The Corner

Capitalists are the Worst Salesmen for Capitalism

Kimberly Strassel has a characteristically great column this morning about how craven business executives are when it comes to defending free markets from the likes of Bernie Sanders. It reminded me of my time in the Office of Public Liaison in the Reagan White House. Public Liaison was two-way street — at least under Reagan. There were officials in charge of communicating with various groups — religious confessions, ethnic groups, the business community. Most often, the officials were there to hear the concerns of those groups, but sometimes, the administration would ask for their assistance. We found that the business groups were the absolute worst at doing anything that could be interpreted as defending free markets or capitalism. They wanted to keep their heads down, make deals, not make waves, and so forth, to the point where it became almost comical. Most of the quotes attributed to Lenin are not accurate, including the one about “When the time comes, the capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” But like the term “useful idiots,” if he didn’t say it, he should have.

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