The world has changed a great deal since the time of Adam Smith. So much of humanity now lives in industrial or "post-industrial" societies. People in developing nations often have cell phones, while in Adam Smith's time there wasn't even a telegraph office in rich nations. Our societies are in desperate need of something beyond what Adam Smith could imagine a couple of centuries ago. Yet, in order to maintain the status quo in favor of the 1%, some of the political and economic claims we hear (sometimes alleging to be based on Adam Smith) are actually backward even from the centuries-old view of Adam Smith. Consider the following quotes.
“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable.”
“Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.”
Business groups acting against the public:
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
Higher wages affect prices less than higher profits:
“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest. Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”
“Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did and never can carry us beyond our own persons, and it is by the imagination only that we form any conception of what are his sensations...His agonies, when they are thus brought home to ourselves, when we have this adopted and made them our own, begin at last to affect us, and we then tremble and shudder at the thought of what he feels.” - from The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Government acting on behalf of the rich:
“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
These quotes go back over 200 years. We live in a changed world in which Adam Smith's preferred policies are no longer the right choice for the 21st century. (There are plenty of quotes one could take from Smith which would be similar to some conservative views.) However, we shouldn't let conservatives advocate following in Smith's footsteps, while ignoring this side of Adam Smith which contradicts some basic conservative tenets.