Last night I went with my friend Steve and his friend Chris to the 9:30 Club to see Stereolab. It was an enjoyable show.
I've been a big fan of theirs for years, in spite of their overt Marxism. Lately, though, their leftism hasn't bothered me as much. George Bush has done a lot to enable me to embrace my own inner leftist.
There's another aspect to this, too. Take a look at these lyrics:
What's morals after all?If you're familiar with the words of Max Stirner then I think you'll have to agree that this seems to be more than just a distant echo. On the other hand, I doubt seriously if Stereolab are even aware of Stirner. So what are we to make of this?
Set of rules from above
Moral panic calls for more censorship
While annihilating le perdure sens critique
Critique, Moral panic calls for more censorship
Morals are for the blind, not the critical mind
Morals which don't even tackle the real issues
Morals which seek intervention and control
Morals which don't even address the real problems
Morals that just seek control over our lives
In my own humble opinion it's a small confirmation of the controversial thesis that, as David Leopold says in his introduction to the Cambridge edition of The Ego and Its Own, Stirner was "central to the formation of Marxism," because he "[forced] Karl Marx to break with left Hegelian modes of thought" - in other words, to abandon his Feuerbachian humanism and develop his own "historical materialism."
Of Stirner's book, Engels himself said, in a letter to Marx, "...this work is important...the first point we find true is that, before doing whatever we will on behalf of some idea, we have first to make our cause personal, egoistic..." Marx, on some level, must have agreed with him, because the two of them wrote a refutation of Der Einzige that was longer than Stirner's own book!
There's no way we'll ever know for sure, but for my part, I like to think that Laetitia is channeling Stirner, even if Marx is playing a bit of an intermediary.