I tried for the dozenth time to read a bit of Adam Smith’s the Wealth of Nations, but the lack of organization to his 600 pages of ramblings made me give up. There are many pretentious people who say you need to go back to the primary sources to ‘truly’ understand things, as though understanding the idea isn’t enough unless you read it in the words of the originator. This is fallacious, and I don’t consider wikipedia, textbooks, or cliff notes inferior simply because they are streamlined. As long as the idea has been streamlined, it’s a better source.
New ideas are usually shrouded in verbosity, as with anything bleeding-edge, it takes time for people to digest ideas and make them easier to teach. As long as we are concerned with ideas, and not who said what, primary sources aren’t necessary. Most of us aren’t academics, and most of us are looking for interpretations to contemplate; we are not looking to weed through a mess of raw data, that have already been simplified.
To be fair, I suppose this cursory attitude is why I am a layman and not a scientist. I’m usually more concerned with answers than processes or questions. It’s so time consuming to confirm anything as being true (and experiments are the only way to know for sure!) It’s only when I compare my knowledge to a better informed neighbor, that I develop an inferiority complex and feel the thirst to know more, culminating in perfectionism.
But I’ve digressed….I was hoping to cherry pick some passages from the Wealth of Nations in favor of socialism; I’m sure they exist in a 600 page monstrosity! But I think only sadism can discipline someone enough to read through that book.
Who in the right mind would waste multiple evenings reading Adam Smith’s tortured writings, with a dictionary at hand? It’s just not done anymore! If he wanted to be read, he should have written it better!