Our Enemy, The State ~ Social Power vs. State Power by Albert Jay Nock



Audio presentation of Albert Jay Nock's classic book 'Our Enemy, the State.' Read and produced by Jock Coats and made available online by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

What does one need to know about politics? In some ways, Nock has summed it all up in this astonishing book. Here was a prominent essayist at the height of the New Deal. In 1935, hardly any public intellectuals were making much sense at all. They pushed socialism. They pushed fascism. Everyone had a plan. Hardly anyone considered the possibility that the state was not fixing society but destroying it bit by bit.

And so Albert Jay Nock came forward to write what need to be written. And he ended up penning a classic of American political commentary, one that absolutely must be read by every student of economics and government.

Consider his opening two paragraphs: If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, "agricultural adjustment," and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power.

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