"Nothing can be purchased cheap of foreigners, that must be purchased at the cost of leaving our own labor unemployed and our own good raw materials unused." Peter Cooper 1883.
The Great Betrayal, by Patrick Buchanan is one of the finest defenses in print of what Buchanan calls "economic nationalism" - putting the best interests of your country first.
Buchanan demonstrates the fallacies of free trade - eviscerating the arguments advanced by its adherents. In the Great Betrayal the economic principles necessary to revitalize our manufacturing base and create millions of jobs here in the United States are established - an economic blueprint that would essentially reverse the trend of "deindustrialization" that has been decimating the jobs and wages of the middle class for the last 40 years.
This book, published in 1998, is more timely now than ever.
Moreover, it is a great book for conservatives to read and study because it teaches the true history of conservatism. Historically and traditionally the Republican Party has always embraced the tariff system. In American history it became known as the American System as advocated by Alexander Hamilton and Henry Clay. The tariff was a superior way to raise revenue and protect U.S. business from foreign companies who operate under conditions that would be illegal in the United States. Behind a tariff wall the United States became the economic superpower of the world.
I want to conclude this post with the following book review that was written by the late Rev. R. J. Rushdoony in March 1999. Rushdoony is known as one of the founders of the modern day homeschooling movement, and was a prolific writer and theologian.
This book review is noteworthy for several reasons.
First, Rushdoony reviews Buchanan's book not only from the viewpoint of economics, but also from a Christian theological perspective.
Secondly, Rushdoony, though he was greatly influenced by Austrian economic theory (free traders like Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises) he nevertheless had the intellectual honesty to depart from their teachings when confronted with the truth. Unfortunately, this cannot be said of men like Gary North (Rushdoony's son in law) who continues to promulgate the myths of free trade to the detriment of our nation.
Here is Rushdoony's review in full:
The Great Betrayal (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998) is a work of major importance by one of the finest minds on the current scene. What it has to say is of very great importance, both economically and politically. My purpose in this review is not to describe Buchanan's superb analysis but to point to its theological importance, one of major importance in our time.
It has become commonplace in this century to see free trade as basic to American and world economic advancement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Free trade is an economic concept with theological roots. Because God is the Creator of heaven and earth and all things therein, it follows therefore that basic to all meaning is the theological interpretation. Now the essential meaning of free trade is the essential goodness of men and nations, so that all things work naturally together for good, not by God's ordination, but by man's. Now it is true that economic protectionism is plainly affected by original sin, but it can have other objectives as well. Buchanan rightly points out that "global free trade" is at odds with early American thinking and is rooted in a secularism which is "a first cousin to Marxism" (174 f.). It is associated with a deep animosity towards our historic American views of church and state. Free trade represents a shift in man's worldviews "from a God-centered universe to a man-centered one" (201). Free trade also shifts the burden of taxes from trade to the citizen.
Clearly ideas do have consequences, and free trade represents a world view alien to a Biblical one.
For men of the last century, like Richard Cobben, "free trade was the way, the truth, and the life (189). Buchanan represents a Biblical perspective.
It is understandable why Buchanan's study is so important. It represents a return to Christian premises in the economic and political spheres, and to neglect Buchanan is to neglect our future. This is a book to read and circulate.