Hint: Don’t be Rousseau
I’ve been reading some Nock. Albert Jay Nock, one of the premier American essayists of the early twentieth century and one of the founders of modern conservative/libertarian thought.
A weighty man, that Nock.
But also a disturbing man. In a 1964 biography, Robert M. Crunden said Nock was greatly fond of the ladies. Nock was also greatly fond of being absent from his wife. He apparently deserted her after she bore him two children.
Let me qualify this: I don’t know any details about the abandonment. Nock was an extremely private man who took secrecy to new levels. He would, for instance, occasionally bundle up his outgoing mail and ship it from another state, so people wouldn’t know where he was living. Was the abandonment wholesale or more like a divorce with child visitation rights? Nobody seems to know. We know he left his job as an Episcopal minister and family, but we also know his sons knew their father well enough to assist later biographers.
But what I’ve always found fascinating about Nock is this: Only after leaving his wife, children, and conventional job did he climb up the ladder as an intellectual man of letters, joining the staff of the popular magazine, American Magazine, at age 39.
It kind of reminds me of Jean Rousseau, who orphaned five children so he could continue as Europe’s leading man of … Read the rest