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8 - ‘The State and I’: Max Stirner's Anarchism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2009

Douglas Moggach
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa
David Leopold
Affiliation:
Member of the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford; Fixed-Term Fellow in Politics Mansfield College, Oxford
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Summary

Seht Stirner, seht ihn, den bedächt'gen Schrankenhasser,

Für jetzt noch trinkt er Bier, bald trinkt er Blut wie Wasser.

So wie die andern schrein ihr wild: à bas les rois!

Ergänzet Stirner gleich: à bas aussi les lois!

‘See Stirner too, the thoughtful moderation-hater;

Though still on beer, he'll soon be drinking blood like water.

And if the others shout a wild: à bas les rois [down with the kings]!

Stirner is sure to add: à bas aussi les lois [down with the laws as well]!’

It is a commonplace to remark that Max Stirner (born Johann Caspar Schmidt, 1806–56) is a little-known figure in the history of political and philosophical thought. However, that obscurity should not be exaggerated. Stirner is not only a familiar figure within certain rather specialised, and largely academic, circles – such as those with an interest either in Left Hegelianism or in the early intellectual development of Karl Marx (1818–83) – he is also more widely known as a member of, and influence upon, the anarchist tradition.

Stirner's name is regularly included as part of the modern pantheon in historically oriented surveys of anarchist thought, and his best-known work, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (1844), is often excerpted in anthologies of anarchist writings. (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum might be rendered somewhat literally as The Unique Individual and His Property, but the book is better known as The Ego and Its Own in its English translation.)

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The New Hegelians
Politics and Philosophy in the Hegelian School
, pp. 176 - 199
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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