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To me, Smith advocates forming general rules of proper conduct so they are more visible to an impartial spectator, hence can be challenged, criticized. Some actions (prudential, just, beneficent, and self-disciplinary ones), he thinks are *always* approvable hence appropriate. His test seems to be to push back the question 'does my impartial spectator approve of this?' on any principle of moral judgment. And he thinks that from custom can emerge some judgments, like Grecian infanticide, founded on indefensible principles. But nonetheless, the spectator's sanction is and ought to be what makes something morally good.
Why? Isn't this circular, using an impartial spectator's pronouncements to justify an impartial spectator's pronouncements? No. To Smith, only the spectator can penetrate the warping cloak of self-deceit, so possibly set THE standard of Propriety. His argument seems like a local knowledge problem; hence Smith's absolute hatred of the man of system, and his aversion to abstract thought removed from context (eg that Stoic passage about God, 'the most sublime philosophy', and 'the smallest active duty')...which inclines me to believe he should be very cautious of abstract thought experiments like the veil of ignorance as a guide to moral practice or moral judgment.
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