A Unanimous Conviction | Volcano (John Basil Barnhill)

1845-1945, Egoism, John Basil Barnhill / Monday, February 26th, 2018
This short article was published in Volume 4, Number 2 of Georgia and Henry Replogle’s journal Egoism (1890) and was written by John Basil Barnhill (1864-1929). Barnhill, born in Xenia, Ill.,was a noted anti-socialist writer, editor, politician, and debater during the first quarter of the 20th century. He went by the pseudonyms John Erwin McCall and Volcano.

A Unanimous Conviction.

The other day I passed by a large and apparently flourishing rock pile whereon many of my brothers were working with shameless lack of enthusiasm. One of these I recognized as belonging to a highly respectable family. To him I said, “does not your uncle have a most successful establishment at the sign of the three golden balls—surely he would give you a lift?” He turned on me a gaze of inexpressible anguish and replied: “He is my brother, but he will not help me. He said to me that my life was a damned failure, and that I was only fit for the rock pile.”

“Then the banker millionaire around the corner, he also is your brother; surely he will help you.” “No” he replied, “he calls me a—damned failure.” “But your brother in Italy who has grown fabulously rich in selling pieces of the true cross he will help you.”

“No, he too calls me a damned failure. Perhaps you do not know that Solomon is only an assumed name.”

“Pray who are you then?”

“I am Jesus of Nazareth.”

“Then I am compelled to say that your life has been a damned failure.”

“Thou almost persuadest me to cease being a Christian” he said.

“Go,” were his last words to me, “go into all the world and preach the salvation of Egoism to the children of men. Say to them that you saw Jesus of Nazareth on the rock (pile) of Mount Calvary and that by the unanimous opinion of all Altruists and Egoists he was adjudged a damned failure; that he does not wish to deceive the children of men any longer, but admits in the face of all the world that the greatest blunder and crime hitherto committed on earth has been my teaching, live for others. Tell them that on the rock pile, of my martyrdom I now meditate with tears of joy on Zarathustra’s new teaching which saith: Your love for your neighbor is your bad love for yourselves…. Ye flee from yourselves unto your neighbor and would fain make a virtue thereof; but I see through your ‘unselfishness.’ The thou is older than the I; the thou hath been proclaimed holy but the I not yet. I counsel you not to love your neighbor but to love those who are the most remote…… One must learn how to love one’s self with a whole and healthy love, that one may find life with one’s self endurable and not go gadding about….. Such a gadding about baptizeth itself  ‘love unto one’s neighbor.’….. Verily it is no commandment for today and tomorrow to learn how to love one’s self. It is rather the finest, cunningest, last and most patient of arts….. The man of perception must not only be able to love his enemies but also to hate his friends….. Be sure to love your neighbor as your-selves,—but first of all be such as love themselves—as love themselves with great love, with great contempt….. My great love unto the most remote commandeth: ‘Spare not your neighbor.’ Man is a something that must be surpassed….. Your work is your neighbor. ‘This—is my way—where is yours?’……. In the end one experienceth nothing but one’s self….. I ask you to lose me and find yourselves…… Nobody telleth me new things so that I telleth mine own self unto myself….. He loveth his enemies but he taketh revenge for that on his friends.”



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