Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The more things change...................

Moreover, Smith suggests that our admiration for the wealthy is especially problematic because the wealthy do not in fact tend to be terribly admirable people.  On the contrary, he portrays the "superior stations" of society as suffused with "vice and folly," "presumption and vanity," "flattery and falsehood," "proud ambition and ostentatious avidity."  Hence Smith's striking claim, added in the sixth edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, that the "disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition" is "the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."

-Dennis C. Rasmussen,  The Infidel And The Professor:  David Hume, Adam Smith, And The Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

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