Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Nice Contrasting Quotations

Diane Gaston write for the Risky Regencies blog HERE:

Though Samuel Johnson described a smuggler as "A wretch who, in defiance of the law, imports or exports goods either contraband or without payment of the customs,” many would prefer the definition of Adam Smith—himself a Customs commissioner: "A person who, though no doubt highly blamable for violating the laws of his country, is frequently incapable of violating these of natural justice and who would have been in every respect an excellent citizen had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so."

I liked the selected quotation because it links ‘natural justice’ – a universal law in Natural Liberty – with actual laws of a country.

Tariffs and duties were an essential source of government revenue in Smith’s time, which is why he thought it wise to remind readers who would favour Britain ideally becoming a free port for the world’s trade, that unless another source of government revenue was to become practical, there would always be a need to have some tariffs. (Smith was not an ideologue

Also, Smith and Samuel Johnson did not get on very well, ever since Smith criticised Johnson's dictionary for its incorrect grammar, illustrated by the word 'But'!

If they ever discussed smuggling, I suspect they might have argued their differences, with Smith, the moral philosopher, presenting the Natural Law theory of jurisprudence and Johnson sounding like someone in a Church of England Pulpit.

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