Selling the Golden Cord

Free trade, according to the usual pundits, is an issue that divides the right. The usual pundits are, as usual, wrong. Free trade, which has never been more than an undocumented alien on the right, is an ideal that does unite much of the left. It is a point on which socialism converges with both individualism and globalism—three roads that lead to world government. This late in the 20th century, even libertarians have no excuse for not seeing the resemblance between international socialism and the multinational corporate state that is emerging, but free-traders, as opposed to those who advocate free markets and low tariffs (among whom I count myself), are a set of true believers every bit as impervious to argument and evidence as any cultist who thinks he knows God's first name or takes his scriptures from a fantasy novel.

Like most hot political issues in the United States, the trade debate is carried on with more posturing than argument. As in the debate over abortion or guns or immigration, one side misrepresents the problem and relies primarily on an argument from misdefinition; if you can believe the left, abortion is not infanticide, only a pregnancy termination; the Second Amendment was written only to arm the National Guard; and America is uniquely a nation of immigrants whose citizens have no right to control their borders or determine their future. There are people calling themselves conservative who want to kill...

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