Albert Jay NockAlbert Jay Nock, (1870-1945) American libertarian author, editor, educational theorist, Georgist, social critic

Famous Albert Jay Nock Quote

“Here is the Golden Rule of sound citizenship, the first and greatest lesson in the study of politics: You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things FOR you carries with it the equivalent power to do things TO you.”

Albert Jay NockAlbert Jay Nock
~ Albert Jay Nock

The Criminality of the State, America Mercury Magazine, March, 1939

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

An excellent application and spin on the Golden Rule

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

A very pessimistic view of life, and one that I'm not sure is true... while there is no doubt that some individuals will use their power in their roles in government in abusive manners, many will simply be fulfilling the roles which society has asked them to fulfill. This hardly makes for "criminality" (King George aside). Yet, since there is the posiblity of such abuse (of which King George and his henchmen are wonderful examples who "go the extra mile" in their illegalities), the observation gets one star...

E Archer, NYC

Nock is absolutely right. Abuse of power is not relegated to one party or the other. When a system of oppression is instituted for the good of the citizens, it matters not who is at the helm. Therefore we should make sure our government stays within the bounds of the Constitution. Once the system is corrupted enough to protect government from retaliation from the citizens, power becomes absolute, and few can resist its temptations.

Joe, Rochester, MI

So, government abuse of power is not criminal? They really aren't crimes unless they "go the extra mile" in their illegalities? "Observation" only gets one star? Take off your blinders and see the government for the unconstitutional criminals they are!

David L. Rosenthal

True enough, unfortunately.

Jack, Green, OH

The wisdom of our founders was in the distribution of power. Had it not been for divided government, and a two-party system, there would be much more criminality in governing. But there could be a lot less with more transparency of government. No secrets, except vital national security, with all divisions and parties kept informed ...not all citizens, but representatives of all citizens. The reprentatives could decide what's in the interest of national security or just someone's personal security.

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, you're absolutely right as far as you go. Originally the representatives were to represent the individual(s) in a guaranteed Republican form of government, not being able to do any thing the individual couldn't do. In the evolving Unconstitutional democracy, (the people giving to the state their representatives - no longer representing the individuals but rather the inorganic ethereal phantasm 'State' with new ability to create compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, etc.) the State maintains the same order of criminality given to it to exercise over you and me.

David L. Rosenthal

Jack, brace yourself...I agree with you.

Ken, Allyn, WA

The context in which this was written is interesting. The Social Security Act was passed in 1935, and in 1939 Social Security was expanded to cover dependents and survivors. Payroll taxes were 2%. The government has been increasingly "caring" FOR us ever since, and increasingly doing TO us as well. All I can say is if you ask to be treated like a child, you will be.

Jack, Green, OH

There may be differences of scale between the founders' country and ours, Mike, but the principles are the same. We are a hundred times larger than at our founding, so each elected reprentative represents more people. More constituents but not that many more representatives -- that doesn't matter. And we will almost certainly be twice as big at the next century (600 million). That has nothing to do with the principle of representative democracy. It will still demand division of power and openness between divisions. Don't belabor meaningless semantics.

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, again I agree with most everything you've just said but, the subject which I was addressing was tangible, not semantics. By way of example: I don't have authority to give you permission to drive your car. My representative doesn't have authority to do such, he's an extension of me. My neighbors on both sides and across the street individually don't have such authority, power, or right and since we all share the same rep, he still doesn't have such authority. It doesn't matter how many individuals share the same rep. no one individually or in concert, as represented, has such authority, power or right. Only when the rep, represents the collective as the creator of law, might making right (elimination of inalienable right), can an individual be licensed. License can only occur in a democracy or other tyrannical state where the state is authorized to act in an otherwise criminal manner. A state issued license can not exist in a representative republic. That's not semantics, that's tangible fact.

Mike, Norwalk

It doesn't matter that I have ability to vote an individual in or out of office, it matters who that individual represents (me, himself, socialists, fascists, mob rule, etc.) once in office. If all I do as a citizen is vote, my citizenship can not be considered sound. I must be vigilant in educating and encouraging my fellow citizens to jealously guard my/our inalienable rights and make sure the elected official represents my/our rights as sovereigns.

Jack, Green, OH

I take it you don't remember the 30s do you Ken?. You can call Social Security being treated as children if you like, but it's a lot better than the county homes, or old folks homes, or, actually poorhouses, of those days. As a child I dreaded that I may end up like those poor souls in bare survival conditions, but mainly with no dignity. Social Security practically eliminated such facilities.

Mike, Norwalk

Actually, Social Security was originally initiated in 1913. The same year as the Federal Reserve and the 16th Amendment. And Jack is absolutely right, it was part of the three headed monster that destroyed the American economy and then helped the people, making them reliant on the government's credit, or otherwise the stolen fruit from the noble laborer. When your destitute, homeless, hungry and cold, you'll accept and praise any relief - no matter its source. And getting in bed with such source brings us back to the quote which I'm afraid is going to be self fulfilling, and one day make the earlier depression look like a cake walk.

Jack, Green, OH

Another way of describing the "Golden Rule of citizenship is given by Ben Franklin:, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" A satisfactory society is more than majority rule, whether by direct vote or representative electors. It is the majority respecting and providing for the well-being of the minority. As

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, exactly. That has to be one of my all time favorite quotes, it hangs on my wall.

Mike, Norwalk

Correcting (or clarifying) my above statement, the unconstitutional social security that is now in vogue derives directly from the 1935 Act of that same name. The 1913 fed acts were a preliminary to such.

jim k, Austin

"Government, in it's last analysis, is organized force." -- Woodrow Wilson

Ronw13, Logsden

Not to follow, though at odds with the " Left leaning movement of Georgist ". Not the Cold Case ! to be reopened !


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.