George H. Smith examines the claim that the non-aggression principle should be viewed as a defeasible presumption.
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.
George H. Smith
George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith's fourth and most recent book, The System of Liberty, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.
Smith examines the argument that minor acts of aggression are morally permissible if they result in good consequences that offset an unjust act.
George H. Smith criticizes Zwolinski’s discussions of risk, fraud, and the relationship between aggression and property rights.
George H. Smith presents the rudiments of a theory of children’s rights.
George H. Smith discusses various formulations of the non-aggression principle and concludes with some remarks about the problem of pollution.
Smith begins his discussion of one of the most libertarian works on history ever written.
George H. Smith discusses the meaning of “natural rights” and some historical aspects of this theory.
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.
George H. Smith discusses Buckle’s stress on the importance of ideas in the progress of civilization.
Smith explores Buckle’s claim that the “protective spirit” of governments has hindered the progress of civilization.
Smith discusses Buckle’s claim that Adam Smith was one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers in the history of the modern world.
Smith discusses Henry George’s allegation that Spencer’s later views on land ownership were intellectually dishonest.
Smith discusses the mutual misunderstandings of Spencer and George, and George’s effective criticism of Spencer’s weak defense of private property.
Smith explains Herbert Spencer’s fundamental objection to the private ownership of land.
Smith explains and criticizes two more of Spencer’s arguments against private property in land.
Smith discusses some criticisms by Auberon Herbert and Thomas Hodgskin of Spencer’s position on land.
Smith concludes his in-depth examination of Spencer’s fundamental objection to the private ownership of land.
Smith discusses the common allegation that Spencer took many of his ideas from Hodgskin without acknowledging their source.