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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

… laments the existence of markets for used goods – used goods such as used cars, used furniture and antiques, second-hand clothing, used books, pre-owned houses, and recycled metals.  After all, the greater the number of used cars for sale, the lower is the demand for newly manufactured cars.  The greater the amount of used furniture and antiques available on the market, the lower is the demand for newly produced furniture.  Ditto for other used or ‘pre-owned’ items.

Protectionists – were they in possession of that which few, if any, of them possess, namely, the ability to think consistently – would be no less opposed to the sale in the domestic economy of used goods as they are to the sale in the domestic economy of foreign-assembled goods.  Any protectionist who bought (or who even just lives in) a house that was once owned by someone else should feel deeply troubled by his or her failure to buy a new home in order to employ more domestic construction workers.  Any protectionist who bought a used car should feel similar guilt and disgrace.  Indeed, any protectionist who washes his or her own dishes and clothing in order to reuse these items should be doubled-over with anguish and remorse given that, were the protectionist instead to discard dishes and clothing after one use, he or she would increase the demand for new dishes and clothing (and retail services) and, therefore, create more jobs (at least according to the protectionist’s “logic”).

Seriously, I wonder how many are the protectionists who have guiltlessly bought used cars, who have guiltlessly bought pre-owned houses, who have guiltlessly promoted in one way or another the recycling of metals, and who without guilt refuse to discard their dishes, clothing, hand tools, and household furniture after a single use.  Indeed, how many are the protectionists who think nothing of today eating leftovers from yesterday’s dinner?!  I’ll bet the number is large – which means that there are large numbers of protectionists who haven’t bothered to explore the logic of the program that they demand be imposed by force of arms on peaceful people.