… is from George Ball, Undersecretary of State in the Kennedy administration, as quoted on page 523 of Douglas Irwin’s monumental 2017 book, Clashing Over Commerce:
The concept that we must protect every American industry against the adjustments required by competition is alien to the spirit of our economy.
DBx: Indeed, the concept that we must protect any American industry against the adjustments required by economic competition is alien to the spirit of a free-market, competitive economy. Thus, protectionism – which in theory is little more, and in practice is nothing more, than an attempt to excuse certain firms and industries from the need to play by the rules of a competitive economy – is alien to the spirit of the American economy.
Protectionism is institutionalized rule-breaking camouflaged as compassion or clever strategizing. (The camouflage is flimsy and laughable for those with eyes to see and with minds to reason. It does, however, seem to fool many others.)