The State in Society: A Series of Public Lectures Delivered under the Auspices of McGill University, Montreal, January 23, 1939-February 10, 1939

The State in Society: A Series of Public Lectures Delivered under the Auspices of McGill University, Montreal, January 23, 1939-February 10, 1939

The State in Society: A Series of Public Lectures Delivered under the Auspices of McGill University, Montreal, January 23, 1939-February 10, 1939

The State in Society: A Series of Public Lectures Delivered under the Auspices of McGill University, Montreal, January 23, 1939-February 10, 1939

Excerpt

Adam Smith was a professor of moral philosophy. Unjustly attacked today as the apostle of laissez faire (a phrase coined by Colbert, the arch advocate of economic nationalism, and consequently of monopoly and interventionism in the processes of production and distribution of wealth) he produced a comprehensive and integrated view of the social problems of his time and exercised a profound influence on the formulation of a public policy which, among other things, was destined to make of the nineteenth century the Golden Age of peace and plenty in modern history. He wove the strands of observable fact and interpretation of social, economic, political and moral phenomena into a stout fabric and embroidered on it a pattern which the Western world was to observe for more than three-quarters of a century, only at a later date to be twisted by others into a design of public and private restrictions.

Isolationism in the curriculum, so incompatible with the comprehensive view of Adam Smith, has had the same disintegrating and narrowing effects on scholarship and teaching in the social studies as economic nationalism, so inconsistent with the substance of the Wealth of Nations, has produced in the arena of national and international affairs. Indeed, the latter may in some measure at least be but the product of the former.

Hence it was the purpose of this series of lectures to recapture a sense of the eternal unity of the social problem, to crash through and to batter down the barriers that for more than fifty years have been steadily growing between spuriously created autonomous divisions in the area of the social studies, and thus to cut across the intellectual boundaries of scholastic separatism.

To those who came here as our guests, McGill University extends its appreciation and its gratitude. And once more it acknowledges its indebtedness to The Visitor.

L. W. DOUGLAS.

McGill University, December 1, 1939.

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