Our Enemy the State

I recently found Our Enemy the State, by Albert Jay Nock, under a chair in my kids’ playroom–I must have bought it long ago and misplaced it. I flipped the book open to a chapter: “Politics and Other Fetiches,” and despite the unpromising chapter heading I was immediately riveted. Although written in 1935, Our Enemy the State provides an eye-opening analysis of the true nature of the State. This short book–only 88 pages–is packed with huge concepts, historical analysis and staggering observations which reveal to the reader not only that the State is a tool designed solely to bestow privilege, but also that one’s own social conditioning runs deep. In particular, Nock’s discussion of the American colonial period forced me to realize that the ideological myth of the State still defines important aspects of my understanding of history. (This is a humbling admission from a dyed-in-the-wool anarcho-capitalist such as I!)

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