Monday, May 23, 2016

Economic Nationalism

From Chronicles:
Even in recent crises, Republican presidents have gone back to the economic nationalism of their Grand Old Party. With the Brits coming for our gold and Japanese imports piling up, President Nixon in 1971 closed the gold window and imposed a 10 percent tariff on Japanese goods.

Ronald Reagan slapped a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles being dumped here to kill Harley-Davidson, then put quotas on Japanese auto imports, and on steel and machine tools. Reagan was a conservative of the heart. Though a free trader, he always put America first. What, then, does history teach?

The economic nationalism and protectionism of Hamilton, Madison, Jackson, and Henry Clay, and the Party of Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge, of all four presidents on Mount Rushmore, made America the greatest and most self-sufficient republic in history.

And the free-trade, one-worldism of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama enabled Communist China to shoulder us aside us and become the world's No. 1 manufacturing power.

Like Britain, after free-trade was adopted in the mid-19th century, when scribblers like David Ricardo, James Mill and John Stuart Mill, and evangelists like Richard Cobden dazzled political elites with their visions of the future, America has been in a long steady decline.

If we look more and more like the British Empire in its twilight years, it is because we were converted to the same free-trade faith that was dismissed as utopian folly by the men who made America.

Where in the history of great nations—Britain before 1850, the USA, Bismarck's Germany, postwar Japan and China today—has nationalism not been the determinant factor in economic policy? Speaker Ryan should read more history and less Ayn Rand. (Read more.)

1 comment:

MadMonarchist said...

I must say I have been somewhat bewildered by so many Republicans now claiming that "free" trade and interventionism are cornerstone conservative issues. Here I was thinking that conservatives were for self-reliance and that all our biggest foreign wars were joined by Democrats. Silly me I guess.

Maybe because I recently spent quite a while up to my eye-balls in World War II books but it seems to me too many 'bogey men' are being used to stop people thinking. America First? Nazis! Economic self-reliance? That's "autarchy" that Mussolini pushed! Worried about starting World War III? Appeaser! Chamberlain! And so it goes on.

The way some Republicans talk about free trade these days, I wonder why they carry on the sanctions against North Korea and objected so to lifting sanctions on Iran...