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. Abolitionism: The Schism Over Voting Smith discusses the split in the American Anti-Slavery Society over voting, equal rights for women, and other causes. My Essay #231 has been posted. Ghs
  2. Abolitionism: Wendell Phillips on Voting and Political Action Smith discusses the controversy over whether the U.S. Constitution is pro-slavery, as illustrated in the opposing views of two leading abolitionists: Wendell Phillips and Lysander Spooner. My Essay #230 has been posted. Ghs
  3. Abolitionism and Self-Ownership Smith discusses the crucial role played by the inalienable right of self-ownership in the abolitionist crusade to abolish slavery. My Essay #229 has been posted. Ghs
  4. How not to Make a Fool of Yourself in Arguments Smith discusses some elements of credibility and offers advice on how to engage in arguments. My Essay #228 has been posted. Ghs
  5. Concluding Remarks on Fallibility and the Moral Implications of Beliefs Smith explores the indispensable role of value commitments in our quest for knowledge. My Essay #226 has been posted. Ghs
  6. During the early 1970s, while I was discussing with Branden some details about a forthcoming 2-record "Seminar" recording for Academic Associates, he made some interesting comments about Peikoff. After I noted the remarkably similar writing style between Peikoff's monograph "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" and Rand's published works, Branden said that Peikoff wrote the piece with Rand "constantly looking over his shoulder"--thereby implying that Rand had as much to do with writing the monograph as Peikoff did. Branden also said, with obvious sarcasm, that Peikoff got his better ideas from rummaging through the wastebaskets of himself and Rand. Although Branden could be critical of Rand, I never heard him badmouth the woman, despite their bitter conflict. But this was not the case with Peikoff. Branden had very little respect for the intellectual ability of the guy. Later edit: Branden observed that Peikoff had been placed on "probation" a number of times by Rand for his failure to understand Rand's points. Long after Nathan, Barbara, and other members of the Inner Circle clearly understand Rand's principles and arguments, Peikoff continued to struggle with them. Ghs
  7. Authorities and Fallibility Smith discusses the crucial difference between science and philosophy, and how human fallibility has been used to defend skepticism. My Essay #225 is now available. Ghs
  8. Lenny sounds like he's tipsy. But he always sounds like that, so it doesn't mean anything. Ghs
  9. Having inherited Rand's wealth and the royalties from her books probably makes Peikoff's onerous job somewhat more pleasant. 8-). Ghs
  10. Roaring Dinosaurs and Incorrect Beliefs Smith discusses the inevitability of holding some false beliefs and what can be done to minimize this problem. My Essay #224 has been posted. Ghs
  11. The Moral Implications of Beliefs Smith discusses the claim that some beliefs are immoral and the role of credibility in choosing our beliefs. My Essay #223 has been posted. Ghs
  12. Belief and Doubt Smith discusses various meanings of "belief" and "doubt." My Essay #222 has been posted. I neglected to post a link to last week's essay, "Do We have a Moral Obligation to be Rational?" It may be found here. Ghs
  13. Back to the Ethics of Belief Smith resumes his discussion of whether beliefs per se can be immoral. My Essay #220 has been posted. I was given two weeks off to work on the next Reader: Critics of State Education. The manuscript should be complete by next Friday. Ghs
  14. Fine with me. Ghs
  15. I just heard on the news that a high-ranking member of ISIS, Al-Adnani, may have been killed. If this is true, then how should we respond to his death? Should we reflect that he was a human being who probably had some admirable characteristics? Or should we respond with a lively round of Bronx cheers? I prefer the latter. As Murray Rothbard used to say: "Hitler loved cats. Who cares?" As for the degree of evil necessary before we cheer the death of a person, there is obviously no pat answer to this question. It depends on the evaluator and the person he is evaluating. In many cases, as with politicians, I may not cheer their deaths, but nor will I be in the least sorry to see them go. Nor will I pretend to feel sorrow for the deaths of people who meant nothing to me. Everyone dies. And death does not change what a person did during his life. Death is not an accomplishment that should change what we thought of a person when he was alive. If both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were to die tomorrow of natural causes, the world would be a better place. Ghs