Defending freedom requires an interdisciplinary approach, so in this column George H. Smith turns to the “human sciences”—and also to a definition of science itself.
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 presents an overview of the philosophy of the human sciences.
Smith discusses the distinction between freedom and coercion, and explains some of its implications for the human sciences.
Smith examines the common claim that the mere threat of physical force does not qualify as a type of coercion.
Smith discusses some preliminary issues involved in the classic libertarian distinction between the spheres of “state” and “society.”
Smith explains the meaning of “society” and “institution,” and he discusses the distinction between designed and undesigned institutions.
Smith, drawing from Machiavelli’s The Prince, discusses two essential ingredients of successful states.
Smith explores various ways in which ideas influence human action, and why ideas are essential to the success of libertarianism.
Smith examines the problem of whether the human sciences can be value-free, and if so in what sense.
Smith explains how the insatiable desire for power and its corrupting influence have been dominant themes in libertarian theory and history.
In Nationalism and Culture, a classic history of libertarian ideas, Rudolf Rocker uses the struggle of freedom against power as his theoretical framework.
Smith explains Rocker’s theory of why the ideas of classical liberalism were swamped by the rising tide of statism.
Smith begins his discussion of the need for an interdisciplinary approach to liberty by noting some hazards of academic specialization.
A far-ranging discussion of the meanings of key terms in libertarianism, kinds of ideologues, and crucial elements needed for an understanding of individual freedom.
Smith explores F. A. Hayek’s views on intellectuals, whom Hayek called professional secondhand dealers in ideas.
Smith discusses the role of modern intellectuals in government.
Edmund Burke condemned the French Revolution as a “digest of anarchy.” What relevance does his critique have for the modern libertarian movement?
After criticizing Murray Rothbard’s interpretation of Edmund Burke’s first book, Smith summarizes Burke’s primary objections to rationalistic intellectuals.