Conservatives, not just progressives, often fail to remember that free market principles are not something one applies to a society. They are like gravity, always present. Adam Smith's invisible hand was a description of how things work, not advocacy for how things should work. Market principles continued within communist regimes. Governments may ignore them or try to counteract them, but they remain. Ignore or fight against them too much, as in communism, and gravity eventually brings you to earth.
The free market is not the only operating force, of course. As with gravity, other forces can be brought to bear to harness it or hold it at bay for some purpose, such as throwing a stone or building an airplane. Affection, vengeance, drive for power, moral principles - all these can work to channel or oppose the self-interest mechanisms of the market. These are in fact necessary countervailing forces, as they are often the basis of long term "self-interest" in a broader sense. We like to have family and friends, we like to believe our lives have meaning, we give up resources to build systems of law and fairness to inhabit. Corruption - a type of self-interest that does not have regard for these other forces - can harness the free market to benefit the few, leaving only scraps of value outside the centers of power. The free market will continue to work in both places, whether on the scraps or among the cronies, but these circles will then operate independently.