Blogs > Liberty and Power > Herbert Spencer versus the Undead

Jul 21, 2004 10:17 am


Herbert Spencer versus the Undead



[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

The lies about Herbert Spencer just won't die. Like creatures in a horror movie, no matter how many times you kill them they just keep coming back. The latest recycled slander against the valiant old libertarian turns up in Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism; for one more try with the mallet and stake, see my reply here.

In other news: on LRC today, Pat Buchanan writes:"Since Henry Wallace, then, 60 years ago, no vice president has been dumped." Um ... what about Gerald Ford dumping Rockefeller for Dole in 1976?


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Kenneth R Gregg - 7/23/2004

It's quite clear that Spencer requires a good intellectual biography, updated, with current issues addressed as well. Here is a great intellectual figure that is a "must read" for every libertarian who is smeared, inaccurately described, lied about. He was a prolific, creative developer of ideas. His popular book, "Education" should still be required reading and is a foundational work on progressive education. He was a brilliant writer on epistemology and metaphysics often more akin to Ayn Rand than to any of the fellow writers of his time. A feminist who promoted intellectual territory for women--there are just so many directions that a modern biographer could take that it is more than surprising that this has not been taken on--it is a shame.
Stack's new biography of Thomas Hodgskin (a wonderful work, by the way), "Nature and Artifice," touches on Spencer's intellectual roots and provides a good introduction into the differences between Hodgskin (who was clearly influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment philosophers) and Spencer's.
Just a thought.
Ken Gregg
kgregglv@cox.net
http://classicalliberalism.blogspot.com/


David M Fitzsimons - 7/23/2004

>>Pat Buchanan writes: "Since Henry Wallace, then, 60 years ago, no vice president has been dumped." Um ... what about Gerald Ford dumping Rockefeller for Dole in 1976?<<

There is much to disagree with in the Buchanan piece, but this is somewhat picky. Buchanan was surely aware of the NR decision--perhaps even involved in it, but he probably meant to say that HW was the first *elected* VP to be dumped in recent times.