Speaking to the dead

Yesterday, the guest of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was P J O’Rourke . He was there pitching his latest book: On the Wealth of Nations, a book about Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

I am not one to treat the “old masters” as a professional treasure, in need of constant attention and shelter. Nonetheless, I found O’Rourke disturbing, and not just for his nervous attempts at being funny. O’Rourke was “channeling” Smith. No one cares much about what O’Rourke thinks, so questions were posed to Smith. And O’Rourke diligently communicated the great Scot’s updated views on the sub-prime debacle, fiscal stimulus and the like.

I protest not because it’s unscholarly, but because it’s cryptic.

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