Pat Buchanan Is Wrong About Tariffs and Trade

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

I’m a fan of much of Pat Buchanan’s “America First” foreign policy writings in which he expresses the supposedly outrageous idea that the purpose of the national defense establishment should be to defend against foreign aggressors, and not be the aggressor. Defense, not offense. But his “America First” economic writings in defense of protectionism are completely wrongheaded, and often historically inaccurate.

The main reason for the wrongheadedness is Buchanan’s pervasive error of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (“after this, therefore because of this”). An example of this fallacy would be: 1) A rooster crows in the morning; 2) The sun rises shortly after the rooster crows; 3) Therefore, the rooster crowing must cause the sun to rise.

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