Originally published in German in 1844, philosopher Max Stirner’s “The Ego and Its Own” is an important and influential work that harshly criticizes Christianity and nationalism as well as the emerging movements of liberalism and socialism. Stirner’s work is viewed by historians as essential to the development of modern theories of anarchism, existentialism, and nihilism. Stirner viewed with contempt the enslavement of the mind of the individual by the rigid dogma of religion and nationalism. These ideas robbed the individual of free thought and autonomy and prevented people from realizing their true potential. The solution to this enslavement and control is the application of an egoism that rejects all religious rules, laws of the state, traditional morality, the concerns of family and friends, and even one’s own desires. Stirner argues that people must seek true freedom in the form of a new social structure that is essentially temporary and where no one is subjected to the self-interest of anyone else. This enduring and spirited defense of individual freedom against the control of the state and church remains required reading for students of politics and for all who value personal liberty. This edition follows the translation of Steven T. Byington.
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