Albert J. Nock

(Albert Jay Nock)

Albert J. Nock
Albert J. Nock
  • Born: October 13, 1870
  • Died: August 19, 1945
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Philosopher









Albert Jay Nock was an American libertarian author, editor first of The Freeman and then The Nation, educational theorist, Georgist, and social critic of the early and middle 20th century. He was an outspoken opponent of the New Deal, and served as a fundamental inspiration for the modern libertarian and conservative movements, cited as an influence by William F. Buckley Jr. He was one of the first Americans to self-identify as "libertarian". His best-known books are Memoirs of a Superfluous Man and Our Enemy, the State.

Quotes About
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… the true individualist must regard power over others as preeminently something to be loathed and shunned. Power
Considering mankind's indifference to freedom, their easy gullibility and their facile response to conditioning, one might very plausibly argue that collectivism is the political mode best suited to their disposition and their capacities. Under its regime, the citizen, like the soldier, is relieved of the burden of initiative and is divested of all responsibility, save for doing as he is told. Human Nature
Get up in one of our industrial centers today and say that two and two make four, and if there is any financial interest concerned in maintaining that two and two make five, the police will bash your head in. Business, Commerce & Finance
The mentality of an army on the march is merely so much delayed adolescence; it remains persistently, incorrigibly and notoriously infantile. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The practical reason for freedom is that freedom seems to be the only condition under which any kind of substantial moral fiber can be developed — we have tried law, compulsion and authoritarianism of various kinds, and the result is nothing to be proud of. Freedom & Liberty
The State always moves slowly and grudgingly towards any purpose that accrues to society's advantage, but moves rapidly and with alacrity towards one that accrues to its own advantage… States. Nations & Nationhood
The State's criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The surest way to make our youth suspect that there may be something in Communism would be for the government to outlaw it. Freedom & Liberty
When we speak freely, let us speak plainly, for plain speech is wholesome; especially, plain speech about public affairs and public men. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
As far as I know, I have no pride of opinion.
As might be supposed, my parents were quite poor, but we somehow never seemed to lack anything we needed, and I never saw a trace of discontent or a failure in cheerfulness over their lot in life, as indeed over anything. Life ;Failure
Assuming that man has a distinct spiritual nature, a soul, why should it be thought unnatural that under appropriate conditions of maladjustment, his soul might die before his body does; or that his soul might die without his knowing it? Nature
Concerning culture as a process, one would say that it means learning a great many things and then forgetting them; and the forgetting is as necessary as the learning. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Considered now as a possession, one may define culture as the residuum of a large body of useless knowledge that has been well and truly forgotten. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Diligent as one must be in learning, one must be as diligent in forgetting; otherwise the process is one of pedantry, not culture. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I am said to be difficult of acquaintance, unwilling to meet any one half way, and showing a social manner which is easy, not diffident, but formal and unresponsive, tending constantly to hold people off.
It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. Power ;Money, Coins & Minting
Learning has always been made much of, but forgetting has always been deprecated; therefore pedantry has pretty well established itself throughout the modern world at the expense of culture. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Life has obliged him to remember so much useful knowledge that he has lost not only his history, but his whole original cargo of useless knowledge; history, languages, literatures, the higher mathematics, or what you will - are all gone. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Life ;History
Like Prince von Bismarck in diplomacy, I have no secrets.
Organized Christianity has always represented immortality as a sort of common heritage; but I never could see why spiritual life should not be conditioned on the same terms as all life, i. e., correspondence with environment. Life
Perhaps one reason for the falling-off of belief in a continuance of conscious existence is to be found in the quality of life that most of us lead. There is not much in it with which, in any kind of reason, one can associate the idea of immortality. Life
Perhaps the prevalence of pedantry may be largely accounted for by the common error of thinking that, because useful knowledge should be remembered, any kind of knowledge that is at all worth learning should be remembered too. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Someone asked me years ago if it were true that I disliked Jews, and I replied that it was certainly true, not at all because they are Jews but because they are folks, and I don't like folks.
The business of a scientific school is the dissemination of useful knowledge, and this is a noble enterprise and indispensable withal; society can not exist unless it goes on. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Society ;Business, Commerce & Finance
The mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests.
The position of modern science, as far as an ignorant man of letters can understand it, seems not a step in advance of that held by Huxley and Romanes in the last century. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner. History
The question of who is right and who is wrong has seemed to me always too small to be worth a moment's thought, while the question of what is right and what is wrong has seemed all-important.
The university's business is the conservation of useless knowledge; and what the university itself apparently fails to see is that this enterprise is not only noble but indispensable as well, that society can not exist unless it goes on. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Society ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Useless knowledge can be made directly contributory to a force of sound and disinterested public opinion. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training