Association of the two thinkers by anarchists
During the 19th century, Nietzsche was frequently associated with anarchist movements, in spite of the fact that in his writings he expressed a negative view of anarchists. This may be the result of a popular association during this period between his ideas and those of Stirner, whose work proved influential among individualist anarchists."Nietzsche's popularity among the socialists was surpassed only by the admiration showered on him by American anarchists. One reason that the anarchist connection with Nietzsche received more prominent mention was simply because there are several thematic connections between Nietzsche and the anarchist tradition, especially the
German tradition associated with Max Stirner." Robert C. Holub, Nietzsche: Socialist, Anarchist, Feminist http://learning.berkeley.edu/robertholub/research/ The two men were frequently compared by French "literary anarchists" and anarchist interpretations of Nietzschean ideas appear to have been influential in the United States as well. Superficial similarities in the expressed ideas of the two men again seem to have played a key role in this association. "Partly because of his egoistic nihilism, and partly because of his neologistic, aphoristic style, Stirner's name came to be associated with Nietzsche's, as both writers were appropriated by anarchists and other radical thinkers at the turn of the century." This association sometimes exasperated anarchist thinkers, who often viewed Nietzsche's work as derivative.
Jean Grave, a French anarchist active in the 1890s, confronted by the growing numbers of anarchists who associated themselves with Nietzsche and Stirner expressed contempt for this trend, "without a doubt, well before the bourgeois litteratures had discovered Nietzsche and Stirner, several anarchists had found that the 'Individual' had only to consider his own 'self,' his own comfort, and his own development." He went on to question the commitment of those writers who fashionably called themselves anarchists because they could recite by heart a few passages of Nietzsche or Stirner.
This association was also common among anarchists (or "individualist anarchists") in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the introduction to Benjamin R. Tucker's edition of the first English translation of Stirner's The Ego and Its Own the question arises again. Here, J.L. Walker notes "Nietzsche has been much spoken of as a disciple of Stirner". He goes on to explicitly state, "In style Stirner's work offers the greatest possible contrast to the puerile, padded phraseology of Nietzsche's "Zarathustra" and its false imagery. Who ever imagined such an unnatural conjuncture as an eagle "toting" a serpent in friendship?" However Tucker himself had sought to promote Nietzsche's ideas as supporting anarchism. One researcher notes "Indeed, translations of Nietzsche's writings in the United States very likely appeared first in Liberty, the anarchist journal edited by Benjamin Tucker." He adds "Tucker preferred the strategy of exploiting his writings, but proceeding with due caution: 'Nietzsche says splendid things, – often, indeed, Anarchist things, – but he is no Anarchist. It is of the Anarchists, then, to intellectually exploit this would-be exploiter. He may be utilized profitably, but not prophetably.'"