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The German Ideology by Marx and Engels

Saint Max — The Moderns


D. Hierarchy

In the foregoing presentation Jacques le bonhomme conceives history merely as the product of abstract thoughts — or, rather, of his notions of abstract thoughts — as governed by these notions, which, in the final analysis, are all resolved into the “holy”. This domination of the “holy”, of thought, of the Hegelian absolute idea over the empirical world he further portrays as a historical relation existing at the present time, as the domination of the holy ones, the ideologists, over the vulgar world — as a hierarchy. In this hierarchy, what previously appeared consecutively exists side by side, so that one of the two coexisting forms of development rules over the other. <"p173"> Thus, the youth rules over the child, the Mongol over the Negro, the modern over the ancient, the selfless egoist (citoyen) over the egoist in the usual sense of the word (bourgeois), etc. — see “The Economy of the Old Testament”. The “destruction” of the “world of things” by the “world of the spirit” appears here as the “domination” of the “world of thoughts” over the “world of things”.

— The Professional Thinkers —

The outcome, of course, is bound to be that the domination which the “world of thoughts” exercises from the outset in history is at the end of the latter also presented as the real, actually existing domination of the thinkers — and, as we shall see, in the final analysis, as the domination of the speculative philosophers — over the world of things, so that Saint Max has only to fight against thoughts and ideas of the ideologists and to overcome them, in order to make himself “possessor of the world of things and the world of thoughts”.

Hierarchy is the domination of thought, the domination of the spirit. We are still — hierarchical to this day, we are under the yoke of those who rely on thoughts, and thoughts” — who has failed to notice it long ago? — “are the holy” (p. 97). (Stirner has tried to safeguard himself against the reproach that in his whole book he has only been producing “thoughts”, i.e., the “holy,”, by in fact nowhere producing any thoughts in it. Although in the Wigand periodical he ascribes to himself “virtuosity in thinking”, i.e., according to his interpretation, virtuosity in the fabrication of the “holy” — and this we shall concede him.) — “Hierarchy is the supreme domination of spirit” (p. 467). — “The medieval hierarchy was only a weak hierarchy, for it was forced to allow all kinds of profane barbarism to exist unrestricted alongside it” (“how Stirner knows so much about what the hierarchy was forced to do”, we shall soon see), “and only the Reformation steeled the power of the hierarchy” (p. 110). “Stirner” indeed thinks that “the domination of spirits was never before so all-embracing and omnipotent” as after the Reformation; he thinks that this domination of spirits “instead of divorcing the religious principle from art, state and science, on the contrary, raised these wholly from actuality into the kingdom of tile spirit and made them religious”.

This view of modern history merely dilates upon speculative philosophy’s old illusion of the domination of spirit in history. Indeed, this passage even shows how pious Jacques le bonhomme in all good faith continually takes the world outlook derived from Hegel, and which has become traditional for him, as the real world, and “manoeuvres” on that basis. What may appear as “his own” and “unique” in this passage is the conception of this domination of the spirit as a hierarchy — and here, again, we will “include” a brief “historical reflection” on the origin of Stirner’s “hierarchy”.

Hegel speaks of the philosophy of hierarchy in the following “transformations”:

“We have seen in Plato’s Republic the idea that philosophers should govern; now” (in the Catholic Middle Ages) “the time has come when it is affirmed that the spiritual should dominate, but the spiritual has acquired the meaning that the clerical, the clergy, should dominate. Thus, the spiritual is made a special being, the individual” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 132). — <"p174"> “Thereby actuality, the mundane, is forsaken by God ... a few individual persons are holy, the others unholy” (ibid., p. 136). “God-forsakenness” is more closely defined thus: “All these forms” (family, work, political life, etc.) “are considered nugatory, unholy(Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 343). — “It is a union with worldliness which is unreconciled, worldliness which is crude in itself” (for this Hegel elsewhere also uses the word “barbarism”; cf., for example. Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 136) “and, being crude in itself, is simply subjected to domination.” (Philosophie der Religion, If, pp. 342, 343). — “This domination” (the hierarchy of the Catholic church) “is, therefore, a domination of passion, although it should be the domination of the spiritual” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 134). — “The true domination of the spirit, however, cannot he domination of the spirit in the sense that what opposes it should be something subordinate” (ibid., p. 131). — “The true meaning is that the spiritual as such” (according to “Stirner” the “holy”) “should be the determining factor, and this has been so until our times; thus, we see in the French Revolution” Following in the wake of Hegel, “Stirner” sees it) “that the abstract idea should dominate: state constitutions and laws should be determined by it, it should constitute the bond between people, and people should be conscious that that which they hold as valid are abstract ideas, liberty and equality, etc.” (Geschichte dei. Philosophie, III, p. 132). The true domination of spirit as brought about by Protestantism, in contrast to its imperfect form in the Catholic hierarchy, is defined further in the sense that “the earthly is made spiritual in itself” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 185); “that the divine is realised in the sphere of actuality” (the Catholic God-forsakenness of actuality, therefore, ceases to exist — Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 344); that the “contradiction” between holiness and worldliness “is resolved in morality” (Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 343); that “moral institutions” (marriage, the family, the state, earning one’s livelihood, etc.) are “divine, holy(Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 344).

Hegel expresses this true domination of spirit in two forms:

State, government, low, property, civic order” (and, as we know from his other works, art, science, etc., as well), “all this is the religious... emerging in the form of the finite” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 185).

And, finally, this domination of the religious, the spiritual, etc., is expressed as the domination of philosophy:

“Consciousness of the spiritual is now” (in the eighteenth century) “essentially the foundation, and thereby domination has passed to philosophy” (Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 440).

Hegel, therefore, ascribes to the Catholic hierarchy of the Middle Ages the intention of wanting “to be the domination of spirit” and thereupon regards it as a restricted imperfect form of this domination of spirit, the culmination of which he sees in Protestantism and its alleged further development. However unhistorical this may be, nevertheless, Hegel is sufficiently historically-minded not to extend the use of the name “hierarchy” beyond the bounds of the Middle Ages. But Saint Max knows from this same Hegel that the later epoch is the “truth” of the preceding one; hence the epoch of the perfect domination of spirit is the truth of that epoch in which the domination of spirit was as yet imperfect, so that Protestantism is the truth of hierarchy and therefore true hierarchy. <"p175"> Since, however, only true hierarchy deserves to be called hierarchy, it is clear that the hierarchy of the Middle Ages had to be “weakly”, and it is all the easier for Stirner to prove this since in the passages given above and in hundreds of other passages from Hegel the imperfection of the domination of spirit in the Middle Ages is portrayed. He only needed to copy these out, the whole of his “own” work consisting in substituting the word “hierarchy” for “domination of spirit”. There was no need for him even to formulate the simple argument by means of which domination of spirit as such is transformed by him into hierarchy, since it has become the fashion among German theoreticians to give the name of the cause to the effect and, for example, to put back into the category of theology everything that has arisen out of theology and has not yet fully attained the height of the principles of these theoreticians — e.g., Hegelian speculation, Straussian pantheism, etc. — a trick especially prevalent in 1842. From the above-quoted passages it also follows that Hegel: 1) appraises the French Revolution as a new and more perfect phase of this domination of spirit; 2) regards philosophers as the rulers of the world of the nineteenth century; 3) maintains that now only abstract ideas have validity among people; 4) that he already regards marriage, the family, the state, earning one’s livelihood, civic order, property, etc., as “divine and holy”, as the “religious principle” and 5) that morality as worldly sanctity or as sanctified worldliness is represented as the highest and ultimate form of the domination of spirit over the world — all these things are repeated word for word in “Stirner”.

Accordingly there is no need to say or prove anything more concerning Stirner’s hierarchy, apart from why Saint Max copied out Hegel — a fact, however, for the explanation of which further material data are necessary, and which, therefore, is only explicable for those who are acquainted with ‘the Berlin atmosphere. It is another question how the Hegelian idea of the domination of spirit arose, and about this see what has been said above.

Saint Max’s adoption of Hegel’s world domination of the philosophers and his transformation of it into a hierarchy are due to the extremely uncritical credulity of our saint and to a “holy” or unholy ignorance which is content with “seeing through” history (i.e., with glancing through Hegel’s historical writings) without troubling to “know” many “things” about it. In general, he was bound to be afraid that as soon as he “learned” he would no longer be able to ,abolish and dissolve” (p. 96), and, therefore, remain stuck in the “bustling activity of noxious insects” — a sufficient reason not to “proceed” to the “abolition and dissolution” of his own ignorance.


If, like Hegel, one designs such a system for the first time, a system embracing the whole of history and the present-day world in all its scope, one cannot possibly do so without comprehensive, positive knowledge, without great energy and keen insight and without dealing at least in some passages with empirical history. On the other hand, if one is satisfied with exploiting an already existing pattern, transforming it for one’s “own” purposes and demonstrating this conception of one’s own by means of isolated examples (e.g., Negroes and Mongols, Catholics and Protestants, the French Revolution, etc.) — and this is precisely what our warrior against the holy does — then absolutely no knowledge of history is necessary. The result of all this exploitation inevitably becomes comic; most of all comic when a jump is made from the past into the immediate present, examples of which we saw already in connection with whimsy”.

As for the actual hierarchy of the Middle Ages, we shall merely note here that it did not exist for the people, for the great mass of human beings. For the great mass only feudalism existed, and hierarchy only existed insofar as it was itself either feudal or anti-feudal (within the framework of feudalism). Feudalism itself had entirely empirical relations as its basis. Hierarchy and its struggle against feudalism (the struggle of the ideologists of a class against the class itself) are only the ideological expression of feudalism and of the struggles developing within feudalism itself — which include also the struggles of the feudally organised nations among themselves. Hierarchy is the ideal form of feudalism; feudalism is the political form of the medieval relations of production and intercourse. Consequently, the struggle of feudalism against hierarchy can only be explained by elucidating these practical material relations. This elucidation of itself puts an end to the previous conception of history which took the illusions of the Middle Ages on trust, in particular those illusions which the Emperor and the Pope brought to bear in their struggle against each other.

Since Saint Max merely reduces the Hegelian abstractions about the Middle Ages and hierarchy to “pompous words and paltry thoughts”, there is no need to examine in more detail the actual, historical hierarchy.


From the above it is now clear that the trick can also be reversed and Catholicism regarded not just as a preliminary stage, but also as the negation of the real hierarchy; in which case Catholicism = negation of spirit, non-spirit, sensuousness, and then one gets the great proposition of Jacques le bonhomme — that the Jesuits “saved us from the decay and destruction of sensuousness” (p. 118). What would have happened to “us” If the “destruction” of sensuousness had come to pass, we do riot learn. The whole material movement since the sixteenth century, which did not save “us” from the “decay” of sensuousness, but, on the contrary, developed “sensuousness” to a much wider extent, does not exist for “Stirner” — it is the Jesuits who brought about all that. Compare, incidentally, Hegel’s Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 425.

By carrying over the old domination of the clerics to modern times Saint Max interprets modern times as “clericalism”; and then by regarding this domination of the clerics carried over to modern times as something distinct from the old medieval clerical domination, he depicts it as domination of the ideologists, as “scholasticism”. Thus clericalism = hierarchy as the domination of the spirit, scholasticism = the domination of the spirit as hierarchy.

“Stirner” achieves this simple transition to clericalism — which is no transition at all — by means of three weighty transformations.

Firstly, he “has” the “concept of clericalism” in anyone “who lives for a great idea, for a good cause” (still the good cause!), “for a doctrine, etc.”

Secondly, in his world of illusion Stirner “comes up against” the age-old illusion of a world that has not yet learned to dispense with clericalism”, namely — “to live and create for the sake of an idea, etc.”

Thirdly, “it is the domination of the idea, i.e., clericalism”, that is: “Robespierre, for example” (for example!), “Saint-Just, and so on” (and so on!) “were out-and-out priests”, etc. All three transformations in which clericalism is “discovered”, “encountered” and “called upon” (all this on p. 100), therefore, express nothing more than what Saint Max has already repeatedly told us, namely, the domination of spirit, of the idea, of the holy, over “life” (Ibid.).

After the “domination of the idea, i.e., clericalism” has thus been foisted upon history, Saint Max call, of course, without difficulty find this “clericalism” again in the whole of preceding history, and thus depict “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on” as priests and identify them with Innocent III and Gregory VII, and so all uniqueness vanishes in the face of the unique. All of them, properly speaking, are merely different names, different disguises for one person, “clericalism”, which made all history from the beginning of Christianity. As to how. with this sort of conception of history, “all cats become grey”, since all historical differences are “abolished” and “resolved” in the “notion of clericalism” — as to this, Saint Max at once gives us a striking example in his “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on”. <"p178"> Here we are first given Robespierre as an “example” of Saint-Just, and Saint-Just — as an “and-so-on” of Robespierre. It is then said:

“These representatives of holy interests are confronted by a world of innumerable ‘personal’, earthly interests.”

By whom were they confronted? By the Girondists and Thermidorians, who (see “for example” R. Levasseur’s Mémoires, “and so on I.e. Nougaret, Histoire des prisons; Barère; “Deux amis de la liberté, [56] (et du commerce); Montgaillard, Histoire de France; Madame Roland, Appel à la postérité; J. B. Louvet’s Mémoires and even the disgusting Essais historiques by Beaulieu, etc., etc., as well as all the proceedings before the revolutionary tribunal, “and so on”) constantly reproached them, the real representatives of revolutionary power, i.e., of the class which alone was truly revolutionary, the “innumerable” masses, for violating “sacred interests”, the constitution, freedom, equality, the rights of man, republicanism, law, sainte propriété, “for example” the division of powers, humanity, morality, moderation, “and so on”. They were opposed by all the priests, who accused them of violating all the main and secondary items of the religious and moral catechism (see “for example” Histoire du clergé de France pendant la revolution, by M. R., Paris, libraire catholique, 1828, “and so on”). The historical comment of the bourgeois that during the règne de la terreur “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on” cut off the beads of honnêtes gens (see the numerous writings of the simpleton Monsieur Peltier, “for example”, La conspiration de Robespierre by Montjoie, “and so on”) is expressed by Saint Max in the following transformation:

“Because the revolutionary priests and school-masters served Man, they cut the throats of men.”

This, of course, saves Saint Max the trouble of wasting even one “unique” little word about the actual, empirical grounds for the cutting off of heads — grounds which were based on extremely worldly interests, though not, of course, of the stockjobbers, but of the “innumerable” masses. An earlier “priest”, Spinoza, already in the seventeenth century had the brazen audacity to act the “strict school-master” of Saint Max, by saying: “Ignorance is no argument."’ <"p179"> Consequently Saint Max loathes the priest Spinoza to such an extent that he accepts his anti-cleric, the priest Leibniz, and for all such astonishing phenomena as the terror, “for example”, the cutting off of heads, “and so on”, produces “sufficient grounds”, viz., that “the ecclesiastics stuffed their heads with something of the kind” (p. 98).

Blessed Max, who has found sufficient grounds for everything (“I have now found the ground into which my anchor is eternally fastened, ,b in the idea, “for example”, in the “clericalism”, “and so on,’ of “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on”, George Sand, Proudhon, the chaste Berlin seamstress,’ etc.) — this blessed Max “does not blame the class of the bourgeoisie for having asked its egoism how far it should give way to the revolutionary idea as such”. For Saint Max “the revolutionary idea” which inspired the habits bleus [57] and honnêtes gens of 1789 is the same “idea” as that of the sansculottes of 1793, the same idea concerning which people deliberate whether to “give way” to it — but no further “space can be given"’ to any “idea” about this point.

We now come to present-day hierarchy, to the domination of the idea in ordinary life. The whole of the second part of “the book” is filled with struggle against this “hierarchy”. Therefore we shall deal with it in detail when we come to this second part. But since Saint Max, as in the section on “whimsy”, takes delight in anticipating his ideas here and repeats what comes later in the beginning, as he repeats the beginning in what comes later, we are compelled already at this point to note a few examples of his hierarchy. His method of writing a book is the unique “egoism” which we find in the whole book. His self-delight stands in inverse proportion to the delight experienced by the reader.

Since the middle class demand love for their kingdom, their regime, they want, according to Jacques le bonhomme, to “establish the kingdom of love on earth” (p. 98). Since they demand respect for their domination and for the conditions in which it is exercised, and therefore want to usurp domination over respect, they demand, according to this worthy man, the domination of respect as such, their attitude towards respect is the same as towards the holy spirit dwelling within them (p. 95). Jacques le bonhomme, with his faith that can move mountains, takes as the actual, earthly basis of the tons and bourgeois world the distorted form in which the sanctimonious and hypocritical ideology of the bourgeoisie voices their particular interests as universal interests. Why this ideological delusion assumes precisely this form for our saint, we shall see in connection with “political liberalism”.

Saint Max gives us a new example on page 115, speaking of the family. He declares that, although it is very easy to become emancipated from the domination of one’s own family, nevertheless, “refusal of allegiance easily arouses pangs of conscience”, and so people retain family affection, the concept of the family, and therefore have the “holy conception of the family”, the “holy” (p. 116).

— The Bourgeoisie and the Family —

Here again our good man perceives the domination of the holy where entirely empirical relations dominate. The attitude of the bourgeois to the institutions of his regime is like that of the Jew to the law; he evades them whenever it is possible to do so in each individual case, but he wants everyone else to observe them. If the entire bourgeoisie, in a mass and at one time, were to evade bourgeois institutions, it would cease to be bourgeoise conduct which, of course, never occurs to the bourgeois and by no means depends on their willing or running. [58] The dissolute bourgeois evades marriage and secretly commits adultery; the merchant evades the institution of property by depriving others of property by speculation, bankruptcy, etc.; the young bourgeois makes himself independent of his own family, if he can by in fact abolishing the family as far as he is concerned. But marriage, property, the family remain untouched in theory, because they are the practical basis on which the bourgeoisie has erected its domination, and because in their bourgeois form they are the conditions which make the bourgeois a bourgeois, just as the constantly evaded law makes the religious Jew a religious Jew. This attitude of the bourgeois to the conditions of his existence acquires one of its universal forms in bourgeois morality. One cannot speak at all of the family “as such”. Historically, the bourgeois gives the family the character of the bourgeois family, in which boredom and money are the binding link, and which also includes the bourgeois dissolution of the family, which does not prevent the family itself from always continuing to exist. Its dirty existence has its counterpart in the holy concept of it in official phraseology and universal hypocrisy. Where the family is actually abolished, as with the proletariat, just the opposite of what “Stirner” thinks takes place. <"p181"> There the concept of the family does not exist at all, but here and there family affection based on extremely real relations is certainly to be found. In the eighteenth century the concept of the family was abolished by the philosophers, because the actual family was already in process of dissolution at the highest pinnacles of civilisation. The internal family bond, the separate components constituting the concept of the family were dissolved, for example, obedience, piety, fidelity in marriage, etc.; but the real body of the family, the property relation, the exclusive attitude in relation to other families, forced cohabitation — relations determined by the existence of children, the structure of modern towns, the formation of capital, etc. — all these were preserved, although with numerous violations, because the existence of the family is made necessary by its connection with the mode of production, which exists independently of the will of bourgeois society. That it was impossible to do without it was demonstrated in the most striking way during the French Revolution, when for a moment the family was as good as legally abolished. The family continues to exist even in the nineteenth century, only the process of its dissolution has become more general, not on account of the concept, but because of the higher development of industry and competition; the family still exists although its dissolution was long ago proclaimed by French and English socialists and this has at last penetrated also to the German church fathers, by way of French novels.

One other example of the domination of the idea in everyday life. Since school-masters may be told to find consolation for their scanty pay in the holiness of the cause they serve (which could only occur in Germany), Jacques le bonhomme actually believes that such talk is the reason for their low salaries (p. 100). He believes that “the, holy” in the present-day bourgeois world has an actual money value, he believes that the meagre funds of the Prussian state (see, inter alia, Browning on this subject [G. Browning, The domestic (and financial Condition of Great Britain; preceded by a Brief Sketch of her Foreign Policy: and of the Statistics and Politics of France, Russia, Austria and Prussia]) would be so increased by the abolition of “the holy” that every village school-master could suddenly be paid a ministerial salary.

This is the hierarchy of nonsense.

The “keystone of the magnificent cathedral” — as the great Michelet [Carl Michelet, Geschichte der letzten Système der Philosophie in Deutschland von Kant bis Hegel] puts it — of hierarchy is “sometimes” the work of “One”.


One sometimes divides people into two classes, the educated and the uneducated.” (One sometimes divides apes into two classes, the tailed and the tailless.) “The former, insofar as they were worthy of their name, occupied themselves with thoughts, with the spirit.” They “dominated in the post-Christian epoch and for their thoughts they demanded ... respect”. The uneducated (the animal, the child, the Negro) are “powerless” against thoughts and “are dominated by them. That is the meaning of hierarchy.”

The “educated” (the youth, the Mongol, the modern) are, therefore, again only occupied with “spirit”, pure thought, etc.; they are metaphysicians by profession, in the final analysis Hegelians. “Hence” the “uneducated” are the non-Hegelians.’ Hegel was indubitably “the most educated” Hegelian and therefore in his case it must “become apparent what a longing for things particularly the most educated man possesses”. The point is that the “educated” and “uneducated” are within themselves in conflict with each other; indeed, in every man the “uneducated” is in conflict with the “educated”. And since the greatest longing for things, i.e., for that which belongs to the “uneducated”, becomes apparent in Hegel, it also becomes apparent here that “the most educated” man is at the same time “the most uneducated”.

“There” (in Hegel) “reality should be completely in accordance with thought and no concept be without reality.”

This should read: there the ordinary idea of reality should receive its complete philosophical expression, while Hegel imagines, on the contrary, that “consequently” every philosophical expression creates the reality that is in accordance with it. Jacques le bonhomme takes Hegel’s illusion about his own philosophy for the genuine coin of Hegelian philosophy.

The Hegelian philosophy, which in the form of the domination of the Hegelians over the non-Hegelians appears as the crown of the hierarchy, now conquers the last world empire.

“Hegel’s system was the supreme despotism and autocracy of thought, the omnipotence and almightiness of the spirit” (p. 97).

Here, therefore, we find ourselves in the realm of spirits of Hegelian philosophy, which stretches from Berlin to Halle and Tübingen, the realm of spirits whose history was written by Herr Bayrhoffer [Karl Theodor Bayrhoffer, Die Idee und Geschichte der Philosophie] and for which the great Michelet collected the statistical data.

The preparation for this realm of spirits was the French Revolution, which “did nothing but transform things into ideas about things” (p. 115; cf. above Hegel on the revolution, p. [...])

“So people remained citizens” (in “Stirner”, this occurs earlier, but “what Stirner says is not what he has in mind, and what he has in mind cannot be said”, Wigand, p. 149) and “lived in reflection, they had their eye on an object, before which” (per appos.) “they felt reverence and fear”. “Stirner” says in a passage on page 98: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But we say: the road to the unique is paved with bad concluding clauses, with oppositions, which are his “heavenly ladder” borrowed from the Chinese, and his rope of the objective” (p. 88) on which he makes his “flea-jumps”. In accordance with this, for “modern philosophy or modern times” — since the emergence of the realm of spirits modern times are indeed nothing but modern philosophy — it is an easy matter to “transform the existing objects into notional objects, i.e., into concepts”, page 114, a work which Saint Max continues.

We have already seen our knight of the rueful countenance even “before the mountains were brought forth”, which he later moved by his faith, right at the beginning of his book, galloping headlong towards the great result of his “magnificent cathedral”. His “donkey”, apposition, could not jump swiftly enough for him; now, at last, on page 114, he has reached his goal and by means of a mighty “or” has transformed modern times into modern philosophy.

— On Ideas and Social Conditions —

Thereby ancient times (i.e., the ancient and modern, Negroid and Mongolian but, properly speaking, only pre-Stirnerian times) “reached their final goal”. We can now reveal why Saint Max gave the title “Man” to the whole of the first part of his book and made out his entire history of miracles, ghosts and knights to be the history of “man”. The ideas and thoughts of people were, of course, ideas and thoughts about themselves and their relationships, their consciousness of themselves and of people in general — for it was the consciousness not merely of a single individual but of the individual in his interconnection with the whole of society and about the whole of the society in which they lived. The conditions, independent of them, in which they produced their life, the necessary forms of intercourse connected herewith, and the personal and social relations thereby given, had to take the form — insofar as they were expressed in thoughts — of ideal conditions and necessary relations, i.e., they had to be expressed in consciousness as determinations arising from the concept of man as such, from human essence, from the nature of man, from man as such. What people were, what their relations were, appeared in consciousness as ideas of man as such, of his modes of existence or of his immediate conceptual determinations. So, after the ideologists had assumed that ideas and thoughts had dominated history up to now, that the history of these ideas and thoughts constitutes all history up to now, after they had imagined that real conditions had conformed to man as such and his ideal conditions, i.e., to conceptual determinations, after they had made the history of people’s consciousness of themselves the basis of their actual history, after all this, nothing was easier than to call the history of consciousness, of ideas, of the holy, of established concepts — the history of “man” and to put it in the place of real history. <"p184"> The only distinction between Saint Max and all his predecessors is that he knows nothing about these concepts — even in their arbitrary isolation from real life, whose products they were — and his trivial creative work in his copy of Hegelian ideology is restricted to establishing his ignorance even of what he copies. — It is already evident from this how he can counterpose the history of the real individual in the form of the unique to his fantasy about the history of man.

The unique history takes place at the beginning in the Stoa in Athens, later almost wholly in Germany, and finally at the Kupfergraben [59] in Berlin, where the despot of “modern philosophy or modern times” set up his imperial residence. That already shows how exclusively national and local is the matter dealt with. Instead of world history, Saint Max gives a few and, what is more, extremely meagre and biased comments on the history of German theology and philosophy. If on occasion we appear to go outside Germany, it is only in order to cause the deeds and thoughts of other peoples, e.g., the French Revolution, to “reach their final goal” in Germany, namely, at the Kupfergraben. Only national-German facts are given, they are dealt with and interpreted in a national-German manner, and the result remains a national-German one. But even that is not enough. The views and education of our saint are not only German, but of a Berlin nature through and through. The role allotted to Hegelian philosophy is that which it plays in Berlin, and Stirner confuses Berlin with the world and world history. The “youth” is a Berliner; the good citizens that we encounter throughout the book are Berlin beer-drinking philistines. With such premises for the starting-point, it is natural that the result arrived at is merely one confined within the national and local framework. <"p185"> “Stirner” and his whole philosophical fraternity, among whom he is the weakest and most ignorant member, afford a practical commentary to the valiant lines of the valiant Hoffmann von Fallersleben:

In Germany alone, in Germany alone,
Would I for ever live.

The local Berlin conclusion of our valiant saint — that in Hegelian philosophy the world has “all gone” — enables him now without much expense to arrive at a universal empire of his “own”. The Hegelian philosophy transformed everything into thought, into the holy, into apparition, into spirit, into spirits, into spectres. “Stirner” will fight against them, he will conquer them in his imagination and will erect on their dead bodies his “own”, “unique”, “corporeal” empire, the empire of the “whole fellow”.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Now “Stirner” has his “feet shod with the preparation” for waging the fight against thoughts. He has no need first to “take the shield of faith”, for he has never laid it down. Armed with the “helmet” of disaster and the “sword” of spiritlessness (see ibid.), he goes into battle. “And it was given unto him to make war with the holy” but not “to overcome” it. (Revelation of St. John 13:7)