#AdamSmith isn’t just interested in educating kids. He knows we need #LifeLongLearning and #AdultEducation.
He doesn't mean university courses for adults, but rather “preparation for a better world to come.” (He means church.) (V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
So we need to know how to best fund the clergy who provide this kind of education. Direct payments from their hearers? Tax? Tithe? Salary? (V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Just as with other educators, clergy will be more zealous and hard working when they are paid directly by hearers rather than being guaranteed an income. This is why newer religions are so lively. (V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Established clergy become, like tenured faculty, gentlemen of learning and leisure, so when a “popular and bold, though perhaps stupid and ignorant” new set of religious enthusiasts crop up, the established clergy can’t outargue them.(V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Their only recourse to drive out the new sect is to call on the government to persecute and destroy them. This is pretty much the history of world religion in a paragraph. (V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The old, established ways may be more learned, they may write better. They may even be right (though Smith certainly doesn’t commit one way or another).
But they do not know how to gain followers.

Maybe they should try Twitter? (V.i.g.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The Catholic church solves this at the level of parish clergy and mendicant orders, as they rely more on direct contributions, or as Smith says “No plunder, no pay.” (V.i.g.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
#AdamSmith now just straight up quotes four full paragraphs of #DavidHume. Probably because he couldn't just title this section “Hume was right.”
Not that Hume would have objected if he had. (V.i.g.3–6) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
What Hume and Smith argue here is that while direct payments to clergy from their hearers produces a more zealous, hard working clergy, this is the exact opposite of what the legislators should want. (V.i.g.6) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
That’s because “in every religion except the true” (whatever THAT means) a zealous clergy promotes superstition, folly, and delusion because they need constant novelty to attract new followers. (V.i.g.6) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Smith agrees with all that, but *disagrees* with Hume's conclusion.
Hume thinks subsidizing a single state religion will "bribe their indolence", and because it's so dominant will render religion generally lazy and harmless. oll.libertyfund.org/title/hume-the…
#WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Smith's worry about the state privileging a single religion over others is that it will marry faction and fanaticism—unprivileged religions will continue to be zealous and also push for changes in the regime. (V.i.g.7) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Violent religious controversy and violent political faction go together. You can't unscramble that egg. (V.i.g.7) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
If you could, and if you could get rid of established state religions, you could safely have a lot of small sects, none of which would have any undue influence, and you’d have a more moderate populace and clergy. (V.i.g.8) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
If things go really well, says Smith, flourishing small sects without the privilege of political clout could even produce one of the great Enlightenment dreams: “a pure and natural religion, free from...absurdity, imposture, or fanaticism.”(V.i.g.8) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Even if you don't get that ideal result, you do get sects that aren't large and powerful enough to disturb the peace, and that’s a win all around. (V.i.g.9) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
(We, the SmithTweeters, think this section of #WealthOfNations should be taught at least as often as Locke’s Letter on Toleration. It’s possible we’re biased. But we think @jtlevy might agree.) (V.i.g.8–9) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The common people, says Smith, are morally strict. People of fashion are libertines. (V.i.g.10) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
This is because levity and wanton behavior costs a lot. It can ruin a commoner in a week.
People of fashion can keep it up for years. (V.i.g.10) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
[Look, we KNOW we should be rooting for the morally upright commoners. But the people of fashion just sound like so much more fun...] (V.i.g.10) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
This difference in class morality is why new religions originate among the common people. (V.i.g.11) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
An aristocrat is what he is, wherever he goes (pace Harry Windsor). A commoner, however, who comes to a great city, has no notoriety but also no supervision. Joining a small sect may save them from bad behavior they'd undertake otherwise. (V.i.g.12) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Sects can become too morally rigid and disagreeably anti-social. This can be addressed with public education and public diversions like museums, music, and plays, which help keep us from being gloomy. (V.i.g.14–15) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
#AdamSmith isn’t generally thought of as a guy who likes a good party, but he understands why we don’t only want but also need festivity and joy.
Smith’s not gloomy, and SmithTweeters don’t need to be either! 🥳(V.i.g.15) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
More argument against Hume: If you don’t have an established state religion, the sovereign doesn’t have to worry about the clergy. But when you do, the clergy has to be policed, and they form a strong interest group to be dealt with. (V.i.g.16–17) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
An established religion means the sovereign has to worry about the doctrines that are taught and their effect on public peace. But it means he has little influence over them other than by “fears and expectations” he can inspire in clergy. (V.i.g.18) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
But if the sovereign comes down too hard on the clergy, they gain followers by being persecuted and martyred. And though govts should use positive incentives, they always seem to choose to use negative ones. (V.i.g.19) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
This is particularly true of the French. Did you know that Smith doesn’t like the French? (V.i.g.19) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
And now...a brief history of religion in Europe:

It’s eventful. (Smith is not very nice to the Catholic church.) (V.i.g.20–38) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Smith is a fan of the presbyteries and their small benefices, because that structure prevents power grabs, encourages a modest, moral clergy, and converts people without violence—even when this becomes the established state religion. (V.i.g.38) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
When the church is too wealthy and powerful, they drain men of learning from the universities, and the universities get dumber.
Like in France. (V.i.g.39) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
One more thing against established churches: When they are supported by required tithes, the state loses revenue that could go to national defense. (V.i.g.41) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
(#AdamSmith now pauses the invention of modern economics in order to chair the church budget committee meeting. Moving on...We'll see you tomorrow!) (V.i.g.41) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets

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More from @adamsmithworks

25 Feb
Sovereigns are fancy, and they need revenue to support their fanciness. This is the entirety of part four of this chapter. (V.i.h.1–3) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
In conclusion, all these expenses in Book V Chapter 1—defense, justice, public works, education, religion, fancy sovereigns—are for the benefit of society as a whole so society should help pay for them. (V.i.i.1–6) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
When possible, it is good to find ways to make these things also help pay for themselves, though. You can’t ever expect them to cover all those costs, though. (V.i.i.1–6) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 4 tweets
23 Feb
Ah, #AdamSmith on education. Something to aggravate every. single. reader. Let’s go! (V.i.f) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Providing educational institutions is part of the duty of the sovereign, but those institutions can be made to produce some of the money needed to maintain them. We naturally do that already, because we pay teachers and endow colleges. (V.i.f.1–2)#WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
BUT Smith isn’t a fan of endowing schools.
Or at least, he has a lot of questions about how much the endowments have improved the education students get. (V.i.f.3)#WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 32 tweets
22 Feb
Yes, #adasmSmith says sovereigns should also maintain public institutions and public works that are good for society but that people won’t pay for on their own. (V.i.c.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
And yes, this category of expenses includes education, about which more later. We promise. (V.i.c.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The first kind of public works Smith is concerned with are the kind that facilitate commerce in general. Like ROADS. (V.i.d.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 36 tweets
21 Feb
Yesterday #AdamSmith outlined the first duty of the sovereign—protecting the nation from attack. The second duty of the sovereign is protecting individuals from each other aka administering justice. (V.i.b.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Just as defense gets more complicated and expensive as societies develop, so does the process of administering justice. (V.i.b.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
In nations of hunters, where there is little private property, there’s little need for complex justice. We may do violence to each other out of anger or other passions, but we really don’t give in to that very often. (V.i.b.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 34 tweets
20 Feb
Today we start the last book of #AdamSmith's #WealthOfNations.


#WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Book Five of #WealthOfNations is all about the duties of the sovereign and how to pay for them. In this first part of chapter 1, we’re talking about the cost of defense. (V.i.a) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The sovereign's duty to protect the country can only be done through military force, but how you get the money to pay for that military varies according to time, place, and circumstance. (V.i.a.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 27 tweets
19 Feb
Remember how #AdamSmith was going to explain the Mercantile and Agricultural systems? After 230 pages on the Mercantile system it’s finally time for the Agricultural! ...which gets 25 pages. (IV.ix) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
He’s got a pretty good reason for keeping this brief: A national political economy based entirely on agriculture has never existed except in the minds of French philosophers. Why spend a lot of time on it? (IV.ix.1–2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The French philosophers were 😍 with the idea of a purely agricultural system because of the favoritism shown to a purely mercantile system under Louis XIV and his minister Colbert. But both systems were out of balance.(IV.ix.3–4) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Read 38 tweets

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