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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

… if a respected researcher or serious scholar explains that outcome X is possible if rare circumstances W, Y, and Z all hold concludes that outcome X (if it is an outcome that he fancies) is an outcome that in the real world is not merely possible – indeed not only probable – but certain. The protectionist is the worst specimen of Paul Simon’s boxer: he’s a man who hears want he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

And the protectionist commits worse error still. So fond is he of the theoretical curiosities that he does not understand, yet that he mistakenly believes justifies protectionist measures, that he carelessly accuses respected researchers and serious scholars of writing what they never wrote, saying what they never said, believing what they do not believe, thinking what they never thought, and proposing what they never proposed.

The protectionist flits opportunistically across the surface of economic thought (whenever he dare approach economic thought at all!) and confuses the crumbs that he manages to gather from his flitting as the accumulation of a profound and deep understanding.