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Our Enemy, the State Paperback – 1973

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Free Life Editions (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0914156012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0914156017
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,545,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


How wonderful to have this book back in print! If any libertarian work is to graced with the word "classic," this is it. Nock was without a doubt one of the most learned and eloquent spokesmen for individual liberty who ever lived. Our Enemy, the State, published in 1935, combines history, politics social theory into a poignant appeal for natural rights, free markets, and peace. The style sores. The power of this work has never been matched.

This edition includes an extra treat: Nock's wonderful essay "On Doing the Right Thing," a profound affirmation of man's fitness for freedom and nobility. Also included here are two stunning pieces from Walter E. Grinder of the Institute for Humane Studies: an introduction on Nock's life and the meaning of his work, and a bibliography that anyone interested in liberty should be familiar with.

For Nock, the state is not some faceless institution that somehow appears and works its will mysteriously. Drawing on Franz Oppenheimer's The State, Nock notes that "the State invariably had its origins in conquest and confiscation" and is a tool used by one class to exploit another. Here he stands foursquare in the tradition of the earlier French classical-liberal class analysts Comte and Dunoyer, who originated the view that the State is the source of the classes that later came to be called taxpayers and tax-eaters.

The barely touches the surface of Nock's analysis, however, which is endlessly rich and powerful. Buy Our Enemy, the State; be inspired by it. You will read it many times. -- Sheldon L. Richman

Nock's Our Enemy, the State is a great and seminal work, in which Nock, in his justly renowned style, introduces the vital libertarian concepts of "State power" and "Social power," an applies them to American history. "Social power" is people freely creating and voluntarily exchanging and interacting, and is responsible for Western prosperity and civilization. "State power" is the age-old process by which force and theft combine to cripple and confiscate the fruits of Social power. Nowhere can the reader find a clearer or more forceful portrayal of the libertarian position than in this book.--Murray N. Rothbard in Laissez Faire Review -- Murray N. Rothbard in Laissez Faire Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Albert Jay Nock was born on October 13, 1870, on a far simpler day than that on which he died: August 14, 1945, at the end of the greatest holocaust ever perpetrated on mankind by man and the State. The young Nock studied the Classics, entered the Episcopalian priesthood, married and had two sons. But at the age of forty he left the active ministry, moved to New York, and began a career as a writer and editor. Steeping himself in the Classical Liberal tradition of Jefferson, Thoreau, Artemus Ward and Hebert Spencer, he soon found work as a magazine editor, and then founded his own publication, The Freeman. Over the next twenty-five years Nock contributed to numerous publications, published over a dozen books, and counted among his friends the likes of H.L. Mencken and Frank Chodorov. A "tory anarchist" out of step with the times, deeply disillusioned with a government that lead the country into war, depression, and again war, all the while aggrandizing ever more power to itself, Nock died deeply pessimistic about the survival of liberty. He hoped that the flame would be kept alive by a "libertarian Remnant," a remnant Our Enemy, the State has helped to foster. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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