“What an egoist ought to be…” by S.E. Parker

The following short piece by S.E. Parker, which is mostly him quoting James L. Walker, is from his journal En Marge (1995), volume one, issue one.


In his posthumous work, The Philosophy of Egoism, James L Walker refers to certain of his libertarian critics who “show absolutely no understanding of egoism. It is an affair of objective classification, they suppose.
Thus if I have an apple and eat it, that is egoism, they suppose. If I give the apple to my friend, that is altruism, they suppose. How simple! Then I, being an egoist, and liking to see some of my friends eat my apples, must not indulge this pleasure unless I can stand certain persons’ charges of inconsistency. Let me give them a point: I select my friends. My apples are not for everybody to help himself. Let me give them another point: the man who eats his own apple, not because he likes it, but because he thinks it egoistic to eat it — not to talk of duty — is only a deluded egoist, by which I mean he has missed being an egoist in the definite sense in which I am using the word in theses concluding pages.”
A most apposite response to those who try to impose upon egoists a categorical imperative according to their conception of what an egoist ought to be….

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Filed under 1845-1945, 1946-Today, En Marge, James L. Walker