In Walter E. William’s autobiography, Up From The Projects, the economist recalls a lecture he gave in South Africa around the time apartheid was coming to an end. Williams told South Africans their problem “wasn’t ending apartheid but ﬁguring out what was going to replace it.”
After reading Albert Jay Nock’s Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, I wonder if we needn’t have the same concern in our society today. Instead of apartheid, we need to replace statism. Nock proposes the New Deal was the final writing on the wall for the American people, in kind with Nazism, Communism and Fascism — that is, just another form of statism. Our society would necessarily degenerate and eventually crumble like Rome after the fall of Marcus Aurelias.
“History goes on to its end, carrying all incidental and temporary leadership in its sweep, and throwing it away when it has served its little shred of particular purpose,” writes Nock. So, after the American presidency is dethroned, what comes next? According to Nock, after the dust clears comes more statism, as the cycle simply repeats itself. The majority of people don’t want the responsibility of liberty, but love its rhetoric — kind of like a certain popular religion.
My question is this: if we perceive correctly that America is dangerously close to an imperceivable edge, what happens when the wheels come off? And if we are to replace the current wheels with liberty, what happens when the brakes cannot stop us from going off that imperceivable edge?