eight-trillion dollar economy. But the fiscal loss to Americansrnfrom immigration ranges from about 5250 per family annuallyrnin New Jersey to well over $1,200 per average Californian family.rnAnd poor Americans are more likely to be economicallyrnhurt by immigration than are the rich.rnIt is not surprising, therefore, that mass immigration is an unpopularrnpolicy. Going back well over 40 years in opinion polls,rntwo-thirds of the American people have been consistently in favorrnof less immigration, with one-tenth favoring more, and onefifthrnhappy with the existing level. More significantiy, however,rnthe better informed people are about the level of immigration,rnthe less likely they are to support it and the more likely they arernto favor a reduction. And finally—the mark of a very strong politicalrnissue—there is no competition lurking in the wings readyrnto swoop in and seize the issue once it has been shown to be arnvote-winner. As with racial preferences, the Democrats are deterredrnby the nature of their coalition from embracing immigrationrnreform.rnEven better from a Buchananite standpoint, the GOP —rnwhich seemed likely a few years ago to take up the cause of immigrationrnrestriction —has now reversed positions completely.rnIn recent months, it has legalized the status of hundreds ofrnthousands of illegal immigrants, and Senator Spencer Abrahamrn(R-MI) now proposes to increase the immigration quotarnfor skilled workers without reducing other cjuotas. As a recentrnarticle in the New Republic conceded, if high levels of legal immigrationrnare now politically entrenched, the GOP must berngiven the credit. So Mr. Buchanan has monopolistic control ofrnthe powerful immigration issue if he cares to raise it.rnYet he and his supporters have placed much less stress onrnimmigration than on protection. So how well does that play asrnan issue?rnLet me concede at once that a conservative in good consciencerncan still be a protectionist. Indeed, in the hundredrnyears up to 1945, protectionism was almost the defining characteristicrnof conservatism, since a conservative was someonernwho disliked the social upheavals caused by liberal economicsrnand who sought tariff protection as one defense against them.rnBut even classical liberals were prepared to allow some tariffrnprotection; many regarded it as simply another tax—undesirablernlike all taxes but not to be sharply distinguished from them;rnand Adam Smith accepted that some industries might have tornbe protected for strategic reasons. So I sympathize with thosernconservatives who resent being told by establishment conservativesrnthat they are illegitimate because they favor protectionism.rnThey may indeed be mistaken—as I think they are—but theyrnhave every right to call themselves conservatives. After all, conservativesrnbelieve that most of us are mistaken most of the time.rnBut what kind of political allies will protectionist conservativesrnattract? The main candidates are John Sweeney and thernleft wing of the labor movement. But examine the kind of laborrnmovement Mr. Sweeney represents. Far from rebiuldingrnAmerican nationhood, he is rebuilding the labor movementrnalong multicultural lines by recruiting immigrant workers intornthe public sector. In these circumstances, the success of protectionismrnwould strengthen not the American worker but thernleft wing of the Democratic Party, which is actively hostile tornthe idea of a united American people and to any serious kind ofrnnationalist politics. At the same time, protectionism divides thernAmerican right—and not just the grassroots from the establishment,rnas the comforting myth has it. Many good conservativesrn—notably Peter Brimelow—are free traders as well as nationalists.rnThey believe that protectionism will weaken thernAmerican economy in the long run; that other measures, notablyrnimmigration reform, would better strengthen the socialrnfabric; and that a protectionist campaign would be politicallyrnquixotic. It makes neither political nor economic sense for nationalistrnconservatives to divide the right in order to become thernjunior partner in an unpopular coalition.rnIt’s the Civilization, StupidrnThere is an alternative approach which should commend itselfrnto nationalists who have studied the real history of protectionism.rnThis is for the United States to forge a transatlanticrnfree trade agreement with the European Gommunity and EasternrnEurope (the so-called TAFTA), perhaps leading eventuallyrnto a full-scale Atiantic Economic Community. Like the expandingrncontinental economy of 19th-century America, such arnbloc would in effect combine the benefits of free trade and protectionismrn(at least insofar as the member-states maintainedrntheir existing levels of protection). Since the levels of income,rnregulation, and welfare are broadly comparable on both sides ofrnthe Atlantic, free trade between them would not cause significantrnjob loss, factory closings, or other economic upheavalsrn(though, by the same token, the gains in economic efficiencyrnwould be lower). And the trading bloc thus created would representrnsuch a large percentage of world trade —more thanrnhalf—that it could virtually dictate trading practices to Ghina,rnJapan, and the rest of the world in return for easier access to itsrnmarket.rnAlmost the only economic objection to such a deal—thoughrnMr. Buchanan might not see it as one—is that it would obstructrnprogress to genuinely global free trade achieved through thernWorld Trade Organization. But the idea that global free tradernis likely to be achieved in the next quarter-century was wildlyrnoptimistic even before the recent Asian crashes. It is now Utopianrnand therefore no longer a serious objection to Atlantic freerntrade in the medium-term. Of course, if and when an AtlanticrnEconomic Community is created, the argument between freerntraders and protectionists will presumably re-emerge aroundrnsuch questions as whether it should have a common externalrntariff and, if so, at what level. My own sympathies will be withrnthe free traders. But no conservative should feel himselfrnobliged to solve the hypothetical problems of future generations.rnWe have to leave our children something to do.rnNor is the case for an Atlantic Community limited to tradernand economics. It would have healthy effects in at least threernother areas of policy. First, it would strengthen the defense andrndiplomatic links with our European allies in NATO, linksrnwhich in recent years have been undermined by frequent traderndisputes across the Atlantic. Second, by strengthening thosernlinks, it would re-affirm America’s identity as the second greatrnbranch of European civilization and weaken as well the fissiparousrnpressures of multiculturalism described above. And,rnthird, although an Atlantic Gommunity would not mandaternfree movement of labor on the European model, its provisionsrnwould probably include some kind of immigration preferencernfor the citizens of member-states. This, in turn, would increasernthe percentage of immigrants with good education and valuablernwork-skills. It should not be (but is) necessary to add thatrnnone of this has any racial implications since neither culturesrnnor skills are genetically transmitted, and since most Atlanticrncountries already have substantial ethnic minorities which arern24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn