Smith explores Buckle’s claim that the “protective spirit” of governments has hindered the progress of civilization.
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 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.
George H. 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.
George H. Smith discusses various formulations of the non-aggression principle and concludes with some remarks about the problem of pollution.
George H. Smith presents the rudiments of a theory of children’s rights.
George H. 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.
George H. 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 argument that rational economic calculation is impossible in a socialistic economy.
Smith explores some of the traditional biblical arguments for and against religious persecution.
Smith discusses Acton’s thesis that the conflict between church and state in medieval Europe was vital to the progress of freedom.
George H. Smith discusses some common criticisms of Lord Acton and other classical liberal historians.
George H. Smith discusses some of Lord Acton’s ideas about freedom and their relevance to the modern libertarian movement.
George H. Smith explores some theoretical aspects of a rights-based conception of freedom.
George H. Smith discusses a metaphor that was widely used by early libertarian writers who defended the natural equality of humankind.