Might vs. Right

Stirner argues that rights are only bestowed 'from above' and thus are never are own and besides have historically been used to 'rule' us. Cf. Paul Treanor, 'How Rights Work' (external link).

(from the end of the section 'My Power', in 'The Ego and Its Own')

Now, in conclusion, I have still to take back the half-way form of expression of which I was willing to make use only so long as I was still rooting among the entrails of right, and letting the word at least stand. But, in fact, with the concept the word too loses its meaning. What I called "my right" is no longer "right" at all, because right can be bestowed only by a spirit, be it the spirit of nature or that of the species, of mankind, the Spirit of God or that of His Holiness or His Highness, etc. What I have without an entitling spirit I have without right; I have it solely and alone through my power.

I do not demand any right, therefore I need not recognize any either. What I can get by force I get by force, and what I do not get by force I have no right to, nor do I give myself airs, or consolation, with my imprescriptible right. With absolute right, right itself passes away; the dominion of the "concept of right" is cancelled at the same time. For it is not to be forgotten that hitherto concepts, ideas, or principles ruled us, and that among these rulers the concept of right, or of justice, played one of the most important parts.

Entitled or unentitled -- that does not concern me, if I am only powerful, I am of myself empowered, and need no other empowering or entitling. Right -- is a wheel in the head, put there by a spook; power -- that am I myself, I am the powerful one and owner of power. Right is above me, is absolute, and exists in one higher, as whose grace it flows to me: right is a gift of grace from the judge; power and might exist only in me the powerful and mighty.

On the Ownership of Ideas

(from the section 'The Owner', in 'The Ego and Its Own')

Connected with this is the discernment that every judgment which I pass upon an object is the creature of my will; and that discernment again leads me to not losing myself in the creature, the judgment, but remaining the creator, the judge, who is ever creating anew. All predicates of objects are my statements, my judgments, my -- creatures. If they want to tear themselves loose from me and be something for themselves, or actually overawe me, then I have nothing more pressing to do than to take them back into their nothing, into me the creator. God, Christ, Trinity, morality, the good, etc., are such creatures, of which I must not merely allow myself to say that they are truths, but also that they are deceptions. As I once willed and decreed their existence, so I want to have license to will their non- existence too; I must not let them grow over my head, must not have the weakness to let them become something "absolute," whereby they would be eternalized and withdrawn from my power and decision. With that I should fall a prey to the principle of stability, the proper life-principle of religion, which concerns itself with creating "sanctuaries that must not be touched," "eternal truths" -- in short, that which shall be "sacred" -- and depriving you of what is yours.

As the world as property has become a material with which I undertake what I will, so the spirit too as property must sink down into a material before which I no longer entertain any sacred dread. Then, firstly, I shall shudder no more before a thought, let it appear as presumptuous and "devilish" as it will, because, if it threatens to become too inconvenient and unsatisfactory for me, its end lies in my power; but neither shall I recoil from any deed because there dwells in it a spirit of godlessness, immorality, wrongfulness, as little as St. Boniface pleased to desist, through religious scrupulousness, from cutting down the sacred oak of the heathens. If the things of the world have once become vain, the thoughts of the spirit must also become vain.

No thought is sacred, for let no thought rank as "devotions"; no feeling is sacred (no sacred feeling of friendship, mother's feelings, etc.), no belief is sacred. They are all alienable, my alienable property, and are annihilated, as they are created, by me.

The Christian can lose all things or objects, the most loved persons, these "objects" of his love, without giving up himself (i.e., in the Christian sense, his spirit, his soul! as lost. The owner can cast from him all the thoughts that were dear to his heart and kindled his zeal, and will likewise "gain a thousandfold again," because he, their creator, remains.

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