Internet History Sourcebooks "The Defense of Laissez-Faire", 1840 French philosopher Bernard Levy famously called 20th century Communism "Barbarism with a Human Face" back in 1977. That's inspired me to critique what we now call Libertarianism as an old barbarism disguised under a new name. It was called "Social Darwinism" for most of the 20th century thanks to Richard Hofstadter’s “Social Darwinism in American Thought” (1944). Francois Quesnay coined the term “laissez-faire” to describe it in the mid-18th century, but that name was popularized by J-B Say during his popularization of Adam Smith in France after the French Revolution (he’s also sometimes credited with “Say’s Law” aka “the Law of Markets”. “Libertarianism” came into vogue by the 1970s in the U.S. to reclaim these ideas from the label of “Social Darwinism.” Like most modern barbarisms, Libertarianism has ideological appeal. What most of its defenders or critics don’t address is the real world, real life experiences that these ideas produced. The link above is to an 1840 UK newspaper that was vigorously opposing proposed legislation to regulate (not even end!) child labor in the textile industry, which employed large number of children as young as 8 or 9 for specific tasks in which industrial accidents were routine. It has all the same old arguments that Libertarians/Social Darwinists use to this day to promote their particular barbarism of unfettered capitalism: Freedom! Liberty! Parental and Personal Responsibility! Government ALWAYS causes more problems than it solves when it tries interferes! Legislation should REMOVE interference, not add to it. See it for yourself. The Social Darwinists/Libertarians haven’t come up with one new idea since. It was wrong then and wrong now. Civilized people should not fall into the trap of debating barbarisms of any form purely on the ground of abstract theory. As the British say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!! We know of Stalin’s camps, let’s look at what these other types of barbarians have wrought.