Social Statics: The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and The First of Them Developed
This edition of the young Spencer’s great philosophical work on individual and political liberty contains The Right to the Use of the Earth, as well as all the other chapters deleted by Spencer in the later edition.
“Social Statics is decidedly and unashamedly a liberal document — a classical liberal document. As such, it concerns the quality and equality of liberty. When first written in 1850, Herbert Spencer was a young rising star in the classical liberal tradition that included John Locke, Adam Smith, Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft, and would reach its flowering with John Stuart Mill and Henry George. This tradition, in decline throughout the twentieth century, was kept alive by a coterie of Georgists and rejuvenated by latter-day libertarians. “Like the discrediting of social idealism as ‘utopian’, liberal philosophers who base their analysis on natural law are dismissed as ‘old fashioned’ and ‘nineteenth century.’ Let us look beyond such derisions and consider George’s reminder to University of California students in 1877: ‘Macaulet has well said, if any large pecuniary interest were concerned in denying the attraction of gravitation, that most obvious of physical facts would not lack disputers.’ “The book you are about to explore deals not with gravity but with those other natural laws that have been disputed for millenia — because their acceptance within any society would dethrone the mighty, exalt the lowly, and “proclaim liberty throughout all the land.” — From the Foreward by Mark Sullivan