A.H. Simpson – ‘The Two Socialisms’

(excerpted, abridged & other liberties taken)


Anarchism is egoism [see Max Stirner, ‘The Ego and Its Own’]; Communism is altruism… Anarchists are not opposed to private property, except as defined as the sum of legal privilege, but we may go on with the argument. Shall we abolish the State, or private property? The anarchist knows very well that the present State is an historical development, that it is simply the tool of the property-owning class; he knows that primitive accumulation began through robbery bold and daring, and that the freebooters then organized the State in its present form for their own self-preservation.


But how did the small property class manage to maintain the State against the large non-property class? The property class never did all the fighting (once they did lead the fighters; now they do not, but hire leaders); they had to have an immense army of the property-less to do the unskilled work in the fighting. How did they get the consent of the governed? How did they maneuver “the people” into fighting for property instead of against property? Why are they fighting for property instead of themselves now? It’s no use shutting our eyes to the fact that they do so… And how has this come about? Simply by teaching the idea that is inherent in Communism, or patriotism, or governmentalism, or religion of any sort, – renunciation, altruism, duty, sacrifice to the particular spook then uppermost: God, country, cause or principle. Ask any ignorant soldier why he fights… Does the young American citizen, who is ready to shoulder a rifle to put down Anarchism or Socialism, reason it out that it is for his personal interest to risk being blown up with dynamite bombs?


Are any of these people self-conscious egoists? Not one. They are all altruists, ready to self-sacrifice. The property class know well that spooks are as necessary as the police to support the State, and that dissolving spooks is more dangerous to them than killing policemen, and so the preaching class, ministers and politicians are well paid for teaching man’s duty to God and the citizen’s duty to the State… [T]heir mistake is one of fact. If they think it for the good of the community to suppress Communism, they will do so. When they become Communists, and think it for the good of the community to suppress Anarchists, they will do so – it will be their “duty”.


And so, after all, by abolishing private property, have we abolished the State? By no means. Other States existed before the present one, or rather the present State is nothing but the old machine modified to suit present economic ideas… The State existed before this terrible “beast of private property” was ever conceived, and will survive as long as individual rights are ignored and the rights of the community made supreme; and under [aggressive] Communism the good of the community is paramount to the good of the individual.


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