September 9, 2011


Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State with Six Essays on Government, Society, and Freedom, with foreword by Eric Mack, and and introduction by Albert Jay Nook (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982).

Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics: Volume I, with an introduction by Tibor R. Machan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1978) ("What Spencer did for libertarianism is what Marx did for communism--provide it with what was to be a full-blown scientific justification, on the model of proper science prominent in his day." "Neither thinker succeeded. . . . " "Much has occurred since Spencer's time, and the free society now enjoys a better theoretical base than ever. It os philosophically well grounded today, and eventually this may come to be recognized and have an impact on concrete political and affairs. e can,nevertheless, learn a great deal from herbert Spencer . . . . Id. at 9-10 (from Tibor R. Machan's "Introduction"). "If insistence on them tends to unsettle established systems of unbelief, self-evident truths are by most people silently passe over; or else there is a tacit refusal to draw from them the most obvious inferences." Id. at 217. "In the consciousness of justice properly so-called, there is included an egoistic as well as an altruistic element--a consciousness of the claim of self and a sympathetic consciousness of the claims of others. Perception and assertion of this claim of self, cannot develop in a society organized for warfare, and carried on by compulsory cooperation. Universal paralysis would ensue if each man was free, within the limits prescribed by equity, to do as he liked. Under a despotic rule there is scope for any amount of generosity but for only a limited amount of justice. The sentiment and the idea can grow only as fast as the external antagonisms of societies decrease and the internal harmonious cooperations of their members increase." Id. at 409. "Complete truthfulness is one of the rarest of virtues. Even those who regard themselves as absolutely truthful are daily guilty of overstatements and understatements. Exaggeration is almost universal. The perpetual use of the word 'very,' where the occasion does not call for it, shows how widely diffused and confirmed is the habit of misrepresentation. And this habit sometimes goes along with the loudest denunciations of falsehood. After much vehement talk about 'the veracities,' will come utterly unveracious accounts of things and people--accounts made unveracious by the use o emphatic words where ordinary words alone are warranted: pictures of which the outlines are correct but the lights and shades and colors are doubly and trebly as strong as they should be." "Here, among the countless deviations of statement from fact, we are concerned only with those in which form is wrong as well as color--those in which the statement is not merely a perversion of the fact but, practically, an inversion of it. Chiefly, too, we have to deal with cases in which personal interests of one or other kind are the prompters to falsehood--now desire to inflict injury, as by false witness; now the desire to gain a material advantage; now the desire to escape a punishment or other threatened evil; now the desire to get favor by saying that which pleases. For in mankind at large, the love of truth for truth's sake, irrespective of ends, is but little exemplified." Id. at 433-434.).

Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics: Volume II, with an introduction by Tibor R. Machan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1978) ("It is only where the ethics of amity are entangled with the ethics of enmity, that the thoughts about conduct are confused by the necessities of compromise. The habit of aggression outside the society is at variance with recognition of the law implied by nonaggression. A people which gives its soldiers the euphemistic title 'defenders of their country,' and then exclusively uses them as invaders of other countries--a people which so far appreciates the value of life that within its bounds it forbids prizefights, but beyond its bounds frequently takes scores of lives to avenge one life--a people which at home cannot tolerate the thought of inferiority shall bear the self-inflicted evils of inferiority but abroad has no compunction in using bullet and bayonet to whatever extent is needful for conquest of the uncivilized, arguing that the inferior should be replaced by the superior; such a people must think crookedly about the ultimate principles of right and wrong. Now enunciating the code appropriate to its internal policy, it cannot entertain a consistent set of ethical ideas. All through the course of that conflict if races which, by peopling the earth with the strongest, has been a preliminary to high civilization, there have gone on these incongruous activities necessitating incongruous sets of beliefs and making a congruous set of beliefs inadmissible." Id. at 67. "Very few men . . . form opinions in which the general and the abstract have due place. The particular and the concrete are alone operative in their thoughts. Nine legislators out of ten, and ninety-nine voters out of a hundred, when discussion this or that measure, think only of the immediate results to be achieved--do not think at all of the indirect results, or of the effect which the precedent will have, or of the influence on men's characters. . . ." Id. at 216. "Pursuit of happiness without regard to the conditions by fulfillment of which happiness is to be achieved, is foolish socially as well as individually--nay, indeed, more foolish; since the evils of disregarding the conditions are not unfrequently evaded by the individual, but, in consequence of the averaging of effects among many individuals, cannot be evaded by the society." Id. at 259.).