“A Difference of Words Only” by Tak Kak (James L. Walker)

1845-1945, James L. Walker, Max Stirner / Monday, January 15th, 2018

The following letter is found in Liberty Vol. 5, no. 17 (March 31, 1888).

To the Editor of Liberty:
I think there is no controversy between Mr. J. Wm. Lloyd and myself, though he regards “all acts as Egoistic,” while I use the term Egoism, like Stirner, for acts of normal self-possession and self-expression, excluding blind crazes, fanaticism, the influence of fixed ideas, hypnotism dominating the subject and rendering him more of an automaton than of an individual, although he goes through the motions. Rewards and punishments promised and threatened appeal to the Egoism of ignorant believers, but there is also an anti-individualistic craze or fascination in religion, and love, and business, when the idea rides the man. In the last analysis it is a question of sanity or insanity. Egoism is sanity. So we use the term, and as Stirner’s book, “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum,” has long been before the world, his admirers have a good possessory title to this term.
Mr. Lloyd started to sketch the man who “needs to know,” but he gives us the portrait of one who has become so far differentiated from the class that now he knows his need, and is actually exercising care in transforming himself, with the – conscious wish and distinct purpose to reach that condition – wherein he will no longer “need to know” at every turn that particular acts are going to be calculably profitable to him. If I admire this man for what he is making of himself, I still imply that I did not admire him for what he was.

A. — I don’t like soldiers.
B. — Do not say that. Here is a worthy man. He is a soldier, but he abhors war. He has sworn never to fight except for liberty, and to live as a civilian as soon as he can. Now, do you not like this soldier a little?
A. — I do.

Tak Kak.

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