Mr. Smith’s First Derision of Government in General, +34% Into “The Wealth of Nations”

I finally found one quote deriding government in principle directly (rather than the specific actions of specific governments) in Adam Smith.  It actually derides the conservative ideal of government, whereby the public funds the private parties and lavish behavior of the nobility, the monarch’s court and the clergy (in other words, how most governments operated in Europe up until the French Revolution of 1789).

The quote is as follows: “The whole, or most of the whole public revenue is, in most countries, employed in maintaining unproductive hands.  Such are the people who compose a numerous and splendid court, a great ecclesiastical establishment, great fleets and armies, who, in time of peace produce nothing, and in time of war, acquire nothing which can compensate the expense of maintaining them, even while the war lasts.  Such people, as they themselves produce nothing, are all maintained by the produce of other man’s labor.” -Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations”.

It is a challenge to the nobles of the European elites of the time, and also, a challenge to the perpetual presence of a large standing military, capable of meddling and interfering with other people’s business, not a clarion call for Libertarianism itself (Mr. Smith does, indeed, support the government when it supports the general well being of society, economically and socially by preventing the taking of money from workers who produce to feed the greed of those who simply own).  He’d also probably have a thing or two to say about the preservation of the environment, since this wasn’t something that was in the consciousness of the people of the time in quite the same way that it is today.

Down with the falsehoods and lies!

It’s time we have some reality as the dominant mix of government and governing in general.

Time to use government policy and action add value to society, either through the prevention of natural and man-made disasters, or through the preservation of economic liberty and justice for all, not just for the increase of the excesses of the rich at society’s and the environment’s expense.

Think about it.


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