Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dead or Invisible?

Men desire to have some share in the management of public affairs chiefly on account of the importance which it gives them. Upon the power which the greater part of the leading men, the natural aristocracy of every country, have of preserving or defending their respective importance, depends the stability and duration of every system of free government. In the attacks which those leading men are continuously making upon the importance of one another, and in the defence of their own, consists the whole play of domestic faction and ambition. The leading men of America, like those of all other countries, desire to preserve their own importance.

Adam Smith, describing in Wealth of Nations the practical underpinning of the American Revolution, and adumbrating today's Democratic fecklessness. But to be fair, Smith believed that self-interest is what animates the state -- enlightened self-interest.

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