Nice set of quotes from Adam Smith, both in the post and in the comments section. Contemporary American libertarianism is one of those endlessly fascinating creatures. A clear example of Corey Robin’s reactionary conservatism, creating something new to challenge the old for the sake of continuing the hierarchical status quo.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations:
Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters. Thus the law which obliges the masters in several different trades to pay their workmen in money and not in goods, is quite just and equitable.
Adam Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence:
The rich and opulent merchant who does nothing but give a few directions, lives in far greater state and luxury and ease and plenty of all the conveniencies and delicacies of life than his clerks, who do all the business. They too, excepting their confinement, are in a state of ease and plenty far superior to that of the artizan by whose labour these commodities…
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