The physiocrats were French laissez-faire economists in the late 18th century who based their policies and writings on natural reason and science.
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.
In this entry, George H. Smith addresses the idea of conscience in western thought and the importance of liberty of conscience to be maintained.
A notable early economist, Richard Cantillon is influential for his theories on the self-regulating market, entrepreneurship, and prices.
Buckle was a great British historian of the 19th century who dedicated his life to completing a comprehensive history of English culture.
Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher who greatly influenced Catholic thought and promoted law not as a way to regulate morality, but to allow human choice.
Francis Hutcheson’s philosophy addressed moral obligations as they related to personal liberties, virtue, and rights.
Bernard Mandeville’s controversial essays and allegories raised questions about justice and socially or morally virtuous actions.
Franz Oppenheimer, a German sociologist, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the history of the state as a history of conquest.
Nassau William Senior was an important British economist who contributed to theories of utility, political economy, and value.
The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Cooper was a statesman and philosopher with an interest in individualism and the natural harmony of interests.
Spencer was a major influence on 19th century liberalism. His work on evolutionary theory and social order made him one of the first sociologists.
Thomas Hodgskin was a British political and economic theorist affiliated most with individualist anarchism, though his writings were vivid and original.
A libertarian focus on equality mostly focuses on the notion of equal rights and justice systems must operate in a way that maintains these rights.
Methodological individualism is the methodological framework wherein individuals are seen as the agents of actions and values that form social phenomena.
Libertarians celebrate increasing individual liberties as the main fuel for human progress - material, moral, and intellectual.
Social Darwinism applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to society to poor ends. However, its intellectual founders did not share those views.
Freedom of thought includes the notion that religion and personal value systems should be unregulated, and that expressing all values must be permitted.
Existentialist philosophy focuses on the individual. Its moral implications, while sometimes criticized, can also have uses for libertarian thought.