everywhere, they sought to get around the awkward fact thatnsocialism doesn’t work by inventing new rationales forngovernment intervention.nGenerally, socialists have replaced their efficiency argumentsnwith equity arguments. Rather than saying governmentnintervention would make the economy better, theynnow say it would be fairer—less racist, sexist, ecologicallynimpure and so on. But Canada’s socialists justified theirninterventionist itch by exploiting vague public nervousnessnabout the colossus to the south. They shamelessly abandonedntheir brotherhood-of-man principles and adoptednrhetoric that they would otherwise have been the first tondenounce as atavistic and reactionary.nIt was all hypocrisy, of course. At exactly the same time,nthe Canadian left was welcoming a new flood of nontraditionalnimmigrants and inventing reasons (“multiculturalism”)nwhy they need not assimilate to Canadian norms.nCanada’s ineffable essence, apparently, was threatened onlynby Americans — which is why I always put “Nationalist” innquotation marks.n(Notice, by the way, that I said “then-dominant.” Inn1987, the “Nationalist” hegemony in Canada was severelynshaken when they were unable to stampede the electorateninto voting against the Free Trade Agreement with the USnnegotiated by the Progressive Conservative federal government.nAs recently as four years earlier, the overwhelmingnconventional wisdom had been that any such bilateralnagreement was “politically impossible.” But in fact it was keynto the Conservatives’ re-election. I offer this encouragingnstory to those Chronicles readers who might be feelingndepressed about the pervasiveness of similar ideologicalnhegemonies in American public discourse.)nOf course, some liberals in the US have experimentednwith a similar fake nationalism, usually aimed at Japan.nCongressman Richard Gebhardt even achieved fifteen secondsnof fame with the issue while running in last year’snDemocratic presidential primaries.nBut my friends’ American nationalism is the real,nunpunctuated thing. They are stern, unbending conservativesnwhom I’ve known since we were a persecuted minorityntogether at Stanford in the closing days of the Vietnam War.nThe great glory of the American conservative movementnis that it has always been more explicitly ideological than itsnBritish counterpart. (Canada? Don’t even ask.) The principledncommitment of American conservatives to free marketsnhas been the rock, increasingly submerged, upon whichnrepeated protectionist waves have broken in recent years. Atnleast in this case, however, the rock is beginning to, well,nrock.n”Good,” many Chronicles readers will say. But I stillnthink that the Japanese themselves are the main victims ofntheir peculiar version of neomercantilism, that their tradenimbalance with the US will eventually cure itself, and that,nin the meantime, the US needs those capital imports. This isna technical issue. But there’s a real danger that the Americanneconomy could be stunted if the process is not allowed tonrun its course.nHowever, my friends’ deviationism is a reminder thatneconomics is underpinned by cultural and political values.nThe fake nationalism of the English Canadian left wasnultimately preposterous because English Canada and Amer­nica share common values, to say nothing of commonnmilitary defences.nWhich brings me to another memory: my own flirtationnwith economic nationalism. Growing up innBritain in the latter half of the 20th century was in somenways quite depressing — sort of like losing the Vietnam Warnevery other year. The country’s geopolitical position imploded.nDefeatism was utter and complete.nLooking back, Britain seemed to have been on a slipperynslope to catastrophe ever since the First World War. Butnprior to that, one politician with a sense of history had madena real and dramatic effort to seize control of the situation.nHis name was Joseph Chamberlain (the much-revilednNeville Chamberlain was his son by an American secondnwife).nJoseph Chamberlain wanted to weld together Britain andnits self-governing Dominions, such as Canada and Australia,ninto a federal union. He also wanted to reach agreementnwith Imperial Germany rather than continue to drift innalliance with France into what was clearly shaping up to benWorid War I.nAt that time, Britain had absolutely free trade. But thennew economic blocs of the American Republic and thenGerman Empire were fiercely protectionist. Chamberlainnwanted to raise British tariff barriers against them, while atnthe same time offering “imperial preference” to the Dominions.nIndeed, his grass-roots organization was called thenTariff Reform League.nIt may be at some point that an Americanntrade-off between protectionism and totalneconomic utility will be worth making—butnonly in the context of an overall politicalnprogram.nAt the age of’ 70, on the verge of taking over thenConservative Party, Chamberlain was crippled by a stroke.n”His labor was in vain,” Enoch Powell has written, “and thenyears have condemned it.” But at the time ImperialnFederation was a very live issue. And it’s.surely not fancifulnto think that something better could have been done withnBritain in this century than what actually occurred.nIt was while brooding over this episode in retrospect — wenwere solitary teenagers — that I experimented with thenarguments for economic nationalism.nOf course, I haven’t brooded about Britain for manynyears. I sincerely believe that Elijah’s mantle has passed tonthe Americans, and I’ve passed myself along with it. Doesnthis mean I lack a certain emotional commitment that wouldnbe patriotically gored by the sight of Japanese cars in the USn(or, of course, American cars in Canada)? Alternatively,ndoes it help me think clearer? I wonder.nThe way I reconcile my responses is as follows: thenprotectionism of Chamberlain’s Tariff Reform League cannonly be understood as one part of an internally-consistentnnnJANUARY 1990/17n