George H. Smith

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About George H. Smith

  • Rank
    $$$$$$
  • Birthday 02/10/1949

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  • Website URL
    http://www.facebook.com/george.h.smith.7
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Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Bloomington, IL
  • Interests
    Books, ideas, jazz, chess, and intelligent people

Previous Fields

  • 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 libertarianism.org (a branch of the Cato Institute). See the index of my essays at: http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/excursions
  • 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
  • Looking or Not Looking
    not looking
  1. Victory Speech of the Libertarian Party President-Elect, 1984

    Michael, Thanks for posting my debate with Antman. I had forgotten about this debate and had no idea it was available online. Btw, you asked me in an email if I ever wrote the second part of my critique of gradualism, which was to be published in Sam Konkin's zine. The answer is no. Sam never paid anything for articles, and at the time it was probably unrealistic for me to devote considerable time to writing a freebie. Ghs
  2. Invitation to "The Fountainhead" online reading group

    The Fountainhead Reading Group just ended. A good time was had by all. David Kelley was there, so was Michael Newberry, in addition to 6 other people or so. . But other than Michael not one OL member showed up. So what's up with you deadbeats? We are discussing changing the time to a weekday evening, in case Saturday afternoons are inconvenient. Would that help?
  3. Invitation to "The Fountainhead" online reading group

    The Fountainhead Reading Group starts in 30 minutes (3 p.m., est). Join us! Here is the link. . https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/453836741 Ghs
  4. Invitation to "The Fountainhead" online reading group

    I noticed the same thing about the poor quality of the audio recordings (though not in the live discussion). I will pass your observation on to the person in charge.
  5. At 3 p.m. (e.s.t. ) tomorrow (Saturday, June 3rd), I will be moderating the 4th gathering of the "The Fountainhead" Reading Group, which is sponsored by the Atlas Society. The one-hour discussions, one of which included David Kelley (the founder of the Atlas Society), have been excellent so far, enriched with humor and spontaneous remarks. (Michael Newberry has been a regular participant.) The group has averaged around 6 participants, but we would like to attract more people interested in Ayn Rand. Thus, when I was asked if I could drum up more people, I immediately thought of OL members. Some come on, guys, give it a try. Make me look good. You can always leave if you don't find the discussion interesting. The discussion this week will focus on chapters 10 through 13 of The Fountainhead. Go to this page for additional information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheFountainhead/?pnref=story The link to the GoToMeeting software differs from week to week, and the link for a particular meeting is usually not posted until a few hours before the event. So if you want to participate consult this website around noon or later on Saturday. I will also post the link on this thread. If you don't want to participate on video, you can simply use your phone for audio. Ghs
  6. My Cato Essays

    Dio Lewis on Lysander Spooner and Prohibition Smith discusses Lewis’s rare insights on Spooner’s personal life, and his libertarian case against prohibition. My Libertarianism.org Essay #241 was posted on Friday. Ghs Excerpt In his obituary of Lysander Spooner (Liberty, May 28, 1887) the anarchist Benjamin R. Tucker wrote: He died at one o’clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, in his little room at 109 Myrtle Street [Boston], surrounded by trunks and chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he had gathered about him in his active pamphleteer’s warfare over half a century long. The trunks and chests mentioned here ended up in Tucker’s warehouse, which also housed his printing press and stock. Tragically, the warehouse burned down in 1908 and destroyed everything inside. Tucker was unable to recover financially, so the fire ended the publication of Liberty, which was the cornerstone of the radical individualist-libertarian movement in America. Equally as tragic was the loss of Spooner’s collection of unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, and other personal material. Without this material it has been impossible to write a detailed biography of Spooner. We know little about his personal life and preferences, but some information was provided by Dio Lewis (1823-1886), Spooner’s friend and personal physician in later life. Dio Lewis was a homeopathic physician who stressed the importance of exercise, sunlight, proper diet and other natural factors in the prevention and cure of diseases. In his many books—including New Gymnastics, Our Digestion, Weak Lungs, Chastity—we find a fair amount of sound advice sprinkled with only a minimal amount of quackery, at least by nineteenth-century standards. The relevant book for our purpose is Talks About People's Stomachs, published in 1870. Here we find two discussions of Lysander Spooner. Although these passages have nothing to do with Spooner’s political views, I have never seen them quoted or cited in any published discussion of Spooner, so I hereby quote them for their historical interest alone....
  7. My Cato Essays

    Gerrit Smith, Lysander Spooner, and Dio Lewis on Prohibition Smith discusses Gerrit Smith’s arguments for prohibition and the reply by Lysander Spooner, as published in a book by Dio Lewis, Prohibition: A Failure. My Libertarianism.org Essay #140 has been posted. Ghs
  8. My Cato Essays

    Final Comments on Wendell Phillips and Non-Voting Smith concludes his discussion of the no-voting theory of Wendell Phillips by explaining Phillips’s attitude toward taxes and the limits of democracy. My Libertarianism.org Essay #237 has been posted. Ghs
  9. My Cato Essays

    Anarchism Versus Limited Government Abolitionism Smith discusses how William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips differed in their approaches to non-voting. My Libertarianism.org Essay #236 has been posted. Ghs
  10. My Cato Essays

    Abolitionism and Modern Voluntaryism Smith discusses some similarities between the anti-political abolitionists and contemporary voluntaryists. My Libertarianism.org Essay 235 has been posted. Ghs
  11. My 1973 Interview with Nathaniel Branden: Behind the Scenes

    I was asked on Facebook whether I still had a copy of the transcript of my original interview with Nathan. I replied: I had a transcript of the original interview for years, but I lost it in storage (with almost everything else I owned) in 1995. The interview took place in 2 parts, each 3 hours long, so the 6-hour transcript was extensive, unedited, and highly interesting. It was much different, both in tone and content, from the published interview. I did not come across as a sycophant who asked questions like "Do you plan to write about this?" and "Could you give illustrations?" I later complained to Nathan about the published interview I never gave. He replied candidly. He said that he agreed to the interviews with Reason to increase his book sales and his clientele, so he wanted something fairly simple and something that focused on his psychotherapy, not his abstract views on theoretical psychology. Here is one example. In my interview I spent a fair amount of time on how we could objectively judge the relative effectiveness of various types of psychotherapy. In this regard I mentioned "Psychotherapy: The Purchase of Friendship," a book in which William Schofield questioned whether any particular type of psychotherapy had better results than any other. Rather, the success of any method had a great deal to do with the "purchase" of a friend who would listen sympathetically to one's problems. I recall that we discussed this issue for around 30 minutes, and I thought Nathan raised some interesting points. But none of that, or anything close, appeared in the published interview. Nor did many other theoretical issues, such as my questions about Nathan's theory of volition. Most importantly, I didn't let Nathan off the hook if I thought an answer was insufficient or evasive. That's one reason I asked Roy and Tibor to participate--to ask follow-up questions in the event I missed something. They asked a few such questions, but not very many. One thing that impressed me about Nathan was the depth and extent of his knowledge of Freudianism and other schools of psychology. He was also well read in the contemporary literature. (He was very familiar with Schofied's book, for example, and had obviously given considerable thought to Schofield's points.) Lastly, Nathan freely acknowledged his uncertainty about some issues I raised. For these and other reasons, I thought the original interview I gave made him look far better than the interview he conducted with himself. But Nathan was a savvy businessperson, and he knew what he wanted. It had not been that many years since his split with Rand, and he was still attempting to establish his business and his independence from orthodox Objectivism. Nathan seemed very pleased after the interviews were over, which is why it came as such a shock when a different interview was published in Reason. Reason never sent me a copy of Nathan's version; I only saw it after publication. Had I seen it before publication, I almost certainly would have protested, or at least insisted that my name not be used as the interviewer. It really was an embarrassment--a type of "guru" interview in which the subject is never challenged..
  12. https://reason.com/archives/1973/05/01/on-self-discovery-and-self-res I happened to run across this 1973 piece from Reason Magazine, which contains an interview I supposedly conducted with Nathaniel Branden. (I also wrote the Introduction.) I say "supposedly" because the printed interview differs radically from the real one. After inviting Roy Childs and Tibor Machan to accompany me as backups in Nathan's offices on Sunset Blvd., I asked many theoretical questions, including methodological questions, about psychology. Overall Nathan did an excellent job responding to those questions, and I looked forward to having this substantive discussion published, partly because it illustrated that Nathan was a much deeper thinker in matters of philosophical psychology than his critics had given him credit for. But before the interview was published I got a phone call from Nathan. He said that some of the questions were so abstract and technical that he feared they would not be interesting to many readers. He then asked if I would consent to having him edit the interview and revise parts of it. I should have refused, but at that time I was overly deferent to Nathan, so I agreed. I never imagined the extent to which Nathan would change the interview. In truth, he virtually redid the entire thing, so the interview as printed, despite a few similarities here and there, is largely a self-interview. I was annoyed when it was published, because it comes across as a softball piece of fluff, at least on my end. Nevertheless, some of Nathan's comments are worthwhile in their own right. Another bit of libertarian trivia that you won't hear from any other source. -8)
  13. My Cato Essays

    I missed this one, #232. https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/abolitionism-violence-how-william-lloyd-garrison-was-almost-killed-mob-0 Abolitionism, Violence, and How William Lloyd Garrison was Almost Killed by a Mob Smith discusses the prevalence of violence against abolitionists during the 1830s, and how Wendell Phillips became an abolitionist. Ghs
  14. My Cato Essays

    My latest Excursions Essays, #233 and #234. https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/can-abolitionists-vote-or-take-office-under-united-states-constitution Can Abolitionists Vote or Take Office Under the United States Constitution? Smith discusses the arguments of Wendell Phillips that abolitionists should not vote or hold political office. https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/more-wendell-phillips-anti-political-abolitionism More on Wendell Phillips and Anti-Political Abolitionism Smith discusses the arguments of Wendell Phillips that abolitionists should not vote or hold political office. Ghs
  15. My Cato Essays

    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 Libertarianism.org Essay #231 has been posted. Ghs