June 12, 2014

DAVID BOAZ: Big Business vs. Libertarians In The GOP.

This clash between politically minded businessmen and free-market libertarians is an old one. Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman wrote, “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.” 

T. J. Rodgers, the outspoken CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, worries about the corrupting interplay between business and the Republican establishment: “The political scene in Washington is antithetical to the core values that drive our success in the international marketplace and risks converting entrepreneurs into statist businessmen….Republicans claim that their party stands for free markets, but they have proven [in the Bush years] to be as big spenders as are the Democrats.” 

That’s what the liberty movement is trying to change, and business leaders who try to purge libertarian-minded office holders just confirm their suspicions.

Indeed. Though to be fair, spending in the Bush years wasn’t a patch on what’s happened since. For most of Bush’s second term, deficits were falling sharply, and were at levels that today would seem amazingly low.