Spencer Heath

Spencer Heath

Spencer Heath (Vienna, Virginia 1876 – Leesburg, Virginia 1963) was an engineer, attorney, inventor, manufacturer, horticulturist, poet, philosopher of science and social thinker.Spencer Heath MacCallum, [http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_02_2_maccallum.pdf The Quickening of Social Evolution: Negotiating the Last Rapids] , The Independent Review - A Journal of Political Economy, Vol. II No. 2 (Fall 1997).] A dissenter from Georgist economic views, he pioneered the theory of proprietary governance and community in his book "Citadel, Market and Altar".Fred E. Foldvary, [http://Findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_2_63/ai_n6141842 Heath: estranged Georgist] , American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April, 2004. Foldvary’s writings on Heath also were published as chapter 28 of Robert V. Andelson’s book "Critics of Henry George: An Appraisal of Their Strictures on Progress and Poverty," Blackwell Publishing, 2004.] Heath's grandson, Spencer Heath MacCallum, popularized and expounded on his ideas, including in his book "The Art of Community"Spencer MacCallum: [http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/maccallum1.html Looking Back and Forward] , Lewrockwell.com, December 19, 2003.] [Spencer Heath McCallum, "The Art of Community", Institute for Humane Studies, 1970.]

Life and Technical Career

Heath graduated from the Corcoran Scientific School in Washington, D.C., studying electrical and mechanical engineering. While working for the Navy Department he earned law degrees at National University Law School. In 1898 he married Johanna Maria Holm, a suffragist and friend of Susan B. Anthony. They had three daughters.

As a patent lawyer and engineering consultant his clients included Simon Lake, inventor of the even-keel-submerging submarine, and Emile Berliner, inventor of the flat-disk phonograph record. Heath helped Berliner design and build the first rotary engine blades used in helicopters.Alvin Lowi, Jr., P.E., [http://spencerheath.blogspot.com/2006/07/legacy-of-spencer-heath.html The Legacy of Spencer Heath] , July 13, 2006.] Heath developed and first mass-produced airplane propellors, including 70 percent of the propellers used by Americans in World War I. In 1922 he demonstrated the first engine-powered and controlled, variable and reversible pitch propeller.

In 1929 he sold his patents and facilities to Bendix Aviation Corporation and retired to work on projects in horticulture and the natural and social sciences,Spencer MacCallum, [http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2005_05/maccallum-utopia.html From Upstate New York to the Horn of Africa] ", Liberty Magazine, May 2005, Volume 19, Number 5.] including research with the aim of establishing the basis for an authentic natural science of society.

His articles on aeronautical engineering were published by the Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Journal of the Franklin Institute and other technical journals. International Who's Who listed him in 1947-1949 and Who's Who in the East in 1948-1951.

Economic-Political Views

Around 1898, attracted by the Georgist’s free-trade stance, Spencer Heath became recording secretary for the Chicago Single Tax Club and participated in the movement for 40 years. He assisted in the formation of the Henry George School in New York City and conducted public seminars there on community organization in the early 1930s. School Director Frank Chodorov later fired him for straying from the Georgist line.

Heath had rejected Georgist's antipathy toward land and had come to believe that society only could outgrow its subservience to the state through a proper use of land. In 1936, he self-published his views in a monograph entitled "Politics versus Proprietorship." It was the first statement of the proprietary community principle. In 1952 The Freeman published Heath’s polemic “Progress and Poverty Reviewed”, a critique of Henry George's land argument.

Heath completed his major work, ‘’Citadel, Market and Altar’‘, in 1946, publishing it through his Science of Society Foundation, Inc. in 1957. In a review of the book Manas Journal wrote:

Mr. Heath returns to the socio-economic relationships of pre-Norman England for the foundation of an ideal society which will combine freedom and justice. This is a serious book with carefully worked-out plans and precise definitions. Mr. Heath's notion of ownership is very like Gandhi's conception of the stewardship of wealth: “In its Anglo-Saxon meaning, now only dimlyrealized, to own was to owe. Ownership was inclusive of others, not exclusive. What was owned, chiefly land, was held in trust, as it Were.” [ [http://www.manasjournal.org/pdf_library/VolumeX_1957/X-40.pdf Changing Allegiances] , Manas Journal, Vol. X, No. 43, October 23, 1957.]

In the September 15, 1970 issue of "The Libertarian Forum", (Vol. II #18), prominent libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote:

The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations, which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area, and provide all conceivable "public services": police, fire, roads, courts, etc., out of the voluntarily-paid rent. Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head; like George, Heath and MacCallum would provide for all public services out of rent; but unlike George, the rent would be collected, and the land owned, by private corporate landlords rather than by the government, and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive. The Heathian 'proprietary community' is, of course, in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.

Heath himself wrote:

To obviate the essential tyranny (coercion) of political administration the proprietary authority, suitably organized, must extend its jurisdiction, and thus its revenues, by itself supplying police and other community services without coercion, out of its own revenues and properties, and thus raise its own values and voluntary incomes.

The model for Heathian anarchism is proprietary communities, multi-tenant properties such as hotels, shopping centers, industrial parks, and apartment buildings. Multi-tenant properties are the opposite of traditional real-estate developments; the developers would lease the homes rather than sell them, and thus be responsible for providing community services to maintain rental income and land value.


Murray Rothbard based much of his criticism of Henry George on Spencer Heath’s writings. These in turn have influenced many libertarians. He also mentioned Heath’s views on community a number of times in his book "Man, Economy and State". [Murray Rothbard, "Man, Economy, and State" Scholars Edition, Mises Institute, Auburn, AL, 2004, 565, 660, 670, 891, 936, 1131, 1203, 1204, 1207-08, 1281.]

Heathian anarchism has been the model for intentional community and "new country" projects such as Werner K. Stiefel’s 1970s motel community and “Atlantis” projects. [Spencer H. MacCallum, [http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/maccallum2.html Werner K. Stiefel ’s Pursuit of a Practicum of Freedom] , LewRockwell.com, June 16, 2006.]

Heath’s grandson Spencer Heath MacCallum hold’s Heath’s papers in the Heather Foundation, of which MacCullum is director. [ [http://www.logan.com/afi/lowi.html The Phoenix Forum sponsors list] ] Heath was good friends with, and exchanged free market insights with, alternative monetary theorist E.C. Riegel whose papers also are held by the Foundation. [E.C. Riegel, [http://www.newapproachtofreedom.info/ffi/editorial.html "The New Approach to Freedom"] , Editorial preface by Spencer MacCallum, San Pedro, CA, The Heather Foundation, 1979 edition.]

MacCallum has built upon and promoted his grandfather’s ideas of proprietary community in his 1970 booklet "The Art of Community" and many articles, including hsi 2003 articles "The Enterprise of Community: Market Competition, Land, and Environment" [Spencer H. MacCallum, [http://home.arcor.de/danneskjoeld/F/E/T/CommunitySHM_.htm The Enterprise of Community: Market Competition, Land, and Environment] ", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Volume 17, no. 4, Fall 2003, 1-16, published by Ludwig von Mises Institute, Slightly amended by the author, June 2004.] and "Looking Back and Forward" (which describes the influence of his grandfather) and his 2005 article on stateless social organization "From Upstate New York to the Horn of Africa."

Heath’s views on rent were discussed in John Chamberlain’s 1959 book "The Roots of Capitalism" [John Chamberlain, "The Roots of Capitalism," D. Van Nostrand, Princeton, 1959, 92-3, 214-5.] and Gus Dizerega’s year 2000 book "Persuasion, Power, and Polity: A Theory of Democratic Self-Organization." [Gus Dizerega, "Persuasion, Power, and Polity: A Theory of Democratic Self-Organization," ICS Press, Cresskill, NJ, 2000, 319, 326.] His views on community were discussed in John McClaughrey’s 1995 article “Private Idahoes” in Reason Magazine [John McClaughry, [http://www.reason.com/news/show/29734.html Private Idahoes] , Reason Magazine, August/September 1995.] , a chapter of the 2001 book "City and Country" called "The Completely Decentralized City: The Case for Benefits Based Public Finance" ["City and Country," edited by Lawrence S. Moss, Blackwell Publishers, Malden, MA, 2001, 406.] and Gabriel Joseph Roth’s book 2006 "Street Smart: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads." [Gabriel Joseph Roth, " [http://books.google.com/books?id=sYAxKrpSjOsC Street Smart: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads"] , Independent Institute, 2006, 319-326.]

Heathians suggest that the most practical way to create a libertarian enclave may be using leasehold rather than freehold. They point out that private single-family housing is historically quite new, and see an evolutionary trend toward the leasehold type of ownership. The term "multi-tenant income property" and the very existence of shopping malls is a phenomenon of the last 50 years. Heathians generally believe that the multi-tenant property approach will, over time, evolve to take over traditional public services such as water, sewer, and street maintenance from municipal governments. They see the Heathian landlord as protecting the individual from two different sources of aggression: criminals and governments. Land-holding firms would compete on how well they can protect their tenants from crime and taxation, a distinct improvement over monopoly government.Fact|date=March 2008

Heathian anarchism differs from the standard anarcho-capitalist private defense agency (PDA) model. The latter envisions competing security agencies in the same geographical area rather than a proprietary zone.Fact|date=March 2008



* “The Inspiration of Beauty, Human Emergence into the Divine by Creative Artistry,” 16 page pamphlet, August 1960.
* "Citadel, Market, and Altar", published by the Science of Society Foundation, Baltimore, 1957
* “Progress & Poverty Reviewed & its Fallacies Exposed,” 1952, 23 page updated pamphlet with supplementary material.
* "Private property in land explained: Some new light on the social order and its mode of operation,", published by The Freeman, 1952, ASIN: B0007FFNX2.
* "Private property in land explained: Some new light on the social order and its mode of operation," 22 page pamplet later published by "The Freeman", 1939, ASIN: B0008BV2JE.
* "Politics versus proprietorship;: A fragmentary study of social and economic phenomena with particular reference to the public administrative functions belonging to proprietorship as a creative social agency," 71 page pamphlet; reprinted by The Freeman, 1936, ASIN: B0008C4IDU.

ee also

*Spencer MacCallum
*E.C. Riegel
*Private community
*Voluntary community
*Intentional community

External links

* [http://spencerheath.blogspot.com Site devoted to the life and thought of the social philosopher, Spencer Heath]
* [http://libertariannation.org/b/propcom.htm Resources on Entrepreneurial, Private and Proprietary Communities]

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