A Tweeter said yesterday that beyond belief in the non-aggression principle (“NAP”) it was unwise and presumptuous to assert “anarchists think” anything, implying that the NAP is the essence of Anarchy. Now, I’ve said something similar myself, and personally happen to subscribe to the NAP, but pointed out in response that by definition the essence of Anarchy is not non-aggression but rulerlessness, and cited Georgetown professor John Hasnas’ essay “The Depoliticization of Law” as a good exposition of what “rulerlessness” means. I cited Max Stirner as an example of a famous and influential anarchist who did not subscribe to the NAP. Stirner wrote:
Whoever knows how to take, to defend, the thing, to him belongs property.
What I have in my power, that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the proprietor of the thing.
I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing. Pray do the like with what you call my property!
The time [in which Jesus lived] was politically so agitated that, as is said in the gospels, people thought they could not accuse the founder of Christianity more successfully than if they arraigned him for ‘political intrigue’, and yet the same gospels report that he was precisely the one who took the least part in these political doings. But why was he not a revolutionary, not a demagogue, as the Jews would gladly have seen him? […] Because he expected no salvation from a change of conditions, and this whole business was indifferent to him. He was not a revolutionary, like Caesar, but an insurgent: not a state-overturner, but one who straightened himself up. […] [Jesus] was not carrying on any liberal or political fight against the established authorities, but wanted to walk his own way, untroubled about, and undisturbed by, these authorities. […] But, even though not a ringleader of popular mutiny, not a demagogue or revolutionary, he (and every one of the ancient Christians) was so much the more an insurgent who lifted himself above everything that seemed so sublime to the government and its opponents, and absolved himself from everything that they remained bound to […]; precisely because he put from him the upsetting of the established, he was its deadly enemy and real annihilator….