Price on Blumenfeld

Price on Blumenfeld

From H-Socialisms

'All Things Are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner'

Jacob Blumenfeld
Wayne Price

Jacob Blumenfeld.
All Things Are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner.
Winchester: Zero Books, 2018. 155 pp.
$17.46 (paper)
Reviewed by Wayne Price (Independent Scholar)
Published on H-Socialisms (December, 2020)
Commissioned by Gary Roth (Rutgers University - Newark)

Printable Version:

Self and Others: Max Stirner and Revolutionary Anarchism

Max Stirner was the pen name of Johann Kasper Schmidt (1806-56). He was part of a milieu of young philosophers who sought to develop further the philosophy of the great German thinker Georg W. F. Hegel, who had died in 1831. This milieu has been referred to as the Young Hegelians or Left Hegelians. While Hegel’s system had solidified into a reactionary form, they mainly tried to rework it in more humanistic, naturalistic, and democratic directions. The most well-known of these young men today (there were women in the grouping, but their names have dropped out of history) are Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. (Engels had been a personal friend of Stirner’s for a time.) Michael Bakunin—later a founder of revolutionary socialist-anarchism—also studied Hegel and was in contact with this milieu.

Stirner wrote his masterwork, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, in 1844. In 1907 it was translated into English as The Ego and His Own, although a current translation by Wolfi Landstriecher (2017) more correctly has it as The Unique and Its Property. At the time, its extreme individualism and amoralism created a stir. Various Young Hegelians wrote rebuttals. Marx and Engels wrote a lengthy book, The German Ideology (1846), most of which was a response to Stirner.[1] However, interest died down, especially after the 1848 failed European revolution. Marx and Engels did not publish their book. Stirner had no influence on the anarchist movement of the time.

John Henry Mackay was to rediscover Stirner and published his biography in 1897. Individualist anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker, adopted Stirner’s book into their canon. Emma Goldman also admired his work. Today he is included in selections of anarchist theorists. Some regard him as a predecessor of “postanarchism,” which seeks to integrate anarchism with poststructuralism, postmodernism, and postleftism. This brings me to Jacob Blumenfeld’s All Things Are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner.

Stirner’s Thought

Most of this work is an exposition of Stirner’s thought. But that is not a simple matter and this is not a simple (or clear) book. According to Blumenthal, this is at least partially due to Stirner. The author refers to “Stirner’s erratic thinking” (p. 3); “Stirner’s language cannot be taken at face value…. I propose numerous translations of Stirnerisms in order to make sense of what appears senseless” (pp. 15-16). Stirner’s theory has a “fundamental ambiguity” (p. 23). Blumenfeld refers to “the strange logic of Stirner’s argument” (p. 51). The writer chides Marx for misreading Stirner: “He takes him to be laying out thesis after thesis, building up a system” (p. 15). Then Marx criticizes his system for being illogical. Instead, Stirner was providing a poetic “performance,” using “deduction, dialectic, etymology, allegory, repetition, shock, syllogism, metaphor, neologism, aphorism” to provide “a text which provokes an experience in the reader” (p. 15).

To fill in the holes in Stirner’s work and to clarify the ambiguities, Blumenthal uses other philosophers. These include Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Hegel, Jacques Derrida, Guy Debord, and Emmanuel Levinas. Using Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy, “it is possible to reconstruct an ontology that makes sense of Stirner’s views” (p. 60). The thinker he most uses is Marx. Except for a few brief statements, he does not cite other anarchists, with the exception of Gustav Landauer. Borrowing from such sources, and relying on his own insights, Blumenthal creates his personal Stirner, whom he refers to as “My Stirner” (p. 51).

Stirner was a supreme nominalist. While admitting that abstractions may be useful at times, he insisted that they did not exist. The “I” would be mistaken to be committed to them or to be guided by them. This was not only true of God but also of humanity, not only of the state, but also of society, not to mention love, justice, mercy, kindness, country, class, freedom, chastity, honor, property, and so on. These were all “spooks” in the head, fixed thoughts, delusions foisted upon the I by society (p. 18). The only thing which mattered was the I (“Ich,” also translated as “ego”). Even that does not truly exist, since labels are not reality; the self is an undefinably unique, creative, nothing (no-thing). Out of this void, motives, behavior, and thoughts are produced. Only my own motives count, since otherwise I am an alienated thing.

The I owns itself and owns whatever it has the power to take from others. The central life process is not labor but consumption—of others, of their ideas, of their property. Socialization is only participated in for what each one can get out of it. This is the hypothetical Association (or Union) of Egoists. These views are opposed to republican democracy, because that would make the state dominate the I, and to socialism, because that would make society dominate the I.

Rather than argue the weaknesses of Stirner’s nominalist egoism, I contrast his views with those of the socialist anarchist Michael Bakunin. Bakunin referred to “the materialistic conception of freedom” (from his 1871 God and the State): “Man completely realizes his individual freedom as well as his personality only through the individuals who surround him and thanks only to the labor and the collective power of society…. I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation. It is the slavery of other men that sets up a barrier to my freedom … [and] is the negation of my humanity.”[2]

If we agree with Bakunin that individuals develop out of and through the society of other individuals, then values and ethics are not extrinsic to the self. Individuals are born with feelings of empathy, dependence, and other social emotions (even hatred is a social emotion). And society has norms, rational and irrational, that keep it functioning. These are passed on to individuals (mostly through the family). As individuals mature, some accept these standards unthinkingly. Others work their way through them, to develop their own values. But no one starts from an asocial blank slate.

Stirner and Marx

Rarely noted, Marx saw positive aspects in Stirner’s work. These are summarized by Sidney Hook (written when he was a revolutionary Marxist): “The realistic impact of [Stirner’s] criticism of the empty and abstract appeal to reason, justice, and humanity served as an effective antidote to … vapid sentimentalism…. Stirner’s repudiation of inherent natural rights cleared the ground for the revolutionist’s attacks upon the absolute right of property…. [He attacked] the absolutist state as a fiction imposed on the community for the benefit of a few…. The most significant of all of Stirner’s views was his emphasis upon the fact that formal freedom was an empty abstraction. Freedom is a freedom to do.”[3]

Blumenthal makes a similar analysis. He writes, “It was Marx’s brilliance to embed Stirner’s critique of ideology within a historical analysis of class antagonisms and social relations of production” (p. 132). Both Stirner and Marx rejected abstract moral generalizations in favor of the self-interest of individuals. This included groups of individuals, particularly for Marx, classes. What drives people to struggle for a better world is not a vapid belief in Justice but the actual experience of oppression on their own backs. Engels said of Stirner, “His egoistic man is bound to become communist out of sheer egoism” (p. 133).

Even for those not directly oppressed but who chose to identify with those who are, Engels wrote, “We must certainly make a cause our own, egoistic cause, before we can do anything to further it—and hence that in this sense, irrespective of any material aspirations, we are communists out of egoism also” (p. 133).

Self-determining, unique selves can only flourish in a stateless communist society. Blumenthal concludes, “Stirner’s unique individual, the Einzige or I capable of fully developing its own powers, is only possible in fully developed communism” (p. 138). Conversely, as Engels wrote, “Society cannot free itself unless every individual is freed. The old mode of production must therefore be revolutionized from top to bottom.”[4]


So far, such views are consistent with those of the socialist anarchists, from Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin to the communist-anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists. But while Blumenthal believes that a full egoism is consistent with communism, this was not Stirner’s opinion. Stirner was not interested in working out a new society with freedom for all individuals. His primary focus was on the self-development of the I, by itself.

Stirner and Marx had a nonmoral approach in common. They rejected an abstract, suprahuman, and classless morality in favor of a focus on self-interest. Marx and Engels were clearly motivated by moral values, but this was not part of their system. They never wrote that people should be for communism.

But a rejection of an abstract pie-in-the-sky morality does not rule out the possibility of a naturalistic and nonmoralistic ethics. This was the opinion of Bakunin and Kropotkin. A completely nonmoral view of socialism has led many socialists to accept the totalitarian, mass-murdering, Stalinist regimes as “socialist.” They appeared to be the product of the historical process. These Marxists lacked ethical standards rooted in historical reality. If Marx developed his nonmoral approach through responding to Stirner (as Blumenthal suggests), then Stirner’s influence was not all positive.

On the other hand, Marx is often criticized as being a teleological determinist, who believed that “socialism is inevitable.” He is blamed for seeing the laws of political economy he developed as absolutely true laws that must dominate people’s behavior. It is argued that these failings led Marx’s “orthodox” followers in a totalitarian direction.[5] Whether this is a correct interpretation of Marx is controversial. Some note that Marx and Engels had also said that the alternatives were “ruin or revolution,” providing more than one possibility.[6] In my opinion, Marx was ambiguous in his determinism and abstraction, leaving room for various interpretations. In any case, Stirner’s complete rejection of determinism and abstractions has certain benefits compared to determinist interpretations of Marxism.

For both Marx and the revolutionary anarchists, there is a reason to look at class self-interest. They did not believe that the capitalist class would surrender its wealth and power to the workers because it is the right thing to do. They did not expect the bourgeoisie to give up its rule because the workers won a peaceful and legal democratic election. The ruling rich and their minions are not motivated by Christian or democratic ideals, whatever they say. Therefore Marx and Engels, Bakunin and Kropotkin, concluded that the exploited (out of their class self-interest) had to eventually take away the industries, land, and wealth of the rich, break up their military-police-bureaucratic state, and create new, radically democratic institutions. Marxists and anarchists often differ on what these new institutions might be, but agree that a revolution would be necessary.

At times, Stirner suggested support for expropriating the capitalists, but this was not his main interest. He rejected “revolution” in favor of “insurrection” (or “rebellion”). To him, that meant individual self-awareness and self-development, breaking free of the “spooks” in one’s head.

Blumenthal concludes, “To make the world one’s property cannot occur without the dissolution of the state and civil society, and replacing it with communes, associations, unions, and councils” (p. 144). Very good. This is consistent with both anarchism and libertarian versions of Marxism. But how can we dissolve the state and capital and replace them? Blumenthal’s response is essentially nonrevolutionary. He does not present a strategy for building popular movements which might lead to overthrowing capitalism and the state and replacing them with libertarian communism. Instead he suggests looking toward changes in the consciousness of individuals and small groups.

For example, he presents a section on Gustav Landauer, a German anarchist (1870-1919). He is the only anarchist besides Stirner whom Blumenthal discusses. Landauer proposed that workers withdraw from industry and cities to establish agricultural communes, or to build combination consumer-and-producer cooperatives. “Landauer’s mystical appropriation of Stirner is completely his own…. Against reform [or] revolution … Landauer’s communism or anarchy is primarily ethical … to foster the rebirth of the unique, the singular, the contingent” (p. 111). In 1919, a workers’ revolution broke out in Bavaria, Germany. To his credit, Landauer joined it—even though this had not been the strategy he had been advocating. Unfortunately he was murdered by counterrevolutionary thugs—similar to the fate of Rosa Luxemburg.[7]


This is not a Stirner-Made-Easy book. It seems to be written for graduate students who have some background in Hegel, Marx, and current French philosophy. The author grapples with Stirner’s not-always clear texts, and tries to make sense of them, often by integrating Stirner with other philosophers. The results are interesting, although not always Stirner. I doubt that Stirner would have agreed with Blumenthal’s integration of his work with that of Marx.

Radicals have varying responses to Stirner. For example, Daniel Guerin was a French revolutionary after World War II who wanted a synthesis of Marxism and anarchism. As might be expected, he focused on revolutionary, class-oriented anarchist-socialists. But he was also attracted to the individualist-egoist Stirner. As a gay activist, he valued Stirner’s opposition to puritanism, patriarchy, and moralism—very unlike Stirner’s anarchist contemporary, P. J. Proudhon.[8]

Many people might find this book interesting, especially if they are interested in abstract anarchist theory—particularly if they are already individualist anarchists. Others, committed to revolutionary anarchist-socialism, would probably find it less useful. It is not the place to start to learn about Max Stirner’s egoism and commitment to the unique self.


[1]. Sidney Hook, From Hegel to Marx; Studies in the Intellectual Development of Karl Marx (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962).                 

[2]. Cited in Sam Dolgoff, ed. and trans., Bakunin on Anarchism (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1980), 236-37.

[3]. Hook, From Hegel to Marx, 174-75.

[4]. Frederick Engels, Anti-Duhring; Herr Eugen Duhring’s Revolution in Science (Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1954), 408.

[5]. Ron Tabor, The Tyranny of Theory; A Contribution to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism (Edmonton, Canada: Black Cat Press, 2013).

[6]. Engels, Anti-Duhring, 228.

[7]. Wayne Price, “Landauer’s Fallacy,” Anarkismo, July 28, 2011,

[8]. Daniel Guerin, ed., No Gods, No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism, Book One, trans. Paul Sharkey (Edinburgh: AK Press, 1998).

Wayne Price. Review of Blumenfeld, Jacob, All Things Are Nothing to Me: The Unique Philosophy of Max Stirner.
H-Socialisms, H-Net Reviews.
December, 2020.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

There are 42 Comments

"waaaah, author uses big words and complex ideas, book must be for grad students." *rolls eyes*

"I doubt that Stirner would have agreed with Blumenthal’s integration of his work with that of Marx."

likely, but they may have appreciated Blumenfeld's (who the fuck is Blumenthal?) dedicated engagement with their writing and, in somewhat Stirnerian fashion, attempt a re-shaping of their ideas for their own purposes. even if those purposes for Blumenfeld are some form of anti-state communism. instead of following suit, Price prefers to parrot poorly understood argumentation with the agenda of discrediting Stirner's philosophy as unclear and not anarchist. which is true to be fair, since for Price not anarchist means not socialist.

"His primary focus was on the self-development of the I, by itself."

I will have to assume Price either has not read Stirner's writing at all, or is simply ignoring the role of intercourse in Stirner's philosophy. they are at least aware of their advocacy for an association of uniques, so not sure where "by itself" is coming from other than bad reading or intentional misrepresentation.

"A completely nonmoral view of socialism has led many socialists to accept the totalitarian, mass-murdering, Stalinist regimes as 'socialist.'..If Marx developed his nonmoral approach through responding to Stirner (as Blumenthal suggests), then Stirner’s influence was not all positive."

Price's suggestion that Stirner's amorality may have been responsible for Stalinism shows their cards: not only a desire to connect Stirner's ideas to totalitarian Marxism, but their comprehension of morality as well.

more of Price's understanding of morality: "The ruling rich and their minions are not motivated by Christian or democratic ideals, whatever they say."

arent they? this is Stirner's critique. not a surprise that Price would disagree, whether they comprehend it or not. it doesnt seem they want to, but certainly want to speak authoritatively about it.

"A completely nonmoral view of socialism has led many socialists to accept the totalitarian, mass-murdering, Stalinist regimes as 'socialist.'..If Marx developed his nonmoral approach through responding to Stirner (as Blumenthal suggests), then Stirner’s influence was not all positive."

Stirner, Stirnerites and Egoists are all well known for mass-murdering, purging, harassing, no platforming etc etc etc

200 years ago is not going to have a totally positive, goody-good, effect on every single low-level politician and philosophy lover, many of which do not speak german. Look at what happened with Marx, i don't think marx ever reffered to himself as "a communist" or "a socialist", but Stalin and Mao clearly used his books to win hearts and minds.

I've noticed people in general have a super hard time analyzing their biases, in part because in amarica, bias has become the boogeyman, which means people take way too much pride in their biases...not making an allusion to Wayne Price here, will probably never meet him.

shared stirner's amoralism, and yeah stirner was all about the development of the self for the self sake, so the "by itself" thing isn't totally inaccurate. Stirner's book in response to his critics clears up the notion that stirner totally rejects altruism in favor of some lonely wild-west mentality, i guess an easy assumption for them to make in a cold class society. He said something like "getting outside of yourself to benefit yourself is also egoism", i would like to quote it but i don't remember the specific words he used.

Stirner overall is actually less condescending than buddhist monks, they say "there is no self" and then when you ask them what it means, they tell you that "there is no independent self", so...what's with all the statues, and the attempt to make some dead person a fixture of people's thoughts? Buddhism doesn't make much sense to me as some sort of transcendental/revolutionary praxis, but yes the writings have a lot in common with stirner.

self interest ≠ atomization or solitude. in most cases its just the opposite.

Most buddhists are full of spooks and false perceptions concerning reality and the human mind. Most are so embedded within a capitalist and moral labyrinth that they cannot see any personal zenith, and use the religion typically as a crutch to maintain an acceptable level of self-esteem amongst the flock. Zen on the other hand offers the disposal of phantoms and idols in pursuit of a relevant self-awareness, but still appeals to a certain benevolent sociopathic group of misfits. Stirner on the other hand is completely unshackled of socio-normative shackles and actually pursues nothing outside of its own desires.

for people who like to be a little hard on themselves, and that's what made me pursue religious Buddhism to the extent I did. They're overall pretty nice and pleasant in the US, they often think of themselves as these little sages. What you say about relevant self-awareness is true, zen buddhism is like "watch out, the eye of the tiger looks at you, focus!", and most people leave the flock because monastic buddhism is an incredibly strict religion.

having studied the texts, the buddha was basically like the hindu version of jesus, he was basically just updating hindu ideology and tradition, criticizing wealthy people and hypocrites, condemning asceticism, appeasing lost children fallowing him, etc. The main tenants of hindu thinking are pretty true, were all connected by a cosmic thread, people torture themselves through attachment and desire, but i don't know about any of the rest of it. India has an enormous con-man guru problem.

I've done my share of dabbling in ideas concerned with freedom and enlightenment and finally decided its not the actual desire which tortures people but rather the complex moral guilt and financial debt embraced and accepted which causes the suffering. The actual desire is fine but becomes mutated and twisted during the arduous path obtaining it, when its actually everywhere to be had. Its a subjective perception unique to every person, if they want it.

overall i decided the buddhist model wasn't very helpful for me because the things that make me suffer are more specific than "attachment and desire", i need desire to know when to eat, and i need small attachments in order to stay in contact with other people...

With me it was to the extent of regarding the pursuit of personal freedom as a spook in itself. Sure, one could set a bird free from a cage, or remove walls to allow for physical freedom of movement, but with the mind it is a case of eventually even "letting go of meditation" and entering the Now. Then again, maybe I'm nuts ;)

whereas i don't really know, i still like to experiment with meditation from time to time just because I'm also nuts, but i do think the benefits are somewhat exaggerated...

I was a bitter and cynical Marxist activist who used to follow Wayne Price and read all his essays. I didn't have many friends, and only related to other activists at rallies or when we were throwing rocks at bank windows and slashing rich people's cars tires in gentrified suburbs late at night.
Life was empty and meaningless, and then one day I met a Stirnerian girl who lived a positive and joyful life and I haven't looked back since. She psychologically freed me of all my spooks and false assumptions, I was reborn and dropped my miserable socialist world view for a creative vibrant individualistic Stirnerian one.
Don't listen to Wayne, its all fake and a trick to enslave you!

Wayne Price commenting Stirner is like Elon Musk commenting Thoreau.

Not for the first time of course;) Stirner was not a blank slate individualist, Wayne would know that if he read Stirner which I doubt he has. He acknowledges that the individual starts from a social slate and The Unique is derive down the road. A fork if you will. Freedom does not require default social intercourse Ted Kaczynski a textbook example(though it's great icing to the cake if the social is qualitative and good which is many instances is NOT the case) of freedom and uniqueness in extra social solitude.

Wayne also does not differentiate social dynamics and he most certainly does not decouple social from societal as I and other Stirnerians do. Social anarchism is just a euphemism for societal anarchism and anarchy and society can NEVER be. Anarchy will always be the marginal fork in the road away from society. It is subsocietal.

As for Blumenfeld's project, I think Wilbur's idea of integrating Stirner and Proudhon makes much more sense. S n' P were actually interested in anarchy as such in their own way more so then Marx and his cruddy communism. Communism is a societal form, always will be and While Pierre made the mistake of societalizing anarchy at least he can be corrected and course changed due to the dictates of anarchy.


1. Supported the plantation south in the U.S. Civil War,

2. Thought women should be chattel of males,

3. Explicitly called for the Jewish population of Europe to be driven out or murdered,

4. His bunk "socialism" was petty commodity production and wage-slavery without wages, and,

5. Got his sorry clown ass handed to him by an actual anti-capitalist revolutionary named Karl Marx.

That's just not true if you can comprehend the social and historical context of that era. Typical Marxist jealousy!

Each point is incorrect in just exactly the ways you would expect someone to get things wrong if they were simply repeating something they had heard someone else repeat. Ideology remains a hell of a drug.

The particular poster above pretty much has it soaked and biomed to his brain.

Well yes, ideology/religion is the opiate of the people, and its infuriating that Marx coined the term SOLELY as regarding religion and could not even recognise the reliosity of any ideology or doctrine. God him and Engels were morons, only Stirner and Nietzsche shine above them, and Schopenhauer.
The Marxists just cannot see how spooked they are? Aaaaaaaargh!!

WAyne Price really seems to LOVE Marx!

He's not that compelling. Stirner is ideological Viagra for Circle-A incels.

Thanks for the comments so far. But just to be clear, I did not write a review of the work of Stirner. I wrote a review of a book about Stirner. I even pointed out that the author, Blunemthal, was synthesizing his own version of Stirner, which he called "My Stirner." That's what I reviewed. Please do not criticize me for not reviewing a different book (by Stirner perhaps).

I am accused of blaming Stirner's nonmoralism for Stalinist atrocities. I do no such thing. I don't even blame Marx's nonmoralism. I did say that Marx's nonmoralism (which may or may not have been influenced by Stirner) was eventually to blame for causing some leftists for accepting Stalinist atrocities.

I am "accused" of being a Marx-lover (interestingly, no one has criticized my reference to Bakunin). I am a revolutionary socialist-anarchist who believes that there is much that can be useful in aspects of Marxism. And also that socialist-anarchists can learn from other schools of anarchism (such as individualist anarchism). However, anyone who actually reads my review will notice that I critique Marxism for its non moralism and also for its determinism, both of which led to Marxists' support for Stalinist totalitarianism.

I am aware that Stirner believed that people started off socially but then developed their individualism and uniqueness--becoming fully mature when they reach complete unique egoism. It would be interesting to contrast this with Bakunin's views, but that was not what I was writing about.

I also noted the similarities between Stirner and Buddhism. I have long been inspired by Buddhism. But let us not get carried away. Zen Buddhism was developed (to a great degree) so that the samurai could be effective killing machines, not looking at other people as selves or themselves as selves with a conscience.

"I am aware that Stirner believed that people started off socially but then developed their individualism and uniqueness--becoming fully mature when they reach complete unique egoism. "

where has Stirner claimed this? there are no stages towards completeness. the unique is what you, I, and everyone else already are. there is no completeness to obtain. and why should anyone find what you have to say credible when you cant even get the author's name correct whose book you are reviewing?

it’s clear you don’t understand stirner. it’s clear you really don’t understand zen. you do yourself no favors by making shit up about both to prove a failed point. just stop.

it actually came from china, oral/written history shows by someone named Bodidharma, how it was used is pretty irrelevant to the discussion.

It's pretty clear, wayne price, that you are just projecting your own ideas and interpretations on to stirner. Stirner's philosophy was not a linear/progressive self help book, it was an explanation of how people have become enslaved to abstractions and ideas, the unique and its property is a full summary about how he used philosophy to:

-learn more about himself

-learn about capitalism and the state

-learn about repression, altruism, and sacrifice

never does stirner tell its eaders they need to go through this process entirely by themselves, but thats HOW STIRNER did it, and he recognized that society is so full of spooks and tricks that your average person will have to go through a similarly alienated process.

You should read "the unique and its proprty" and "stirners critics" cover to cover and carefully, then you will be knowledgable enough to comment, dont rely on marxist interpretations.

The mighty Rinzai Zen spook descends from the thunderclouds of heaven seeking the evil Marxist priest Prince Wayne Price, leader of the Proleteriat Golden Hordes, as he rallies his communistic rabble against the Shining Stirnerian Knights of Autonomous Glory, who dwell in the western regions of organic self-reliance and realism.
Beware the Mantis Hold of Herd Morality if you enter the regions of Marxist State!!!

don't forget the transhumanist cyborg street samurai currently suffering circuitry shortages!

“I am a revolutionary socialist-anarchist ...”

You’re doing great, buddy. Don’t let the haters get you down. You’re gonna win any day now I can feel it.

”... who believes that there is much that can be useful in aspects of Marxism.”

So useful! Aspects of Jesus and Gengis Khan too! These great men have much to teach us on our glorious path to revolutionary socialist anarchism.

Amen, comrade.

zen was developed so that the samurai could dehumanize their enemies? what the fuck kind of crazy orientalism is that? oh right, it's the Wayne Price kind, commingling with his strange ideas about some idealized fusion of marxism and anarchism. like other clueless westerners, Price is conflating the larger school of zen (chan in China, where it originated as a school of Mahayana Buddhism -- and also known as thien in Vietnam and seon in Korea) with one specific school of zen called rinzai, which is a kind of brutal zen, as opposed to the other two Japanese styles, soto and obaku. rather than how Prince understands it as a practice of dehumanizing others, the use of rinzai among martial artists is focused on not being concerned with the practitioner's own death.

as for the sloppy Blumenfeld/Blumenthal conflation, it reminds me of that old joke about the Jewish guy and the Chinese guy drinking in a bar. they're both pretty drunk, and the Jewish guy knocks the Chinese guy off his stool. the Chinese guy says, "hey, what was that for?" the Jewish guy says "Pearl Harbor!" "Pearl Harbor?! but that was the Japanese. I'm Chinese!" the Jewish guy says, "Chinese, Japanese -- it's all the same." the Chinese guy gets back up and they continue drinking. suddenly the Chinese guy knocks the Jewish guy off his stool. "hey, what was that for?" the Chinese guy says "The Titanic!" "The Titanic?! but that was an iceberg!" the Chinese guy says "iceberg, Greenberg -- it's all the same." so for Prince, Blumen-- is all the same, the same way that rinzai is the same as other forms of zen.

Price's brain is a strange place, where mundane distinctions are mashed up, where his own idiosyncrasies are elevated into social programs, and where his rhetorical skills are always brilliant. too bad for him, the rest of us have to live in the real world.

Oh dear, did I misspell the author's name when writing off the cuff (Blumenfeld)? And did I offend by noting that Zen Buddhism was used by the samurai to make themselves better warriors, that is killers? (Without discussing the virtues of Buddhism, which I mentioned--I often refer to myself as a zen humanist.)

Some of my readers still don't get my point that this was not a full-scale discussion of Stirner (or of Zen Buddhism!) but a review of a book in which the author, Blumenfeld (or whomever) presents HIS view of Stirner, including HIS belief that there can be an integration of Stirner and Marx. That's what I discussed.

And a Merry Winter Solstice Season to all!

Oh dear, were you so careless with the simple fact of the name of the author of the book you were reviewing that people think you might be equally -- or even more -- careless with the difficult facts of critical reading? The answer is yes.
Oh dear, did you oversimplify the broad tradition of three recognized schools of zen into a single brutal system? The answer is yes.
Oh dear, did you compound your misunderstandings of Stirner in comments on this site and then try desperately to refocus the conversation to your review in order to deflect the arguments of people calling you on your carelessness and mistakes? The answer is yes.
None of your cheap rhetorical tricks are working well these days. Find some new ones or STFU.

"did you ... try desperately to refocus the conversation to your review?"
Guilty as charged. Since these are a string of comments following my review, I did indeed ask that the comments relate to the review. What a concept!

Reading these comments (most) one would think I wrote an attack on Stirner (not a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses, as I see them, of Blumenfeld's understanding of Stirner) and a paen of praise to Marx (not his strengths and weaknesses in relation to Stirner) and that I did not mention other anarchists such as Bakunin.

As to the charge about my "oversimplif[ing] the broad tradition of three recognized schools of zen into a single brutal system", I gotta say you are weirdly overstating things. A fine example of being " careless with the difficult facts of critical reading".

well sure, you can want to keep the comments restricted to your review. but if you want that to be the case, then you might not want to come here and comment on the comments, since each time you do, someone (or a few someones) will find something equally -- or more -- objectionable than what appeared in the review. for example, if you didn't really want to have a discussion about zen buddhism and its place in the history of samurai, then you probably shouldn't have mentioned it. but you did, so you're being challenged for your idiotic conflation of three recognized separate schools of zen with the one that the samurai adopted. and again, rinzai is about learning not to be concerned with one's own death, not with learning how to dehumanize your enemies. so you've made two serious errors based on your own misunderstanding of the zen tradition. how is recognizing, based on the extensive work of scholars of zen, that there are three distinct schools "overstating things," while your reductionist statement is about "Zen Buddhism" in toto? i'm not sorry about pointing out that your categorical statement is a gross oversimplification.

no use wasting your efforts. Wayne will just continue to double down on their infallibility.

dirty in terms of conversation and argument, yet you dont help yourself much by writing what you did above, maybe you could have started out with a description of this blumenthal person and ideas? I dont know...i really hate talking to most of the people in the comment section on here, they just like to control the way other people think, and they resort to the most petty ad hominin garbage in order to do so. Talking about "forcing attention" in, its not like any of us have developed the perfect method for living life and having conversations about things, but the norm here i very much not in the style of anarchists, its more like listening to these petty tyrants dance around a room and shit.

"Wayne will just continue to double down on their infallibility.." By this the writer means that I continue to hold my opinions instead of changing to their opinions. This makes me close-minded and dogmatic instead of open-minded and fair like the poster!

Here's the thing about Zen. Not I but someone else on the list referred to Buddhism's similarities to Stirner. I agreed, noted that there was, I thought, much of value in Buddhism, but that we shouldn't "go overboard," because it could also be used negatively, as the samurai used zen buddhism to improve their ability to wage war. (Hardly suprising that there are problems with all varieties of Buddhism since it was developed in class-divided and oppressive societies.)

It is certainly reasonable to disagree with my remark or to ask what I mean, but to go from this to a statement that I am attacking all versions of zen and grossly distorting their views, is so bizarrely weird that it cannot be made in good faith. It's like politicians picking up a comment of opponents and blowing it all out of proportion in order to smear them.

The one really interesting comment I received on this thread was the charge that I was possibly blaming Stirner for Stalinism, due to his nominalism and non moralism (which Blumenfeld believes affected Marx's development of non moralism). Of course I did not blame Stirner for Stalinism--and I think (I wrote) that his rejection of abstract moral norms was a step forward. But I think that in our times there is a danger of rejecting a naturalistic and non-moralistic ethics. That does play into the hands of both Stalinists and liberals. This is, of course, a much bigger discussion (and no doubt I would be accused of misunderstanding Stirner's views, which is not really my interest here).

You keep using the term Zen as a generic term, when there are three distinct schools. If you're actually interested in accuracy in your comments, then what you *should* say regarding "the samurai" is that they adopted the rinzai school's teachings and incorporated it into their martial ethos (sometimes called bushido). But again, and again, and again... the teachings of rinzai are focused on learning to disregard one's own death and have *nothing* to do with dehumanizing others.
As soon as you stop using Zen generically I'll stop bringing it up.

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