Reframing, restructuring….


Housekeeping / Monday, December 11th, 2017

The other day we sent out the following tweet:

The first header we designed listed the core “members” of this Union:

Trevor was the man for Marsden and Seklew, Kevin championed DeCasseres and Redbeard, and Stirner was obviously patient zero. Trevor is a very intelligent, considered and funny autodidact. He is NOT a psychic:

“I’m not taking on a new life project” -Trevor Blake, Feb. 7th, 2016, excerpted from “A Unique Conversation,” Der Geist (2017), the official Journal of UnionOfEgoists.com

And within 30 minutes we had UnionOfEgoists.com registered, and within an hour we had the name for the journal that quote would be published in. I’m not sure how long it was before we informally limited the scope of our project to the 100 years between the (stated) release of Stirner’s opus and the death of Benjamin DeCasseres, but it has been a general rule we’ve been free to violate at will and with malice. Trevor was more interested in keeping to that century than Kevin, but both agreed it was good for a number of reasons, mainly because the project could become too diluted and fragmented without some artificial restriction applied.

The idea was to highlight those who were in our target century, but still give credit to those after that time who substantially added to our understanding of the individuals from that period. Kevin wanted to conceptually divide our work between Historical Egoists and Egoist Historians. While that’s a pretty fun way to describe the two camps, he wanted a single word for each that clearly differentiated the two without needing to know jargon. While we sometimes refer to them as “members of the Union” this is ironic, being they are dead, and cannot choose to be part of any union or choose to leave it. So while we may still use the phrase in a casual sense, we wanted our “official” terminology to be as self-evident as we could muster.

We nixed “members”, “egoists”, “uniques” and “egos.” All these seemed to be too camp or too jargon. Eventually we settled on author for Historical Egoists and archivist for Egoist Historians. After all, both Trevor Blake and Sidney E. Parker have self-identified as egoists, as far as UnionOfEgoists.com is concerned, but here we focus on their role as historians of egoism. We will say without a doubt, if Sid had not been publishing his journals, some names would have been lost. The important modern book that has introduced egoism and individualist thought to a number of modern readers, Enemies of Society: An Anthology of Individualist & Egoist Thought (2011, Ardent Press), was SIGNIFICANTLY culled from the pages of Parker’s journals. Kevin obtained a copy of Enemies of Society shortly before printing (but after the book was mostly ready) A Bible Not Borrowed from the Neighbors: Essays and Aphorisms on Egoism (2012, Underworld Amusements). Because there were two essays from Enemies of Society included in A Bible Not Borrowed, Kevin included a note on the copyright page describing the unintended duplication, but that he felt they were short enough and strong enough to be included in both. Kevin will also say here that HIS book was  SIGNIFICANTLY culled from the pages of Barnhill’s The Eagle and The Serpent (1898)!

It’s also important for us to maintain a website and journal that is descriptive of what the authors did and said, rather than prescriptive of what you should think or do (with one exception: buy our books). While the authors included may prescribe this or that, the “editorial voice” should not. Referring to the figures that will populate this site as “egoists” may seem like an apparent and non-controversial thing to do, when dealing with documenting something people feel strongly about, anything can be controversial. So, while we build the site we make decisions what to include and what not to, and you’re free to enjoy or disregard.

The most obvious “victim” of our change is our own Trevor Blake. He was listed aside Seklew and Marsden and Stirner, etc. And then Kevin wanted to add Benjamin R. Tucker and John Basil Barnhill and Steven Byington and there was just not enough room across the top of the page for all those names, and it was just cluttered.  For those keeping score at home, the players may have new team jackets but nobody has been cut.

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