Mises wrote that the “philosophy of protectionism is the philosophy of war,” and this is illustrated by the unviability of an ideology that heralds both peace and autarky: e.g. the ideology of Pat Buchanan.Tooling through his new book, which landed on my desk today, we find a blistering attack on the war on Iraq (not that he isn’t in favor of barreling ahead with it now that “we” are in it) but also a whole chapter on the urgent need to shut down the workings of the international division of labor, as if such a thing would be compatible with peace (to say nothing prosperity).
What is especially interesting is his chapter on China. He speaks of US-China trade as some sort of Cold War in which “we” should press “our” demands on “them” such that China will be somehow forced to buy more US products in exchange for which “we” will continue to buy “their” products. It seems lost on him that trade constitutes mutually beneficial exchange–so completely lost on him that he imagines the only victim of increased tariffs on Chinese imports would be China. The US can only win. You can try this at home: ask a bully to stop you from buying a product made in China and see how much better off you are.
There is really no way to say, a priori, which worldview would lead to more conflict, war, and bloodshed: the Rumsfeldian neocons or the Buchananite paleocons. At the end of his book, Pat calls for us all to sacrifice more to save our freedom, but his plan is for us to sacrifice freedom in exchange of inefficient producer cartels, high taxes, and eventual poverty and war. American conservative indeed.4:08 pm on August 26, 2004 Email Jeffrey Tucker