A Statue for Adam?
I’ve never been to Scotland. So I’ve never been disappointed on how hard it s to find Adam Smith’s tomb in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, Karl Marx’s monument in London is often visited, and kept in good repair.
Solution? Build a new monument to the great economist Adam Smith, the cholar whose 1776 masterwork The Wealth of Nations helped create the vibrance of the modern world.
Let’s go for it. The idea that people visit Marx’s monument to do anything nicer than throw tomatoes is still rather shocking. Marx’s ideas led, directly and indirectly, to more killings than any other person’s ideas in history. Millions and millions dead by starvation. Millions more by suppression and slaughter. All to keep the bad idea of Communism chugging along.
Adam Smith, on the other hand, stood for liberty: Limited government, private property, freedom to trade, freedom to choose. All great ideas, still relevant.
So the Adam Smith Institute’s project to build a big bronze statue of Smith in Edinburgh, near his friend David Hume’s monument, is a good idea. Go to adamsmith dot org; send money, if you like public art. This is a decent project.
And yet, and yet . . . Smith’s most famous literary touch was his phrase “the invisible hand,” a term he used to show how good, sociable things happened — even to the general well-being — when mostly selfish people traded in markets.
Wouldn’t a bit of modern art depicting that hand be more apt?
If it were truly invisible, it’d be cheaper.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.