The “free market” is one of the most powerful frames conservatives use to advance their agenda. How many times have you heard the phrase “leave it to the market” or “let the market do its work”? This argument has been applied to everything from the breakup of AT&T to social security to just about every argument conservatives have about fighting “big government”.
The reason this argument is so effective is that most people can clearly see how the “free market” has brought many good things into their lives. The idea of a “win, win” situation is understood from daily transactions. When markets function properly, people often benefit.
The issue is that certain conditions are necessary to maintain this functioning “free market”. The Rockridge Institute has one of the best summations I’ve seen of the underlying assumptions of a “free market”.