Apr 10, 2017
From Kevin Williamson at National Review, The Anglo-Americans:
But there was much that was said, honestly and in good faith, that left me increasingly convinced that the current expression of populism — Trump populism, in short — is simply incompatible with a politics based on property rights, individual liberty, and the traditional moral and social order and the hierarchies that sustain it. There is more to conservatism than free trade, but the argument for free trade contains within it practically the whole of conservative economic thinking and a great deal of conservative thinking beyond economics: facing reality, making choices, enduring the consequences, accepting tradeoffs, accepting responsibility. The right to trade is implicit in the right to own (and hence to control) property. A right to trade that exists at the sufferance of the sovereign is not an unalienable right with which we are endowed by our Creator. It is something else, and something less.
In his speech, Hannan said that one of the desirable outcomes of Brexit would be that with the United Kingdom once again in control of its own trade policy, it would have the opportunity to establish free trade relations with the United States in a trade pact based “on mutual product recognition rather than common standards,” meaning roughly that if you can legally sell it in London, you can legally sell it on the same terms in Los Angeles, irrespective of differences in tax policy, environmental standards, labor arrangements, or the like. This is part of what Hannan (and Frédéric Bastiat and others before him) describe as elevating the consumer interest over the producer interest — or, in more explicitly political terms, elevating the general welfare over special-interest demands. That idea is practically heresy in conservative circles at the moment, with the Right obsessed with the idea that low wages and lax regulation abroad cause hardworking Americans to be cheated out of their livelihoods by the Chinese and Mexicans . . . and Japanese, and Germans, and Dutch, and Canadians.