Jump to content

George H. Smith

Member Since 17 Oct 2006
Offline Last Active Nov 23 2015 01:37 PM

Topics I've Started

Cute as Hell....

23 October 2015 - 12:41 PM

In this video by YouTube user Raptor Rehabber, a rescued baby great horned owl, named Oakley, adorably interacts with a Halloween-themed owl toy that dances and sings "Monster Mash." Oakley was released back to the wild when he was old enough, about six weeks after this was filmed.


Superman v. Islamic Terrorism

17 September 2015 - 08:24 PM

While watching the Republican debate last night and pondering the most popular Republican strategy for achieving international peace -- which I call the Let's kick some butt! theory of foreign affairs--I devised a fantasy scenario to focus attention on the question of how effective that strategy might be


Here is the basic setup. You magically become Superman (or his female equivalent) with all of his traditional powers. I won't quibble over exactly which powers you have. The point is that you can kill whomever you like with super speed, accuracy  and efficiency (e.g., by frying brains at super-speed with your heat vision). And you can do all this without anyone ever knowing that you are the killer. You can also fly, etc., etc.


In short, you have virtually unlimited powers to kill, maim, torture, etc. anyone you like, and to do so with complete anonymity, so you decide to deal with the problem of ISIS and Islamic terrorism generally. The only limitation is that your Superman powers will expire after one year, so after that year is over you will need to use your normal human powers to deal with any adverse blowback you may have generated during your year as Superman. .


Maybe you don't believe that you will be able to eradicate Islamic terrorism within a year, but you figure that a year as Superman will be time enough to make significant improvements. 


Okay, so what specifically would you do in that year? And how would your actions make things better in the long run? Your only constraint would be moral in nature, not physical. Be creative. 



We Who Are Your Closest Friends

01 August 2015 - 01:44 PM


We Who Are Your Closest Friends

Phillip Lopate, 1943

we who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting
as a group
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift

your analyst is
in on it
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us

in announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves
but since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your
disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective

From At the End of the Day: Selected Poems and an Introductory Essay, copyright © 2009 by Phillip Lopate. Used by permission of Marsh Hawk Press

Ayn Rand and the New Atheists (panel discussion)

08 June 2015 - 12:36 PM

An interesting panel discussion (from an Objectivist conference in 2014) on the differences between Objectivist atheism and the New Atheism of Harris, Dawkins, etc. The panelists are the O'ist philosophers Robert Mayhew and Onkar Ghate, and the video runs for around an hour. (Around half of that is Q &A.) I was a little disappointed, but hardly surprised, that "Atheism: The Case Against God," was never mentioned, not even is passing, even though it discusses, from an essentially O'ist perspective and in considerable detail, many of the issues that were raised during this discussion. I know that in earlier years ATCAG was more or less a forbidden book for the orthodox, and that apparently hasn't changed. Nevertheless, my delicate ego will survive, and I think many OLers will enjoy this discussion, even if I do find it a bit tepid in spots.



30 March 2015 - 10:08 AM


My new book, Individualism: A Reader  (an anthology that I co-edited with Marilyn Moore and for which I wrote the Introduction), is now available from Amazon. This is the first in a series of Readers to be published by Libertarianism.org. The second will be Critics of State Education: A Reader. (This is nearly completed.) The third will be on Herbert Spencer. Subsequent volumes are still in the planning stage, but Marilyn and I will keep churning them out until L.org pulls the plug.

Since there is no "Look Inside" feature on the Amazon page, here is the Table of Contents:



Individualism: A Reader. Edited by George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore. With an Introduction by George H. Smith. Published by Libertarianism.org, 2015.




Preface ix

Introduction by George H. Smith 1

PART I: Individuality 27
1. Wilhelm von Humboldt, “Of the Individual Man, and the Highest Ends of His Existence” 29
2. John Stuart Mill, “Of Individuality” 37
3. Oscar Wilde, from The Soul of Man Under Socialism 61
4. Michel de Montaigne, “Of Preparation” 64

PART II: Social Individualism 69
5. J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, from “What Is an American?” 71
6. St. Augustine of Hippo, from The City of God 73
7. Nathaniel Niles, from Two Discourses on Liberty 75
8. Voltairine de Cleyre, from “The Dominant Idea” 77
9. Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 80
10. “Marriage of Lillian Harman and Edwin C. Walker” 87

PART III: Moral Individualism 95
11. Richard Overton, An Arrow Against All Tyrants 97
12. Peter Annet, from Social Bliss Considered 102
13. Lysander Spooner, from “Vices Are Not Crimes” 107
14. Henry Wilson, “Archbishop Temple on Betting” 112
15. Francis Dashwood Tandy, from Voluntary Socialism 114
16. Josiah Warren, from True Civilization 125
17. Thomas Hodgskin, from The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted 135

PART IV: Political Individualism 141
18. William Wollaston, from The Religion of
Nature Delineated 143
19. Angelina E. Grimke, from Letters to
Catherine E. Beecher 152
20. Auberon Herbert, from The Voluntaryist Creed 155

PART V: Religious Individualism 173
21. Elisha Williams, from The Essential Rights
and Liberties of Protestants 175
22: George Jacob Holyoake, from “Free
Thought—Its Conditions, Agreements, and
Secular Results” 177
23. Robert G. Ingersoll, from “Individuality” 183
PART VI: Economic Individualism 189
24. Henry Wilson, A Catechism of Individualism 191
25. Antoine Destutt de Tracy, from A Treatise on Political Economy 220
26. H. M. Robertson, from Aspects of the Rise of Economic Individualism 222

Recommended Reading 225