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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 111-112 of the 1990 Transaction Publishers reprint of W.H. Hutt’s 1936 book, Economists and the Public:

The apologists, academic and otherwise, for the doctrine of Protection have derived their convictions, more or less unconsciously, from the power-thought of those whose privileges or advantages were in danger; and the conspicuousness of Protectionist publicists has in itself been a result of power-thought; they have been selected and quoted by the politicians and producing interests whose contentions they supported. There are countless false but superficially convincing notions and arguments which can be brought into the field to aid the defence of private profit as enhanced by tariffs: the necessity for ‘creating employment’, the necessity for protecting the home standard of living, the necessity for maintaining the balance of trade, the economic and political advantage of ‘national self-sufficiency’, and so forth. But the economist can make a list of arguments of this kind that are gravely used by intelligent and eminent politicians, arguments which regularly appear in the columns of leading newspapers, journals and reviews; and he will find them all so easily capable of refutation by elementary logic that the nature of power-thought is thrown into clear light. It becomes obvious that these ideas are either insincere, deliberately propagated with the idea of gulling an ignorant electorate, or else (and we believe that this is the more important explanation), that the presence of vested interests makes it possible for the feeblest reasoning to be grasped at as effective confirmation for the conviction of most people that what leads to their profit cannot possibly hurt the community.