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.
William Penn (1644–1718) played a crucial role in the articulation of religious liberty as a philosophical and political value during the second half of the seventeenth century and as a core element of the classical liberal tradition in general. Penn was not only one of the most vocal spokesmen for liberty of conscience in Restoration England, but he also oversaw a great colonizing endeavor that attempted to instantiate his tolerationist commitments in practice. His thought has relevance not only for scholars of English political and religious history, but also for those who are interested in the foundations of American religious liberty, political development, and colonial history. This volume illuminates the origins and development of Penn’s thought by presenting, for the first time, complete and annotated texts of all his important political works.
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.
This volume presents a collection of thirty-four essays and shorter works by James M. Buchanan that represent the brilliance of his founding work on public-choice theory.
“Politics by principle is that which modern politics is not. What we observe is ‘politics by interest,’ whether in the form of explicitly discriminatory treatment (rewarding or punishing) of particular groupings of citizens or of some elitist-dirigiste classification of citizens into the deserving or non-deserving on the basis of a presumed superior wisdom about what is really ‘good’ for us all. The proper principle for politics is that of generalization of generality.”
Importante teórico do consentimento, do contrato, do federalismo e do corporativismo, o alemão Althusius (1557–1638) conciliou idéias bíblicas, aristotélicas e neocalvinistas em um original sistema político, baseado em princípios das leis natural e contratual. A recuperação de seu pensamento se deve, sobretudo, a dois aspectos, sintetizados na Política: sua filosofia do direito e seu federalismo. Apesar da moldura teológica, fundada na religião calvinista, trata-se do primeiro livro a apresentar uma teoria abrangente do federalismo republicano, enraizada no conceito de associação simbiótica e na idéia do consenso. Pensador seminal, Althusius foi resgatado por teóricos alemães que, no século XIX, lutaram pela unificação da Alemanha segundo princípios federativos. Seu pensamento também foi assimilado pelos americanos, que construíram o federalismo moderno com base no individualismo e reintroduziram a idéia do Estado como associação política, mais que como instituição reificada. No século XX, a importância do autor foi observada pelo teórico liberal alemão Carl Friedrich, que em 1932 relançou a edição de 1614 da Política acrescentando elucidativo prefácio sobre a vida e a obra do autor. Hoje, quando os cientistas sociais se preocupam em investigar o problema da liberdade em relação com a família, as comunidades étnicas e outras formas de associação, as idéias de Althusius sobre o constitucionalismo e a regulação filosófica dos processos políticos voltam a ganhar atualidade.
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.
Commenting on his collaboration with Geoffrey Brennan on The Power to Tax, James M. Buchanan says that the book is “demonstrable proof of the value of genuine research collaboration across national-cultural boundaries.” Buchanan goes on to say that “The Power to Tax is informed by a single idea—the implications of a revenue-maximizing government.”
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.
Samuel Pufendorf’s The Present State of Germany was first published in 1667 (under the pseudonym Severinus de Monzambano) and immediately became one of the most notorious works in Europe for the next half century. Its trenchant critique of previous theories of the Holy Roman Empire elicited both attacks and defenses, and it also anticipated many elements in Pufendorf’s subsequent writings on natural law, history, and religion.
Henry Home, Lord Kames, was the complete “Enlightenment man,” concerned with the full spectrum of human knowledge and its social use. However, as a lawyer and, after 1752, as a judge on the Court of Session in Edinburgh, he made many of his most distinctive contributions through his works on the nature of law and legal development.
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.