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Why I Dig Stirner

July 02, 2014 By: John Kindley Category: Uncategorized

If religion has set up the proposition that we are sinners altogether, I set over
against it the other: we are perfect altogether! For we are, every moment, all that
we can be; and we never need be more. Since no defect cleaves to us, sin has no
meaning either. Show me a sinner in the world still, if no one any longer needs to
do what suits a superior! If I only need do what suits myself, I am no sinner if I do
not do what suits myself, as I do not injure in myself a “holy one”; if, on the other
hand, I am to be pious, then I must do what suits God; if I am to act humanly, I
must do what suits the essence of man, the idea of mankind, etc. What religion
calls the “sinner,” humanitarianism calls the “egoist.” But, once more: if I need not
do what suits any other, is the “egoist,” in whom humanitarianism has borne to
itself a new-fangled devil, anything more than a piece of nonsense? The egoist,
before whom the humane shudder, is a spook as much as the devil is: he exists
only as a bogie and phantasm in their brain. If they were not unsophisticatedly
drifting back and forth in the antediluvian opposition of good and evil, to which
they have given the modern names of “human” and “egoistic,” they would not
have freshened up the hoary “sinner” into an “egoist” either, and put a new patch
on an old garment. But they could not do otherwise, for they hold it for their task
to be “men.” They are rid of the Good One; good is left!

We are perfect altogether, and on the whole earth there is not one man who is
a sinner! There are crazy people who imagine that they are God the Father, God
the Son, or the man in the moon, and so too the world swarms with fools who
seem to themselves to be sinners; but, as the former are not the man in the moon,
so the latter are — not sinners. Their sin is imaginary.

Yet, it is insidiously objected, their craziness or their possessedness is at least
their sin. Their possessedness is nothing but what they — could achieve, the
result of their development, just as Luther’s faith in the Bible was all that he was
— competent to make out. The one brings himself into the madhouse with his
development, the other brings himself therewith into the Pantheon and to the
loss of —Valhalla.

There is no sinner and no sinful egoism!

Get away from me with your “philanthropy”! Creep in, you philanthropist,
into the “dens of vice,” linger awhile in the throng of the great city: will you
not everywhere find sin, and sin, and again sin? Will you not wail over corrupt
humanity, not lament at the monstrous egoism? Will you see a rich man without
finding him pitiless and “egoistic?” Perhaps you already call yourself an atheist,
but you remain true to the Christian feeling that a camel will sooner go through a
needle’s eye than a rich man not be an “un-man.” How many do you see anyhow
that you would not throw into the “egoistic mass”? What, therefore, has your
philanthropy [love of man] found? Nothing but unlovable men! And where do
they all come from? From you, from your philanthropy! You brought the sinner
with you in your head, therefore you found him, therefore you inserted him
everywhere. Do not call men sinners, and they are not: you alone are the creator
of sinners; you, who fancy that you love men, are the very one to throw them into
the mire of sin, the very one to divide them into vicious and virtuous, into men
and un-men, the very one to befoul them with the slaver of your possessedness;
for you love not men, but man. But I tell you, you have never seen a sinner, you
have only — dreamed of him.

1 Comments to “Why I Dig Stirner”


  1. I never cared much for Nietzsche, but the similarity of Stirner (with whom I am not at all familiar up to this point) is pretty striking.

    I’m a bit wary of unanswerable claims that everything is self-interest or egoism, unanswerable because the define away all objections. Seems a bit facile.

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