George H. Smith
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Smith grew up mostly in Tucson, Arizona, and attended the University of Arizona for several years before leaving without a degree; he relocated to Los Angeles during 1971. With the help of libertarian editor Roy A. Childs, Jr., he secured a contract from Nash Publishing (then located in Los Angeles) to produce a book on atheism. The finished product, his first book, Atheism: The Case Against God (1974), became one of the bestselling works on atheism published during the 20th century.
Smith has been teaching since the 1970s, first under the auspices of his own Forum for Philosophical Studies (with offices on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles), later under the auspices of the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS). For nearly twenty years, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, he spent his summers teaching political philosophy and American political and intellectual history to university students at seminars sponsored by Cato Institute and IHS.
During the 1980s, Smith worked for more than six years as the General Editor of Knowledge Products, a Nashville-based company that produced educational audio recordings in philosophy, history, economics, and current affairs. During those years, in addition to his duties as editor, Smith was also the primary scriptwriter for Knowledge Products' "Great Political Thinkers" series. These recordings have been used widely in college classrooms.
Since 1971, more than one hundred of Smith's articles and book reviews have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, the Arizona Daily Star, Reason Magazine, Free Inquiry, The Humanist, Inquiry, Cato Policy Report, Liberty, The Voluntaryist, Academic Associates Book News, Journal of Libertarian Studies, and Humane Studies Review. He writes a weekly column on libertarian and classical liberal thought for Libertarianism.org.
His published works often deal with such issues as capital punishment (which he opposes), anarchism, libertarianism, religious toleration, and atheism. He has written about William Wollaston, Herbert Spencer, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Ayn Rand, and other figures. On December 31, 2007, George Smith provided a humorous "qualified endorsement" of Republican Party candidate Ron Paul via YouTube for libertarian voters, but also one that was consistent with his published writings on electoral politics.
In 2013 Cambridge University Press published his book The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism.
- Atheism: The Case Against God. Los Angeles: Nash, 1974. ISBN 0-8402-1115-5
- "William Wollaston on Property Rights", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 2, no. 3, 1978, pp. 217–225.
- "Justice Entrepreneurship in a Free Market", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 3, no. 4 (Winter 1979): pp. 405–26.
- "Justice Entrepreneurship Revisited", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 3, no. 4 (Winter 1979): pp. 453–69.
- "Herbert Spencer's Theory of Causation", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 5 (Spring 1981), no. 2: pp. 113–152.
- Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies. 1991. ISBN 0-87975-577-6.
- "A Killer's Right to Life", Liberty, Vol. 10, no. 2 (November 1996): 46.
- "Inalienable Rights?", Liberty, Vol. 10, no. 6 (July 1997): 51.
- Why Atheism? Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000. ISBN 1-57392-268-4.
- The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- David Gordon's review of Atheism: Ayn Rand and Other Heresies in The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 10, no. 2 (Fall 1992)
- N. Stephan Kinsella's response to Smith regarding capital punishment
- Steven Strasnick. "Justice Entrepreneurship in A Free Market": Comment
- Anthony Flood's review of Atheism: The Case against God on AnthonyFlood.com
- Michael Martin's review of "Atheism: The Case Against God"