The statue and grave of Adam Smith, the 18th-century philosopher often referred to as “the father of capitalism,” has been placed on a list of historical figures slated for possible removal in Smith’s native Scotland.
Smith’s final resting place was included in a recent Edinburgh city council dossier of places that exhibit “slavery and colonialism,” as reported by The Independent. He was buried in the Canongate Kirkyard in July 1790.
Smith is primarily remembered for writing “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” published in 1759, and “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” published in 1776. The latter is considered his greatest work and also widely regarded to have laid the foundations of the free market.
The city council of Edinburgh, which is the capital of Scotland, recently reviewed the city’s alleged connections to slavery and colonialism. Smith was among the many major historical figures whose legacy is being reevaluated in the wake of the Black Lives Matter riots that swept parts of the Western world after George Floyd’s death last May. Thousands of supporters gathered at Holyrood Park in the city last year to protest the incident.
Smith was reportedly included in the list of potential offenders because he “argued that slavery was ubiquitous and inevitable but that it was not as profitable as free labour,” according to The Telegraph, which further reported:
Both Smith’s gravestone and his statue on the Royal Mile would now be considered by the council’s Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group, The Telegraph said.
Bute House, the official residence of first minister Nicola Sturgeon, and monuments dedicated to Queen Victoria, Admiral Lord Nelson and Scottish national poet Robert Burns are reportedly also included among the sites for review by the group.
Smith’s potential cancellation coincides with cities like Chicago considering the removal of statues such as one of former President Abraham Lincoln. As The Daily Wire reported:
Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer warned the increasingly aggressive cancel culture that would go after figures such as former President Abraham Lincoln will soon aim its fire at characters in the Bible.
Hemmer made his comments Friday during a segment on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” about the new Chicago Monuments Project, which will catalogue the city’s monuments and appoint an advisory committee “to determine which pieces warrant attention or action.”
Among the historical figures whose monument is being reviewed is Lincoln, whose tomb is in Springfield, Illinois.
Maintaining it was wrong for vandals to rip down and otherwise damage some of the city’s statues last summer, Shimkus said it was “equally troubling” that Chicago’s city government was entertaining the idea of removing even more to placate modern sensibilities. She quoted Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who said “memory and tradition are very, very important. It’s the vehicle of God’s revelation. To do anything to chip away at that tradition is perilous to the human project.”