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The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism (Paperback)


About the Book

Liberal individualism, or "classical liberalism" as it is often called, refers to a political philosophy in which liberty plays the central role. With this new book, The System of Liberty, legendary scholar George H. Smith, an expert on libertarian and classical liberal philosophy, has produced an exceptional study and identifies difficult issues that have divided even its greatest thinkers. Smith explores natural rights vs. utilitarianism, the role of the state in education, the rights of resistance and revolution, and more. Concepts such as order, justice, rights, and freedom have imparted unity to this diverse political ideology but they have also sparked conflict, as classical liberals split on a number of issues. The System of Liberty explores these conflicts and their implications for contemporary liberal and libertarian thought.

About the Author

George H. Smith is an independent scholar and writes a weekly column for the Cato Institute's Libertarianism.org titled "Excursions Into the History of Libertarian Thought." He is the author of Atheism: The Case Against God (1974) and Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies (1991).

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What Others Have Said

"George Smith's lectures on classical liberalism had a profound effect on my thinking. Now, at long last, others may profit from his prodigious learning in this absolutely 'must read' book for anyone interested in modern libertarianism and its historical roots. Clear, accessible, balanced, and powerfully reasoned."
-Randy E. Barnett, Author of The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law