Albert Jay Nock

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The hardest habit of all to break is the terrible habit of happiness.
Theodosia Garrison
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Albert Jay Nock (13 October 1870 or 1872 - 19 August 1945) was an influential American libertarian author, educational theorist, and social critic of the early and middle 20th century.

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  • There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.
  • The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner.
  • The mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests.
  • The State always moves slowly and grudgingly towards any purpose that accrues to society's advantage, but moves rapidly and with alacrity towards one that accrues to its own advantage; nor does it ever move towards social purposes on its own initiative, but only under heavy pressure, while its motion towards anti-social purposes is self-sprung.
  • It can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime.
  • Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.
  • The State, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.
  • The mentality of an army on the march is merely so much delayed adolescence; it remains persistently, incorrigibly and notoriously infantile.

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