This was the book I had been looking for. This was the author. This was the time. Finally, it is back in print!
The Economics of Society, Government and State by Frank Chodorov has been a long-ignored treasure waiting to be pulled from oblivion back into print again. It was 1946 when the book was first issued in mimeograph form by Analysis Associates, Inc. In the intervening 75 years, this classic critique of republican government has laid dormant, ignored in that great dustbin of out-of-print and forgotten books. I am trilled to report that it is again available, this time as a beautifully put-together hard cover book.
I came upon the manuscript for this book from the generous hands of Charles Hamilton who sent me a photo copy of the original. I sensed from the first page that this was a book I needed to publish. The task was rather daunting for my one-person publishing house; witness the months it took me to put it into type and then print and bind it. But by slugging away at the task in my spare evening and weekend hours, I finally finished it about a month ago. I am only now getting around to letting the world know it is again available.
Mr. Chodorov wonders aloud where the error lay in “the estimates of the ‘laisser-faire’ philosphers.” Were they mistaken by “false premises or was there a miss-step in their reasoning?” They displayed acumen in espousing “human rights,” and there is little to quarrel with in their postulates, the author writes. So why have things gone so very wrong, why has the freedom they treasured morphed into a strong-arm state? He wonders whether there is something in the nature of , “republicanism itself an element which accounts for its hardening into the strong State.” It is his mission to uncover what has gone so wrong in the years following the American war of secession from Britain.
Ultimately, this book was the step child of Albert Jay Nock’s great book Our Enemy the State. As Mr. Chodorov explained in his forward, he suggested to Mr. Nock that “. . . his argument for the distinction between State and Government is not quite complete,” Our Enemy the State “. . . fails . . .to define the economic purpose of Government and the economic implementation of the political means for which the State exists.” Mr. Nock agreed that a revision of his book was in order but observed he didn’t have the energy to pursue the matter. That task, he said, must fall to Mr. Chodorov.
“Any profitable inquiry, therefore, into the reason for the incompetence of republicanism must begin by questioning the necessity or naturalness of the State. If we accept this political institution a priori, any investigation into the failure of representative government to make goon on its promise is futile.”
And so Mr. Chodorov undertook the challenge and had completed his first draft, which Mr. Nock read, but before revisions could be made, Albert Jay Nock died on August 19, 1945. The task of getting the book into print then fell squarely to the author. The book is centered around a series of lectures Mr. Chodorov gave and it was his students who put together the mimeograph edition.
The book is part of my continuing commitment to publishing and republishing classical liberal books and pamphlets. If anyone has suggestions for other books that should be resurrected, I would welcome your suggestions.
Until later . . .