Searching for: "Craig Deitschmann"

  • Wendy McElroy

    Civil Disobedience discusses Thoreau’s arguments for civil disobedience: the deliberate violation of laws for reasons of conscience. Thoreau’s concept is based on the belief that no law should command blind obedience and that non-cooperation with unjust laws is both morally correct and socially beneficial. The Liberator was a leading voice for abolitionism in the nineteenth century. Abolitionism called for the immediate emancipation of slaves, based on the principle that individuals own their bodies, labor, and the fruits of their labor. Abolitionists vigorously opposed gradualists, who called for phasing out slavery over a long period of time; they also opposed...read more

  • George H. Smith

    Common Sense examines how Americans defended the right to resist unjust laws and how this right of resistance was transformed into a right of revolution. It examines Thomas Paine’s views on the difference between society and government, his defense of republican government, his total rejection of hereditary monarchy, and his belief that Americans should take up arms against the English government. The Declaration of Independence articulates the principles of the American Revolution. This program discusses natural rights, government by consent, the social contract, the difference between alienable and inalienable rights, and the right of revolution against oppressive governments. The...read more

  • Adam Smith

    First published in 1776, this work is the classic statement of economic liberalism or the policy of laissez-faire and is widely considered on of the hundred greatest books of all time. Several fundamental principles or “axioms” were introduced in this work, including the division of labor, supply and demand, and free market capitalism as some of the most obvious. Smith’s political economy is primarily individualistic: self-interest is the incentive for economic action. However, he shows that universal pursuit of self-interest contributes to the public interest, a concept probably best encapsulated by John F. Kennedy when he remarked, “a rising tide raises all...read more

  • George H. Smith

    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the foundation of classical economics, and it has influenced a broad range of thinkers. In it, Adam Smith stresses the importance of the division of labor to economic progress. He criticizes the arguments for economic planning and offers a detailed theoretical and historical case for free trade. Far more than just a work on economic theory, The Wealth of Nations also contains Smith's views on philosophy, history, and political theory. This program discusses Smith's general approach to philosophy and how The Wealth of Nations fits into that approach. It then goes on to cover Smith's major themes in this lengthy and...read more

  • George H. Smith

    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is one of the most important and influential works ever published on economic theory. A masterpiece of the eighteenth-century Scottish Enlightenment, it develops a theory of social order arising from the unintended consequences of self-interested behavior. This self-regulating system of the free market, Smith contends, protects consumers from entrenched special interests and is usually harmed by government intervention. This program examines explains Smith’s major arguments and provides background necessary for comprehension. Each of the five books of The Wealth of Nations is covered in order to explain how the seemingly...read more

  • Wendy McElroy

    This presentation discusses two political documents that have changed history: Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx argues that history flows inevitably toward a social revolution, which will result in a society without economic classes, private property, or a state. This presentation examines Marx's theory and goals and the influence of other philosophers on his work. Rousseau believed that people secure their liberty by entering into an implied contract with government. His controversial explanation of social authority in Social Contract fanned the flames of the French Revolution. This presentation explores the...read more

  • George H. Smith

    Two Treatises of Government is the most famous and influential defense of limited government ever published. Written during a period of increasing opposition to the restored English monarchy, this work was published anonymously in 1689. It is a classic account of natural rights, social contract, government by consent, and the right of revolution. This presentation discusses the life of John Locke, the evolution of his ideas, and the political conflicts in seventeenth-century England which led to the writing of Two Treatises of Government. The famous Second Treatise, which contains Locke's central ideas on rights, government, and revolution, is examined in detail. Special attention is given...read more

  • Wendy McElroy

    Machiavelli wrote The Prince for his ruler as a guide for gaining and keeping power. Central themes of his essay are the relation between politics and ethics, what the best form of government consists of; the importance of the Church, and the growth of Italy as a nation-state. The word "Machiavellian" often suggests sinister motives, but some scholars question this traditional interpretation. Boétie wrote Discourse on Voluntary Servitude in sixteenth-century France during the birth of the nation-state, the rise of absolute monarchy, and intense religious and civil wars. He examines the psychology of political obedience, the structure and specific mechanisms of state authority, the motives...read more

  • George H. Smith

    Reflections on the Revolution in France is a slashing attack on the French Revolution by one of Britain's most famous statesmen. Liberty and social order, Burke argues, are maintained by the traditional rights and duties embedded in custom and law. And when these traditions are overthrown in revolutions, society is threatened with chaos, bloodshed and despotism. In Rights of Man, Thomas Paine argues that the French Revolution was based on the same principles as the American Revolution: natural rights, an implied "social contract," and the right of revolution against oppressive governments. Paine, unlike Burke, sees government as the primary threat to social order. He has little regard for...read more

  • Wendy McElroy

    This presentation examines two eloquent arguments for human liberty: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In On Liberty, the great philosopher John Stuart Mill rigorously defends individual liberty based on the concept of utilitarianism, or “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” Though his theoretical foundation rejects natural rights, he reaches a similar conclusion—that diversity in individual thought and action ultimately benefits society. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a classic, pioneering work in woman’s rights which has influenced feminists for over two centuries. It is...read more

  • George H. Smith

    Leviathan is a vigorous defense of a strong central government that was originally published in 1651, just after the English wars of 1642-49. This presentation explores the social and political turmoil during which Leviathan was written, including an examination of the radical political philosophies spawned by opposition to Stuart monarchy in England. It explains the materialistic foundation of Hobbes' philosophy and how this influenced his theory of man, society, and government. Special attention is paid to Hobbes' theory of the "state of nature," the social contract, and the governmental sovereignty. The right of resistance against unjust laws and the right to liberty of conscience...read more

  • Ralph Raico

    Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat, captured the essence of nineteenth-century America in his penetrating work, Democracy in America. The democratic concept of equality was emerging as a political reality in America, and it threatened the aristocracy of Europe; it produced a society of individualists hungry for self improvement. In this classic treatise, Tocqueville weighed the advantages of democracy against its dangers. He asked: Is the tendency toward equality a tendency toward liberty? Can the majority be restrained to protect the freedom of individuals and minorities? In pondering these questions, Tocqueville presented an unsurpassed picture of American government,...read more

  • Wendy McElroy

    The US Constitution was approved by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. It was to become law only if it was ratified by nine of the thirteen states. New York was a key state, but it contained strong forces opposing the Constitution. A series of eighty-five letters appeared in New York City newspapers between October 1787 and August 1788 urging support for the Constitution. These letters remain the first and most authoritative commentary on the American concept of federal government.  Later known as The Federalist Papers, they were published under the pseudonym 'Publius,' although written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. This presentation explores the...read more