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A Plea for Liberty

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0913966952
ISBN-10: 0913966959
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In a half-century of reviewing, I have never encountered a more sobering book than 'A Plea for Liberty'." --John Chamberlain, Reason

About the Author

Thomas MacKay, Editor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 563 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund Inc. (January 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913966959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913966952
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,915,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is recommended to dispel two longstanding, pernicious myths. The 19th century sociologist and philosopher, Herbert Spencer, has long been the bete noir of progressives and socialists for supporting an allegedly anarchic laissez faire policy of government non-intervention and social Darwinism. The odd thing about today's Republicans, "conservatives" or "right-wingers" is the way they seem to join with the left in denouncing Spencer and laissez faire. For instance, many Republicans staunchly defend the Democrat party's largest government programs as if they were defending their own mother: Most Republican politicians today not only refrain from attempts to abolish the New Deal Social Security program but actually express eagerness to save and preserve this Democrat expansion of the welfare state, and in doing so often reject the alleged laissez faire policies of the 1930-40s conservatives who opposed the New Deal . The mystery grows deeper when we actually read the 1930-40s opponents of the New Deal such as Ogden Mills in his anti-New Deal manifesto, The Seventeen Million, and find that this Depression-era conservative also distanced himself from laissez faire in favor of some level of intervention (Mills 1937 p.40). Even Hayek, who apparently knows the true meaning of laissez faire (Hayek 1994 p.89-90), spends some ink denouncing certain "wooden" or "dogmatic" laissez faire attitudes (p.21,41).
What might, but should not, surprise modern readers is that Spencer supported government intervention because laissez faire does not reject all intervention (1981 p.21). Indeed, laissez faire requires government intervention. Laissez faire is not anarchy because we already have a word for anarchy called "anarchy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only skimmed through most of the articles in this collection and already have enjoyed it, can't wait to read more!
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