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 begins his discussion of the free-market theories of Thomas Hodgskin.
Smith discusses Thomas Hodgskin’s most controversial work, Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital.
Smith begins his series on Thomas Hodgskin, one of the most remarkable, if little known and unjustly neglected, libertarian thinkers of the nineteenth century.
Smith explores the ideas of Irving Kristol and Robert Bork on culture. He begins with a discussion of the anti-jazz crusade of the 1920s.
Smith gives a personal twist to his criticism of neoconservatism. He tells the story of how a disagreement with Roy Childs over the ideas of Irving Kristol resulted in a serious argument.
Smith begins his series on neoconservatism by exploring some of its fundamental differences with libertarianism.
Smith explores Thomas Jefferson’s belief in the value of history, and his plan for public universities.
Smith concludes this series with a close look at Herbert Spencer’s views on charity and the poor.
Smith continues his discussion of Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, explaining how they explicitly repudiated the ideas associated with social Darwinism.
Smith interrupts his series on education with a timely discussion of social Darwinism.
Smith discusses Jefferson’s ideas about education and his plan for a decentralized system of public schools.
Smith explores the Voluntaryist critique of those who support free trade in religion and commerce but advocate state interference in education as well as the debate between J. S. Mill and Herbert Spencer about the proper role of government in education.