… is from page 58 of Frédéric Bastiat’s 1845 essay “Reciprocity” (“Réciprocité”) as it appears in Liberty Fund’s 2017 expanded English-language edition, expertly edited by David Hart, of Bastiat’s great work Economic Sophisms and “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen” (original emphasis; footnote deleted):
It is therefore true to say that a tariff is a marsh, a rut or gap in the road, or a steep slope; in a word, an obstacle whose effect results in increasing the difference between the prices of consumption and production. Similarly, it is incontrovertible that marshes or bogs are genuine protective tariffs.
There are people (a few, it is true, but there are some) who are beginning to understand that obstacles are no less obstacles because they are artificial and that our well-being has more to gain from freedom than from protection, precisely for the same reason that makes a canal more favorable than a “sandy, steep and difficult track.”
DBx: The true protectionist – the protectionist who knows what he is about and consistently advocates protectionism – doesn’t advocate only tariffs and quantitative restrictions on imports. No. The true and consistent protectionist (admittedly, a creature as rare as fangs on a sparrow) also opposes infrastructure, telecommunications, and any other instruments and institutions that save human labor. Indeed, the true and consistent protectionist opposes even the likes of levers, pulleys, wheels, baskets, and buckets – for such tools, as with all tools, save human labor. And according to the true and consistent protectionist, the saving of human labor leads to impoverishment.