Because of the natural inclinations of people toward covenant and contract, institutions built upon them become ever more viable, pervasive, universal and durable, and ever more capable of extending the peace and prosperity so highly cherished by men and women across the world. The prospect of universal peace and prosperity is thus shown by Heath to be inherent in the nature of humanity.

Among the most surprising results of Heath's findings are that the nature of humanity is to nurture and that, remarkably, it is from the mundane characteristics of the isolated, individual units, characteristics such as self interest, that heroic social prospects arise and become fulfilled. This apparent inexorability of human progress warrants the most profound optimism.

Two centuries before Heath, Adam Smith attributed man's social prospects to the presence of an "invisible hand" that would somehow account for the possibility of a "good" society. According to Smith, this would be an outcome of man's attempts to do well for himself because he would be guided by that mysterious "hand" to do "good" while doing well. In his last published book, the late Nobel Laureate Friedrich A. Hayek notes Smith's perspicuity: "In a world governed by pressures of organized interests, we cannot count on benevolence, intelligence or understanding but only on sheer self-interest to give us the institutions we want. The insight and wisdom of Adam Smith stand today."7

Smith's insights were quite remarkable considering the primitive state of science and technology in his time and the limitations of eighteenth-century social experience. His struggle to find meaning and order in human life in a mostly paternalistic environment is reflected in the title he chose for his most comprehensive work, Wealth of Nations. However, Smith's "invisible hand" was clearly visible to Spencer Heath's naked eye, and Heath was able to sort out the confusion resulting from Smith's unfortunate title associating wealth with nations rather than with people themselves.

Conceivably advantaged by social developments anticipated by Smith and reduced to practice since the American Revolution, Heath is now able to explain the process of how man is attaining such results by proceeding to do what he is naturally bound to do, namely, "well" for himself at no expense to the wellness of others. Heath shows how men are naturally obliged to do "good" for others as a consequence of that drive and how social progress has occurred and is continuing to occur as a historical result irrespective of "national" organizations.

Focusing on the durational properties of social events as criteria of quality, Heath was able to achieve a fundamental unity with such paragons of traditionally liberal social thinking as the Austrian school's rendition of economic behavior and Judeo-Christian religious convictions regarding ethical behavior. Encompassing both subjective-value theory with its corollary, the free market, and the principles of property (the commandments) and coercion-free exchange (the golden rule) at such a fundamental and non-sectarian level permitted Spencer Heath to explore with exquisite ease our most pressing concerns for private life and public order, human freedom and progress, peace and prosperity. He was able to describe the pathology of political behavior and its irrelevance to social process in the most elegant and convincing manner, not with poignancy and tragedy, but with beauty, grace and optimism.

In dealing with some of the most prominent institutional arrangements found in society today, Heath was able to show how they tend to work without compromise or injury to any individual person. In fact, Heath is never inclined in the slightest way toward the application of coercion as a remedy for any social insufficiency.

Readers of Citadel, Market and Altar will find at least two ways to enjoy the book. The casual reader will be pleased to contemplate Heath's prose and wisdom while browsing the book as a collection of essays. He will find Heath's visions a refreshment to his humane spirit and a nourishment to his self-esteem, engendering a sense of pride in being a member of the human race. Spencer Heath's book truly exalts and celebrates human life.

The serious student of society will appreciate Heath's systematic development of his topics as a treatise. He is advised to first digest the more abstract and philosophical material contained in the author's "Prefatory Brief' and "General Premises." In this process, he will discover the exciting possibility of a natural science of society and a corresponding social technology.


  1. Spencer Heath died on October 7th, 1963, at Leesburg, Virginia. Our comradeship was interrupted in March of 1962, however, when in failing health he left California and returned to his native Virginia.
  2. Born in Vienna, Virginia in 1876, Heath completed his technical training at the Corcoran Scientific School in Washington, D.C. and went to Chicago where he embarked on a career in electrical and mechanical engineering. In 1898 he married Johanna Maria Holm, suffragist and life-long friend of Susan B. Anthony. They made their home in Washington, where Heath worked for the Navy Department by day designing coaling stations around the world while attending National University Law School at night, eventually receiving his LL.B. and LL.M. degrees. He became a patent lawyer and associated as patent counsel and engineering consultant with numerous clients including Christopher and Simon Lake, inventors of the even-keel-submerging submarine, and Emile Berliner, inventor of the flat-disk phonograph record and the loose-contact telephone transmitter. Heath assisted Berliner by designing and building the rotary blades with which Berliner demonstrated the helicopter principle for the first time, showing that rotary blades could lift the weight of an engine. This sparked in Heath an interest in aerodynamics, and he soon established research, development and manufacturing facilities for various aeronautical specialties. Prior to World War I, he developed the first machine mass production of aircraft propellers (replacing the men who stood at a bench and carved out propellers by hand) under the "Paragon" trademark, in consequence of which his American Propeller and Manufacturing Company in Baltimore supplied more than three quarters of the propellers used by the Allied governments in that conflict. Under the name "Paragon Engineers," he developed and demonstrated at Boling Field in 1922 the first engine-powered, controllable and reversible pitch propeller. At about this time he built a home, Roadsend Gardens, on Lawyers Hill Road, Elkridge, Maryland, where he experimented in horticulture in addition to operating, until until World War II, a commercial nursery specializing in ornamental evergreens. In 1929 he sold his aeronautical patents and technical facilities to Bendix Aviation Corporation with whom he continued for two years as a research engineer, retiring in 1931 to Roadsend Gardens to concentrate on research into the foundations of the natural sciences with the aim of establishing the basis for an authentic natural science of society. In 1932 he aided Oscar Geiger in founding The Henry George School of Social Science in New York City. For several years he lectured at the School and conducted public seminars on basic community organization and social functioning in terms of reciprocal energy exchange. In 1936 he privately published a monograph, Politics versus Proprietorship, presenting proprietorship as the alternative to politics and containing the first statement of the proprietary community principle. He completed his major work, Citadel, Market and Altar, in 1946, eventually publishing it through his own Science of Society Foundation, Inc. in 1957. Heath is also remembered for Progress and Poverty Reviewed, a polemic published by The Freeman in 1953 containing a critique of Henry George's land argument; for his privately printed and circulated "Solution to the Suez" (1953); and as a poet and speaker on esthetics and creativity. He was a member of The Aero Club of America, the Newcomen Society and the Society of Automotive Engineers (serving on the Engineering Standards Committee). His articles on aeronautical engineering appeared in the Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Journal of the Franklin Institute and other technical journals. He was listed in International Who's Who 1947-1949 and Who's Who in the East 1948-1951. He made his home at Roadsend Gardens, Elkridge, Maryland, and maintained an office at 11 Waverly Place, New York City. He was survived by three daughters, Marguerite McConkey, Lucile MacCallum and Beatrice O'Connell. For further information contact his literary executor, Spencer Heath MacCallum, The Heather Foundation, Box 180, Tonopah, Nevada 89049 (E-mail address:
  3. Alvin Lowi, Jr., "An Elementary Concept of Action from a Physics Viewpoint," Heather Foundation Technical Note, November 16, 1980 (San Pedro, Calif.: The Heather Foundation, 1980).
  4. Human Action (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1947)
  5. Spencer H. MacCallum, personal communication, June 3, 1996.
  6. The recent recognition of this process at work among the long-brutalized populations of Eastern Europe and Asia provides observational evidence of the strength of Heath's theory. Were he still around to apprehend the changes now in evidence, he would not be at all surprised.
  7. Friedrich Hayek, Denationalization of Money--The Argument Refined, 3d ed. (London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1990), summary on back cover.

Alvin Lowi, Jr., professional engineer
2146 Toscanini Drive
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
telephone and telefax (310) 458-8457
Thanks to Spencer Heath MacCallum for his encouragement and many fine suggestions.

Spencer H. MacCallum
PO Box 180
Tonopah NV 89049
(702) 482-2038