Walter E. Williams

How about the morality of tariffs or other restraints on foreign trade? Some of the obfuscation is lifted when we recognize that, for the most part, countries do not trade with one another. That is, the U.S. Congress doesn't trade with England's or France's parliaments or Japan's Diet. It's individual Americans who trade with Japanese automakers, French wine producers and English clothing manufacturers. What's the moral case for congressional use of threats or use of force to prevent two people who wish to engage in peaceable, voluntary exchange on mutually agreeable terms? If it's immoral for Congress to stop me or interfere with me, a Pennsylvanian, from trading with my fellow man in New Jersey, why isn't it also immoral for Congress to stop or interfere with my trading with my fellow man in London, Paris or Tokyo?

When we make government practices and programs explicit, we see that most of them are immoral. More importantly, we see why our Founders sought to limit the scope of government: The essence of government is force, and most often that force is used to accomplish evil ends.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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