George H. Smith

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About George H. Smith

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  • Birthday 02/10/1949

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  • Full Name
    George H. Smith
  • Description
    Writer -- author of "Atheism: The Case Against God," "Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies," and "Why Atheism?" My most recent book, "The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism," will be published by Cambridge University Press in April 2013.
  • Articles
    I write weekly essays on the history of libertarian thought for (a branch of the Cato Institute). See the index of my essays at:
  • Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc.
    West Coast Jazz greats, such as Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, etc., etc. I have posted numerous music videos on YouTube as smikro1
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    not looking

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Bloomington, IL
  • Interests
    Books, ideas, jazz, chess, and intelligent people
  1. My Cato Essays

    Roger, I very much appreciate your comments. Unfortunately but understandably, writing a substantive essay every week, week after week for over 4-1/2 years now (209 essays so far), can take its toll, and my mind sometimes goes on strike. This seems to be one of those times when my mind digs in its heels and refuses to move. I am therefore skipping the essay for this week. I need to rest up a bit before getting back to the grind. Ghs
  2. My Cato Essays Immanuel Kant on Our Duty to Obey Government Smith explains Kant’s basic justification of government and why he opposed the rights of resistance and revolution. My Essay #209 has been posted. This essay was posted on Monday. It should have been posted on the previous Friday, but it proved difficult to write so I was unable to finish it on time. Ghs
  3. My Cato Essays

    Thanks, Roger. I seem to have landed the perfect job in my old age. I can write whatever I want with no interference whatsoever. Ghs
  4. A friend of mine wants to invest a substantial amount in gold coins and asked for my advice on whom do deal with. Although I did some major investing in gold and silver during the 1970s, I haven't kept track of the market and dealers. I therefore decided to post this query in the hope that some OL members are investors in gold and so can give some good advice. Specifically, I would like opinions about the better gold dealers and the best value in coins, i.e., those with the lowest premiums over the gold content. (My friend is not interested in rare collector coins.) Krugerrands were a good value when I was investing, but I don't know if that is still the case. Thanks in advance for your help. Ghs
  5. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant on Property Rights Smith discusses how Kant used his theory of property rights to justify government, and how he distinguished the physical possession of an object from the rightful ownership of that object. My Essay #208 has been posted. Ghs
  6. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant, the Social Contract, and the State Smith explains how Robert Paul Wolff and Immanuel Kant used the same principle of moral autonomy to reach opposite conclusions about the legitimacy of the state. My Essay #207 has been posted. Ghs
  7. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant’s Theory of Justice Smith discusses some libertarian aspects of Kant’s theory of individual rights. My Essay #206 has been posted. Ghs
  8. My Cato Essays

    Immanuel Kant and the Natural Law Tradition Smith discusses Kant’s attempt to justify objective moral principles and his views on when the use of coercion is morally proper. My Essay #205 has been posted. Ghs
  9. My Cato Essays

    A Few Kind Words about the Most Evil Man in Mankind's History. Smith explains some fundamental features of Immanuel Kant’s moral and political theory. My Essay #204 has been posted. Ghs
  10. My Cato Essays

    Roger, I just read your excellent and informative discussion of Kant from JARS, just an hour or so after submitting my latest essay, to be posted later today. Titled "A Few Kind Words about the Most Evil Man in Mankind's History," it is similar to your earlier attempt to correct some of the errors about Kant perpetrated by Rand, Peikoff, and other Objectivists; and we focus on some of the same issues. I guess it really is true that great minds think alike. 8-) Ghs
  11. My Cato Essays

    Some Personal Reflections on Ayn Rand Smith discusses some good and bad influences that Ayn Rand’s ideas had on his own intellectual development. My Essay #203 has been posted. Ghs
  12. My Cato Essays

    Ayn Rand on Aristotle Smith examines some of Rand’s claims about the beneficial influence of Aristotle’s ideas on the course of Western civilization. My Essay #202 has been posted. Ghs
  13. My Cato Essays

    On the Influence of Ideas Smith discusses the issue of whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for the beliefs of those followers who agree with him. My Essay #201 has been posted. This piece contains more criticisms of Rand and Peikoff. Ghs
  14. My Cato Essays

    Two points come to mind. First, in Kant's version of the social contract, consent is purely hypothetical. If a rational person should have consented to be ruled by a particular government, then his consent is taken for granted, even if he never did actually consent or would never have consented. Second, Kant denied the rights of resistance and revolution even against an unjust government. Those two rights were pillars of the classical liberal tradition, at least in Kant's day. Ghs
  15. My Cato Essays

    Thanks again, Roger. For those who don't follow my FB page, here is the reply I posted there. Wow, Roger, thanks a lot. You are on my short list of people whose opinion has a special significance for me. I'm happy with today's essay. I had more time than I usually do to focus on stylistic considerations, and I am pleased with the style of one paragraph in particular--the one that contains this line [about Rand]: "This is absurdity sui generis, absurdity elevated to a fine art, absurdity so quirky and outrageous that it could only have come from the mind of a brilliant and original thinker whose self-confidence was off the charts." This is obviously an unusual way of looking at the matter, but I think the point is legitimate. I must have spent 2 hours working on that paragraph alone. I consider it a luxury to be able to spend that much time reworking a handful of lines. In my terminology, careful attention to style can elevate an "article" to an "essay."