misinterpreting Adam Smith

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It's not news that conservatives often misinterpret Adam Smith, but Hrafnkell Haraldsson's look at Adam Smith, Rush Limbaugh, and Pope Francis quotes Limbaugh's comment about Pope Francis making "another one of his anti-capitalism remarks." Limbaugh went on to insist that, additionally, "Obama is not a capitalist:"

This country's economy is not slowed down because of capitalism. The closest we've had to the capitalism that the Pope and these clowns are talking about is the Reagan years and looked what happened. Look at the economic boom that last practically 20 years!

Haraldsson continues the thread from a more accurate standpoint:

This would be the same Reagan who raised taxes 11 times and grew the size of government and increased military spending while cutting non-defense discretionary spending, the same Reagan who tripled the federal budget deficit. For all Limbaugh's blustering, Obama is more of a fiscal conservative than his hero Reagan. [...]

Republicans who have no problem ignoring what Jesus actually said, have no problem ignoring the fact that before The Wealth of Nations, Smith wrote, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), in which he stressed the natural compassion and empathy of human beings for one another... [...]

Smith was writing on the cusp of the Industrial Age, before all its evils became apparent, but there was enough evil even then for him to write in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that of the "disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition."

"A reading of Adam Smith shows who is the real clown here," summarizes Haraldsson, "and it is not the Pope, or President Obama, but Rush Limbaugh himself."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 11, 2015 9:24 AM.

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