The Rational Utilitarian Philosophy
The Rational Utilitarian Philosophy.
In Mr. J. F. Kelly's able article on George's "Protection or Free Trade," I perceive, as the editor of Liberty has justly observed, that Stirner's views and my own have been misapprehended. To us liberty is a good in itself and the means of all other good. We study direct and also remoter results. I generalize, like Mr. Kelly; and about murder I generalize like Mr. Kelly.
This word murder denotes killing, but it connotes also that the killing is not approved according to a rule, law, or generalization.
As to the end justifying the means, that sentiment is foreign to my standpoint. The justification intended by theology and "humanism" is not an adjustment of means to ends, but the gaining the approval of some supernal power.
Like Stirner, I simply do my own will. I act from desire, not from awe. Those who do their own will we classify as distinct from those who act under awe and obedience to supposed moral obligations, — whether conceived as commands or the equivalent impression, — from a source outside the individual, telling him to submit himself and forego his own inclinations. Holding that awe is a pernicious influence, otherwise called religion and superstition, we hold to egoism, — defined as acting out one's self.
- To thy own self be true,
- And it must follow us the night the day
- Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I should not infer from Mr. George's words, "supporting any measure that will attain that object," that he, a rabid governmentalist, meant more than measures of legislation.
As Mr. Kelly speaks of a tendency to "disrupt society," I will note that Stirner has used the word society in such a way that the dissolution of society by individuals becoming independent has no more terrors, when understood, than Proudhon's dissolution of property,—society standing for the invasive community in all its spontaneous forms beyond the family.