Layers and Lenses: Remarks on Russell Roberts's How Adam ...
Ten Thousand Commandments: Adam Smiths Moral Sentiments as an Esoteric Critique of Interventionism By Daniel Klein, Mercatus, GMU & Ratio Institute The Ten Commandments 2 Commutative Justice
Not messing with other peoples stuff 3 Should I put a blanket on my horse? 4
Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute 5 175,496 Total Pages 6 Adam Smith (1723-1790)
7 The Theory of Moral Sentiments or An Essay [about how] Men naturally judge concerning the Conduct and Character, first of their Neighbours, and afterwards of themselves
8 Two relationships 1. The equal-equal relationship 2. The superior-inferior relationship 9 Encyclopedia of Diderot EXOTERIC and ESOTERIC, adj.: The first of these words signifies exterior, the
second, interior. The ancient philosophers had a double doctrine; the one external, public or exoteric; the other internal, secret or esoteric. 10 Condorcet: Wrote of thinkers in England and France covering the truth with a veil to spare eyes too weak, and leaving others the pleasure of
divining it; [and] seeming not to want more than a semi-tolerance in religion and a semiliberty in politics 11 Leo Strauss (1899-1973) 12 Arthur Melzer
13 Melzers book shows that Esotericism was widely practiced and acknowledged People debated its worthiness in the 18 th century Around 1800 it declined sharply We have lost awareness of it 14
Melzers book Explains four purposes of esotericism: Defensive Protective Pedagogical Political Provides a Beginners Guide to Esoteric Reading 15
Dissembling the true target I claim X about Y Exoteric: The apparent target is Y. Esoteric: The true target is Z. Today I treat three moments in TMS. 16 Part V of TMS Of the Influence of Custom and
Fashion -- 18 pages long -- strange and meandering 17 Question: Can custom and fashion deeply pervert moral sentiments? Answer: Deep perversion cannot infect the general style of character and behavior, but the greatest perversion can occur in particular usages.
Infanticide a practiceof [ancient] Greece 18 Final paragraph of Part V There is an obvious reason why custom should never pervert our sentiments with regard to the general style and character of conduct and behaviour, in the same degree as with regard to particular usages. ... No society could subsist a moment, in which the usual strain of men's
conduct and behaviour was of a piece with the horrible practice I have19 just now mentioned. Commutative Justice Not messing with other peoples stuff 20 A few pages earlier
Refined, civilized societies excel in the soft, amiable, humane virtues. Rude, uncivilized societies excel in the awesome, respectable virtues of self-command. Among rude and barbarous nationsthe virtues of selfdenial are more cultivated than those of humanity. 21 The savages in North Americaassume upon all occasions the greatest indifference, and would
think themselves degraded if they should ever appear in any respect to be overcome, either by love, or grief, or resentment. Their magnanimity and self-command, in this respect, are almost beyond the conception of Europeans. 22 Self-command No tenderness in love
Insensibility and contempt in duress 23 When a savage is made prisoner of war, and receives, as is usual, the sentence of death from his conquerors, he hears it without expressing any emotion, and afterwards submits to the most dreadful torments, without ever bemoaning himself, or discovering any other passion but contempt of his enemies. While
he is hung by the shoulders over a slow fire, he derides his tormentors, and tells them with how much more ingenuity he himself had tormented such of their countrymen as had fallen into his hands. ... 24 After he has been scorched and burnt, and lacerated in all the most tender and sensible parts of his body for several hours together, he is often allowed, in
order to prolong his misery, a short respite, and is taken down from the stake: he employs this interval in talking upon all indifferent subjects, inquires after the news of the country, and seems indifferent about nothing but his own situation. 25 Every savage is said to prepare himself from his earliest youth for this dreadful end. He composes, for this purpose, what they call the song of death, a song which he is to sing when he has fallen into
the hands of his enemies, and is expiring under the tortures which they inflict upon him. It consists of insults upon his tormentors, and expresses the highest contempt of death and pain. He sings this song upon all extraordinary occasions, when he goes out to war, when he meets his enemies in the field, or whenever he has a mind to show that he has familiarised his imagination to the most dreadful misfortunes, and that no human event can daunt his resolution, or alter his purpose 26
The same contempt of death and torture prevails among all other savage nations. There is not a negro from the coast of Africa who does not, in this respect, possess a degree of magnanimity which the soul of his sordid master is too often scarce capable of conceiving. Fortune never exerted more cruelly her empire over mankind, than when she subjected those nations of heroes to the refuse of the jails of Europe, to wretches who possess the virtues neither of the countries which they come from, nor of those which they go to, and whose levity, brutality, and baseness, so justly expose them to the contempt of the vanquished.
27 There is not a negro from the coast of Africa who does not, in this respect, possess a degree of magnanimity which the soul of his sordid master is too often scarce capable of conceiving. Fortune never exerted more cruelly her empire over mankind, than when she subjected those nations of heroes to the refuse of the jails of Europe, to wretches who possess the virtues neither of the countries which they come from, nor of
those which they go to, and whose levity, brutality, and baseness, so justly expose them to the contempt of the vanquished. 28 Smith continues: This heroic and unconquerable firmness is not required of those who are brought up to live in civilized societies. Refinement softens manners: the French and the Italians, the two most polished nations upon the continent An Italian, says the abbot D Bos, expresses more emotion on being condemned in a
fine of twenty shillings, than an Englishman on receiving the sentence of death. This animated eloquence, which has been long practised in France and Italy, is but just beginning to be introduced into England. So wide is the difference between the degrees of self-command which are required in civilized and in barbarous nations. 29 Final paragraph of Part V No society could subsist a moment, in which the usual strain of men's conduct and behaviour was of a piece with the
horrible practice I have just now mentioned. Why was Smith so indirect? 30 Britain banned the Slave Trade in 1807 Arthur Lee, An Essay in Vindication (1764) William Wilberforce (1759-1833)
31 Final section of TMS (VII.iv) Of the Manner in which different Authors have treated of the practical Rules of Morality Apparently about equal-equal relationships 16 pages 32
Two relationships 1. The equal-equal relationship 2. The superior-inferior relationship 33 It was observed in the third part of this discourse, that the rules of justice are the only rules of morality which are precise and accurate; that those of all the other virtues are loose, vague, and indeterminate; that the first may be compared to the rules of grammar; the
others to those which critics lay down for the attainment of what is sublime and elegant in composition 34 Aesthetics & Commutative Justice Aesthe tics
Nature of the Rules Rules for Writing Rules for Conduct (Morals) Feedback on how well your performance
accords with the rules precise and accurate Grammar loose, vague, and indeterminate rules which critics lay down for
the attainment of what is sublime and elegant in composition Commutative Justice (CJ) ALL OTHER VIRTUES! Only Negative
Negative and Positive 36 The special virtue: Commutative justice Its rules are precise and accurate Only negative (in two senses) May be forced (even among equals) indispensible
Admits of a flipside: Liberty 37 Grammarians Moralists Critics all the ancient moralists 38
Grammarians Natural jurisprudence writers Books of Casuistry Moralists Critics
39 Jurisprudence By observing all the rules of jurisprudence, supposing them ever so perfect, we should deserve nothing but to be free from external punishment. 40
Grammarians Natural jurisprudence writers Books of Casuistry Moralists
Critics 41 Casuistry of the middle and latter ages of the Christian church What seems principally to have given occasion to [casuistry] was the custom of auricular confession, introduced by the Roman Catholic superstition, in times of barbarism and ignorance. By [auricular confession], the most secret actions, and even the thoughts of every
person, which could be suspected of receding in the smallest degree from the rules of Christian purity, were to be revealed to the confessor. The confessor informed his penitents whether, and in what respect they had violated their duty, and what penance it behoved them to undergo, before he could absolve them in the name of the offended Deity. 42 Highwayman To give a trite example; a highwayman, by the fear of
death, obliges a traveller to promise him a certain sum of money. Whether such a promise, extorted in this manner by unjust force, ought to be regarded as obligatory, is a question that has been very much debated. He devotes three pages to this! 43 Highwayman Government
Cicero & St. Augustine (pirate and Alexander story) Montaigne Hobbes Algernon Sidney Barbeyrac Locke Hume Blewhitt Fielding Ferguson
44 Locke, The Second Treatise That the aggressor, who puts himself into the state of war with another, and unjustly invades another mans right, can, by such an unjust war, never come to have a right over the conquered, will be easily agreed by all men, who will not think, that robbers and pyrates have a right of empire over whomsoever they have force enough to master; or that men are bound by promises, which unlawful force extorts from them. Should a robber break into my house, and with a dagger at my throat make me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, would this give him any title? Just such a title, by his sword, has
an unjust conqueror, who forces me into submission. The injury and the crime is equal, whether committed by the wearer of a crown, or some petty villain. The title of the offender, and the number of his followers, make no difference in the offence, unless it be to aggravate it. The only difference is, great robbers punish little ones, to keep them in their obedience; but the great ones are rewarded with laurels and triumphs, because they are too big for the weak hands of justice in this world, and have the power in their own possession, which should punish offenders. 45 Smiths conclusion
Of the man who breaks the promise: his character, if not irretrievably stained and polluted, has at least a ridicule affixed to it, which it will be very difficult entirely to efface; and no man, I imagine, who had gone through an adventure of this kind would be fond of telling the story. 46 Two relationships
1. The equal-equal relationship 2. The superior-inferior relationship 47 Casuistry 10k Commandments Books of casuistry, therefore, are generally as useless as they are commonly tiresome. ... None of [their cases] tend to animate us to what is generous and noble. None of them tend to soften us to what is gentle and humane. Many of them, on the contrary, tend rather to teach us to chicane with our own consciences, and by their vain subtilties serve to authorise innumerable
evasive refinements with regard to the most essential articles of our duty. That frivolous accuracy which they attempted to introduce into subjects which do not admit of it, almost necessarily betrayed them into those dangerous errors, and at the same time rendered their works dry and disagreeable, abounding in abtruse and metaphysical distinctions Recall from WN: innumerable delusions 48 The new superstition
49 Degovernmentalization Frankness and openness conciliate confidence. We trust the man who seems willing to trust us. We see clearly, we think, the road by which he means to conduct us, and we abandon ourselves with pleasure to his guidance and direction. Reserve and concealment, on the contrary, call forth diffidence. We are afraid to follow the man who is going we do not know where. The great pleasure of conversation and society, besides, arises from a certain correspondence of sentiments and opinions, from a
certain harmony of minds, which like so many musical instruments coincide and keep time with one another. But this most delightful harmony cannot be obtained unless there is a free communication of sentiments and opinions. 50 Degovernmentalization The two useful parts of moral philosophy, therefore, are Ethics and Jurisprudence: casuistry ought to be rejected altogether
natural jurisprudence: a theory of the general principles which ought to run through and be the foundation of the laws of all nations 51 At end of TMS I shall in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the different revolutions they
have undergone in the different ages and periods of society, not only in what concerns justice, but in what concerns police, revenue, and arms, and whatever else is the object of law. 52 Three moments of dissembling the true target Infanticide slave trade Highwayman government
The books of casuistry 10k Commandments (governmentalization) 53 Esoteric writing in Smith Many moments. Condorcet: seeming not to want more than a semi-liberty in politics
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