Politics, Briefly

As the Presidential Campaign heats up, I can’t help but think of Albert Jay Nock’s childhood reminiscence:

One incident of election night, however, stuck in my memory. Some devoted patriot, very far gone in whiskey, wandered up in our direction and fell by the wayside in a vacant lot where he lay all night, mostly in a comatose state. At intervals of half an hour or so he roused himself up, apparently conscious that he was not doing his duty by the occasion, and tried to sing the chorus of “Marching Through Georgia,” but he could never get quite through the first three measures without relapsing into somnolence. It was very amusing; he always began so bravely and earnestly, and always faded out so lamentably.

Having devoted a great part of my latter years to a close observation of public affairs in many lands, I have often had occasion to remember that man. His sense of patriotism and patriotic duty still seems as intelligent and competent as that of any one I have met since then, and his mode of expressing it still seems as effective as any I could suggest. (Memoirs, p. 58).

Peter G. Klein is a Research Fellow, Associate Editor of The Independent Review, and Member of the Board of Advisors of the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute.
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