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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.

essays

Jack and Jill and Two Kinds of Freedom

by George H. Smith on Sep 11, 2012

Smith analyzes two kinds of freedom, pragmatic and moral, and gives examples of how this distinction has been used in the history of libertarian thought.

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Thomas Hodgskin Versus Jeremy Bentham

by George H. Smith on Jul 3, 2012

Smith discusses Thomas Hodgskin’s critique of utilitarianism and his contention that the primary concern of legislators is to preserve their own power.

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Thomas Hodgskin: Libertarian Extraordinaire, Part 1

by George H. Smith on May 29, 2012

Smith begins his series on Thomas Hodgskin, one of the most remarkable, if little known and unjustly neglected, libertarian thinkers of the nineteenth century.

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Neoconservatism Versus Libertarianism, Part 3

by George H. Smith on May 22, 2012

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.