What it did not do, however, was void any proposal outright, much less prove that all government activity was counterproductive. Smith held that the sovereign had a role supporting education, building infrastructure and public institutions, and providing security from foreign and domestic threats — initiatives that should be paid for, in part, by a progressive tax code and duties on luxury goods. He even believed the government had a “duty” to protect citizens from “oppression,” the inevitable tendency of the strong to take advantage of the ignorance and necessity of the weak.

John Paul Rollert, Sleight of the ‘Invisible Hand’ – NYTimes.com

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