Monday, January 23, 2012

Albert Jay Nock - A prophet?

Eighty years ago (1931) the conservative philosopher Albert Nock made an observation.  He believed that America was trying to force the current of its being through the narrow channel of one instinct only:  the instinct of acquisition and expansion, resulting in a society that

"must inevitably be characterized by a low type of  intellect, a grotesque type of religion, a facticious type of morals, an imperfect type of beauty, and an imperfect type of social life and manners.  In a word, it is uncivilized."

Reading that again, I was reminded of this injunction from Wendell Berry:
"We must achieve the character,  and acquire the skills, to live much poorer than we do."


  1. Didn't know you were a fellow Nock fan. Hope you're used to being misidentified as a "conservative." As a journalist, I've to put up with that for decades. Nock, as he proudly said more than once, is a true radical -- thinking down to the root (radix) of any problem he addressed. As we all should.

  2. Recently someone observed that the word 'conservative' only works today as an adjective and I think they are correct.
    As a noun, the word is useless because the range of disparity between the various people who are called conservative is too great to be resolved.
    Yes, I enjoy reading Mr. Nock. The experience is something like escaping from a life of cave-dwelling and finding sunlight and fresh air.