The liberal state is inherently unstable because of the contradiction between its professed values of equality, freedom, and universal welfare against the harsh reality of class inequality.
The instability caused by class inequality provides a foundation for supplanting political liberalism with social liberalism, or the replacement of classical liberalism with socialism and communism.
Under political liberalism, persons are theoretically equal under the law, but their possessions are not. The inequality of possessions threatens social stability and the fulfillment of the humanist agenda since the proletariat may decide to resist the class structure of political liberalism.
Social liberalism is the term Stirner gives to the socialist, communist, and collectivist anarchist theories and movements that attempt to organize the working class and overthrow the regime of political liberalism. The writings and advocacy of pre-Marxian collectivists such as Moses Hess, Williamm Weitling, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon were particularly important statements of social liberalism at the time Stirner prepared The Ego and Its Own .
In Stirner’s dialectical egoist critique, political libera lism responds to the decay of monarchy and the aristocracy by arguing that no one must give orders, no one must command except a government which derives its legitimacy from popular sovereignty.
Social liberal ism responds to the inequality of classes by arguing that no one must own anything. Under the regime of social liberalism, not only does the state obtain a monopoly in the legitimate use of force, society alone obtains the right to possess property.
Social liberalism abhors the use of state power to protect a person’s property since property enforces social boundaries on the possession and use of material objects. Political liberalism supports the right to own property and enforces this right through the use or the threat of the use of force.
The person who wants “more things” and discovers that others have “more things,” also finds that access to “more things” is under the control of other people. The contradiction of political liberalism is that no one is supposed to be inferior. No one is supposed to be able to command others.
The lordship-bondage relationship should have been destroyed . But some people have what other people would like to have. A “circuitously restored inequality” appeared under the regime of political liberalism.
The freedom of individuals from the domination by others falls short under political liberalism because private property means that some persons have the right to command and control the lives of others. Social liberalism intends to build on the accomplishments of the democratic revolutions by extending the principles of democracy and equality into the economy and the social class system.
The solution of the social liberals is to discredit justifications for private property and to have the democratic state assert ownership of property through coercion. The solution of the social liberals, Stirner taunts, is forbid anyone from having anything any longer. Reduce everyone to the status of a pauper. Dispossess everyone of everything. Only the state, acting on behalf of society, can legitimately own property. The solution propounded by the social liberals is to eliminate all legitimate boundaries between “mine” and “thine.” All property is to be impersonal. No individual can legitimately assert or claim ownership over anything.
The state of social liberalism is tasked with creating “ragamuffins” and “nullities.” Persons are to become “ragamuffins together.” Society is to become a “ragamuffin crew.” The purpose of the political class is to enforce “ragamuffinism” throughout the nation.
For Stirner, this was the second great robbery of the personal in the interest of humanity. The second robbery is the appropriation of the possessions of individuals by the state on behalf of society. In the theory and practice of social liberalism, the liberal democratic state is obliged to appropriate possessions to ensure that people are not unequal in their possessions. Social liberalism intends to abolish class inequality, the inequality of possessions, the distinction between rich and poor, bourgeois and proletarian.
Stirner says that this is achieved through the impoverishment or pauperization of all. Property is taken from individuals and surrendered to the ghostly society.