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N. E. Marsden Headshot

Why Can't Republicans Get Behind Capitalist Self-Interest?

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I'm sick of all the palaver about Obama's so-called gifts to poor and middle-class voters. Republicans are free marketeers. Romney was virtually breastfed on Adam Smith. These people are supposed to understand capitalism.

Didn't they ever hear of the invisible hand?

What is the "invisible hand"? (They should know this.) In a nutshell, it's the aggregate outcome of millions of individuals performing the sacred capitalist rite: pursuing their own interests.

In his classic capitalist treatise, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith argued that when citizens are free to pursue their economic interests, the invisible hand (or the market) will naturally move society in a positive direction --the common good.

Contrast this with the ultimate anti-capitalist act: a middle class voter who pursues the interests of somebody else -- for example, the highroller CEO's currently demanding tax cuts from Obama (aka gifts).

For years, conservatives claimed that what's good for the upper 1 percent is good for everybody. In fomenting this gross deception, they managed to tie the "invisible hand" and undermine the natural economic order. The results are evident: The middle class is impoverished, while the rich wallow in the spoils. And Republicans are still at it.

Let's put the lunacy behind us. A middle-class vote for Obama had nothing to do with "gifts" and everything to do with being a good capitalist.

In this respect, the 2012 election was a watershed. Voters rejected monarchical elitism and returned to American values: life, liberty and the pursuit of (their own) happiness.