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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 508 of James Otteson’s excellent essay “Adam Smith and the Right,” which is chapter 29 in Ryan Patrick Hanley, ed., Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy (2016):

He [Adam Smith] is willing to allow that there might be cases in which the state should take on duties beyond those of the night watchman, but the default is against such interventions, and the burden of proof falls on those recommending them to show why an exception should be made.  And while Smith is quite skeptical of centralized institutional attempts at improving others’ lives, he seems optimistic that under the conditions of “regular administration of justice” people’s decentralized pursuits will steadily improve their lives.


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