In his most famous work, “The Ego and Its Own,” Max Stirner presents a philosophy of radical individualism and egoism. He argues against any constraints on the individual, whether they come from the state, society, morality, or any other external authority. When Stirner says “I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing,” he is expressing his rejection of conventional notions of property and ownership.
According to Stirner, the individual should have the freedom to use anything in the world as they see fit, without regard for societal norms or laws about property. It’s crucial to understand that Stirner is not necessarily advocating for theft or disrespect of others’ rights in a practical, everyday sense. Rather, he is proposing a radical philosophical perspective in which the individual is the ultimate authority over their own actions.
In Stirner’s view, societal norms and laws are ‘spooks’ or ‘fixed ideas’ that limit individual freedom, and the truly free individual would not feel bound by them. However, Stirner’s ideas are highly controversial and subject to interpretation. While some see him as a champion of absolute freedom, others see his ideas as a recipe for anarchy and chaos. It’s also worth noting that Stirner’s philosophy does not provide much guidance for how to deal with conflicts between individuals, which is a major point of criticism.