George H. Smith discusses some of Spencer’s concerns about the intellectual and moral obstacles to achieving a free society.
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.
George H. Smith discusses Spencer’s theory of social progress, while calling attention to some of its theoretical problems.
George H. Smith begins his series on Spencer’s pessimistic outlook on the future of freedom and the reasons behind it.
George H. Smith discusses the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and why it so alarmed the defenders of natural rights.
Smith explains some tactics that early freethinkers used in the attempt to avoid punishment for blasphemy and other religious crimes.
Smith explains Burke’s argument against majority rule and a constitution based on the consent of the governed.
Smith explains Paine’s views on paper money, price controls, self-interest, and exploitative governments.
Smith explains some of Paine’s ideas about the nature of a republic and the benefits of a representative form of government.
Smith explains Paine’s constitutional theory and why he believed that Britain had no constitution.
How the libertarian ideas of Richard Price motivated Burke to write Reflections on the Revolution in France, and how Paine dealt with the controversy.
Smith discusses Thomas Erskine’s ideas on libel laws and freedom of the press, and how he incorporated those ideas during his defense of Thomas Paine.
In 1792, Thomas Paine was tried for seditious libel. In this essay, George H. Smith discusses the prosecution’s case.
Smith discusses some background of the debate between Paine and Burke, and the furor created by Paine’s Rights of Man.
Smith concludes this series with more observations about James Mackintosh’s defense of natural rights.
Smith explains why Edmund Burke opposed abstract rights and why James Mackintosh defended them.
Smith explains why Burke predicted that the French Revolution would end in systematic violence.
After criticizing Murray Rothbard’s interpretation of Edmund Burke’s first book, Smith summarizes Burke’s primary objections to rationalistic intellectuals.
Edmund Burke condemned the French Revolution as a “digest of anarchy.” What relevance does his critique have for the modern libertarian movement?