Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903) was an English philosopher, classical liberal political theorist, and sociological theorist. He 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 wrote many works, including Social Statistics, which Murray Rothbard considered “the greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written.” He is often vilified by the Left as a “Social Darwinist”, but his ideas towards “survival of the fittest” were based on voluntary mate choices rather than state-enforced eugenics practices, which are the legacy of Fabians and Progressives. He considered himself a feminist and supported voluntary labour unions.
“Survival of the fittest”:
“It cannot but happen that those individuals whose functions are most out of equilibrium with the modified aggregate of external forces, will be those to die; and that those will survive whose functions happen to be most nearly in equilibrium with the modified aggregate of external forces.
But this survival of the fittest, implies multiplication of the fittest.”
“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.”
“Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.”
“No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.”
“Every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberties by every other man.”
“Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries, or distinctions of race.”
On equality of the sexes:
“Equity knows no difference of sex. In its vocabulary the word man must be understood in a generic, and not in a specific sense.”
On the State:
“Strong as it looks at the outset, State-agency perpetually disappoints every one. Puny as are its first stages, private efforts daily achieve results that astound the world.”
“Old forms of government finally grow so oppressive, that they must be thrown off even at the risk of reigns of terror.”
“When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”