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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

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… is from Book I [2], Section III, Chapter 2 (“Of the origin of Ambition, and of the distinction of Ranks”), paragraph 22 of Adam Smith’s sublime 1759 book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments [3]:

unknownAre you in earnest resolved never to barter your liberty for the lordly servitude of a court, but to live free, fearless, and independent?  There seems to be one way to continue in that virtuous resolution; and perhaps but one.  Never enter the place from whence so few have been able to return; never come within the circle of ambition; nor ever bring yourself into comparison with those masters of the earth who have already engrossed the attention of half mankind before you.

With exceptions too rare to mention or to matter, those persons who successfully seek political power are pathetic sellers of their souls.  And one of the awful ironies is that so many of us turn to such eager and crass – and pathetic – merchants of that which ought never to be sold to ‘protect’ the rest of us from trucking and bartering in goods and services the trucking and bartering of which are not only perfectly innocent, but ethically uplifting and socially productive.

The men and women who sell their souls for power over their fellow human beings have absolutely no business using the force that is at their disposal to prevent their fellow human beings from trading peacefully in whatever ways their fellow human beings peacefully choose.  Yet these soul-sellers do so.  Relentlessly.

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