refuses to acknowledge the tacit racism, despite the fact that Stirner’s editor and translator, David Leopold, wrote in his introduction to Cambridge University Press’s 1995 edition of The Ego and Its Own, “Individual and historical development are the two primary forms of the Stirnerian dialectic, but in order to clarify its form he inserts ‘episodically’ a racial (and racist) analogue of the historical account.” Those calling my interpretation of Stirner “dishonest,” “disingenuous,” and “dirty” must hurl the same invective at Dr. Leopold, an Oxford University fellow and professor entrusted with the leading edition of Stirner’s main text (available through Libcom).”
Two things, the first being that Alexander calling Stirner a “Eurocentric” is a bit of an irrelevant, considering you could apply that logic to many people of his time including Bakunin, Marx, Proudhon, Kropotkin and many more. Secondly, it seems like you taken that quote from David Leopold and left out all the other stuff he said about Stirner’s explanation. So here is the quote in full detail
“Individual and historical development are the two primary forms of the Stirnerian dialectic, but in order to clarify its form, he inserts ‘episodically’ a racial (and racist) analog of the historical account. Human history, in this new narrative, ‘whose shaping properly belongs altogether to the Caucasian race’, is divided into three ‘Caucasian ages’. The first, in which the Caucasian race works off its ‘innate Negroid’, is vaguely located as including the era of Egyptian and North African importance in general and the campaigns of Sesostris III in particular, but its importance is clearly symbolic. xvii Introduction ‘Negroidity’ is the racial parallel of antiquity and childhood, representing a time of dependence on things: ‘on cock’s eating, bird’s flight, on sneezing, on thunder and lightning, on the rustling of sacred trees and so forth’ (p. 63). The second epoch, in which the Caucasian race escapes its ‘Mongoidity (Chineseness)” includes ‘the invasions of the Huns and Mongols up to the Russians ‘, and parallels the modern age and youth in representing the time of dependence on thoughts. Stimer’s concern with the continuity of this Christian epoch is emphasized by his choice of ‘Mongolism’ as the parallel of the modern, ‘Chineseness’ being a standard and pejorative Hegelian shorthand for lack of qualitative change . ‘Reserved for the future’ is the ‘really Caucasian’ era in which, having thrown off the Negroid and Mongol inheritance, the egoistic self can escape its dependence on both natural forces and ideas.(3) “
Stirner is talking about how historical developments are being shaped through a European lens and explains how each “caucasian age” brings it closer for Egoism to take shape all across the world. Was there a racial element in this? Yes, because of Stirner, like many others, lived in an era where racism was predominant in society. It is through this that causes ignorance of the terms because of Stirner’s isolation and incorrect usage of language. As David Leopold says later on in the Cambridge Edition of “The Ego and its Own.”
“From 1847, Stirner’s life was characterized by social isolation and financial precariousness. He remained curiously detached from contemporary events – he seems, for example, to have largely ignored the revolution of 1848 – and his daily life was increasingly dominated by domestic routine and economic hardship. Stirner continued to write intermittently, but commentators have generally found his later work to be of little independent interest.”(4)
“Can we chalk this up to blind ignorance, friends? Stirner’s historical account runs parallel to the then-popular Aryan myth, wherein the passage of humans from Africa to Asia to Europe signifies a cultural-linguistic process of evolution. Bones posits Stirner’s rejection of nationalism as a defense against the charge that he was racist. Yet recall now that I mentioned that Stirner held a “belief in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed.” Race and nation are different subjects, and looking at the complex history of ideological cross-overs, we can see fascinating outcroppings of the work of Stirner and Nietzsche that reject modern nationalism while reinforcing racist imperialism. The inability to detect this exposes a crucial vulnerability to racist anti-statism, which we will come to shortly.”
Stirner’s thoughts are not part of an Aryan Myth, if Alexander can provide a source that proves it, that would be great. As for the concept of Race and Nation, it can be differentiated but in the context of today’s political environment, Ethno-Nationalism is on the rise and it’s currently growing while forms of Civic-Nationalism and National Liberation Fronts are in the decline. Hence Mr. Bones reaction on Nationalism to counter Stirner’s racial elements.
“In the 1860s, Stirner would become a topic for historians and philosophers of the mind, from Friedrich Lange’s History of Materialism to Hartmann’s Philosophy of the Unconscious. There is little doubt that perhaps the most influential thinker of nihilism, Friedrich Nietzsche, was familiar with Stirner, familiar as he was with those two influential texts. He lent his student, Adolf Baumgartner, a copy of Ego and Its Own in 1874. Less than ten years later, shortly before publication of his most essential work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche confessed to his friend Ida Overbeck the deep influence of Stirner on his thinking before worrying, “they will be talking of plagiarism.””
The sources that Alexander provides debunk his own claim about Stirner’s influence on Nietzsche. Let’s start with the lending of Stirner’s book to Nietzsche.
“It is nevertheless certain that Nietzsche recommended the reading of Stirner to one of his students in Basle. In consulting the register of the Basle library it’s true that we don’t find Stirner’s book in the list of books borrowed in Nietzsche’s name. But we see that the book was borrowed three times between 1870 – 1880. In 1872 by the privat-dozent Schwarzkopf (Syrus Archimedes), in 1874 by the student Baumgartner, and in 1879 by professor Hans Heussler. M. Baumgartner though, son of Mme Baumgartner-Kochlin, who translated the “Untimely Meditations” into French, was Nietzsche’s favorite student: in his correspondence, the philosopher calls him his “erzschuler.” M. Baumgartner, who is today professor at the University of Basle, says that it was on Nietzsche’s advice that he read Stirner, but he his certain that he never loaned the book to his teacher.” (5)
So the only person who knows about this is a professor who states Nietzsche advised one of his students to read Stirner. That is extremely vague and provides no other proof than hearsay. It reminds me of people who swear they thought Nelson Mandela died in the 1980’s and now its a whole conspiracy theory called “The Mandela Effect.” Once I read this whole paper, it became clear to me that Alexander did not read all of this because of these quotes in general.
“We don’t encounter Stirner’s name either in the works or correspondence of Nietzsche. Mme. Forster-Nietzsche, in the meticulous biography she dedicated to her brother, doesn’t speak of the author of “The Ego and Its Own.” In any event, the work was almost completely forgotten up until the time J.H. Mackay set out to celebrate it. J.H. Mackay himself tells us that he only read Stirner’s name and the title of his book for the first time in 1888: this is the very year that Nietzsche descended into madness. In 1888 Mackay found Stirner’s name in Lange’s “History of Materialism,” which he read at the British Museum in London. A year then passed before he again encountered this name, which he had carefully noted. Until that date, Stirner was thus truly dead: he is indebted to Mackay for his resurrection.”
“Nietzsche opposes the enthusiasm of youth to this egoist maturity. It would be quite surprising if Nietzsche, who didn’t take Hartmann’s “parody” seriously, would have decided at that date to study the works of Stirner, where he would have found theories even more paradoxical in his eyes than those of “Philosophy of the Unconscious.” In any event, Hartmann’s argument doesn’t prove that Stirner directly influenced Nietzsche.”
“In summary, it doesn’t appear that Stirner had a decisive influence on Nietzsche. He perhaps contributed to keeping Nietzsche for a time within the realm of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics. He was doubtless little by little forgotten afterward.”(5.)
What this means is Stirner’s influence on Nietzsche was slim if not really anything. Next, he referenced a book called “Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography by Rüdiger Safranski in which Nietzsche supposedly stated “they will be talking about plagiarism” in regards to Stirner’s work. I looked through the whole book and I cannot find that quote anywhere(6). So from what I’ve gathered, I think it’s safe to say that there is hardly any direct connection between Stirner and Nietzsche’s work.
“Like Stirner, Nietzsche asserted the philosophical importance of iconoclasm—of destroying dominant paradigms that contain the individual. Nietzsche looked at the spirit of his day—the decadence of urban expansion, mundane philosophy, the herds of nationalism and flocks of the Church—as a form of passive nihilism. To overcome it, he predicted a new Superman would come about to annihilate the falsity of everyday life through an “active nihilism” perhaps evocative of an “eternal return” of human freedom.
Anarchist writer George Woodcock notes, “Nietzsche himself regarded Stirner as one of the unrecognized seminal minds of the nineteenth century.” By the end of the 20th Century, Nietzsche and Stirner formed fundamental pillars of radical thought. Writer and editor, Benjamin Tucker, discussed the significance of Stirner to anarchism, while Emma Goldman popularized Nietzsche.”
Just because one anarchist says there is a Stirner-Nietzsche connection, it doesn’t mean that it is true. There has to be a thing called “evidence” and that needs to be expressed and so far, there isn’t anything to go off on. Also, the fact that there’s a crossover for anyone who reads Stirner to use it to their advantage, regardless of their cause, (even if its fascism) is a useless point unless you are painting a narrative against Max Stirner itself. People need to realize that Stirner can be used by anyone and anywhere since he was apolitical and didn’t have any dreams for a better future. Is it terrible that people do this? Yes, but that is how the nature of ideology works, its there to manipulate the masses into their subjective preference of reality.
“Aside from these influences, Stirner and Nietzsche also had a tremendous effect on Dora Marsden, a feminist leader who held the Aryan female genius responsible for breeding humanity into the New Order. Aside from being a Stirnerist, Marsden was also influenced by the anti-Semitic and misogynistic individualist, Otto Weininger, who counted Stirner, with Ibsen and Nietzsche, as the only scholars to ever understand true ethics and individualism.Though she was an egoist and an important member of the women’s movement, her agreement with Weininger led her to essentialize the sex binary in her writings. Weininger would also influence the Nazi regime and Evola openly admired him.”
By this logic, why should I even pay attention to anarchism considering the fact that the figureheads were deeply Anti-semitic themselves?
Bakunin on Marx and Rothschild“Himself a Jew, Marx has around him, in London and France, but especially in Germany, a multitude of more or less clever, intriguing, mobile, speculating Jews, such as Jews are every where: commercial or banking agents, writers, politicians, correspondents for newspapers of all shades, with one foot in the bank, the other in the socialist movement, and with their behinds sitting on the German daily press — they have taken possession of all the newspapers — and you can imagine what kind of sickening literature they produce. Now, this entire Jewish world, which forms a single profiteering sect, a people of blooksuckers, a single gluttonous parasite, closely and intimately united not only across national borders but across all differences of political opinion — this Jewish world today stands for the most part at the disposal of Marx and at the same time at the disposal of Rothschild. I am certain that Rothschild for his part greatly values the merits of Marx, and that Marx for his part feels instinctive attraction and great respect for Rothschild. This may seem strange. What can there be in common between Communism and the large banks? Oh! The Communism of Marx seeks enormous centralization in the state, and where such exists, there must inevitably be a central state bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, which. speculates on the work of the people, will always find a way to prevail ….”(7)
Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1847), On the Jews
“December 26, 1847: Jews. Write an article against this race that poisons everything by sticking its nose into everything without ever mixing with any other people. Demand its expulsion from France with the exception of those individuals married to French women. Abolish synagogues and not admit them to any employment. Finally, pursue the abolition of this religion. It’s not without cause that the Christians called them to decide. The Jew is the enemy of humankind. They must be sent back to Asia or be exterminated. By steel or by fire or by expulsion the Jew must disappear.”(8.)
The list can go on through a number of people who were Anti-Semitic at that time. What I’m not going to do, however, is simply dismiss their arguments because of what they’ve said because it’s an Ad-hominem attack and a Guilt by Association fallacy and just pretend that is real criticism. As for that Evola quote, here is the entire quote in detail.
“The previous phase, limited ίη its extent, had been that οί the Romantic hero: the man who feels alone ίη the face of divine indifference and the superior individual who despite everything reaffirms himself ίη a tragic context. He breaks accepted laws, but not ίη the sense of denying their validity; rather, he claims for himself exceptional rights to what is forbidden, be it good or ίΙl. The process exhausts itself, for example, ίη a man like Max Stirner, who saw ίη all morality the ultimate form οί the divine fetish that was to be destroyed. He denounced the “beyond” that exists within man and that tries to give him rules as being a “new heaven” that is merely the insidious transposition οί the external, theological beyond, which has been negated. With this conquest of the “interior god” and the exaltation of the “Unique” that is free from rules and “rests its cause οη nothingness,” opposing itself to every value and pretense οί society, Stirner marks the end of the road trodden by the nihilistic social revolutionaries (to whom the term nihilism was originally applied)-but trodden ίη the name of utopian social ideas ίη which they always believed: ideas such as “justice,” “liberty,” and “humanity,” as opposed to the injustice and tyranny that they saw ίη the existing order. “(9)
What Evola is describing was Stirner’s Philosophy in his own opinion. Instead of embracing it, he simply rejected it because it was based on “nothingness” and “nihilistic”. As for Nietzsche, he cherry-picked the things he likes and disregards what he dislikes. This is just another example of how people subvert other peoples works for their own political agenda.
Alexander then names other authors that I have no clue as to who they were. But it doesn’t really matter because like I’ve said before, crossovers happen all over the political and ideological spectrum and it’s really pointless to point that out. The reason is that it can be applied to both Left as well as Right-wing politics. He then goes on to say that he did not accuse Stirner of being Left or Right. If that were true, then why even make the case that the rise of fascism on the internet is due mostly to Stirner and Nietzsche? Alexander might respond with “fascism takes elements of both the left and right” but yet once again it’s irrelevant because everyone takes elements of left and right that they like and don’t like. I am sorry that you don’t have a “sacred” and “pure” concept of Anarchism, it’s just that people have many different interpretations as to how the world works.
Later on, he mentions how Mussolini recommended his Blackshirts to read Stirner and Rothbard influencing the Left. The source of Mussolini’s recommendation cannot be found other than buying two books(which I don’t have the money for). As for Rothbard, he tried to form political alliances on both sides in order to think about his version of Libertarianism, “ Rothbard formed strategic alliances with widely different groups throughout his career. Perhaps the most intriguing of these alliances is the one Rothbard formed with the New Left in the mid- 1960s, especially considering their antithetical economic views. “(10). It was stupid and so is the libertarian movement in general because they don’t understand how realpolitik works.
Edit: So I found out more information regarding Stirner’s influence on Mussolini. As it turns out, Alexander is being dishonest by not pointing out the context of his thoughts on Stirner. To quote S.E. Parker, he states this when mentioning “Roots of the Right Edition of the Ego and Its Own.”
“Mr. Carroll’s case is a poor one. He gives no clearly delineated causal connection between Stirner’s conscious egoism and the altruism of fascism. He can only suggest, for example, that Stirner’s ideas had a direct influence on Mussolini and perhaps an indirect influence on Hitler. Since he admits that Hitler was probably ignorant of Stirner his conjectures about are too tenuous to consider.
Mussolini is a different matter. He wrote enthusiastically “why shouldn’t Stirner become significant again” and praised individualism as late as 1919. But, as Mr. Carroll says, his “notorious exhibitionism” made him less a passionate follower of ideas than an intellectual opportunist, freely swapping them to suit the cause of the moment.
True to form, once he was in authority, Mussolini dropped his sympathy for individualism like a hot potato. At the Fascist Party Congress of 1929 he declared that the individual only existed as part of the State and subordinate to its necessities [those darn egoists are slippery types, to be sure—ed.] And in his The Political and Social Doctrines of Fascism he wrote: “The foundation of Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State…” It would take a medieval school-man or a Marxist theoretician to find any trace of Stirner in such statements as these.”(11)
Furthermore, I am just gonna respond to these last two quotes and wrap up with my overall thoughts
“Looking up Stirner in the fascist blogosphere today, one finds the most important cross-overs. In the Counter-Currents article, “We Are All Egoists—and Why That’s a Good Thing,” by former anarchist “race realist,” Aedon Cassiel, Stirner’s egoism avoids the “immature, anti-social, or sociopathic” approach, moving instead toward a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that provides for “a flourishing social commons.” This, of course, is not to say that a reading of The Ego and Its Own that permits such a synthetic social relationship of individuals is automatically fascist, but rather that it has significant weight across the spectrum.”
“With the development of the alt-right, newer syntheses of Stirnerism became possible. Stirner soon became a topic of interest, a conversation piece between Stirner-influenced nationalist Jonathan Bowden and alt-right founder, Richard Spencer. Alt-right accounts like “Darth Stirner” emerged, encouraging young radicals to abandon “rose-colored glasses” and open their eyes to the need for interning the enemies of the white race.”
Aedon Cassiel was talking about Ayn Rand’s form of Egoism and as soon as he mentioned Stirner, he simply dismissed his arguments simply because he believed that “we are already living in an egoistic world.” To pay attention to Stirner and ignore Rand’s role in that article is dishonest and disingenuous. As for Richard Spencer’s Conversation with Jonathan Bowden, Stirner was only in interest for a second and then simply dismissed by Bowden as childish as we can see here
“ RS: Right. Did you go through this phase?
JB: Not really. I’ve always been a bit too cynical for that, really. Although, anarchism as an idea, through people like Max Stirner to one side of Nietzsche, did interest me when I was very young. So, I had a look at those sort of utopian currents, and that’s a creed that’s to the Left of almost everything else. And you can reach that through extreme forms of individualism. So, I had a look at that, partly to get hold of Stirner’s book, which you could only get from anarchist outlets at that time. There’s a Cambridge University Press edition of The Ego and Its Own now, but there wasn’t when I was young.”
But no, I’ve never had those views in that way, because I’ve always regarded them as adolescent views, essentially, as views which are not tempered by the rigor of age and maturity and are immature attitudes towards life.”(12)
As for using a name of a guy’s account to prove that Stirner is gaining traction on the Right is one of the most utterly repulsive things I have seen. This has to be one of the worst forms of desperation I have ever seen used against Stirner and there will definitely be worse attacks on his character as this political climate turns for the worse.
The rest of this article is full of crossovers and word salads in order to convince people that Stirner is influencing many people on the Right. What Alexander needs to understand is that not everything is simple as he thinks it is. Stirner’s Egoism has always been under attack by both the Left and the Right and it will always be taken out of context in order to achieve an agenda. This, in turn, creates fear in engaging with ideas that are in disagreement and eventually people lose all sense of discourse. The whole point of my response was not to convince others to join Egoism but to show how an ideologue can propagate falsehoods for political expediency whether it be Antifa or The Alt-Right. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta debunk this “Cultural Marxism” nonsense that white nationalists are making a fuss about.
(7) Michael Bakunin, 1871, Personliche Beziehungen zu Marx. In: Gesammelte Werke. Band 3. Berlin 1924. P. 204-216. [My translation – UD].
(9) Julius Evola, Ride Against the Tiger, Chapter 7: The Unique One, Retrieved From http://www.cakravartin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/Julius-Evola-Ride-the-Tiger-Survival-Manual-for-the-Aristocrats-of-the-Soul.pdf.
(10) John Payne, “Rothbard’s Time on the Left,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 19, no.1 (Winter 2005): pg.1
(11) Anarchism, Angst, and Max Stirner by S.E.Parker: http://www.unionofegoists.com/stirner/max-stirner-criticism/anarchism-angst-and-max-stirner/
(12) Johnathan Bowden an Interview by Richard Spencer https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/08/the-essence-of-the-left/