Portrait of Adam Smith

Adam Smith on the Dangers of sacrificing one’s Liberty for the supposed benefits of the “lordly servitude of a court” (1759)

Found in: Theory of Moral Sentiments and Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1869)

This passage comes from a chapter entitled “Of the Origin of Ambition and of the Distinction of Ranks” in Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759):

Politics & Liberty

Are you in earnest resolved never to barter your liberty for the lordly servitude of a court, but to live free, fearless, and independent? (Then…) (n)ever enter the place from whence so few have been able to return; never come within the circle of ambition; nor ever bring yourself into comparison with those masters of the earth who have already engrossed the attention of half mankind before you.