John L. O’Sullivan challenges Tocqueville, arguing that he misrepresented democracy and misidentified American aristocracy.
Though plagued by their own illiberal aspects, the early Protestant churches succeeded in breaking the Roman monopoly on European spiritual life.
In his conclusion, Spooner targets the shadow-governing class of elites who use civic religion to manipulate a public unwilling to govern themselves.
Melville’s short story echoes his generation of artists’ widespread fears for America’s future. Without sufficient individual virtue, could polite society survive?
While John L. O’Sullivan and the loco-Young Americans naively ignored tensions, they preached the unity of liberty, democracy, and American nationalism.
The ethical system of John Rawls, properly understood, justifies libertarian political institutions.
Spooner exposes the great Government Conspiracy and seeks to assign moral responsibility for the actions of a criminal gang shielded by mythological legitimacy.
Spooner disabuses us of the notion that paying taxes or voting is equivalent to offering one’s consent to be governed.
Having dispensed with the idea of consent to government, Spooner pivots to ask—Whose Constitution is it, anyway?
Spooner begins his most important work by attacking the idea that we have consented to be governed by the United States government.
Godwin’s next “thought on man” examines the origins of mental atrophy and urges readers to exercise their minds with steady and vigorous Socratic discussion.
The justification of libertarian political institutions follows logically from relatively uncontroversial moral intuitions held by a broad range of reasonable people.
Finding himself insufficiently able to defend the property rights of authors, Leggett begins to argue that property rights are utilitarian conventions.
In our final portion from Melville’s “Encantada Sketches,” we examine examples of perfect liberty on Barrington Isle and total tyranny under the Dog King.
In his literary sketches of the Galapagos Islands, Melville sees a lens through which individuals can fully explore existence, power, liberty, and responsibility.
If we don’t have free will, could we know it? William Godwin offers some speculative answers and discusses the implications of free will.
In this duo, Leggett gives his most powerful and elegant expressions of the Classical Liberal theory of class conflict in the “exceptional” United States.
After a thousand years of failing centralized government in Europe, our author turns to the successful rise of nation-states.