But the “saving” of Company X is a visiblernresult, whereas the correspondingrnloss to other areas of the economy is invisible:rnthus the demagogic appeal ofrnprotectionism.rnWhat of the “infant industries” argument,rnwhich holds that new industriesrncannot survive to maturity if left unprotectedrnby a tariff wall? American consumers,rnforced to subsidize this privilegedrncartel, would still be out therndifference between monopoly prices andrnfree market rates. These young industriesrnwould survive, but at the price of diminishedrnproductivity and efficiency.rnLabor, land, and capital would be divertedrnaway from their most efficacious usesrnto areas in which they are less efficient,rnproducing in this way major structuralrndistortions in the economy. In the end,rneven the owners and employees of CompanyrnX, caught up in the economicrndownturn, would lose out.rnBut this is just “theory,” Buchanan insists:rnexperience tells a different story.rnReferring us to history, he claims that therngreatest surges in American economicrnThe Great BetrayalrnDo we Americans believernin . . . a world of openrnborders and untrammeled trade,rnwhere nations fade away in thernbrilliant dawn of a new world order?rnOr do we hold to the grandrnold ideas of sovereignt)’ and independencernfor which our FoundingrnFathers risked their lives, fortunes,rnand sacred honor? If s timernto choose. Nor can the decisionrnbe put off much longer, or it willrnbe made by default. Not to decidernis to decide. . . . Unless we intervenernto halt this momentum andrnrecapture our country, Americarnwill wake up like Gulliver, tiedrndown forever, our destiny nornlonger ours to decide.”rn^Patrick ]. Buchanan on choosingrnour destiny.rndevelopment occurred during the protectionistrnera, roughly 1865 to 1914.rnThis period, however, was also a time untroubledrnby war, untouched by regulators,rnand unfamiliar with the socialrnpathology characteristic of modern life.rnThe coincidence of tariffs with generalrnprosperity proves nothing.rnWhile Buchanan advocates tariffsrnlow enough as not to dry up revenue,rnone gets the distinct impressionrnthat he opposes international trade per sernand would be happiest if it did not exist atrnall, preferring “self-sufficiency”—a goalrnwhich, in the end, seems more aestheticrnthan practical. Having quoted with approvalrnLouis XIV’s finance minister, JeanrnBaptiste Colbert, who described trade asrn”a perpetual and peaceful war of wit andrnenergy among the nations,” he opines:rn”in that war, free trade amounts to unilateralrndisarmament.” Yet trade is notrncombat but a voluntary contract inrnwhich values, not blows, are exchanged.rnIt is the essence not of war but of peace;rnnot mere theory, the giddy imaginings ofrn”cloistered intellectuals,” but plain commonrnsense. Consumers act in their ownrninterest: this is axiomatic.rnConsumer preferences must not be allowedrnto “shape the national destiny,”rnBuchanan declares. (Who, then, willrnshape that destiny: the workers at thernJames River Paper Mill—or its owners?)rnFor him, consumption itself is morallyrnquestionable, a self-indulgence permissiblernonly after a prolonged period of selfdenial:rn”Before an athlete becomes arnchampion, he must exercise, train, discipline,rnand deny himself No athlete everrnconsumed his way to an Olympicrnmedal.” And so the Buchananite programrnamounts to this: the American peoplernmust hunker down, pay monopolyrnprices to domestic producers, and adoptrna stoic asceticism.rnBuchanan claims free trade to be anrn”alien ideology,” protectionism beingrn”America’s own invention.” Yet AlexanderrnHamilton—another of the author’srnprotectionist heroes—did not invent thernso-called American System, which wasrnnot American at all but a European import.rnThe system of state-protected industryrnreached its apogee in 17th-centuryrnFrance during the reign of Louis XIV,rnunder the mercantilist dictatorship ofrnColbert. In the name of a policy thatrnmight be described as “France First,”rnColbertisme lowered the standard of livingrnof the French masses and retardedrnthe development of French industry; underrnthe pretext of preserving the linen,rnwoolen, cloth, and silk industries, Colbertrnbanned printed calicoes importedrnfrom India. To guard the privileges of therncartels and the guilds, he mobilized arncentralized bureaucracy and sent it intornthe countryside to spy on consumers ofrnthis “alien” cotton textile. (In the nextrncentury, the development of innovativerncotton textiles sparked the Industiial Revolution:rnColbert’s trade blockade is onernreason why England, not France, was therncradle of that revolution.)rn”The classical liberal views economicsrnfrom the standpoint of the individual,”rnwrites Buchanan. “The Marxist seesrnthings in terms of classes; the traditionalistrnhas an organic view of society and subordinatesrneconomics to the nation.” Butrneconomics cannot be “subordinated.”rnThe division of labor, the primacy of individualsrnas the sole economic actors, thernnecessity of trade (both foreign and domestic):rnthese are not floating abstractionsrnbut economic facts rooted in naturalrnlaw. To rebel against them is to bernguilt)’ of that “utopianism” Buchananrnsupposes to be confined to the free traderncamp.rnClearly, Pat Buchanan has reached arnturning point. His early challenge tornconservative orthodoxy in respect of thernGulf War and the “isolationist” implicationsrnof “America First” revised the modernrnconservative credo without abandoningrnit. This latest ideological excursion,rnhowever, takes him further afield andrnleaves him stranded and scrambling torndiscover a “nationalist Republican” heritagernwhose major gods are Hamilton,rnLincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt—a pantheonrnnot likely to appeal to his conservativernfollowers. Longtime readers ofrnthis magazine have been treated to sympatheticrnaccounts of regionalist and secessionistrnmovements, from Italy’srnNorthern League to the League of thernSouth in the United States. Both are disapprovinglyrnsingled out by Buchanan asrnsymptoms of the “deconstruction” of thernmodern nation-state. On the evidencernof this book, the most talented and dynamicrnleader of the American right is inrntransition. Where he will go from here isrnhard to say. Admirers, though —and Irncount myself among them — ought not torndespair: his next book, reportedly onrnAmerican foreign policy, may yet fulfillrnthe author’s promise as the standardbearerrnof the Old Right in the newrnGOP. crn32/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn