For some “individualism” is a dirty word, an intellectual excuse for greed; for others it is the intellectual tradition that ended the slave trade and is the key to freedom in our time. Which is it? On Monday Historian Steve Davies will relay the history of this tradition; chart its waxing and waning popularity, and its course for the future.
A graduate of St Andrews University in Scotland – the Masters’ class of 1976 – he wrote a thesis on the Law and order in Stirlingshire as it applied between 1637 and 1747 for which he earned his PhD in 1984. While at St Andrews, you won’t be surprised to learn, he was a member of the Conservative Association, the Jeffersonian Association and the History Society.
By 1991 he had co-authored “A Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought“, meaning he literally wrote the book on Monday’s topic. In 2003 he wrote a second book on “Empiricism and History” a defence of the empirical method as compared to other methods such as post-modernism. (those two links are commission-bearing).
His academic career bridged the Atlantic with positions at Bowling Green State University, Ohio doing Social Philosophy and Policy; and Economic History at Manchester Metropolitan University. At Manchester he taught of variety of things appropriate for a History lecturer including the history of “Utopian and millenarian thought” and the history of the Devil. He then joined the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University in Virginia where Stephen ran seminars and outreach networks before leaving to work as Education Director for the Institute of Economic Affiars. For the IEA he helps to organise the popular Freedom Week which, like some unnamed meetings above a pub, was listed in a recent Economist article as one of the signs libertarianism is on the rise. I think it is at least true that that rise is a credit to Dr Davies, amongst others.