Up and over their heads

MC listened to the Day-Murphy debate on free trade:

I was unable to attend on Friday, but I just listened to the audio.  Excellent debate, loved the format.  Really should make anyone stretch their thinking as well as help them come to their own conclusion.  Admittedly I heard things I had not heard before and my knowledge base was expanded and continues to be with these debates. 

One point you made that “Let reason be silent when experience gainsays it’s existence”.  This seems to be the problem with most economists and Austrians is that they are so sold on their theories and their ability to come to a conclusion that is elegant reasoning, they totally miss the forest for the trees.  I think most economists lose the common man because the common man lives in the real world and knows that those elegant theories have failed to bring about a better result in reality.  The previous debate and this one has shown me that these economists are not too acquainted with real life and the practical effects free trade has had on this country. 

I did not vote to make my country poorer so as to make the rest of the world richer.  I am a Christian, but my benevolence is my decision, not one forced on me by my government.  I don’t think that is what God had in mind when he asked me to help the poor. 

Anyway, both of these debates are more instructive than anything I learned in college and infinitely more practical.  Please keep these coming.     

I wasn’t crazy about the format in practice, as it prevented either interlocutor from really pinning the other down, but I think it was both fair and useful in that it illuminated the arguments for both sides, at least for those capable of following them. I suspect it can be improved, but regardless, it wasn’t bad for a first experiment.

On the other hand, it has been rather remarkable to witness the slack-jawed astonishment of the lesser free trade advocates, who completely lack the ability to even begin processing the simplest of my anti-free trade arguments.

Who is this guy? I highly question his economic understanding.

All five of his opening arguments are extremely weak. For example, he puts forward the notion that decreased real incomes and increased indebtedness proves free trade doesn’t work. I mean, are you serious? How can anyone make such a stupid argument? As if free trade is the only determinant of real incomes and indebtedness, that domestic economic and fiscal policy has nothing to do with it? How naive must he be to think everything bad that happens domestically can only be explained by free trade. People give this Day guy too much credit.

This is further evidence of the inability to communicate across the 30-point IQ gap. The gentleman clearly doesn’t realize that he is attacking the same correlation-causation argument that I am, only he is doing so considerably less competently because he doesn’t understand that I am not making an anti-free trade argument per se, but rather, explaining the falsity of a very common free trade argument.

He makes the same mistake twice,in fact, as he also fails to understand that I am citing an empirical failure of the theoretical free trade model when it comes to quality:

The example he provides to show that protectionism promotes quality products was the example of Parmesan cheese in the EU, where producers of a definite kind of Parmesan of a cultural value get the legal monopoly on labeling the product vis-a-vis imported versions. In his opinion, the protected cheese is of much better quality.

Well, I guess that’s the case for government imposition of restrictions on trade, to ensure the nation state has high quality cheese.

Notice how free trade advocates are reliably dishonest, in that they make appeals to exceptions when it suits them and deny the legitimacy of such appeals even when the exception is valid because it disproves the free trade model. I could as easily say that one very common case for the removal of government restrictions on trade is to ensure the nation state has high-quality automobiles.

How is it intellectually legitimate for free traders to point to low-quality American autos in the 1970s as a meaningful example, but illegitimate for anti-free traders to point to high-quality Italian cheeses in the 2010s as an equally meaningful one? Especially when the latter clearly disproves the assertion that government protection necessitates lower quality goods for the domestic market.

What I found particularly amusing were those critics who simultaneously complained that I was making non-economic arguments, then insisted that my position was immoral or in violation of the human right to freely engage in economic activity. It never even crossed their mind that their arguments were considerably less economic in nature than my own.

One thing I’ve noticed is that midwits reliably fail to understand the difference between a positive argument and the critique of an opposing argument. This explains why so many people are, on the one hand, saying that my arguments are weak while so many others are impressed at how I have methodically destroyed the pro-free trade arguments. It rather reminds me of the atheist response to TIA, in which many of them expressed disappointment in the weakness of my arguments for the existence of God.

But they were only weak in that they did not exist at all. They were an altogether different creature, being critiques and debunkings of dozens of arguments against the existence of God.