A far-ranging discussion of the meanings of key terms in libertarianism, kinds of ideologues, and crucial elements needed for an understanding of individual freedom.
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 begins his discussion of the need for an interdisciplinary approach to liberty by noting some hazards of academic specialization.
Smith examines the problem of whether the human sciences can be value-free, and if so in what sense.
Smith discusses some preliminary issues involved in the classic libertarian distinction between the spheres of “state” and “society.”
Smith examines the common claim that the mere threat of physical force does not qualify as a type of coercion.
Smith discusses the distinction between freedom and coercion, and explains some of its implications for the human sciences.
Smith presents an overview of the philosophy of the human sciences.
Defending freedom requires an interdisciplinary approach, so in this column George H. Smith turns to the “human sciences”—and also to a definition of science itself.
Smith explores Humboldt’s defense of individuality, written in 1792.
Smith discusses Spooner’s critique of taxation.
Smith explains how Spooner reconciled his theory of nonvoting with his view that the Constitution is antislavery, and how he treated discussions of slavery during the Constitutional Convention.
Smith discusses how William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips differed in their approaches to non-voting.
Smith explains how Robert Paul Wolff and Immanuel Kant used the same principle of moral autonomy to reach opposite conclusions about the legitimacy of the state.
Smith discusses Spooner’s contention that the Constitution carries no moral authority but that it still can be understood as antislavery.
Smith explores some features of Spooner’s philosophy of law, as found in The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.
Smith discusses Spooner’s defense of the right to use violence in self-defense, even against agents of a government.
Smith discusses the arguments of Wendell Phillips that abolitionists should not vote or hold political office.
Continuing his review of Gray’s Seven Types of Atheism, Smith explains how Gray greatly exaggerates Nietzsche’s influence on Rand, and he criticizes Gray’s misstatements about Rand’s notion of sacrifice.