[This is a literal translation of the German word Eigenheit, which, with its primitive eigen, “own,” is used in this chapter in a way that the German dictionaries do not quite recognize. The author’s conception being new, he had to make an innovation in the German language to express it. The translator is under the like necessity. In most passages “self-ownership,” or else “personality,” would translate the word, but there are some where the thought is so eigen, i. e., so peculiar or so thoroughly the author’s own, that no English word I can think of would express it. It will explain itself to one who has read Part First intelligently]
“Does not the spirit thirst for freedom?” — Alas, not my spirit alone, my body too thirsts for it hourly! When before the odorous castle-kitchen my nose tells my palate of the savory dishes that are being prepared therein, it feels a fearful pining at its dry bread; when my eyes tell the hardened back about soft down on which one may lie more delightfully than on its compressed straw, a suppressed rage seizes it; when — but let us not follow the pains further. — And you call that a longing for freedom? What do you want to become free from, then? From your hardtack and your straw bed? Then throw them away! — But that seems not to serve you: you want rather to have the freedom to enjoy delicious foods and downy beds. Are men to give you this “freedom” — are they to permit it to you? You do not hope that from their philanthropy, because you know they all think like you: each is the nearest to himself! How, therefore, do you mean to come to the enjoyment of those foods and beds? Evidently not otherwise than in making them your property!
If you think it over rightly, you do not want the freedom to have all these fine things, for with this freedom you still do not have them; you want really to have them, to call them yours and possess them as your property. Of what use is a freedom to you, indeed, if it brings in nothing? And, if you became free from everything, you would no longer have anything; for freedom is empty of substance. Whoso knows not how to make use of it, for him it has no value, this useless permission; but how I make use of it depends on my personality.[Eigenheit]
I have no objection to freedom, but I wish more than freedom for you: you should not merely be rid of what you do not want; you should not only be a “freeman,” you should be an “owner” too.
Free — from what? Oh! what is there that cannot be shaken off? The yoke of serfdom, of sovereignty, of aristocracy and princes, the dominion of the desires and passions; yes, even the dominion of one’s own will, of self-will, for the completest self-denial is nothing but freedom — freedom, to wit, from self-determination, from one’s own self. And the craving for freedom as for something absolute, worthy of every praise, deprived us of ownness: it created self-denial. However, the freer I become, the more compulsion piles up before my eyes; and the more impotent I feel myself. The unfree son of the wilderness does not yet feel anything of all the limits that crowd a civilized man: he seems to himself freer than this latter. In the measure that I conquer freedom for myself I create for myself new bounds and new tasks: if I have invented railroads, I feel myself weak again because I cannot yet sail through the skies like the bird; and, if I have solved a problem whose obscurity disturbed my mind, at once there await me innumerable others, whose perplexities impede my progress, dim my free gaze, make the limits of my freedom painfully sensible to me. “Now that you have become free from sin, you have become servants of righteousness.” Republicans in their broad freedom, do they not become servants of the law? How true Christian hearts at all times longed to “become free,” how they pined to see themselves delivered from the “bonds of this earth-life”! They looked out toward the land of freedom. (“The Jerusalem that is above is the freewoman; she is the mother of us all.” Gal. 4. 26.)
Being free from anything — means only being clear or rid. “He is free from headache” is equal to “he is rid of it.” “He is free from this prejudice” is equal to “he has never conceived it” or “he has got rid of it.” In “less” we complete the freedom recommended by Christianity, in sinless, godless, moralityless, etc.
Freedom is the doctrine of Christianity. “Ye, dear brethren, are called to freedom.” “So speak and so do, as those who are to be judged by the law of freedom.”
Must we then, because freedom betrays itself as a Christian ideal, give it up? No, nothing is to be lost, freedom no more than the rest; but it is to become our own, and in the form of freedom it cannot.
What a difference between freedom and ownness! One can get rid of a great many things, one yet does not get rid of all; one becomes free from much, not from everything. Inwardly one may be free in spite of the condition of slavery, although, too, it is again only from all sorts of things, not from everything; but from the whip, the domineering temper, of the master, one does not as slave become free. “Freedom lives only in the realm of dreams!” Ownness, on the contrary, is my whole being and existence, it is I myself. I am free from what I am rid of, owner of what I have in my power or what I control. My own I am at all times and under all circumstances, if I know how to have myself and do not throw myself away on others. To be free is something that I cannot truly will, because I cannot make it, cannot create it: I can only wish it and — aspire toward it, for it remains an ideal, a spook. The fetters of reality cut the sharpest welts in my flesh every moment. But my own I remain. Given up as serf to a master, I think only of myself and my advantage; his blows strike me indeed, I am not free from them; but I endure them only for my benefit, perhaps in order to deceive him and make him secure by the semblance of patience, or, again, not to draw worse upon myself by contumacy. But, as I keep my eye on myself and my selfishness, I take by the forelock the first good opportunity to trample the slaveholder into the dust. That I then become free from him and his whip is only the consequence of my antecedent egoism. Here one perhaps says I was “free” even in the condition of slavery — to wit, “intrinsically” or “inwardly.” But “intrinsically free” is not “really free,” and “inwardly” is not “outwardly.” I was own, on the other hand, my own, altogether, inwardly and outwardly. Under the dominion of a cruel master my body is not “free” from torments and lashes; but it is my bones that moan under the torture, my fibres that quiver under the blows, and I moan because my body moans. That I sigh and shiver proves that I have not yet lost myself, that I am still my own. My leg is not “free” from the master’s stick, but it is my leg and is inseparable. Let him tear it off me and look and see if he still has my leg! He retains in his hand nothing but the — corpse of my leg, which is as little my leg as a dead dog is still a dog: a dog has a pulsating heart, a so-called dead dog has none and is therefore no longer a dog.
If one opines that a slave may yet be inwardly free, he says in fact only the most indisputable and trivial thing. For who is going to assert that any man is wholly without freedom? If I am an eye-servant, can I therefore not be free from innumerable things, e.g. from faith in Zeus, from the desire for fame, etc.? Why then should not a whipped slave also be able to be inwardly free from un-Christian sentiments, from hatred of his enemy, etc.? He then has “Christian freedom,” is rid of the un-Christian; but has he absolute freedom, freedom from everything, e.g. from the Christian delusion, or from bodily pain?
In the meantime, all this seems to be said more against names than against the thing. But is the name indifferent, and has not a word, a shibboleth, always inspired and — fooled men? Yet between freedom and ownness there lies still a deeper chasm than the mere difference of the words.
All the world desires freedom, all long for its reign to come. Oh, enchantingly beautiful dream of a blooming “reign of freedom,” a “free human race”! — who has not dreamed it? So men shall become free, entirely free, free from all constraint! From all constraint, really from all? Are they never to put constraint on themselves any more? “Oh yes, that, of course; don’t you see, that is no constraint at all?” Well, then at any rate they — are to become free from religious faith, from the strict duties of morality, from the inexorability of the law, from — “What a fearful misunderstanding!” Well, what are they to be free from then, and what not?
The lovely dream is dissipated; awakened, one rubs his half-opened eyes and stares at the prosaic questioner. “What men are to be free from?” — From blind credulity, cries one. What’s that? exclaims another, all faith is blind credulity; they must become free from all faith. No, no, for God’s sake — inveighs the first again — do not cast all faith from you, else the power of brutality breaks in. We must have the republic — a third makes himself heard, — and become — free from all commanding lords. There is no help in that, says a fourth: we only get a new lord then, a “dominant majority”; let us rather free ourselves from this dreadful inequality. — O, hapless equality, already I hear your plebeian roar again! How I had dreamed so beautifully just now of a paradise of freedom, and what — impudence and licentiousness now raises its wild clamor! Thus the first laments, and gets on his feet to grasp the sword against “unmeasured freedom.” Soon we no longer hear anything but the clashing of the swords of the disagreeing dreamers of freedom.
What the craving for freedom has always come to has been the desire for a particular freedom, e.g. freedom of faith; i.e. the believing man wanted to be free and independent; of what? of faith perhaps? no! but of the inquisitors of faith. So now “political or civil” freedom. The citizen wants to become free not from citizenhood, but from bureaucracy, the arbitrariness of princes, etc. Prince Metternich once said he had “found a way that was adapted to guide men in the path of genuine freedom for all the future.” The Count of Provence ran away from France precisely at the time when he was preparing the “reign of freedom,” and said: “My imprisonment had become intolerable to me; I had only one passion, the desire for freedom; I thought only of it.”
The craving for a particular freedom always includes the purpose of a new dominion, as it was with the Revolution, which indeed “could give its defenders the uplifting feeling that they were fighting for freedom,” but in truth only because they were after a particular freedom, therefore a new dominion, the “dominion of the law.”
Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything — yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? — Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the — unattainable.
“Ah, but there is nothing better than freedom!”
What have you then when you have freedom, viz., — for I will not speak here of your piecemeal bits of freedom — complete freedom? Then you are rid of everything that embarrasses you, everything, and there is probably nothing that does not once in your life embarrass you and cause you inconvenience. And for whose sake, then, did you want to be rid of it? Doubtless for your sake, because it is in your way! But, if something were not inconvenient to you; if, on the contrary, it were quite to your mind (e.g. the gently but irresistibly commanding look of your loved one) — then you would not want to be rid of it and free from it. Why not? For your sake again! So you take yourselves as measure and judge over all. You gladly let freedom go when unfreedom, the “sweet service of love,” suits you; and you take up your freedom again on occasion when it begins to suit you better — i. e., supposing, which is not the point here, that you are not afraid of such a Repeal of the Union for other (perhaps religious) reasons.
Why will you not take courage now to really make yourselves the central point and the main thing altogether? Why grasp in the air at freedom, your dream? Are you your dream? Do not begin by inquiring of your dreams, your notions, your thoughts, for that is all “hollow theory.” Ask yourselves and ask after yourselves — that is practical, and you know you want very much to be “practical.” But there the one hearkens what his God (of course what he thinks of at the name God is his God) may be going to say to it, and another what his moral feelings, his conscience, his feeling of duty, may determine about it, and a third calculates what folks will think of it — and, when each has thus asked his Lord God (folks are a Lord God just as good as, nay, even more compact than, the other-worldly and imaginary one: vox populi, vox dei), then he accommodates himself to his Lord’s will and listens no more at all for what he himself would like to say and decide.
Therefore turn to yourselves rather than to your gods or idols. Bring out from yourselves what is in you, bring it to the light, bring yourselves to revelation.
How one acts only from himself, and asks after nothing further, the Christians have realized in the notion “God.” He acts “as it pleases him.” And foolish man, who could do just so, is to act as it “pleases God” instead. — If it is said that even God proceeds according to eternal laws, that too fits me, since I too cannot get out of my skin, but have my law in my whole nature, i.e. in myself.
But one needs only admonish you of yourselves to bring you to despair at once. “What am I?” each of you asks himself. An abyss of lawless and unregulated impulses, desires, wishes, passions, a chaos without light or guiding star! How am I to obtain a correct answer, if, without regard to God’s commandments or to the duties which morality prescribes, without regard to the voice of reason, which in the course of history, after bitter experiences, has exalted the best and most reasonable thing into law, I simply appeal to myself? My passion would advise me to do the most senseless thing possible. — Thus each deems himself the — devil; for, if, so far as he is unconcerned about religion, etc., he only deemed himself a beast, he would easily find that the beast, which does follow only its impulse (as it were, its advice), does not advise and impel itself to do the “most senseless” things, but takes very correct steps. But the habit of the religious way of thinking has biased our mind so grievously that we are — terrified at ourselves in our nakedness and naturalness; it has degraded us so that we deem ourselves depraved by nature, born devils. Of course it comes into your head at once that your calling requires you to do the “good,” the moral, the right. Now, if you ask yourselves what is to be done, how can the right voice sound forth from you, the voice which points the way of the good, the right, the true, etc.? What concord have God and Belial?
But what would you think if one answered you by saying: “That one is to listen to God, conscience, duties, laws, and so forth, is flim-flam with which people have stuffed your head and heart and made you crazy”? And if he asked you how it is that you know so surely that the voice of nature is a seducer? And if he even demanded of you to turn the thing about and actually to deem the voice of God and conscience to be the devil’s work? There are such graceless men; how will you settle them? You cannot appeal to your parsons, parents, and good men, for precisely these are designated by them as your seducers, as the true seducers and corrupters of youth, who busily sow broadcast the tares of self-contempt and reverence to God, who fill young hearts with mud and young heads with stupidity.
But now those people go on and ask: For whose sake do you care about God’s and the other commandments? You surely do not suppose that this is done merely out of complaisance toward God? No, you are doing it — for your sake again. — Here too, therefore, you are the main thing, and each must say to himself, I am everything to myself and I do everything on my account. If it ever became clear to you that God, the commandments, etc., only harm you, that they reduce and ruin you, to a certainty you would throw them from you just as the Christians once condemned Apollo or Minerva or heathen morality. They did indeed put in the place of these Christ and afterward Mary, as well as a Christian morality; but they did this for the sake of their souls’ welfare too, therefore out of egoism or ownness.
And it was by this egoism, this ownness, that they got rid of the old world of gods and became free from it. Ownness created a new freedom; for ownness is the creator of everything, as genius (a definite ownness), which is always originality, has for a long time already been looked upon as the creator of new productions that have a place in the history of the world.
If your efforts are ever to make “freedom” the issue, then exhaust freedom’s demands. Who is it that is to become free? You, I, we. Free from what? From everything that is not you, not I, not we. I, therefore, am the kernel that is to be delivered from all wrappings and — freed from all cramping shells. What is left when I have been freed from everything that is not I? Only I; nothing but I. But freedom has nothing to offer to this I himself. As to what is now to happen further after I have become free, freedom is silent — as our governments, when the prisoner’s time is up, merely let him go, thrusting him out into abandonment.
Now why, if freedom is striven after for love of the I after all — why not choose the I himself as beginning, middle, and end? Am I not worth more than freedom? Is it not I that make myself free, am not I the first? Even unfree, even laid in a thousand fetters, I yet am; and I am not, like freedom, extant only in the future and in hopes, but even as the most abject of slaves I am — present.
Think that over well, and decide whether you will place on your banner the dream of “freedom” or the resolution of “egoism,” of “ownness.” “Freedom” awakens your rage against everything that is not you; “egoism” calls you to joy over yourselves, to self-enjoyment; “freedom” is and remains a longing , a romantic plaint, a Christian hope for unearthliness and futurity; “ownness” is a reality, which of itself removes just so much unfreedom as by barring your own way hinders you. What does not disturb you, you will not want to renounce; and, if it begins to disturb you, why, you know that “you must obey yourselves rather than men!”
Freedom teaches only: Get yourselves rid, relieve yourselves, of everything burdensome; it does not teach you who you yourselves are. Rid, rid! So call, get rid even of yourselves, “deny yourselves.” But ownness calls you back to yourselves, it says “Come to yourself!” Under the aegis of freedom you get rid of many kinds of things, but something new pinches you again: “you are rid of the Evil One; evil is left.” As own you are really rid of everything, and what clings to you you have accepted; it is your choice and your pleasure. The own man is the free-born, the man free to begin with; the free man, on the contrary, is only the eleutheromaniac, the dreamer and enthusiast.
The former is originally free, because he recognizes nothing but himself; he does not need to free himself first, because at the start he rejects everything outside himself, because he prizes nothing more than himself, rates nothing higher, because, in short, he starts from himself and “comes to himself.” Constrained by childish respect, he is nevertheless already working at “freeing” himself from this constraint. Ownness works in the little egoist, and procures him the desired — freedom.
Thousands of years of civilization have obscured to you what you are, have made you believe you are not egoists but are called to be idealists (“good men”). Shake that off! Do not seek for freedom, which does precisely deprive you of yourselves, in “self-denial”; but seek for yourselves, become egoists, become each of you an almighty ego. Or, more clearly: Just recognize yourselves again, just recognize what you really are, and let go your hypocritical endeavors, your foolish mania to be something else than you are. Hypocritical I call them because you have yet remained egoists all these thousands of years, but sleeping, self-deceiving, crazy egoists, you Heautontimorumenoses, you self- tormentors. Never yet has a religion been able to dispense with “promises,” whether they referred us to the other world or to this (“long life,” etc.); for man is mercenary and does nothing “gratis.” But how about that “doing the good for the good’s sake” without prospect of reward? As if here too the pay was not contained in the satisfaction that it is to afford. Even religion, therefore, is founded on our egoism and — exploits it; calculated for our desires, it stifles many others for the sake of one. This then gives the phenomenon of cheated egoism, where I satisfy, not myself, but one of my desires, e.g. the impulse toward blessedness. Religion promises me the — “supreme good”; to gain this I no longer regard any other of my desires, and do not slake them. — All your doings are unconfessed, secret, covert, and concealed egoism. But because they are egoism that you are unwilling to confess to yourselves, that you keep secret from yourselves, hence not manifest and public egoism, consequently unconscious egoism — therefore they are not egoism, but thraldom, service, self-renunciation; you are egoists, and you are not, since you renounce egoism. Where you seem most to be such, you have drawn upon the word “egoist” — loathing and contempt.
I secure my freedom with regard to the world in the degree that I make the world my own, i.e. “gain it and take possession of it” for myself, by whatever might, by that of persuasion, of petition, of categorical demand, yes, even by hypocrisy, cheating, etc.; for the means that I use for it are determined by what I am. If I am weak, I have only weak means, like the aforesaid, which yet are good enough for a considerable part of the world. Besides, cheating, hypocrisy, lying, look worse than they are. Who has not cheated the police, the law? Who has not quickly taken on an air of honourable loyalty before the sheriff’s officer who meets him, in order to conceal an illegality that may have been committed, etc.? He who has not done it has simply let violence be done to him; he was a weakling from — conscience. I know that my freedom is diminished even by my not being able to carry out my will on another object, be this other something without will, like a rock, or something with will, like a government, an individual; I deny my ownness when — in presence of another — I give myself up, i.e. give way, desist, submit; therefore by loyalty, submission. For it is one thing when I give up my previous course because it does not lead to the goal, and therefore turn out of a wrong road; it is another when I yield myself a prisoner. I get around a rock that stands in my way, till I have powder enough to blast it; I get around the laws of a people, till I have gathered strength to overthrow them. Because I cannot grasp the moon, is it therefore to be “sacred” to me, an Astarte? If I only could grasp you, I surely would, and, if I only find a means to get up to you, you shall not frighten me! You inapprehensible one, you shall remain inapprehensible to me only till I have acquired the might for apprehension and call you my own; I do not give myself up before you, but only bide my time. Even if for the present I put up with my inability to touch you, I yet remember it against you.
Vigorous men have always done so. When the “loyal” had exalted an unsubdued power to be their master and had adored it, when they had demanded adoration from all, then there came some such son of nature who would not loyally submit, and drove the adored power from its inaccessible Olympus. He cried his “Stand still” to the rolling sun, and made the earth go round; the loyal had to make the best of it; he laid his axe to the sacred oaks, and the “loyal” were astonished that no heavenly fire consumed him; he threw the pope off Peter’s chair, and the “loyal” had no way to hinder it; he is tearing down the divine-right business, and the “loyal” croak in vain, and at last are silent.
My freedom becomes complete only when it is my — might; but by this I cease to be a merely free man, and become an own man. Why is the freedom of the peoples a “hollow word”? Because the peoples have no might! With a breath of the living ego I blow peoples over, be it the breath of a Nero, a Chinese emperor, or a poor writer. Why is it that the G…  legislatures pine in vain for freedom, and are lectured for it by the cabinet ministers? Because they are not of the “mighty”! Might is a fine thing, and useful for many purposes; for “one goes further with a handful of might than with a bagful of right.” You long for freedom? You fools! If you took might, freedom would come of itself. See, he who has might “stands above the law.” How does this prospect taste to you, you “law-abiding” people? But you have no taste!
The cry for “freedom” rings loudly all around. But is it felt and known what a donated or chartered freedom must mean? It is not recognized in the full amplitude of the word that all freedom is essentially — self-liberation — i.e. that I can have only so much freedom as I procure for myself by my ownness. Of what use is it to sheep that no one abridges their freedom of speech? They stick to bleating. Give one who is inwardly a Mohammedan, a Jew, or a Christian, permission to speak what he likes: he will yet utter only narrow-minded stuff. If, on the contrary, certain others rob you of the freedom of speaking and hearing, they know quite rightly wherein lies their temporary advantage, as you would perhaps be able to say and hear something whereby those “certain” persons would lose their credit.
If they nevertheless give you freedom, they are simply knaves who give more than they have. For then they give you nothing of their own, but stolen wares: they give you your own freedom, the freedom that you must take for yourselves; and they give it to you only that you may not take it and call the thieves and cheats to an account to boot. In their slyness they know well that given (chartered) freedom is no freedom, since only the freedom one takes for himself, therefore the egoist’s freedom, rides with full sails. Donated freedom strikes its sails as soon as there comes a storm — or calm; it requires always a — gentle and moderate breeze.
Here lies the difference between self-liberation and emancipation (manumission, setting free). Those who today “stand in the opposition” are thirsting and screaming to be “set free.” The princes are to “declare their peoples of age,” i. e., emancipate them! Behave as if you were of age, and you are so without any declaration of majority; if you do not behave accordingly, you are not worthy of it, and would never be of age even by a declaration of majority. When the Greeks were of age, they drove out their tyrants, and, when the son is of age, he makes himself independent of his father. If the Greeks had waited till their tyrants graciously allowed them their majority, they might have waited long. A sensible father throws out a son who will not come of age, and keeps the house to himself; it serves the noodle right.
The man who is set free is nothing but a freed man, a libertinus, a dog dragging a piece of chain with him: he is an unfree man in the garment of freedom, like the ass in the lion’s skin. Emancipated Jews are nothing bettered in themselves, but only relieved as Jews, although he who relieves their condition is certainly more than a churchly Christian, as the latter cannot do this without inconsistency. But, emancipated or not emancipated, Jew remains Jew; he who is not self-freed is merely an — emancipated man. The Protestant State can certainly set free (emancipate) the Catholics; but, because they do not make themselves free, they remain simply — Catholics.
Selfishness and unselfishness have already been spoken of. The friends of freedom are exasperated against selfishness because in their religious striving after freedom they cannot — free themselves from that sublime thing, “self-renunciation.” The liberal’s anger is directed against egoism, for the egoist, you know, never takes trouble about a thing for the sake of the thing, but for his sake: the thing must serve him. It is egoistic to ascribe to no thing a value of its own, an “absolute” value, but to seek its value in me. One often hears that pot-boiling study which is so common counted among the most repulsive traits of egoistic behavior, because it manifests the most shameful desecration of science; but what is science for but to be consumed? If one does not know how to use it for anything better than to keep the pot boiling, then his egoism is a petty one indeed, because this egoist’s power is a limited power; but the egoistic element in it, and the desecration of science, only a possessed man can blame.
Because Christianity, incapable of letting the individual count as an ego,[“Einzige”] thought of him only as a dependent, and was properly nothing but a social theory — a doctrine of living together, and that of man with God as well as of man with man — therefore in it everything “own” must fall into most woeful disrepute: selfishness, self-will, ownness, self-love, etc. The Christian way of looking at things has on all sides gradually re-stamped honourable words into dishonorable; why should they not be brought into honor again? So Schimpf (contumely) is in its old sense equivalent to jest, but for Christian seriousness pastime became a dishonor,[I take Entbehrung, “destitution,” to be a misprint for Entehrung] for that seriousness cannot take a joke; frech (impudent) formerly meant only bold, brave; Frevel (wanton outrage) was only daring. It is well known how askance the word “reason” was looked at for a long time.
Our language has settled itself pretty well to the Christian standpoint, and the general consciousness is still too Christian not to shrink in terror from everything un-Christian as from something incomplete or evil. Therefore “selfishness” is in a bad way too.
Selfishness,[Eigennutz, literally “own-use”] in the Christian sense, means something like this: I look only to see whether anything is of use to me as a sensual man. But is sensuality then the whole of my ownness? Am I in my own senses when I am given up to sensuality? Do I follow myself, my own determination, when I follow that? I am my own only when I am master of myself, instead of being mastered either by sensuality or by anything else (God, man, authority, law, State, Church, etc.); what is of use to me, this self-owned or self-appertaining one, my selfishness pursues.
Besides, one sees himself every moment compelled to believe in that constantly-blasphemed selfishness as an all-controlling power. In the session of February 10, 1844, Welcker argues a motion on the dependence of the judges, and sets forth in a detailed speech that removable, dismissable, transferable, and pensionable judges — in short, such members of a court of justice as can by mere administrative process be damaged and endangered — are wholly without reliability, yes, lose all respect and all confidence among the people. The whole bench, Welcker cries, is demoralized by this dependence! In blunt words this means nothing else than that the judges find it more to their advantage to give judgment as the ministers would have them than to give it as the law would have them. How is that to be helped? Perhaps by bringing home to the judges’ hearts the ignominiousness of their venality, and then cherishing the confidence that they will repent and henceforth prize justice more highly than their selfishness? No, the people does not soar to this romantic confidence, for it feels that selfishness is mightier than any other motive. Therefore the same persons who have been judges hitherto may remain so, however thoroughly one has convinced himself that they behaved as egoists; only they must not any longer find their selfishness favored by the venality of justice, but must stand so independent of the government that by a judgment in conformity with the facts they do not throw into the shade their own cause, their “well-understood interest,” but rather secure a comfortable combination of a good salary with respect among the citizens.
So Welcker and the commoners of Baden consider themselves secured only when they can count on selfishness. What is one to think, then, of the countless phrases of unselfishness with which their mouths overflow at other times?
To a cause which I am pushing selfishly I have another relation than to one which I am serving unselfishly. The following criterion might be cited for it; against the one I can sin or commit a sin, the other I can only trifle away, push from me, deprive myself of — i.e. commit an imprudence. Free trade is looked at in both ways, being regarded partly as a freedom which may under certain circumstances be granted or withdrawn, partly as one which is to be held sacred under all circumstances.
If I am not concerned about a thing in and for itself, and do not desire it for its own sake, then I desire it solely as a means to an end, for its usefulness; for the sake of another end, e.g., oysters for a pleasant flavor. Now will not every thing whose final end he himself is, serve the egoist as means? And is he to protect a thing that serves him for nothing — e.g., the proletarian to protect the State?
Ownness includes in itself everything own, and brings to honor again what Christian language dishonored. But ownness has not any alien standard either, as it is not in any sense an idea like freedom, morality, humanity, etc.: it is only a description of the — owner.