The radical individualist and the Nockian Society
In 1970, in a used-book store in San Francisco, I saw a book called Memoirs of a Superfluous Man. I found the title compelling and pulled it from the shelf. I was much better-educated than an American of 20 is today, thanks partly to my own aptitudes and my love of learning, and I was frequenting west coast book stores with my much-more-erudite friend, Michael James McCarty. (I knew what superfluous meant, so it intrigued me how a man could apply it to himself.)
Inside the Memoirs I found pages sprinkled with phrases in Latin and Greek, much discourse on education, and the sparkling wit of an author I had not yet encountered. I had taken two years of Spanish in 5th and 6th grade, then two years of Latin, then two years of French — all in public school — and I was in California for a one-year course in intensive advanced Russian. So the Greek on Nock’s pages didn’t put me off, even though I had not yet studied it. I bought the book.
About this time I was also reading Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. There was much that tied these two books together. Ergo, I became a reader of all Nock’s available written work as well as Hoffer’s.
As time has passed, I find that I may now be Albert Jay Nock’s most ardent torch-bearer anywhere in the world. I have spoken with and corresponded with one of the original founders of the Nockian Society. Along with two others close to the founders, I am the only person, to my knowledge, who maintains a web site dedicated to perpetuating his work. The wisdom and wit of America’s fiercest social critic and denunciator of the State and the world’s best-educated and most radical individualist — you will find it at AlbertJayNock.org.