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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.

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John Gray and the Myth of the Ayn Rand Cult

by George H. Smith on May 31, 2019

John Gray’s discussion of Objectivism in Seven Types of Atheism, which is egregiously and inexcusably bad, relies on portraying Ayn Rand as a cult leader. 

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Slavery as Socialism

by George H. Smith on May 4, 2018

Smith explains how George Fitzhugh defended slavery on the grounds that it provides an ideal system of socialism.

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Garrison on the Right of Secession

by George H. Smith on Mar 2, 2018

Smith discusses what Garrison meant by the “right of secession,” and how he reconciled his views with his condemnation of secession by the southern states.

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How to Argue for Libertarianism

by George H. Smith on Nov 18, 2016

Smith discusses some common problems encountered by libertarians when they defend their political beliefs in arguments.

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Some Thoughts about Writing Essays

by George H. Smith on Aug 4, 2017

With his 250th essay, Smith interrupts his series on abolitionism to offer some reflections on writing essays.

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Lysander Spooner’s Moral Theory

by George H. Smith on Jun 2, 2017

Smith discusses the influence of puritanism, the religious revival in the early 19th century, and Spooner’s disagreements with Christian ethics.

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Lysander Spooner on Vices and Crimes

by George H. Smith on May 5, 2017

Smith begins his discussion of Lysander Spooner’s libertarian classic, “Vices are not Crimes.”

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Abolitionism, Prohibition, and the Whig Party

by George H. Smith on Apr 17, 2017

Smith continues his explanation of why so many abolitionists supported the compulsory prohibition of alcohol by linking them to the ideology of the Whig Party.

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Do We Have a Moral Sense?

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2016

Smith explains some fundamental tenets of the moral sense school of ethics, especially as found in the writings of Francis Hutcheson.

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Immanuel Kant on War and Peace

by George H. Smith on Jun 20, 2016

Smith discusses some of Kant’s ideas about the moral, political, and practical aspects of perpetual peace.