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Excursions

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.

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Freedom, Rights, and Political Philosophy, Part 3

by George H. Smith on Feb 12, 2013

Smith discusses the distinction between political obligation and political allegiance, and how the problem of allegiance was the major concern of John Locke.

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Negative and Positive Liberty, Part 2

by George H. Smith on Dec 18, 2012

Smith discusses some of the problems in libertarian theory caused by the many different conceptions of liberty.

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Negative and Positive Liberty

by George H. Smith on Dec 11, 2012

George H. Smith criticizes Jason Brennan’s defense of positive liberty and his attempt to make positive liberty an essential part of libertarian theory.

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Ayn Rand and Altruism, Part 5

by George H. Smith on Nov 20, 2012

George H. Smith discusses why Ayn Rand believed that altruism is incompatible with benevolence and charitable actions.

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Ayn Rand and Altruism, Part 4

by George H. Smith on Nov 13, 2012

George H. Smith discusses Ayn Rand’s notion of self-sacrifice and the crucial role that duty played in her theory of altruism.

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Ayn Rand and Altruism, Part 3

by George H. Smith on Nov 6, 2012

George H. Smith explores Ayn Rand’s contention that altruism plays an indispensable role in the justification of political collectivism.

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Ayn Rand and Altruism, Part 2

by George H. Smith on Oct 30, 2012

George H. Smith discusses one of Rand’s major objections to both altruism and the traditional concept of egoism.

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Ayn Rand and Altruism, Part 1

by George H. Smith on Oct 23, 2012

Smith begins his series on Ayn Rand’s critique of altruism with a discussion of the ideas of Auguste Comte, the man who coined the word “altruism.”