… when confronted with indisputable evidence of protectionism’s costs dismisses this evidence as irrelevant because, the protectionist alleges, it is of consequences so small as to amount to “a rounding error,” and he treats whatever harms are inflicted on domestic citizens by his policies as necessary and acceptable downsides. Yet this same protectionist insists, without any compelling evidence, that the alleged benefits of protectionism are magnificently huge and glorious – benefits which include relieving select domestic producers from the need to adjust to changes in consumer demands.
The protectionist seems untroubled by the tension between the alleged lilliputian size of protectionism’s costs and the alleged brobdingnagian size of protectionism’s benefits. Similarly, the protectionist cooly and clinically overlooks the pain suffered by domestic citizens as a result of his forcibly imposed obstructions, yet justifies these same obstructions in part as being necessary to prevent other citizens from suffering the pain of having to adjust to import-influenced voluntary changes in the spending patterns of their fellow citizens.
The protectionist is not a systematic thinker; he is, instead, a master of rationalization, excuse-making, and legerdemain.