The purpose of these Excursions is to explore the fascinating and complex history of libertarian ideas. Over four decades of reading, writing, and lecturing on the history of libertarianism have taught Smith an important lesson, namely, that the theories of some early libertarian thinkers were sometimes better and more sophisticated than the theories we take for granted today.
Smith explores Buckle’s claim that the “protective spirit” of governments has hindered the progress of civilization.
Smith discusses Buckle’s stress on the importance of ideas in the progress of civilization.
After discussing some implications of early works on international law for libertarian theory, Smith concludes with a defense of Ayn Rand’s theory of rights.
Smith discusses the meaning of “natural rights” and some historical aspects of this theory.
Smith begins his discussion of one of the most libertarian works on history ever written.
Smith discusses various formulations of the non-aggression principle and concludes with some remarks about the problem of pollution.
Smith presents the rudiments of a theory of children’s rights.
Smith criticizes Zwolinski’s discussions of risk, fraud, and the relationship between aggression and property rights.
Smith examines the argument that minor acts of aggression are morally permissible if they result in good consequences that offset an unjust act.
Smith examines the claim that the non-aggression principle should be viewed as a defeasible presumption.
Smith explains why Mises predicted that “planned chaos” would emerge in a socialist economy and how F.A. Hayek elaborated on that insight.
Smith discusses the theory of value that provided the foundation for the Misesian argument that rational economic calculation is impossible in a socialistic economy.