Saturday, November 25, 2017
Max Stirner: The Ultimate Liberalist
Humans have aspired to establish various forms of their ideal political state by adjusting to the contemporary situations at each different time period in order to fulfil their desire and wish. However, regardless of any kind of political ideology put into practice including feudalism, liberal-democracy, and socialism, there is always a single public authority holding the final decision making power stabilising the decision making processes which tend to be messed up under different conflicting interests among individuals. This single public authority has been required in order to maintain the consistency of a state's policy administration in order to avoid breaking down a state.
As long as any system attempts to defend their political principle and individual-citizens there demand someone to maintain the consistency of this system, the existence of the single authority, which is powerful enough to suppress any possible conflicts of interests destabilising this system, tends to emerge. Liberal-democracy requires the single public authority sustaining the system providing individual citizens with their equality in opportunity whereas socialism requires the single public authority in charge of re-distributing incomes and resources equally among individual citizens. However, the single authority holds an enough power enabling to violate the system to provide itself with the unfair advantage to have a far stronger opportunity to monopolise resources and the power of various decision-making processes.
Even after abolishing a government of a nation-state, the alternative powerful public authority come into the power in an anarchist-communist state because individual-citizens claimed for the unified principle of stabilising their state under the unified interest of communism. In order to administrate the income and resource distribution among all individual citizens, the altruism of all individual-citizens was heavily emphasised, and any deviation from their altruistic union was seen as an error. Then, it was an obligation for any individual to obtain the permission from the group of other individuals in order to act independently. The autocratic pressure derived from the interaction of from the group of individuals should be called society which is physically unobservable unlike a governmental institution but it certainly exists as the public authority holding the authority equivalent to what a government of a nation state holds. Then, as long as individuals aspire to cling to sustaining the consistency and the stability of their collective distribution and the universal political principle, any form of the single public authority tends to emerge all the time.
How is it possible to establish the world where all individuals act and think independently without any authoritarian suppression including both the physical source of nation-states' government and the nonphysical structure such as society. Adam Smith has already invented the policy accomplishing this ideal by means of the economic scale. Then, Smith's economic liberalism, which tends to be called either free-market or capitalism, has enabled this world to optimise their resource distribution and increase the aggregate productivity enabling individuals to obtain the high degree of freedom of enjoying their material satisfaction. Nevertheless, the decision-making process of politics and social-policy is still held by a single authority such as a nation-state government. Therefore, even though the aggregate productivity is maximised under the economic liberalism, the distribution of the resources is still asymmetric due to the existence of the single public authority. The reason why this asymmetry takes place is that this public authority is powerful enough to violate the entire economic and social system by means of their personal favouritism. This unfair favouritism naturally emerges because not all individuals serving as the members of this public authority are not altruistic enough to serve the rest individuals, and they are prone to their selfish interests.
Instead of not solving the problem caused by the frustration of majority individuals due to the monopolised political power by the single public authority such as government or society, is there any possibility of establishing the world enabling individuals to live their own life by acting and thinking themselves independently without the suppression by the single authority? There was a great political philosopher called Max Stirner who invented his political philosophical ideal describing the world ultimately liberating individuals from the suppression of a public authority.
First of all, Stirner was critical about both nation-state and government. God's threat in ancient times and monarch's dignity in medieval controlled individuals' mind to repress their free action and thinking in order to deserve the ruling class. Both nation-states' government and society control individuals' mind by promising their liberty and right by word. At the same time, they are not guaranteed to fulfil the promise meanwhile they are expected to fulfil the obligations to their obeying authority more than their rewards. The contract between individuals and their obeying public authority of the modern nation state is based on their belief in their modern nation state. They are made to believe they will be eventually rewarded for their contribution to their nation states' authority without ensuring their actual result of obtaining enough rewards for their sacrifice. Therefore, this belief in the modern nation state government and society is resemblance to the belief in God's threat taught by religion and in the charismatic dignity of monarchy.
Unlike the majority classical anarchists claiming for condemning ego and abolishing private property, Stirner put emphasis on honestly admitting individuals' ego and allowing individuals to own private property. The other classical anarchists insisted that ego and ownership of private property were the means of unfair inequality and the perpetuation of the oppressive authoritarian regime. By contrast, the unfair unequal distribution of various resources was caused by the oppressive authorities artificially creating the collective incentive of controlling the distribution follows. In addition, Stirner encouraged egoism as individuals' vital energy source of living and rewarding themselves for their efforts and self-love. The fundamental problem was that only a limited number of privileged individuals in the authority were able to maximise their ego under the status-quo whilst the rest majority individuals were frustrated from maximising their own ego.
It is sometimes misunderstood as a survivalist denying any public community where individuals can rest from competition and they can use public goods and services provided by it. However, Stirner also claimed for a necessary public community providing its public goods & services and mediating social-contracts among individuals, and he called it the union of individuals. This union is an alternative form of the public body providing public goods & services and social-contracts & order which government and society have provided individuals with. This union should not be permanent so that it should be spontaneously created and relinquished if necessary without being constrained by the interest of authoritarian status-quo.
Perhaps, Stirner's political philosophy is something like the world of Liberalism in a bigger scale than what Adam Smith established. He seemed to want to enabling not only goods and services which are physically observable but also something more abstract and unobservable forms such as forming community and social-contracts to freely exchanged and replaced with another form spontaneously. However, these abstract and unobservable forms are difficult to measure their exact exchangeable value so that there tend to be a conflict of opinions and understandings among individuals without a single powerful public authority holding the final decision making power.
Those who have overtaken or been influenced by Stirner have always aspired to continue seeking any possibility of establishing an individual anarchism possibly maximising individuals' liberty, and then continue fighting against those who undermine any attempt of establishing it. Many new inventions are born out of an idea, and an innovation cannot be born without any plan based on an idea. So, as long as their ideal plan is derived from a logical analysis based on a rational principle, there might be a possibility to put this plan into practice in a real as a real policy. This is indeed an ultimately tough challenge because of the difficulty of maintaining its stability and the abstract characteristic of measuring what they are going to exchange to sustain the order of this politics. Despite this troublesome nature, it is important to hold this political philosophy as their fundamental principle while challenging the authoritarian status-quo clinging to sustaining their monopolistic power.
Nation states' government and society were emphasised as the oppressive authority repressing the possible individual liberty at the contemporary time period when Stirner was alive. At the current time period, it is precisely possible that an alternative form of an authority constraining individuals' liberty with their own justification emerges. The form of this authority may be more abstract to explain and/or constraining individuals' liberty more implicitly than government and society. Therefore, individuals may need to be far more cautious to more sceptically analyse their own life situation in order to defend their own liberty. If individuals want to live their own life which they are fully satisfied with, the ultimate liberalist ideal which Stirner dreamed of is worth off to keep holding out for.