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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.

Liberty Chronicles

The Cords of Union: Slavery vs The Telegraph

featuring Anthony Comegna on Oct 9, 2018

Calhoun’s vision of Americans conquering space seemed even more possible with Samuel Morse’s invention of the magnetic telegraph.

Liberty Chronicles

The Greatest of Nullifiers

featuring Anthony Comegna and Caleb O. Brown on Oct 2, 2018

How did Justice Abram Smith of Wisconsin challenge the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?

columns

Samuel Johnson and His Dictionary

by George H. Smith on Sep 28, 2018

This is the second part of Smith’s discussion of how Samuel Johnson made a living as a free-lance writer in 18th century London.

columns

Samuel Johnson: Hack Writer Extraordinaire

by George H. Smith on Sep 21, 2018

Part one of a lengthy article on Samuel Johnson, originally written in 2001, is a result of my interest in freelance, or market, intellectuals.

Excursions

Immanuel Kant and the Natural Law Tradition

featuring George H. Smith on Jul 25, 2018

George Smith discusses Kant’s attempt to justify objective moral principles and his views on when the use of coercion is morally proper.

Liberty Chronicles

Revolution in Utica and Buffalo

featuring Anthony Comegna on Jul 17, 2018

The Polk years began in a sort of uneasy truce between radicals and conservatives. 

Excursions

Some Personal Reflections on Ayn Rand

featuring George H. Smith on Jul 11, 2018

George Smith discusses some good and bad influences that Ayn Rand’s ideas had on his own intellectual development.

Excursions

Ayn Rand on Aristotle

featuring George H. Smith on Jul 4, 2018

George Smith examines some of Rand’s claims about the beneficial influence of Aristotle’s ideas on the course of Western civilization.

Excursions

On the Influence of Ideas

featuring George H. Smith on Jun 27, 2018

George Smith discusses the issue of whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for the beliefs of those followers who agree with him.

columns

Criticisms of Natural Rights

by George H. Smith on Jun 26, 2018

Smith discusses the common argument that natural rights will lead inevitably to anarchism. 

Excursions

Some Reflections on the History of Philosophy

featuring George H. Smith on Jun 20, 2018

George Smith explains the views of Kant and Hegel on the history of philosophy, and explores whether moral judgments should be applied to the realm of ideas.

columns

Where Do Rights Come From?

by George H. Smith on Jun 15, 2018

Smith continues his brief discussion of how to justify natural rights.