Free Trade Gone Mad

Free Trade Gone Mad Steve Farrell June 27, 2000 

Of all the political and economic ideas out there, few points of view
are as respectable and informative as the Free Trade positions provided
in such pro-free trade venues as Ideas On Liberty (formerly The
Freeman), and Llewellyn Rockwell JR.’s, Von Mises. Org. Few
organizations can match their scholarship, clarity, and moral
persuasion. Their contribution to the political, historical, and
economic debate is a rare treat.

I am a fan, especially when it comes to their defense of private
property and domestic free markets.

On the other hand, nothing seems less scholarly, less clear, or less
moral than the shortsighted defense of those who piggyback on free
market logic to promote world free trade scams such as the regulatory
Leviathans of the EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, and the WTO, as safe, sure, and
swift routes to national and international freedom and prosperity.

It is under the cover of “free” trade agreements, and the regulatory
international organizations which attend them, that Communist founder
Karl Marx would have rung out loud his endorsement of Free Trade with
even more clamor than he did before the Democratic Association of
Brussels in 1848, where he summed up his thoughts on Free Trade as

“In general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while . .
. the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities
and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the
extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social
revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense, alone, gentlemen, that I
vote in favor of free trade.“ (1)

It is a point constantly missed by so called foreign policy experts,
that Communism tactically permits huge swings in philosophy and practice
which intentionally are made to appear as a host of contradictions,
retreats, compromises, and even democratic reforms, when they are little
more than the dialectic doing its masterful work.

Communists and socialists feel sure that setting up international “free”
trade systems which impose regulations chuck full of intrigues,
redistribution plans, arbitrary law, and interdependence schemes, will
win out against the conservative interests of every free nation.

What could be better than to use “free” trade to reverse the advantage
of the relatively free, moral, prosperous, and strong nations of the
Earth, so that the tyrannical, amoral, poor, and weak nations of the
socialist bloc might get the upper hand?

What could be a more cunning approach than to market the idea that those
who oppose “free” trade are enemies of freedom?

What could be a more suitable self-fulfilling prophecy than to claim
capitalism corrupts, while simultaneously redefining materialism and
license as virtue, and self control and law as vice?

These schooled power seekers know full well that the stream of liberty
must be banked for it to flow straight, true and far, and so they
utilize every possible tactic in the name of liberty to tare down the
banks, flood the town, scatter the residents, shoot the mayor, assume
his place, and proclaim themselves 'Savior' so that they might re-bank
the stream and rebuild the town in their own tyrannical image.

Finally, what could be a more hilarious treat for them, than to watch
naive capitalists fall for the ploy that riches will convert hardened
criminals into law abiding, liberty loving members of the international

They just can’t help but snicker over the thought that millions of folks
out there actually believe that career criminals don’t already have high
paying jobs, haven’t already tasted of all the luxuries money can buy,
and have any lesser goal in mind than to find a way to worm their way
into governments so that their trade of murder, rape, and robbery might
be permanently secured as legal.

Free Trade Agreements with their guaranteed government posts, and their
boundless tolerance for the “unique” traditions of “emerging”
democracies are their ticket, and they know it.

Therefore, freely mixing with fixed, educated, and plotting enemies of
liberty, binding our fate to them, and granting them privileges and
positions of trust their past and present history do not warrant is pure

Footnotes 1.