They have no response to the free mobility of trade argument and they know it. It’s very amusing to see how they are thrashing about and repeating their rhetorical dogma as if it is even relevant. A reader emails concerning a pair of Gene Epstein’s appearances on Tom Woods’s show:
Vox Day if you think that people should not buy foreign goods, foreign made goods, then exercise your individual sovereignty and stop buying foreign made goods. There is no argument there. The only argument is, do you have a right to not tell me to buy foreign goods. Of course you do not. But you certainly have the right to tell others, join me, in not buying foreign made goods.That’s your choice. So in a way, there should be no argument, between the likes of us and Vox Day, so long as he recognizes that he has no right to pass a law forcing us to not buy foreign made goods. So that approach, the understanding of individual sovereignty, I think is at the core of any vision that you want to live.”
– October 31, 2018
To which I respond: the concept of individual sovereignty is quite literally satanic. And a nation absolutely has the right to pass a law forcing its nationals to not buy foreign-made goods or utilize foreign-provided services, because if it does not do so, it will cease to be a nation. And every nation has the right to a) exist, and, b) defend itself.
When you had me on to address the protectionism of VOX DAY awhile back, I made the same point. My point, in this case again, is that Dan(McCarthy) is free to start a company called Buy American. A website that would sell consumer goods that are domestically produced and that back ventures that only employ American workers. He might get Ross Perot himself, who is still alive, to back it, along with the Sharks( TV Show Shark Tank). I would not participate, mainly because I regard myself as a Citizen of the World and from that position, I observe that the poor people of the world do not reside in the U.S. but in countries like China and I regard it as an inspiring win-win, that stores like Walmart can lift the living standards of Americans by selling them cheap goods, made by cheap labor abroad , while also lifting that cheap labor out of grinding $2 a day poverty.
So as a libertarian, I would have no right to object to Dan’s privately backed, buy American, American nationalism, conservatism venture. But what Dan is actually proposing, again, as VOX DAY was, as so many of the protectionists do, always, is to use the iron fist of government to force me to buy American against my will. As a flexible libertarian, I will tell Dan that he bares a very heavy burden of proof, if he wants to deny my rights in this way.
So our disagreement is hardly a level playing field, but even if there were a level playing field between us, Dan’s arguments are not convincing. So again, having established that Tom, and again, it’s the sort of thing I want us all to say to socialists and protectionists, the free market offers you the opportunity to practice your values. Get enough people to agree with you and you’ll become a powerful force in the free market. We might disagree but we have no right to object to what you are doing, so long as you do not impose the iron fist of government on us. Now, of course, now we can get to the consequentialist side of the argument….
Notice that Gene Epstein is not an American. He has no interest in the American nation. He is, to the contrary, “a Citizen of the World”. So, he has absolutely no rights that Americans need to respect. Protectionism is not merely beneficial economically, it is not merely necessary for a nation to thrive, it is a necessary policy for any nation that wishes to survive.