… is from page 153 of the 1992 Liberty Fund edition of John Taylor‘s 1822 tract, Tyranny Unmasked; much of this powerful and insightful work is devoted to challenging the arguments of a January 1821 report of the United States Congressional Committee of Manufactures calling for tariffs to help expand industry in the U.S.:
Will the time never arrive, at which arts and sciences can be entrusted with freedom, and left to their own unrestricted exertions? We have probably fewer eminent scientific people than skillful mechanicks, compared with some European nations; would it therefore be wise to prohibit ourselves from a participation of foreign knowledge, and bestow a monopoly of the sciences upon a combination of learned men, as we propose to bestow a monopoly of the mechanical arts, upon a combination of capitalists? Are not such monopolies of an equivalent character? No, say the Committee, we will import from Europe its system of exclusive privileges, monopoly, and extravagance: this is a blessing but we will exclude her manufactures; these are a curse.
DBx: Economically uninformed people, along with rent-seekers, have been shouting “America first!” from the start. Of course, then as now, what this call really means is “Certain politically powerful existing producers first! The rest of America be damned!” And while it’s at least consistent of “Progressives” such as Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer to demand that America adopt the same system of monopoly privileges that has been used so long in Europe – the likes of Sanders and Schumer want America to adopt lots of policies from Europe – I wonder if economic nationalists such as Trump and Steve Bannon are aware of just how beholden they are to old ideas from the old world.