superfluous freedom

If a regime of complete economic freedom be established, social and political freedom will follow automatically; and until it is established neither social nor political freedom can exist. Here one comes in sight of the reason why the State will never tolerate the establishment of economic freedom. In a spirit of sheer conscious fraud, the State will at any time offer its people ‘four freedoms,’ or six, or any number; but it will never let them have economic freedom. If it did, it would be signing its own death-warrant, for as Lenin pointed out, “it is nonsense to make any pretense of reconciling the State and liberty.” Our economic system being what it is, and the State being what it is, all the mass verbiage about ‘the free peoples’ and ‘the free democracies’ is merely so much obscene buffoonery.

- Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945),
Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943),
ebook now available in PDF
as a free download from Mises.org

PS See Jeffrey Tucker’s “Albert Jay Nock, Forgotten Man of the Right” at LRC.

PPS According to Wikipedia, “The Superfluous Man is a 19th Century Russian literary concept. It relates to an individual, possibly of talent and capability, who does not fit into the state-centered pattern of employment. The consequence may be a man who apparently is lazy and ineffectual.”

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