Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.


0 votes
It seems contradictory for an egoist to take illegal direct action or or do anything else illegal for that matter (if it's high profile). It seems that atleast immediately it would not be in there best interest.
by (910 points)
egoism can be confusing because it is both talking about what should be, and (perhaps more convincingly?) about what already is.
stirner (afaict) wrote about how people actually decide things (through self interest, *very* broadly defined), and seemed most irritated that people hid that from themselves, or associated themselves overly with institutions (spooks) that did nothing for them.
so addressing your question might mean discussing the question of self, and how we all (differently at different times) define ourselves in relation to things that are outside our physical body.
or we could talk about what "best interest" means to someone who wants to be free.
or we could talk about the question of having to *do* anything to be high profile. sometimes people are targeted randomly or accidentally or despite themselves.
or we could talk about basing our actions on whether they're likely to get us caught, and what that means about fear, living with.
"It seems contradictory for an egoist to take illegal direct action or or do anything else illegal for that matter ..."

maybe i am dense, but i don't follow the logic there.

to my mind, an egoist would consider legal vs illegal completely irrelevant, except to the extent that staying out of prison would be a core desire and point of self-interest.  what exactly about an egoist perspective would make it contradictory for one to do anything "illegal"?
Illegal and likely to get caught and thrown in jail fined etc. Is exactly what I meant. Short term this is obviously not in most peoples best interest.

1 Answer

+2 votes
one possible answer:

an egoist almost *must* rebel against the status quo, because the status quo encourages and often enforces the sublimation of the individual. (not sure "sublimation" is the right word, it just kinda came out). the status quo in modern society has almost everything to do with mass mentality. it seeks/requires conformant, law-abiding, productive working citizens who willingly submit their will to that of the state/society/work/community/etc.

or have i misunderstood entirely?
by (13.4k points)
I recognize that, This is why I feel it is contradictory. Maybe it's just a choice/matter of opinion of which is more in your own interest, breaking laws and risking getting put into an even shittier position or conforming?
for sure, everyone has their own acceptable level of risk in various scenarios. and let's not forget that there is risk everywhere, all the time, whether one is acting illegally or not. it is not a binary choice of conforming (whatever that might mean in a given situation) or acting illegally. acting illegally in itself has many layers of possibility and risk.

as an anarchist with strong individualist tendencies, i act illegally (according to the state) all the time, not simply because i don't care to conform, but because it is the very expression of my desires and self-determination. i tend to avoid acting in ways that (in my estimation) have a good chance of me being imprisoned, but that in no way means i don't act illegally. it means i choose my actions based on everything i can understand about the situation. in all cases, to the best of my knowledge, i act in the ways that best meet my needs/desires/agency in any given context.

so i still don't get the contradiction you are referring to. but that's ok too.