Liberty and the Great Libertarians

By Leef, George C. | Freeman, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Liberty and the Great Libertarians


Leef, George C., Freeman


Liberty and the Great Libertarians Edited by Charles T. Sprading Ludwig von Mises Institute * 2007 * 540 pages $36

Reviewed by George C. Leef

This book was originally published nearly a century ago in 1913 to be precise - and the Ludwig von Mises Institute has done the world a service by reprinting it. The collection is a welcome reminder of the great historical lineage of libertarian thought. It's also a treasure trove of sterling insights and pithy quotations that are every bit as applicable now as they were one, or two, or three centuries ago.

Sprading was a libertarian writer and activist. The book tells the reader nothing about him, but a bit of Internet searching reveals that he was interested in many libertarian causes. Among other things, he adamantly opposed "blue laws" and American participation in the United Nations.

The book begins with an essay by Sprading on the essence of libertarianism. He equates human progress with the gradual acceptance of liberty. The first victory was for freedom of thought. Libertarians advocated freedom for all people to think, but, Sprading writes, "Authoritarians protested that freedom of thought would be dangerous; that people would think wrong; that a few were divinely appointed to think for the people. . . ."The battle for freedom of thought was followed by battles for freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion.

Among Sprading's many insights is that government officials usually stand to gain personally from the state's expansion. "The more laws, the more ignorance of them; the more ignorance of the law, the more the laws are broken; the more the laws are broken, the more criminals there are; and the more criminals, the more policemen, detectives, lawyers, judges, and other officials that go to make up a strong and expensive government. All of this is good for government officials, but bad for the citizens who carry the load." One sees an early grasp of Public Choice theory there.

He also anticipated Murray Rothbard's analysis that the true class division in society is between producers, who are compelled to pay taxes, and the militant class of parasites who consume taxes and dominate the producers.

The bulk of the volume consists of readings from libertarian writers going back to the eighteenth century (Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson) and continuing up until the early twentieth century. There is a lot of great material, as well as some that is a little dubious. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Liberty and the Great Libertarians
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.