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Herbert Spencer, Freedom, and Empire

March 12, 2014
6688Bryan Cheang writes in today's Mises Daily:
Accordingly, Spencer attacked the foreign military adventurism that Britain continued to engage in, since it ran counter to the spirit of liberal progress. Britain had engaged in overseas wars in India, Afghanistan, and South Africa (the Boer War), and elsewhere. He denounced the hypocrisy in imperial policy which often used euphemisms like “defensive war” to mask, what to him was the true nature of imperial aggrandizement. The following becomes clear: Spencer’s radical stance struck at the heart of the essence of empire, for it denounced the foreign occupation of colonial territories. At a time when the race for colonial lands was seen to be a prerequisite for the glory and prestige of empire, especially during the late 1800s, Spencer argued that such foreign expansionism fostered tyranny over the domestic people.

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