We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Leftists harp about the corruption in free markets, but rarely about the corruption intrinsic to centrally-controlled or -manipulated systems (see Solyndra, or Fannie Mae, for recent American examples).
The "invisible hand" has been given a teleological interpretation, as if some benevolent agent is active in bringing about that benevolent end. For Smith the hand is simply a metaphor for a free market, a "system of natural liberty", in which individuals exchange their goods and services without the intervention of any supervising hand or authority. Only in such a system could the division of labour produce the "opulence" that would distribute the "necessaries of life" for the benefit of all. "By necessaries," The Wealth of Nations explains, "I understand, not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without." Society, the rich and the poor, employers and workers, even unto the "lowest order" — this is the "nation" in The Wealth of Nations. It is not the nation state in the mercantilist sense, but the people who constitute society. And not the "people", as contemporaries often used that word — those who play an active part in politics — but the "common people" as well, including the lower and even the lowest orders. By the same token, the "wealth" in the title is not the wealth of the state (again, as the mercantilist understood it), but the wealth, or well-being, of all the people. Only a "progressive" — that is, a free and industrious — economy, could bring about "a universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people, . . . a general plenty [which] diffuses itself through all the different ranks of society." To those who complain that if the poor shared in the "general plenty", they would no longer be content with their lot in life, Smith put the question: "Is this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people to be regarded as an advantage or an inconvenience to the society?" His answer is unequivocal — and very much in the spirit of Moral Sentiments:
Servants, labourers and workmen of different kinds make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.
America exists because of capitalism.
The first settlers were dispatched to North America by English joint-stock companies, to exploit the resources of the New World.
No potential profit, no prosperity.
That lesson should have been inculcated in every American child, and it's to America's discredit that it has not been.