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Salsman on the Anti-Capitalist Conservatives

Writes Richard Salsman in Mitt Romney’s Uphill Battle Against Anti-Capitalist Conservatives over at Forbes:

Most people assume GOP conservatives are reflexively pro-capitalist, that they embrace free markets, profit-making, and the pursuit of happiness through worldly success. But this assumption is far from the truth, as should now be evident after the anti-capitalist harangues launched at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney by the much-touted “conservative alternatives” in the race – Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.

Now conservative voters in South Carolina have through the ballot box stated that they prefer Mr. Gingrich, with his ethically challenged public and private lives, to Mr. Romney, whose personal life and professional career have been morally and productively impeccable. Evangelicals representing 60% of GOP voters in the South Carolina primary claimed to care most about family values and the sanctity of marriage, yet revealed their hypocrisy by disproportionately favoring Gingrich to Romney.

Sad to say, but conservatives and leftists alike don’t actually believe Mr. Romney’s career as a financier has been moral, because they assume the finance profession itself is fundamentally unproductive and parasitical, that it somehow saps or robs the “real” economy, which is popularly defined as that mass of common folk who work not with their minds for profits, but with their muscles, backs and callused hands for plain wages. This is the age-old Marxist myth that only manual labor creates wealth or value-added (profit). It’s one of the worst myths in the whole history of political economy, because in truth the mind is the main source of wealth; widespread ignorance of that basic truth makes people demonize financiers as exploitative thieves.

Myths aside, one of the world’s hardest jobs is that of financial capitalist, and sustained success at such work simply isn’t had by luck. It’s akin to being a consistently successful investor. Who can say this is a commonly held skill? It isn’t. The venture capitalist or private equity specialist must study and comprehend how best to allocate pools of capital (savings) to their most productive, efficient and profitable use. He must choose among thousands of potential companies, industries, and financial instruments. Most people find such work to be far too complex, too difficult, too time-consuming, and too ill-paid to undertake alone; yet most such spectators are also suspicious or even hateful toward the very few who earn millions succeeding at finance.

The profession of financial capitalist aside, it’s even more difficult today being a consistent ideological capitalist – i.e., an advocate of capitalism as a moral socio-economic system that enshrines rational self-interest, profit seeking, individual rights, the rule of law, and the pursuit of earthly happiness. Historically, capitalism is the radical system, and most religions (Marxism included) have decried it.

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