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The Man Versus the State

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  143 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
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 b
Paperback, 550 pages
Published November 30th 2009 by Liberty Fund Inc. (first published 1881)
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Otto Lehto
Jul 18, 2014 Otto Lehto rated it it was amazing
Only pedophiles, alas, are more hated than the so-called "social darwinists" - whose granddaddy Herbert Spencer (who coined the term "survival of the fittest") is. This is rather unfair, and sad.

Spencer was a great intellectual and an important thinker. He was, contrary to the cold and selfish image with which he is treated, a passionate believer in human progress and the virtues of voluntary human cooperation. He simply opposed all forms of COERCED cooperation under what he called a "militant"
Mad Russian the Traveller
Though this collection encompasses essays from 150 to 130 years ago concerning the consequences of State interference in society, the parallels in the loss of liberty for the individual and the growth of the over-weaning State in 19th century England are eerily similar to what has happened to us in the 20th century (and continuing in the early 21st) in America. Miseries are compounded and progress in technical and social development was slowed and stopped then and now by that great evil called t ...more
Aug 26, 2011 Karl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spencer gets an "A" for effort and being informative of the times he lives in (the redeeming social value), and I also deplore these conditions he portrays about losing rights and freedoms--but I come to a different conclusion. He believes in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. An imperfect welfare system is not the reason to abolish it because its still better than having none at all. He is very constricting in his definition of state powers and legitimate authorities. It is true that the ...more
Solid 4. Each essay in this is a winner. However, I fear that reading them might be nyquil in book format, and listening to some of them on audio was a good idea.

He draws from a huge wealth of knowledge ranging from biology, to sociology/anthropology of various native cultures, british legislative history, ancient european history, physics, etc.

This was written as the shift from classical liberalism to "progressivism" was taking place within the liberal movement, and Spencer seems potently awar
Clifton Knox
Jan 26, 2016 Clifton Knox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A primary source of modern libertarian philosophy.

You can see forerunners to the ideas expressed by Rothbard and other Austrian economists nestled within these pages. Though many claim Spencer became a proponent of the state in his later years there is nothing here to indicate that. Having just finished Social Statics I can attest that Spencer, by and large, changed little in his positions on land ownership or government. If you are a Libertarian then you are doing yourself a disservice by not
May 30, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
A collection of Herbert Spencer's essays, the most prominent 19th century English philosopher. There is a section on his ideas comparing social organization to the biology of organisms, but I didn't find it very useful so I skipped most of it. However the common sense arguments against oppressive governments are very good.

Important points in audio clips on my youtube channel soon.
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Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era.

Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies. He was "an enthusiastic ex
More about Herbert Spencer...

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“Increasing power of a growing administrative organization is accompanied by decreasing power of the rest of the society to resist its further growth and control.” 3 likes
“in the course of social evolution, usage precedes law; and that when usage has been well established it becomes law by receiving authoritative endorsement and defined form.” 2 likes
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