iinVIEWSnBefore You Bet Against the Market . . .nThey’re wiping out our industries,” said my southernnCalifornia friend, staring moodily out across thenPacific ocean beyond which They — the Japanesepresumablynlurking even as he spoke.nby Peter Brimelown-weren”They’re buying up all our land,” confirmed his wife.n”Of course, we’re so stupid, we just let them.”n”They need another earthquake over there,” her brotherin-lawnjoked darkly. “That would give us a chance.”nI felt mildly embarrassed. Not because I was an immigrantn(Britain via Canada) confronted with a raw expressionnof American nationalism. I approve of nationalism. I thinknit’s intrinsic to the nature of man and fundamental to worldnpolitical order. The Americans have not really underwrittennthe security of the free world — and the British and Canadiansncertainly did not go to war in 1939 — because of antheoretical understanding of the demerits of the totalitariannstate.nI particularly approve of American nationalism in southernnCalifornia. The transformation of the American Southwestnby legal and illegal immigration, entirely because ofnofficial passivity, strikes me as one of the most astoundingndevelopments of contemporary history. My friends have realnreason to feel that their way of life is threatened.nBut healthy emotion can be perverted. Chickens afternpecking their way out of the egg can supposedly fall in lovenwith footballs or whatever their eye first lights upon.nSimilarly, nationalists can fall in love with protectionism.nThey become deaf to all economists’ eloquent explanationsnPeter Brimelow is a senior editor of Forbes in New Yorknand a columnist for The Times (London) and ThenFinancial Post (Toronto). He is the author of The PatriotnGame: Canada and the Canadian Question Revisitedn(Hoover Institute/Key Porter).n16/CHRONICLESnnnthat the policy works paradoxically and ultimately weakensnthe very economy it’s supposed to benefit.nBecause to anyone drilled in classical economic principles,nmy friends’ reactions were simply fallacious. Individualnindustries may be wiped out—but American consumersnbenefit overall from the lower import prices. Foreign investorsnmight buy land—but they can’t take it home; they arenat the mercy of American laws and taxes; and of coursensome American has walked off^ with their money. Annearthquake might topple the Japanese economy—but thatneconomy is one of the pillars of world prosperity andnAmericans would be crushed in its fall.nOf course, it’s possible to mount ingenious counterattacksnon these principles. I know: I spent much of my adolescencendoing it (see below). Over the years, though, I’ve graduallyncome to the conclusion that the free-market system hasnsimply extraordinary power — power that it’s not always easynto appreciate at first if your intellectual interests are primarilynliterary or historical. (I also think that the free market isnintrinsically bound up in the history and culture of thenEnglish-speaking world, but that’s another story.) For presentnpurposes, let me issue this warning, the result of hardnexperience: think twice, many times, before you bet againstnthe market.nThe reason I felt embarrassed was a memory from myncheckered career as a wandering WASP. I was a Britishaccentednpolemicist in Canada, writing for Maclean’s andnthe Financial Post, bashing the then-dominant Canadiann”Nationalists” for making similarly misconceived argumentsnagainst America’s economic presence. Now I’ve moved onnto America. And I find the wretched arguments havenpursued me here.nThere are some differences, however. Canada’s “Nationalists”nwere basically disguised socialists. Like socialistsn