The Man Versus the State
Publication Year: 2012
Spencer had caught a vision of what might be in store for mankind if its potential were free to realize itself.
— Edmund A. Opitz, The Freeman
This volume contains the four essays that Spencer published as The Man Versus the State in 1884 as well as five essays added by later publishers. In addition, it provides "The Proper Sphere of Government," an important early essay by Spencer.
Spencer develops various specific disastrous ramifications of the wholesale substitution of the principle of compulsory cooperation—the statist principle—for the individualist principle of voluntary cooperation. His theme is that "there is in society . . . that beautiful self-adjusting principle which will keep all its elements in equilibrium. . . . The attempt to regulate all the actions of a community by legislation will entail little else but misery and compulsion."
Eric Mack is Professor of Philosophy at Newcomb College of Tulane University
Published by: Liberty Fund
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Title Page, Copyright
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Herbert Spencer produced four major works in political philosophy plus numerous additional and important essays. The first of these works, The Proper Sphere of Government (1842) is the least well-known. The second is Spencer's most famous systemic treatise in this area, Social Statics...
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In 1851 Herbert Spencer published a treatise called Social Statics; or, The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified. Among other specifications, this work established and made clear the fundamental principle that society should be organised...
THE MAN VERSUS THE STATE
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The Westminster Review for April, 1860, contained an article entitled "Parliamentary Reform: the Dangers and the Safeguards." In that article I ventured to predict some results of political changes then proposed. Reduced to its simplest...
THE NEW TORYISM
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Most of those who now pass as Liberals, are Tories of a new type. This is a paradox which I propose had forgotten that it was possible to persecute for differences of religion or to put down the liberty of the press, or to tamper with the administration of justice, or to rule without a Parlia ...
THE COMING SLAVERY
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The kinship of pity to love is shown among other ways in this, that it idealizes its object. Sympathy with one in suffering suppresses, for the time being, remembrance of his transgressions. The feeling which vents itself in "poor fellow...
THE SINS OF LEGISLATORS
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Be it or be it not true that Man is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that Government is begotten of aggression and by aggression. In small undeveloped societies where for ages complete peace has continued...
THE GREAT POLITICAL SUPERSTITION
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The great political superstition of the past was the divine right of kings. The great political superstition of the present is the divine right of parliaments. The oil of anointing seems unawares to have dripped from the head of the one on...
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"Do I expect this doctrine to meet with any considerable acceptance?" I wish I could say, yes; but unhappily various reasons oblige me to conclude that only here and there a solitary citizen may have his political creed modified. Of...
SIX ESSAYS ON GOVERNMENT, SOCIETY, AND FREEDOM
THE PROPER SPHERE OF GOVERNMENT
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Things of the first importance-principles influencing all the transactions of a country-principles involving the weal or woe of nations, are very generally taken for granted by society. When a certain line of conduct, however questionable may be its policy-however momentous may be its...
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From time to time there returns on the cautious thinker the conclusion that, considered simply as a question of probabilities, it is unlikely that his views upon any debatable topic are correct. "Here," he reflects, "are thousands around me holding on this or that point opinions differing from mine...
REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT-WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? (1857)
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Shakespeare's simile for adversity- Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head, might fitly be used also as a simile for a disagreeable truth. Repulsive as is its aspect, the hard fact which dissipates a cherished illusion, is presently found to contain the germ of a more salutary..
THE SOCIAL ORGANISM ( t86o)
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Sir James Macintosh got great credit for the saying, that "constitutions are not made, but grow". In our day, the most significant thing about this saying is, that it was ever thought so significant. As from the surprise displayed by a man at some familiar fact, you may judge of his general culture...
SPECIALIZED ADMINISTRATION (1871)
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I t is contrary to common-sense that fish should be more difficult to get at the sea-side than in London; but it is true, nevertheless. No less contrary to common-sense seems the truth that though, in the West Highlands, oxen are to be seen everywhere, no beef can be had without sending...
FROM FREEDOM TO BONDAGE (1891)
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Of the many ways in which common-sense inferences about social affairs are flatly contradicted by events (as when measures taken to suppress a book cause increased circulation of it, or as when attempts to prevent usurious rates...
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Page Count: 550
Publication Year: 2012