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Saving Adam Smith: A Tale of Wealth, Transformation, and Virtue by Jonathan B. Wight

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Chapter 20 A Paradox

I whirled on Smith. "That's barbaric! I can't imagine doing that!"

"Exactly," he said, yelling at me over the wind. "You can't imagine doing it. Your imagination saved you from a terrible thing. Look, there he is!"

A body in a black wet suit was on its knees in the froth, thirty yards from us. We trotted down the beach to him, Rex in the lead. The surfer stood groggily, coughing. He wobbled in to shore. Smith crowed, proud of the trick he pulled on me. "Your reaction was to an external standard which has become internalized in you. This is the reaction of the impartial spectator."

"But if the spectator is just socialization," I yelled back, "we'd all be robots. If the society were racist, I'd be that, too. Moral relativism ...

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