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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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Social Darwinism

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Social Darwinism applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to society to poor ends. However, its intellectual founders did not share those views.

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The Constitution and Slavery

by George H. Smith on Jun 23, 2017

Smith discusses the schism in the abolitionist movement over the constitutionality of slavery, and he begins his analysis of Lysander Spooner’s arguments in The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.

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Existentialism

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Existentialist philosophy focuses on the individual. Its moral implications, while sometimes criticized, can also have uses for libertarian thought.

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Praxeology

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Praxeology, as popularized by Ludwig von Mises, is an interdisciplinary approach to social questions that abstracts and thus universally explains human action.

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Conscience

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

In this entry, George H. Smith addresses the idea of conscience in western thought and the importance of liberty of conscience to be maintained.

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Individualism, Methodological

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Methodological individualism is the methodological framework wherein individuals are seen as the agents of actions and values that form social phenomena.

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Mercantilism

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Mercantilism was the belief that wealth of nations was based on the amount of money held by the nation, through high internal protections and a focus on exports.

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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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Freedom of Thought

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Freedom of thought includes the notion that religion and personal value systems should be unregulated, and that expressing all values must be permitted.

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Cantillon, Richard (c.1680-1734)

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

A notable early economist, Richard Cantillon is influential for his theories on the self-regulating market, entrepreneurship, and prices.

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Physiocracy

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

The physiocrats were French laissez-faire economists in the late 18th century who based their policies and writings on natural reason and science.

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Aquinas, Thomas (c. 1225-1274)

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

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.

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Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

As part of the overthrow of the French monarchy in 1789, this document served as the first attempt at capturing the ideals of a possible French Republic.