Any criticism of Bain, much less a criticism of how our possible nominee ran the firm, is an attack on free markets and capitalism.  Or so we are being told.

No, it’s not.  I have been almost alone against the chorus of “Newt’s anti-capitalist”:

Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard today makes a point similar to mine, How Many Cheers for Bain?:

Yet because the free market has been under constant assault from the left for most of the last 80 years, Republicans often mount an automatic defense of it, or any of the businesses that operate within it, at the first sign of criticism. And that’s what has happened over the last few days with Newt Gingrich’s attempt to bring Mitt Romney’s days at Bain Capital to public light. There has been, in many Republican circles, something of a freak-out that anyone would dare try to paint an operation such as Bain in an unflattering light. To do so, they argue, constitutes an indictment of the free market itself.

For Republicans who are boosters of Romney, this is a perfectly understandable reaction. But I would argue that for more disinterested conservatives, there is no positive duty to mount the barricades and defend Bain from being looked at critically. Here’s why.

By painting an attack on Bain as an attack on free markets, Romney defenders and Newt critics engage in a type of argument by extrapolation, that one thing leads to another leads to another, and what we end up with is a defense that criticism of Bain is, in Last’s words, “an indictment of the free market itself.”

It’s a form of defensive argument about which they already made a movie (language warning):

You know what, I’m changing sides.  I’m not going to sit here while Republicans critical of Mitt Romney’s years at Bain badmouth the entire capitalist system and the United States of America.  I’m outta here.

Update: Some related posts by others, On Romney, Bain and Keeping Your Integrity, Let Obama Vet Mitt on Bain!


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