Smith discusses some early justifications of slavery and how they repudiated natural rights.
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.
Smith discusses Spooner’s secular theory of natural law and his belief that no legislation is valid unless it conforms to natural law.
With his 250th essay, Smith interrupts his series on abolitionism to offer some reflections on writing essays.
Smith details the scholarly debate between Lysander Spooner and Wendell Phillips over the constitutionality of slavery.
George H. Smith begins his series on the historical relationship between religious skepticism and libertarianism.
George H. Smith discusses what Bernard Mandeville meant in saying that private vices produce public benefits, and how Francis Hutcheson criticized that theory.
George H. Smith discusses Bernard Mandeville’s defense of legal prostitution and other vices.
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.
George H. Smith continues his discussion of Joseph Butler’s theory of moral psychology, and summarizes his ideas about conscience and rational self-interest.
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.
George H. Smith discusses the Hobbesian theory of self-interest and why classical liberals were so intent on refuting it.
Smith discusses the influence of puritanism, the religious revival in the early 19th century, and Spooner’s disagreements with Christian ethics.
George H. Smith explains David Hume’s theory of the social evolution of our ideas about justice.
Smith explains some reasons why the temperance movement switched from advocating voluntary methods to calling for coercive prohibitory laws during the 1830s.