This is volume 18 in the "Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers" series. Herbert Spencer (1820-1904) was one of the foremost philosophers of the Victorian age. For the most of his life, he was engaged in building a 'synthetic philosophy' that ranged from biology to aesthetics to politics. Spencer was a defender of the doctrine of classical liberalism, akin to contemporary libertarianism, which he elaborated to a higher degree of synthesis and internal consistency. Though a friend and admirer of John Stuart Mill, he was far from an adherent to some of the principles that Mill held dear. In particular, in the dawn of democracy Spencer found not just the dangerous illusions of the masses overcoming the rights of the individual, but a new 'divine right of parliaments', an equal enemy to individual freedom as the divine right of kings. "Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers" provides comprehensive accounts of the works of seminal conservative thinkers from a variety of periods, disciplines, and traditions - the first series of its kind.
Even the selection of thinkers adds another aspect to conservative thinking, including not only theorists but also writers and practitioners. The series comprises twenty volumes, each including an intellectual biography, historical context, critical exposition of the thinker's work, reception and influence, contemporary relevance, bibliography including references to electronic resources, and an index.
Alberto Mingardi, Director General of the Istituto Bruno Leoni, is the author of a number of books in English and Italian. Dr Meadowcroft is Lecturer in Public Policy at King's College London and the author of The Ethics of the Market (Palgrave, 2005) and co-author of Rescuing Social Capital from Social Democracy (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2007).