And it is here that we find an explanation for why Nock is so admired by liberals such as The New Republic’s Franklin Foer and the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus: He openly embraced the idea that he couldn’t change anything. History was driven by forces too large to be affected by politics or punditry. Any revolution would result only in a new crop of exploiters and scoundrels eager to pick up where the deposed ones left off. So, Nock figured, why bother with politics? Now what more could today’s liberals ask for from a conservative pundit?
I linked to this a while back and called it "a fair and balanced appraisal," adding that "Nock's quietism is indeed as dubious as it is tempting." Having re-read it, I realize that there is a problem with it and with what I had to say about it. That would be the presumption that something can be done to keep things from following their course to the end. That is precisely what Nock said could not be done. I thought that was true when I first read Nock, but softened my view subsequently. That was a mistake. So, a conservative movement was started and achieved some superficial success, but it bore the same tainted fruit as every other political gesture — a bunch of guys in office devoted principally to keeping their jobs by keeping the rubes at bay. The current, peculiarly loathsome political season has brought me to my senses and back to what I thought when I was a young man and looked around and saw demonstrations and protests and all sorts of exhibitionistic jumping up and down and high-decibel shouting, and concluded they were not good. I should have remained faithful to the instincts I had then regarding politics. Well, you can always repent. So, regarding politics, I find myself back where I started. In the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn, "include me out."