Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Full essay here.

‘According to my observations (for which I claim nothing by that they are all I have to go by) inaction is better than wrong action or premature right action, and effective right action can only follow right thinking. “If a great change is to take place,” said Edmund Burke, in his last words on the French Revolution, “the minds of men will be fitted to it.”‘


‘It is a primary instinct of human nature to satisfy one’s needs and desires with the least possible exertion; everyone tends by instinctive preference to use the political means rather than the economic means, if he can do so.’

Albert Jay Nock, a strange animal:  Philosophical anarchist…but one whose anti-statism (the State maintains a monopoly on crime) is such that he ends up in a fairly conservative position.

Also On This Site:  How many libertarians are fundamentally anti-theist…and would some go so far as to embrace utilitarianism, or Mill’s Harm Principle which both of which are often used by the State-Builders?  So, where did Marx get his ideas, anyways? Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx

How might Darwin, and those who use him for political purposes, fit into all of this?:  PZ Myers, anti-creationsist, has more.

What about Kantian agnosticism…or is that part of the Enlightenment project of reason that Libertarians perhaps ought to be more careful with?:  A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss?

What about Noam Chomsky’s philosophical idealism, and his anarchism?:  The Politics Of Noam Chomsky-The Dangers Of Kantian Transcendental Idealism?

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2 thoughts on “Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

  1. In my opinion, few are Libertarian in this world. Most are anarcho-capitalists, cynics, and the lazy. Anarcho-capitalism is about saying- Let me stand on my own, and if I fall- let me lie, and if you fall I will allow you to lie without your, society, or governmental intrusion. It is separated from anarchy because working anarchy revolves around building a community that is mutually self-supporting.

    Cynics think they are libertarians, but are merely hyper-energized apathetic people who wish to be left alone to do nothing and are willing to change the world to get it.

    The lazy say they are libertarians, but in reality creep ever closer to Marxism and away from Hagel’s definition of beauty and society because they want personal freedom, but without the self-responsibility that inevitably comes with it.

  2. Scott, thanks for reading and commenting.

    I don’t think the default position for libertarians is necessarily either Marxism, nor Hegel. Hegel also heavily influenced Marx, as you point out. That philosophical idealism realized through political means ended up enslaving many to corrupt leadership, food lines, and eventually killed millions, so I don’t really aim toward Hegel’s definitions…

    Perhaps many libertarians want a form of free market activity away from government intrusion but do not want anarchy, nor anarcho-capitalism. See the Randians (and I have plenty of disagreements with Rand). There is also a high level of individualism in this country that could arguably trace it’s bloodlines through British Empiricism, common law, Locke, some of the Founders etc. as well.

    Beyond that, nearly every working novelist I’ve met, for example, is extremely individualistic…likely by virtue of pursing their craft (See T.S. Eliot’s Tradition And The Individual Talent). Even Emerson and the Transcendentalists were so.

    But back to political matters: I actually found Nock’s essay collected by William F Buckley in a series he published that included Leo Strauss, Kurt Vogelin, Whitaker Chambers etc. trying to flesh out and define the conservative movement of the last half-century. Nock is a bit of an outlier who came around to a conservative position.

    I usually have little tolerance for anarchists, because, if they succeed, someone will fill the void, and it’s not usually a form of government conducive to respecting the autonomy of individuals, nor communities of them, however they define themselves.

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