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The German Ideology by Marx and Engels
Chapter Three: Saint Max


II. Law

Here we must disclose to the reader a great secret of our saint, viz., that he begins his whole treatise about right with a general explanation of right, which “escapes” from him so long as he is speaking about right, and which he is only able to recapture when he begins to speak about something totally different, namely — law. Then the gospel called out to our saint: judge not, that ye be not judged [Matthew 7:1] — and he opened his mouth and taught, saying:

Right is the spirit of society. “ (But society is the holy). “If society has a will, then this will is indeed right: society exists only thanks to right. But since it exists only thanks to the fact” (not thanks to right, but only thanks to the fact) “that it exercises its domination over individuals, so right is its dominant will” (p. 244).

That is to say: “right ... is ... has ... then ... indeed ... exists only since ... exists only thanks to the fact ... that ... so ... dominant will”. This passage is Sancho in all his perfection.

This passage “escaped” at that time from our saint because it was not suitable for his theses, and has now been partially recaptured because it is now partially suitable again.

“States endure so long as there is a dominant will and this dominant will is regarded as equivalent to one’s own will. The will of the ruler is law” (p. 256).

The dominant will of society

= right,

Dominant will

= law —


= law.

“Sometimes”, i.e., as the trade mark of his “treatise” about law, there will still turn out to be a distinction between right and law, a distinction which — strange to say — has almost as little to do with his treatise” about law as the definition of right which “escaped” from him has to do with the “treatise” about “right":

“But what is right, what is considered legitimate in a society is also given a verbal expression — in law” (p. 255),

This proposition is a “clumsy” copy of Hegel:

“That which is lawful is the source of the knowledge of what is right or, properly, what is legitimate.”

What Saint Sancho calls “receiving verbal expression”, Hegel also calls: “posited”, “known”, etc., Rechtsphilosophie, par. 211 et seq.

It is very easy to understand why Saint Sancho had to exclude right as the “will” or the “dominant will” of society from his “treatise” about right. Only to the extent that right was defined as man’s power could he take it back into himself as his power. For the sake of his antithesis, therefore, he had to hold fast to the materialistic definition of “power” and let the idealistic definition of “will” “escape”. Why, when speaking of “law”, he now recaptures “will” we shall understand in connection with the antitheses about law.

— Material Life the Basis of the State —

In actual history, those theoreticians who regarded might as the basis of right were in direct contradiction to those who looked on will as the basis of right — a contradiction which Saint Sancho could have regarded also as that between realism (the child, the ancient, the Negro, etc.) and idealism (the youth, the modern, the Mongol, etc.). If power is taken as the basis of right, as Hobbes, etc., do, then right, law, etc., are merely the symptom, the expression of other relations upon which state power rests. The material life of individuals, which by no means depends merely on their “will”, their mode of production and form of intercourse, which mutually determine each other — this is the real basis of the state and remains so at all the stages at which division of labour and private property are still necessary, quite independently of the will of individuals. These actual relations are in no way created by the state power; on the contrary they are the power creating it, The individuals who rule in these conditions — leaving aside the fact that their power must assume the form of the state — have to give their will, which is determined by these definite conditions, a universal expression as the will of the state, as law, an expression whose content is always determined by the relations of this class, as the civil and criminal law demonstrates in the clearest possible way. Just as the weight of their bodies does not depend on their idealistic will or on their arbitrary decision, so also the fact that they enforce their own will in the form of law, and at the same time make it independent of the personal arbitrariness of each individual among them, does not depend on their idealistic will. Their personal rule must at the same time assume the form of average rule. Their personal power is based on conditions of life which as they develop are common to many individuals, and the continuance of which they, as ruling individuals, have to maintain against others and, at the same time, to maintain that they hold good for everybody. The expression of this will, which is determined by their common interests, is the law. It is precisely because individuals who are independent of one another assert themselves and their own will, and because on this basis their attitude to one another is bound to be egoistical, that self-denial is made necessary in law and right, self-denial in the exceptional case, and self-assertion of their interests in the average case (which, therefore, not they, but only the “egoist in agreement with himself” regards as self-denial). The same applies to the classes which are ruled, whose will plays just as small a part in determining the existence of law and the state. For example, so long as the productive forces are still insufficiently developed to make competition superfluous, and therefore would give rise to competition over and over again, for so long the classes which are ruled would be wanting the impossible if they had the “will” to abolish competition and with it the state and the law. Incidentally, too, it is only in the imagination of the ideologist that this “will” arises before relations have developed far enough to make the emergence of such a will possible. After relations have developed sufficiently to produce it, the ideologist is able to imagine this will as being purely arbitrary and therefore as conceivable at all times and under all circumstances.


Like right, so crime, i.e., the struggle of the isolated individual against the predominant relations, is not the result of pure arbitrariness. On the contrary, it depends on the same conditions as that domination. The same visionaries who see in right and law the domination of some independently existing general will can see in crime the mere violation of right and law. Hence the state does not exist owing to the dominant will, but the state, which arises from the material mode of life of individuals, has also the form of a dominant will. If the latter loses its domination, it means that not only the will has changed but also the material existence and life of the individuals, and only for that reason has their will changed. It is possible for rights and laws to be “inherited”, [paraphrase of a passage from Goethe’s Faust, 1. Teil, 2. “Studierzimmerszene”, where Mephistopheles says: “Laws and rights are inherited like an eternal malady"] but in that case they are no longer dominant, but nominal, of which striking examples are furnished by the history of ancient Roman law and English law. We saw earlier how a theory and history of pure thought could arise among philosophers owing to the separation of ideas from the individuals and their empirical relations which serve as the basis of these ideas. In the same way, here too one can separate right from its real basis, whereby one obtains a “dominant will” which in different eras undergoes various modifications and has its own, independent history in its creations, the laws. On this account, political and civil history becomes ideologically merged in a history of the domination of successive laws. This is the specific illusion of lawyers and politicians, which Jacques le bonhomme adopts sans façon. He succumbs to the same illusion as, for example, Frederick William IV, who also regards laws as mere caprices of the dominant will and hence always finds that they come to grief against the “awkward something” [paraphrase from Goethe’s Faust, 1. Teil, 1. “Studierzimmerszene”, where Mephistopheles says: “This something, this awkward world"] of the world. Hardly [one] of his quite harmless whims reaches a further stage of realisation than cabinet decrees. Let him issue an order for a twenty-five million loan, i.e., for one hundred and tenth part of the English national debt, and he will see whose will his dominant will is. Incidentally, we shall — find later on, too, that Jacques le bonhomme uses the phantoms or apparitions of his sovereign and fellow-Berliner as documents out of which to weave his own theoretical whimsies about right, law, crime, etc. This should occasion us the less surprise since even the spectre of the Vossische Zeitung repeatedly “offers” him something, e.g., the constitutional state. The most superficial examination of legislation, e. g., poor laws in all countries, shows how far the rulers got when they imagined that they could achieve something by means of their “dominant will” alone, i. e., simply by exercising their will. Incidentally, Saint Sancho has to accept the illusion of the lawyers and politicians about the dominant will in order to let his own will be splendidly displayed in the equations and antitheses with which we shall presently delight ourselves, and in order to arrive at the result that he can get out of his head any idea which he has put into it.


“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (Saint-Jacques le bonhomme [James ] 1:2).”


= Dominant will of the state,


= state will.


State will, alien will

— My will, own will.

Dominant will of the state

— My own will


— My self-will.

Subjects of the state, who sustain the law of the state

“Subjects of themselves (unique ones), who bear their own law in themselves” (p. 268).



State will

= Not-my will.


My will

= Not-state will.



= Desire.


My will

= Non-desire of the state,



= Will against the state,



= Ill will towards the state.


To desire the non-state

= Self-will.



= Not to desire the state.


State will

= Negation of my will,



= My lack of will.


My lack of will

= Existence of state will.


(We know already from the preceding that the existence of the state will is equal to the existence of the state, from which the following new equation results:)


My lack of will

= Existence of the state.


The negation of my lack of will

= Non-existence of the state.



= Negation of the state.


My will

= Non-existence of the state.

Note 1.

According to the already quoted passage from page 256:

“States endure so long as the dominant will is regarded as equivalent to one’s own will.”

Note 2.

“He who in order to exist” (the conscience. of the state is appealed to) “is compelled to count on the lack of will of others is a creation of those others, just as the master is a creation of the servant” (p. 257). (Equations F, G, H, I.)

Note 3.

My own will is the corrupter of the state. Therefore, it is branded by the latter as self-will. One’s own will and the state are powers that are mortal enemies, between whom eternal peace is impossible” (p. 257). — “Therefore it in fact watches everybody, it sees an egoist in everyone” (self-will), “and it fears the egoist” (p. 263). “The state ... opposes the duel ... even a scuffle is punishable” (even if the police are not called in) (p. 245).

Note 4.

“For it, for the state, it is absolutely essential that no one should have his own will; if anyone had such a will, the state would have to expel him” (imprison, banish); “if everyone had it” (“who is this person whom you call ‘everyone'"?) “then they would abolish the state” (p. 257).

This can also be expressed rhetorically:

“What is the use of your laws if no one obeys them, what is the use of your orders if everybody refuses to accept any orders?” (p. 256).


Note 5.

The simple antithesis: “state will — my will” is given an apparent motivation in the following paragraph: “Even if one were to imagine a case where each individual in the nation had expressed the same will and thus a perfect collective will” (!) “had come into existence, things would still remain the same. Would I not today and later be bound by my will of yesterdays... My creation, that is, a definite expression of will, would have become my master: but I ... the creator, would be hampered in my course and my dissolution.... Because yesterday I possessed will, I have today no will of my own; yesterday voluntary, today involuntary” (p. 258).

The old thesis, which has often been put forward both by revolutionaries and reactionaries, that in a democracy individuals. only exercise their sovereignty for a moment and then at once relinquish their authority — this thesis Saint Sancho endeavours to appropriate here in a “clumsy” fashion by applying to it his phenomenological theory of creator and creation. But the theory of creator and creation deprives this thesis of all meaning. According to this theory of his, it is not that Saint Sancho has no will of his own today because he has changed his will of yesterday, i.e., has a differently defined will, so that the nonsense which yesterday he exalted into a law as the expression of his will, now weighs like a bond or fetter on his more enlightened will of today. On the contrary, according to his theory, his, will of today must be the negation of his will of yesterday, because, as creator, he is in duty bound to dissolve his will of yesterday. Only as “one without will” is he creator, as one actually having will he is always the creation. (See “Phenomenology”) In that case, however, it by no means follows that “because yesterday he possessed will”, today he is “without will”, but rather that he bears ill will to his will of yesterday, whether the latter has assumed the form of law or not. In both cases he can abolish it as he, in general, is accustomed to do, namely as his will. Thereby he has done full justice to egoism in agreement with itself. It is, therefore, a matter of complete indifference here whether his will of yesterday has assumed as law the form of something existing outside his head, particularly if we recall that earlier the “word which escaped from him” behaved likewise in a rebellious way towards him. In the above-mentioned thesis, moreover, Saint Sancho desires to preserve, not indeed his self-will, but his free will, freedom of will, freedom, which is a serious offence against the moral code of the egoist in agreement with himself. In committing this offence, Saint Sancho even goes so far as to proclaim that true peculiarity is the inner freedom that was so much condemned above, the freedom of bearing ill will.


“How is this to be changed?,” cries Sancho. “Only in one way: by not recognising any duty, i.e., not binding myself and not allowing myself to be bound [...]

“However, they will bind me’ No one can bind my will, and my ill will remains free!” (p. 258).

Drums and trumpets pay homage
To his youthful splendour!
[From Heine’s poem “Berg-Idylle"]

Here Saint Sancho forgets “to make the simple reflection” that his will” is indeed “bound” inasmuch as, against his will, it is “ill will”.

The above proposition that the individual will is bound by the general will expressed through law completes, by the way, the idealistic conception of the state, according to which it is only a matter of the will, and which has led French and German writers to the most subtle philosophising.

Incidentally, if it is merely a matter of “desiring” and not of “being able” and, at worst, merely of “ill will”, then it is incomprehensible why Saint Sancho wants to abolish altogether an object so productive of “desiring” and “ill will” as state law.

“Law in general, etc. — that is the stage we have reached today” (p. 256).

The things Jacques le bonhomme believes!


The equations so far examined were purely destructive as regards state and law. The true egoist had to adopt a purely destructive attitude to both. We missed appropriation; on the other hand, we had the satisfaction of seeing Saint Sancho performing a great trick

in which he shows how the state is destroyed by a mere change of will, a change which in turn depends, of course, only on the will. However, appropriation is not lacking here either, although it is quite secondary, and can produce results only later on “from time to time”. The two antitheses given above:

State will, alien will — My will, own will,
Dominant will of the state — My own will

can also be summarised as follows:

Domination of alien will — Domination of one’s own will.

In this new antithesis, which incidentally all the time formed the concealed basis of his destruction of the state through his self-will, Stirner appropriates the political illusion about the domination of arbitrariness, of ideological will. He could also have expressed this as follows:

Arbitrariness of law — Law of arbitrariness.

Saint Sancho, however, did not reach such simplicity of expression.

In antithesis III we already have a “law within him”, but he appropriates the law still more directly in the following antithesis:

Law, the state’s declaration of will

Law, declaration of my will, my declaration of will.

“Someone can, of course, declare what he is prepared to put up with, and consequently forbid the opposite by a law,” etc. (p. 256).

This prohibition is necessarily accompanied by threats. The last antithesis is of importance for the section on crime.


Episodes. We are told on page 256 that there is no difference between “law” and “arbitrary command, ordinance” because both = “declaration of will”, consequently “command”. — On pages 254, 255, 260 and 263, while pretending to speak about “the State” Stirner substitutes the Prussian state and deals with questions that are of the greatest importance for the Vossische Zeitung, such as the constitutional state, removability of officials, bureaucratic arrogance and similar nonsense. The only important thing here is the discovery that the old French parliaments insisted on their right to register royal edicts because they wanted “to judge according to their own right”. The registration of laws by the French parliaments came into being at the same time as the bourgeoisie and hence the acquisition of absolute power by the kings, for whom in face of both the feudal nobility and foreign states it became necessary to plead an alien will on which their own will depended, and at the same time to give the bourgeois some sort of guarantee. Saint Max can learn more about this from the history of his beloved Francis 1; for the rest, before speaking about the French parliaments again, he might consult the fourteen volumes of Des Etats généraux et autres assemblées nationales, Paris, 1788 [by Charles Joseph Mayer] concerning what the French parliaments wanted or did not want and their significance. In general it would be in place here to introduce a short episode about the erudition of our saint who is so desirous of conquests. Apart from theoretical works, such as the writings of Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer, as well as the Hegelian tradition, which is his main source, apart from these meagre theoretical sources, our Sancho uses and quotes the following historical sources: on the French Revolution — Rutenberg’s Politische Reden and the Bauers’ Denkwürdigkeiten; on communism — Proudhon, August Becker’s Volksphilosophie, the Einundzwanzig Bogen and the Bluntschli report; on liberalism — the Vossische Zeitung, the Sächsische Vaterlands-Blätter, Protocols of the Baden Chamber, the Einundzwanzig Bogen again and Edgar Bauer’s epoch-making work [Edgar Bauer, Die liberalen Bestrebungen in Deutschland]; in addition, here and there as historical evidence there are also quoted: the Bible, Schlosser’s 18. Jahrhundert [Friedrich Christoph Schlosser, Geschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts und des neunzehnten bis zum Sturz des französischen Kaiserreichs], Louis Blanc’s Histoire de dix ans, Hinrichs’ Politische Vorlesungen, Bettina’s Dies Buch gehört dem König, Hess’ Triarchie, [Moses Hess, Die europäische Triarchie] the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, the Zurich Anekdota, Moriz Carrière on Cologne Cathedral, the session of the Paris Chamber of Peers of April 25, 1844, Karl Nauwerck, Emilia Galotti [reference is to Moriz Carrière, Der Kölner Dom als freie deutsche Kirche; François Guizot, Discours dans la chambre des pairs le 25 april 1844; Karl Nauwerck, Ueber die Theilnahme am Staate; Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s drama Emilia Galotti], the Bible — in short, the entire Berlin reading-room together with its owner, Willibald Alexis Cabanis. After this sample of Sancho’s profound studies, one can easily understand why it is that he finds in this world so very much that is alien, i.e., holy.


III. Crime

Note 1.

“If You allow yourself to be judged right by someone else, then you must equally allow yourself to be judged wrong by him. If you receive justification and reward from him, then expect also accusation and punishment from him. Right is accompanied by wrong, Legality by crime. Who — are — you? — You — are — a — criminal!!” (p. 262).

The code civil is accompanied by the code pénal, the code pénal by the code de commerce. Who are you? You are a commerçant!

Saint Sancho could have spared us this nerve-shattering surprise. In his case the words: “If you allow yourself to be judged right by someone else, then you must equally allow yourself to be judged wrong by him” have lost all meaning if they are intended to add a new definition; for one of his earlier equations already states: If you allow yourself to be judged right by someone else, then you allow yourself to be judged by alien right, hence your wrong.


A. Simple Canonisation of Crime and Punishment


a) Crime

As regards crime, we have already seen that this is the name for a universal category of the egoist in agreement with himself, the negation of the holy, sin. In the previously given antitheses and equations concerning examples of the holy (state, right, law), the negative relation of the ego to these holies, or the copula, could also be called crime, just as about Hegelian logic, which is likewise an example of the holy, Saint Sancho can also say: I am not Hegelian logic, I am a sinner against Hegelian logic. Since he was speaking of right, state. etc., he should now have continued: another example of sin or crime are what are called juridical or political crimes. Instead of this, he again informs us in detail that these crimes are

sin against the holy,
sin against the fixed idea,
sin against the spectre,
sin against “Man”.

“Criminals exist only against something holy” (p. 268).
"Only owing to the holy does the criminal code exist” (p. 318).
"Crimes arise from the fixed idea” (p. 269).
"One sees here that it is again ‘man’ who also creates the concept of crime, of sin, and thereby also of right.” (Previously it was the reverse.) “A man in whom I do not recognise man is a sinner” p, 268).

Note 1.

“Can I assume that someone commits a crime against me” (this is asserted in opposition to the French people in the revolution), “without also assuming that he ought to act as I consider right? And actions of this kind I call the right, the good, etc., those deviating from this — a crime. Accordingly I think that the others ought to aim with me at the same goal ... as beings who should obey some sort of ‘rational’ law” (Vocation! Designation! Task! The Holy!!!). “I lay down what man is and what it means to act truly as a man, and I demand from each that this law should become for hint the norm and the ideal; in the reverse case he proves himself a sinner and criminal ...” (pp. [267,] 268).


At the same time, he sheds an anxious tear at the grave of those “proper people” who in the epoch of terror were slaughtered by the sovereign people in the name of the holy. Further, by means of an example, he shows how the names of real crimes can I be construed from this holy-point of view.

“If, as in the revolution, this spectre, man, is understood to mean the ‘good citizen’, then the familiar ‘political transgressions and crimes’ are brought about from this concept of man.” (He should have said: this concept, etc., brings up the familiar crimes) (p. 268).

A brilliant example )f the extent to which credulity is Sancho’s predominant quality in the section on crime is furnished by his transformation of the sansculottes of the revolution into “good citizens” of Berlin through a synonymical abuse of the word citoyen. According to Saint Max, “good citizens and loyal officials” are inseparable. Hence “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on” would be “loyal officials”, whereas Danton was responsible for a cash deficit and squandered state money. Saint Sancho has made a good start for a history of the revolution for the Prussian townsman and villager.

Note 2.

Having thus described for us political and juridical crime as an example of crime in general — namely his category of crime, sin, negation, enmity. insult, contempt for the holy, disreputable behaviour towards the holy — Saint Sancho can now confidently declare:

“In crime, the egoist has hitherto asserted himself and mocked the, holy” (p. 319)

In this passage all the crimes hitherto committed are assigned to the credit of the egoist in agreement with himself, although subsequently we shall have to transfer a few of them to the debit side. Sancho imagines that hitherto crimes have been committed only in order to mock at “the holy” and to assert oneself not against things, but against the holy aspect of things. Because the theft committed by a poor devil who appropriates someone else’s taler can be put in the category of a crime against the law, for that reason the poor devil committed the theft just because of a desire to break the law. In exactly the same way as in an earlier passage Jacques le bonhomme imagined that laws are issued only for the sake of the holy, and that thieves are sent to prison only for the sake of the holy.


b) Punishment

Since we are at present concerned with juridical and political crimes we discover in this connection that such crimes “in the ordinary sense” usually involve a punishment, or, as it is written, “the wages of sin is death”. [Romans 6:23] After what we have already learned about crime, it follows, of course, that punishment is the self-defence and resistance of the holy to those who desecrate it.

Note 1.

“Punishment has sense only when it is intended as expiation for violating something holy” (p. 316). In punishing, ,we commit the folly of desiring to satisfy right, a spectre” (the holy). “The holy must” here “defend itself against man”. (Saint Sancho here “commits the folly” of mistaking “Man” for “the unique ones”, the “proper egos”, etc.) (p. 318).

Note 2.

“Only owing to the holy does the criminal code exist and it disintegrates of itself when punishment is abandoned” (p. 318).

What Saint Sancho really wants to say is: Punishment falls into decay of itself if the criminal code is abandoned, i.e., punishment only exists owing to the criminal code. “But is not” a criminal code that only exists owing to punishment “all nonsense, and is not” punishment that exists only owing to the criminal code “also nonsense"? (Sancho contra Hess, Wigand, [Max Stirner, “Recensenten Stirners"] p. 186.) Sancho here mistakes the criminal code for a textbook of theological morality.

Note 3.

As an example of how crime arises from the fixed idea, there is the following:

“The sanctity of marriage is a fixed idea. From this sanctify it follows that infidelity is a crime, and — therefore a certain law on marriage” (to the great annoyance of the “G[erman] Chambers” and of the “Emperor of all R[ussians]”, not to speak of the “Emperor of Japan” and the “Emperor of China”, and particularly the “Sultan”) “imposes a shorter or longer term of punishment for that” (p. 269).

Frederick William !V, who thinks he is able to promulgate laws in accordance with the holy, and therefore is always at loggerheads with the whole world, can comfort himself with the thought that in our Sancho he has found at least one man imbued with faith in the state. Let Saint Sancho just compare the Prussian marriage law, which exists only in the head of its author, with the provisions of the Code civil, which are operative in practice, and he will be able to discover the difference between holy and worldly marriage laws.[94] In the Prussian phantasmagoria, for reasons of state, the sanctity of marriage is supposed to be enforced both upon husband and wife; in French practice, where the wife is regarded as the private property of her husband, only the wife can be punished for adultery, and then only on the demand of the husband, who exercises his property right.


B. Appropriation of Crime and Punishment Through Antithesis

Crime in the sense of man


Violation of man’s law (of the state’s declaration of will, of state power), p. 259 et seq.

Crime in my sense


Violation of my law (of my declaration of will, of my power), p. 256 and passim.

These two equations are counterposed as antitheses and derive simply from the opposition of “man” and the “ego”. They merely sum up what has been said already.

The holy punishes the “ego”

I punish the ‘ego”

Crime = hostility to Man’s law (the Holy).

Hostility = crime against my law.

The criminal the enemy or opponent of the holy (the Holy as a moral person).

Enemy or opponent = criminal against the “ego”, the corporeal.

Punishment = self-defence of the holy against the “ego”.

My self-defence = My punishment of the “ego”.

Punishment = satisfaction (vengeance) of man in relation to the “ego”.

Satisfaction (vengeance) = My punishment of the “ego”,

In the fast antithesis, satisfaction can also be called self-satisfaction, since it is the satisfaction of me, in opposition to the satisfaction of man.

If in the above antithetical equations only the first member is taken into account, then one obtains the following series of simple antitheses where the thesis always contains the holy, universal, alien name, while the anti-thesis always contains the worldly, personal, appropriated name.




Enemy or opponent.


My defence.


Satisfaction, vengeance, self-satisfaction.

In an instant we shall say a few words about these equations and antitheses which are so simple that even a “born simpleton” (p. 434) can master this “unique” method of thought in five minutes. But first a few more quotations in addition to those given earlier.


Note 1.

“in relation to me you can never be a criminal but only an opponent” (p. 268),and “enemy” in the same sense on p. 256. — Crime as the hostility of man is illustrated on page 268 by the example of the “enemies of the Fatherland”. — “punishment ought” (a moral postulate) “to be replaced by satisfaction, which again cannot aim at satisfying right or justice, but at giving us satisfaction” (p. 318).

Note 2.

While Saint Sancho attacks the halo (the windmill) of existing power, he does not even understand this power, let alone come to grips with it; he only advances the moral demand that the relation of the ego to it should be formally changed. (See “Logic”)

“I am forced to put up with the fact” (bombastic assurance) “that he” (viz. My enemy, who has a few million people behind him) “treats me as his enemy; but I shall never permit him to treat me as his creature or to make his reason or unreasonableness my guiding principle” (p. 256, where he allows the aforesaid Sancho a very restricted freedom, namely the choice between allowing himself to be treated as his creature or of suffering the 3,300 lashes imposed by Merlin on his posaderas. This freedom is allowed him by any criminal code which. it is true, does not first ask the aforesaid Sancho in what form it should declare its hostility to him)."But even if you impress your opponent as a force” (being for him an “impressive force”) “You do not on that account become a sanctified authority; unless he is a wretch. He is not obliged to respect you and pay regard to you even if he has to be on his guard against you and your power” (p. 258).

Here Saint Sancho himself appears as a “wretch” when with the greatest seriousness he haggles [pun on the word Schächer which means “wretch” or “robber”, while schachern means “to barter” to haggle"] about the difference between “to impress” and “to be respected”, “to be on one’s guard” and to “have regard for” — a difference of a sixteenth part at most. When Saint Sancho is “on his guard” against someone,

“he gives himself over to reflection, and he has an object which he has in view, which he respects and which inspires him with reverence and fear” (p. 115).

In the above equations, punishment, vengeance, satisfaction, etc., are depicted as coming only from me; inasmuch as Saint Sancho is the object of satisfaction, the antitheses can be turned round: then self-satisfaction is transformed into another-getting-satisfaction-with-regard-to-me or the prejudicing-of-my-satisfaction.

Note 3.

The very same ideologists who could imagine that right, law, state, etc., arose from a general concept, in the final analysis perhaps the concept of man, and that they were put into effect for the sake of this concept — these same ideologists can, of course, also imagine that crimes are committed purely because of a wanton attitude towards some concept, that crimes, in general, are nothing but making mockery of concepts and are only punished in order to do justice to the insulted concepts. Concerning this we have already said what was necessary in connection with right, and still earlier in connection with hierarchy, to which we refer the reader.


In the above-mentioned antitheses, the canonised definitions — crime, punishment, etc. — are confronted with the name of another definition, which Saint Sancho in his favourite fashion extracts from these first definitions and appropriates for himself. This new definition, which, as we have said, appears here as a mere name, being worldly is supposed to contain the direct individual relation and express the factual relations. (See “Logic”.) The history of right shows that in the earliest, most primitive epochs these individual, factual relations in their crudest form directly constituted right. With the development of civil society, hence with the development of private interests into class interests, the relations of right underwent changes and acquired a civilised form. They were no longer regarded as individual, but as universal relations. At the same time, division of labour placed the protection of the conflicting interests of separate individuals into the hands of a few persons, whereby the barbaric enforcement of right also disappeared. Saint Sancho’s entire criticism of right in the above-mentioned antitheses is limited to declaring the civilised form of. legal relations and the civilised division of labour to be the fruit of the “fixed idea”, of the holy, and, on the other hand, to claiming for himself the barbaric expression of relations of right and the barbaric method of settling conflicts. For him it is all only a matter of names; he does not touch on the content itself, since he does not know the real relations on which these different forms of right are based, and in the juridical expression of class relations perceives only the idealised names of those barbaric relations. Thus, in Stirner’s declaration of will, we rediscover the feud; in hostility, self-defence, etc. — a copy of club-law and practice of the old feudal mode of life; in satisfaction, vengeance, etc. — the jus talionis, the old German Gewere, compensatio, satisfactio — in short, the chief elements of the leges barbarorum and consuetudines feudorum [95], which Sancho has appropriated for himself and taken to his heart not from libraries, but from the tales of his former master about Amadis of Gaul. In the final analysis, therefore, Saint Sancho again arrives merely at an impotent moral injunction that everybody should himself obtain satisfaction and carry out punishment. He believes Don Quixote’s assurance that by a mere moral injunction he can without more ado convert the material forces arising from the division of labour into personal forces. How closely juridical relations are linked with the development of these material forces due to the division of labour is already clear from the historical development of the power of the law courts and the complaints of the feudal lords about the legal development. (See, e.g., Monteil. loc. cit., XIV, XV siècle) It was just in the epoch between the rule of the aristocracy and the rule of the bourgeoisie, when the interests of two classes came into conflict, when trade between the European nations began to be important, and hence international relations themselves assumed a bourgeois character, it was just at that time that the power of the courts of law began to be important, and under the rule of the bourgeoisie, when this broadly developed division of labour becomes absolutely essential, the power of these courts reaches its highest point. What the servants of the division of labour, the judges and still more the professores juris, imagine in this connection is a matter of the greatest indifference.


C. Crime in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Sense

We saw above that crime in the ordinary sense, by being falsified, was put to the credit of the egoist in the extraordinary sense. Now this falsification becomes obvious. The extraordinary egoist now finds that he commits only extraordinary crimes, which have to be set against the ordinary crimes. Therefore we debit the aforesaid egoist with the ordinary crimes, which have been previously entered into the credit column.

The struggle of the ordinary criminals against other people’s property can also be expressed as follows (although this holds good of any competitor):

that they — “seek other people’s goods” (p. 265),
            seek holy goods,
            seek the holy, and in this way the ordinary criminal
            is transformed into a “believer” (p. 265).

But this reproach which the egoist in the extraordinary sense levels against the criminal in the ordinary sense is only an apparent one — for it is indeed he himself who strives for the halo of the whole world. The real reproach that he levels against the criminal is not that he seeks “the holy”, but that he seeks “goods”.


After Saint Sancho has built himself a “world of his own, a heaven”, namely this time an imaginary world of feuds and knights-errant, transferred to the modern world, after he has at the same time given documentary evidence of his difference, as a knightly criminal, from ordinary criminals, after this he once more undertakes a crusade against “dragons and ostriches, hobgoblins”, “ghosts, apparitions and fixed ideas”. His faithful servant, Szeliga, gallops reverently after him. As they wend their way, however, there occurs the astounding adventure of the unfortunate ones who were being dragged off to some place they had no wish to go to, as described in Chapter XXII of Cervantes. For while our knight-errant and his servant Don Quixote were jogging along their path, Sancho raised his eyes and saw coming towards him some dozen men on foot manacled and bound together by a long chain, accompanied by a commissar and four gendarmes, belonging to the holy Hermandad,[96] to the Hermandad which is holy, to the holy. When they came close, Saint Sancho very politely asked the guards to be so kind as to tell him why these people were being led in chains. — They are convicts of His Majesty sent to work at Spandau,[97] you do not have to know any more. — How, cried Saint Sancho, men being forced? Is it possible that the king can use force against someone’s “proper ego"? In that case I take upon myself the vocation of putting a stop to this force. “The behaviour of the state is violent action, and it calls this justice. Violent action of an individual, however, it calls crime.” Thereupon Saint Sancho first of all began to admonish the prisoners, saying that they ought not to grieve, that although they were “not free”, they were still their “own”, and that although maybe their “bones” might “crack” under the lash of the whip and that perhaps they might even have a “leg torn off”, yet, he said, you will triumph over all that, for “no one can bind your will"! “And I know for certain that there is no witchcraft in the world that could direct and compel the will, as some simpletons imagine; for the will is our free arbitrary power and there is no magic herb or spell that can subdue it.” Yes, “your will no one can bind and your ill will remains free!”


But since this sermon did not pacify the convicts, who began one after the other to relate how they had been unjustly condemned, Sancho said: “Dear brethren, from what you have related it has become clear to me that, although you have been punished for your crimes, yet the punishment which you are suffering gives you little pleasure and that hence you are reluctant to receive it and do not look forward to it. And it is highly possible that the cause of your ruin is pusillanimity on the rack in one case, poverty in another, lack of favour in a third and, finally, the judge’s unfair judgment, and that you have not been given the justice that was your due, ‘your right’. All this compels me to show you why heaven sent me into the world. But since the wisdom of the egoist in agreement with himself prescribes not doing by force what can be done by agreement, I hereby request the commissar and gendarmes to release you and let you go your ways. Moreover, my dear gendarmes, these unfortunates have done you no harm. It does not behove egoists in agreement with themselves to become the executioners of other unique ones who have done them no harm. Evidently, with you ‘the category of the one who has been robbed stands in the forefront’. Why do you show such ‘zeal’ in your actions ‘against crime'? ‘Verily, verily I say unto you, you are enthusiastic for morality, you are filled with the idea of morality’, ‘You persecute all those who are hostile to it’ — ‘Owing to your oath as officials’, you are bringing these poor convicts ‘to prison’, you are the holy! Therefore release these people voluntarily. if you do not, you will have to reckon with me, who overthrows nations with one puff of the living ego’, who ‘commits the most unmeasured desecration’ and ‘is not afraid even of the Moon’.”

“This is a fine piece of impudence indeed!,, cried the commissar. ,You'd do better to put that basin straight on your head and be on your way!”

Saint Sancho, however, infuriated by this Prussian rudeness, couched his lance and rushed at the commissar with as much speed as the “apposition” is capable of, so that he immediately threw him to the ground. There ensued a general mêlée, during which the convicts freed themselves from their chains, a gendarme threw Szeliga-Don Quixote into the Landwehrgraben [98] or sheep’s ditch [Schafgraben], and Saint Sancho performed the most heroic feats in his struggle against the holy. A few minutes later, the gendarmes were scattered, Szeliga crept out of the ditch and the holy was abolished for the time being.

Then Saint Sancho gathered round him the liberated convicts and addressed them as follows (pp. 265, 266 of “the book”):

“What is the ordinary criminal” (the criminal in the ordinary sense) “but a man who has committed the fatal mistake” (a fatal story-teller for the citizen and the countryman!) “of striving after what belongs to the people instead of seeking what is his own? He has desired the contemptible” (a general muttering among the convicts at this moral judgment) “goods of another, he has done what believers do who aspire to what belongs to God” (the criminal as a noble soul). “What does the priest do who admonishes the criminal? He tells him of the great violation of right he has committed by his action in desecrating what the state has sanctified, the property of the state, which also includes the life of the state’s subjects. Instead of this the priest might have done better to reproach the criminal with having besmirched himself” (titters among the convicts at this egoistical appropriation of banal clerical phraseology) “by not despising the alien but regarding it as worthy of being robbed” (murmuring among the convicts). “He could have done so, were he not a priest” (one of the convicts: “In the ordinary sense!”). I, however, “speak with the criminal as with an egoist, and he will be ashamed” (shameless, loud cheers from the criminals, who do not wish to he called upon to feel shame), “not because he has committed a crime against your laws and your goods, but because he considered it worth while to circumvent your laws” (this refers only to “circumvention in the ordinary sense”; elsewhere, however, “I go round a rock so long as I am unable to blow it up” and I “circumvent”, for example, even the “censorship”), “and to desire your goods” (renewed cheers); “he will be ashamed ...


Gines de Passamonte, the arch-thief, who in general was not very patient, shouted: “Are we then to do nothing but feel ashamed, be submissive, when a priest in the extraordinary sense ‘admonishes’ us?”

“He will be ashamed,” continues Sancho, “,that he did not despise you, together with what is yours, that he was too little of an egoist.” (Sancho here applies an alien measure to the egoism of the criminal. In consequence, a general bellowing breaks out among the convicts; in some confusion, Sancho gives way, turning with a rhetorical gesture to the absent “good burghers”.) “But you cannot speak to him egoistically, for you have not the stature of a criminal, you ... perpetrate nothing.”

Gines again interrupts: “What credulity, my good man! Our prison warders perpetrate all kinds of crimes, they embezzle, they defraud, they commit rape [... twelve pages of manuscript missing here ...]