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Albert Jay Nock, A Journal of These Days (New York: William Morrow & Company, 1934), pp. 283-84.

Word went around today that the new “reform” mayor of New York, La Guardia, was in the Club Anonyme, and one young member left off what he was doing and hurried upstairs to get a glimpse of him. It occurred to me then, how little important it is to destroy a government, in comparison with destroying the prestige of government. This prestige is purely adventitious; it is a stream of drainage that has seeped down from the divine right of kings. On the theory of popular sovereignty, Mr. Bryan was precisely right in saying that the President is the people’s hired man. The most wholesome sign of a rational attitude towards public affairs would be the complete absence of any curiosity about the personality of public servants. When a citizen will put himself out no more to look at a mayor or a President than he would to look at a crook or a chauffeur, it will show that the country is on the up-grade; but for this country, that time is very far off. Among the many odious functions that journalism has taken on itself to perform, perhaps the most odious and debasing is that of supporting the prestige of government by pandering to this low type of curiosity.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Liberals Never Learn
  2. On Destroying Government Prestige
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