Monday, 25 September 2006

Nock’s Golden Rule

Albert J. Nock’s Golden Rule of Sound Citizenship states:
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. [1]
Whilst Mr Nock’s rule in its first part may be too simple as a gauge for the criminality of a State, it is nevertheless a rule to which one is well advised to pay heed, especially in its second part. It is presumably for its admonitory intent that Mr Nock called it the Golden Rule of Sound Citizenship, rather than the Law of State Power. The rule ought to be brought to mind whenever one hears public servants and ministers of the State utter anything like the following: “[W]e have to do more to make public servants feel like social entrepreneurs with the power to reshape lives.” [2]
[1] Albert J. Nock, “The Criminal State”, in American Mercury, March 1939, reproduced online at The Memory Hole.
[2] Douglas Alexander and David Miliband, “Beware the 80s moment”, The Guardian, 25th September 2006.

No comments: