Franz Oppenheimer, a German sociologist, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the history of the state as a history of conquest.
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 Bernard Mandeville’s defense of legal prostitution and other vices.
Bernard Mandeville’s controversial essays and allegories raised questions about justice and socially or morally virtuous actions.
The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper was a statesman and philosopher with an interest in individualism and the natural harmony of interests.
George H. Smith explains why Mandeville’s ideas about vice made him one of the most notorious writers of his time.
Smith provides some background on Spooner’s influential book The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.
Francis Hutcheson’s philosophy addressed moral obligations as they related to personal liberties, virtue, and rights.
Thomas Hodgskin was a British political and economic theorist affiliated most with individualist anarchism, though his writings were vivid and original.
Herbert Spencer was a major influence on 19th century liberalism. His work on evolutionary theory and social order made him one of the first sociologists.
George H. Smith continues his discussion of Joseph Butler’s theory of moral psychology, and summarizes his ideas about conscience and rational self-interest.
Social Darwinism applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to society to poor ends. However, its intellectual founders did not share those views.
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.
George H. Smith discusses Joseph Butler’s influential theory of psychology and his ideas about self-interest and benevolence.
Smith summarizes Lysander Spooner’s objections to the most popular arguments in favor of the prohibition of alcohol.
George H. Smith discusses various objections to the claim that all actions are necessarily self-interested.
Existentialist philosophy focuses on the individual. Its moral implications, while sometimes criticized, can also have uses for libertarian thought.
Praxeology, as popularized by Ludwig von Mises, is an interdisciplinary approach to social questions that abstracts and thus universally explains human action.
George H. Smith discusses the Hobbesian theory of self-interest and why classical liberals were so intent on refuting it.