Social Statics: The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and The First of Them Developed

  About this Title: Spencer’s first major work of political philosophy in which he attempts to lay the basis for a limited state on a rigorous development of a doctrine of natural rights. He begins with a defense of his “first principle” ’that every man, may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible […]

The Right to Ignore the State

by Herbert Spencer This essay is taken from chapter 19 of Spencer’s first major work of political philosophy — Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed (1851) — in which his first principle is that of Equal Liberty: “that every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties […]

On Moral Education

by Herbert Spencer As reprinted in Left and Right, Spring 1966, edited by Murray N. Rothbard. Rothbard’s Editorial Note: Education is a perennially important and controversial subject, especially in a country as child-centered as the United States. Within libertarian ranks, an unlimited diversity of viewpoint prevails, ranging from rigorous traditionalists to ultra-progressives. Among the numerous libertarians in […]

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 […]