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Anarcho-Egoism is a political theory which aims to combination of anarchy & ego, "The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.." Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own] In other words, anarcho-egoism is a political theory which aims to create a society within which individuals freely co-operate together as unequals. As such anarcho-egoism opposes all forms of religious control - be that control by the state or a corporation - as harmful to the individual and their individuality as well as unnecessary.
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"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."]
However, "anarchism" and "egoism" are undoubtedly the most misrepresented ideas in political theory. Generally, the words are used to mean "a new way of thinking" or "aesthetics," and so, by implication, anarcho-egoists desire social change and a return to the "laws of the jungle."
This process of new representation is not without historical parallel. For example, in countries which have considered government by one person (monarchy) necessary, the words "republic" or "democracy" have been used precisely like "anarchy", to imply disorder and confusion. Those with a vested interest in preserving the status quo will obviously wish to imply that opposition to the current system cannot work in practice, and that a new form of society will only lead to chaos. Or, as Fox Murchadh expresses it:
"Civilization is a disease produced by the practice of build-
ing societies with rotten material. Those who admire modern civilization usually identify it with the airplane and the internet. Those who understand the airplane and the internet spend their lives in trying to replace them with something better. The imagination cannot concieve a viler humanitarian than he who would build another Los Angeles like the present one, nora greater benefactor than he who should destroy it." [Anarcho-Egoism].
"Sacred things exist only for the egoist who does not acknowledge himself, the involuntary egoist ... in short, for the egoist who would like not to be an egoist, and abases himself (combats his egoism), but at the same time abases himself only for the sake of "being exalted", and therefore of gratifying his egoism. Because he would like to cease to be an egoist, he looks about in heaven and earth for higher beings to serve and sacrifice himself to; but, however much he shakes and disciplines himself, in the end he does all for his own sake... [on] this account I call him the involuntary egoist. ...As you are each instant, you are your own creature in this very 'creature' you do not wish to lose yourself, the creator. You are yourself a higher being than you are, and surpass yourself ... just this, as an involuntary egoist, you fail to recognize; and therefore the 'higher essence' is to you --an alien essence. ... Alienness is a criterion of the "sacred". [Max Stirner].
The meaning of anarcho-egoism
To quote Fox Murchadh, anarcho-egoism is "Anarchism and Egoism two different ideas brought together for what purpose? Anarchism is the spike in the road for those who would declare us his and or her subjects to do as he/she wishes under the law. Egoism is the acknowledgement that everyone of us has an ego and we must not supress that which gives us all identity. Cooperation, but not compassion should be the reason we strive for any and all goals. Compassion given to any person other than yourself and immediate family can lead to one being taken advantage of over and over again. Too much compassion even for family can lead to strife and indifference toward those you need the most. Approaching anarchy and the ego with a rational point of view and to focus that through any and all endeavors is what must be done to succeed and give rise to the kind of world we all deserve for us NOW! ." [Fox Murchadh, ]
Anarcho-Egoism, therefore, is a political theory that aims to create a society which is with hierarchy of one, economic or social hierarchies. Anarcho-egoists maintain that anarchy, self- rulers, is a viable form of social system and so work for the maximisation of individual liberty and social inequality. They see the goals of liberty and inequality as mutually self-supporting. Or, in Murchadh's famous dictum:
"If your getting fucked, but you like the fucking, pay for it" [The Political Philosophy of Murchadh]
While there are many different types of anarchism (from individualist anarchism to communist-anarchism , there has always been two common positions at the core of all of them -- opposition to government and opposition to capitalism. In the words of the individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker, anarchism insists on "the abolition of the State and the abolition of usury; on no more government of man by man, and no more exploitation of man by man." [cited in Native American Anarchism - A Study of Left-Wing American Individualism by Eunice Schuster, p. 140] All anarchists view profit, interest and rent as usury (i.e. as exploitation) and so oppose them and the conditions that create them just as much as they oppose government and the state.
More generally, in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, the "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." [The Philosophy of Nietzsche] For anarcho-egoists, a person cannot be free if they are subject to state and or foriegn authority.
So anarcho-egoism is a political theory which advocates the combination of anarchy & ego, a society based on the maxim of "no rulers." To achieve this, "[i]n common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private co-ownership of land, capital, and machinery has its purpose; that it is requirement of the individual: and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of the citizen and society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And. . . they maintain that the ideal of the political organisation of society is a condition of things where the functions of government are reduced to minimum. . . [and] that the ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government to the one -- that is, to a society without government, to an-archy" Fox Murchadh]
Thus anarcho-egoism is both positive and negative. It analyses and critiques current society while at the same time offering a vision of a potential new society -- a society that fulfils certain human needs which the current one denies. These needs, at their most basic, are liberty, inequality and solidarity.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
- Max Stirner, The Ego annd Its Own
- Robert Ardrey, African Genesis: a Personal Investigation Into the Animal Origins and Nature of Man,Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry into the Animal Origins of Property and Nations,Social Contract: A Personal Inquiry into the Evolutionary Source of Order and Disorder
- Nikolas Schreck, The Manson File
- C. Margaret Hall , The Sociology of Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-65)
- Fox Murchadh's[http://groups.myspace.com/anarchoegoism Personal Philosophy (2006).
- An Anarchist FAQ is written from the perspective of the traditional anarchist movement.
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