Conservatives and liberals will fight unto eternity over whose notions of the law, society and justice are right. But the one idea owned by conservatives is the market.
For many Democrats in politics, the market–the daily machinery of the private economy–is a semi-abstraction. ~Daniel Henninger
To normal people, “the market” is a full-blown abstraction. No semi-abstractions here. Conservatives are supposed to be allergic and opposed to abstractions. Therefore, it seems implausible that conservatives “own” one of these abstractions and still remain conservatives. How does one own an abstraction anyway? Wait, I know–the market will provide the deed!
If Mr. Henninger means to say that many modern conservatives have traditionally tried, at least to some degree, to guard property rights, defend the claims of private enterprise against regulation and argue for the more effective distribution of goods and services via a relatively less regulated process of providing such goods and services, then he might say something more like that. To speak about “the market” as if it were a concrete entity in opposition to an abstraction is to take a term that is specifically designed to abstractly describe a vast, complex system of exchange and make utter nonsense of it. But then if I were trying to pretend that providing cheap labour for business interests (a.k.a., exploitation) was a “core” American value, I would probably wind up talking a lot of nonsense in the process as well.