The Man versus the State

INTRODUCTION In 1851 Herbert Spencer published a treatise called Social Statics; or, The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified. Among other specifications, this work established and made clear the fundamental principle that society should be “organised on the basis of voluntary cooperation, not on the· basis of compulsory cooperation,· or under the threat of it. In a word, it established the […]

A Biography of Milton Friedman

The Great Depression of the 1930s was blamed on free markets and brought a vast expansion of government interference with the economy. Anybody who favored rolling back the power of government inevitably faced the question, “What about the Great Depression?” Without all the laws from that era, it was feared, there would again be high […]

A History of the Libertarian Movement

In this lecture from a 1983 Cato Summer Seminar at Dartmouth College, Childs gives the history of the modern American libertarian movement from the 1920s to the establishment of the Libertarian Party in 1971 and the publication of Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick and the establishment of the Cato Institute in 1974. Other […]

Ronald Reagan’s Foreign Policy

In this video from a Libertarian Party of New York convention in 1982, Childs gives a lecture on the origins and consequences of Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy. Childs strongly associates the peace movement with the libertarian philosophy, saying “Let no one posture as a friend of liberty who is not also a friend of peace […]

The Man of System

Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments included this short passage on two distinct ways of seeing the world: the natural and harmonious view of spontaneous order and the “man of the system,” who sees society as something he can manipulate and mold “ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.” The man whose […]