The theoretical demonstration of the consequences of the protective tariff and of free trade is the keystone of classical economics. It is so clear, so obvious, so indisputable, that its opponents were unable to advance any arguments against it that could not be immediately refuted as completely mistaken and absurd.
DBx: And so the matter remains to this day. There is no argument – not one – that purports to show that protectionism promotes economic prosperity for ordinary people better than does free trade that a competent economist cannot squash as easily as someone with a fly-swatter can squash an obese housefly.
The difference, sadly, is that the will to believe in the efficacy of protectionism is so potent that many people will gaze upon the motionless, flattened insect and insist that it remains not only alive and vibrant, but also is as beautiful as a butterfly, as powerful as an eagle, and as majestic as Pegasus.