Anthony de Jasay, one of the most independent thinkers and influential libertarian political philosophers of our time, challenges the reigning paradigms justifying modern democratic government. The articles collected in Political Philosophy, Clearly delve deeply into the realm of political thought and philosophical criticism. A reader who is interested in a philosophical, yet clear, jargon-free account of such fundamental topics as the relationship between liberty and justice, the viability of limiting government, the role of property, and the possibilities of the private provision of public goods as well as the private enforcement of public rules will find reading this book rewarding.
The early political culture of the American republic was so deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers that it was often through the political sermon that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted. Political sermons such as the fifty-five collected in this work are unique to America, in both kind and significance. Political Sermons of the American Founding Era thus fills an important need if the American founding period is to be adequately understood.
The eighteenth century produced a remarkable array of thinkers whose influence in the development of free societies and free institutions is incalculable. Among these thinkers were Mandeville, Hutcheson, Smith, Hume, and Burke; their time is known as the Age of Johnson. Samuel Johnson: Political Writings contains twenty-four of Johnson’s essays on the great social, economic, and political issues of his time. These include “Taxation No Tyranny”—in which Johnson defended the British Crown against the American revolutionaries—and “An Introduction to the Political State of Great Britain,” “Thoughts on the Coronation of King George III,” and “The Patriot,” which is one of Johnson’s principal writings during the American Revolution.
Fourteen essays explore the central problem of modern society—the decline of free institutions and the growth of the state. Among the essays are “State and Society,” by Felix Morley; “The Monstrosity of Government,” by John Lukacs; and “The Guaranteed Economy and Its Future,” by Jonathan R. T. Hughes.
Sir Henry Sumner Maine was one of the great intellects of the Victorian era. In Popular Government he examines the political institutions of men. He saw that popular governments, unless they are founded upon and consonant with the evolutionary development of a people, will crumble from their own excesses.
The Present Age challenges readers to reexamine the role of the United States in the world since World War I. Nisbet criticizes Americans for isolationism at home and discusses the gutting of educational standards, the decay of education, the presence of government in all facets of life, the diminished connection to community, and the prominence of economic arrangements driving everyday life in America.
Though almost forgotten today, Herbert Spencer ranks as one of the foremost individualist philosophers. His influence in the latter half of the nineteenth century was immense.
This classic work by William Paley was one of the most popular books in England and America in the early nineteenth century. Its significance lies in the fact that it marks an important point at which eighteenth-century “whiggism” began to be transformed into nineteenth-century “liberalism.”
Liberty Fund is pleased to make available in paperback eight of the original thirty-three cloth volumes of the Collected Works of John Stuart Mill that were first published by the University of Toronto Press that remain most relevant to liberty and responsibility in the twenty-first century. Born in London in 1806 and educated at the knee of his father, the Scottish philosopher James Mill, John Stuart Mill became one of the nineteenth century’s most influential writers on economics and social philosophy.
In Principles of Politics, first published in 1815, Constant explores the subjects of law, sovereignty, and representation; power and accountability; government, property, and taxation; wealth and poverty; war, peace, and the maintenance of public order; and freedom, of the individual, of the press, and of religion.
This is the final volume in Jouvenel’s magnum opus, the trilogy that begins with On Power, moves to Sovereignty, and concludes with The Pure Theory of Politics. In this volume, Bertrand de Jouvenel proposes to remedy a serious deficiency in political science: “the lack of agreement on first principles, or ‘elements.’” The author’s concern is with political processes as they actually exist, not as they are conjectured to be in hypothetical models.
By examining the thought of four seminal thinkers, Shirley Robin Letwin in The Pursuit of Certainty provides a brilliant record of the gradual change in the English-speaking peoples’ understanding of “what sort of activity politics is.” As Letwin writes, “the distinctive political issue since the eighteenth century has been whether government should do more or less.” Nor, as many historians argue, did this issue arise because of the Industrial Revolution or “new social conditions [that] aggravated the problem of poverty” but, Letwin believes, because of the “profoundly personal reflection” of major thinkers, including Hume, Bentham, Mill, and Webb. David Hume, for example, believed that to “reach for perfection, to seek an ideal, is noble, but dangerous, and is therefore an activity that individuals or voluntary groups may pursue, but governments certainly should not.”