WHY THE PRO-NAFTA HYSTERIA?
I'm puzzled. I'd like to know why so many free-marketeers, so many free-market think-tanks and pundits, are not simply pro-Nafta, but are fervently, frantically, almost hysterically pro-Nafta. Look, I can understand, though not agree with, mild approval. An old libertarian friend of mine, for example, told me that he was mildly pro-Nafta but not really interested in the entire topic. That seems sensible. So why the furor, the passion, the enormous resources poured into praising Nafta and reviling its critics? Why is there a highly active free-market Nafta Network, when no one has ever bothered forming a Repeal-the-Income Tax Network, or an Abolish-the-Fed Network? And if we want to confine passion to more directly political issues, why was there no Lower-Taxes Network, or Stop-the-Clinton-Budget Network? Why is the entire pack: the Cato crowd, the rest of the Kochtopus or Koch Machine, the majority of Heritage, the Tony Snows and the Steve Chapmans, why are they going all out, playing hardball, in their frenzy to get this thing passed? Why are these gentry acting as if their lives depended on the passage of Nafta? Could it be because if not their lives, at least their fortunes (though scarcely their sacred honor), do in fact depend on it?
The twists and turns of this crowd have been truly a sight to see.
First, they confidently strode forth to represent the "free trade" cause, denouncing their opponents as leftists or ignorant protectionists. But then, when hard-core free marketeers and free traders such as people at Triple R, the Mises Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute weighed in to attack Nafta as a managed trade and international statist scam in "free-trade" clothing, the pro-Nafta gang wheeled around to denounce us as free-trade "purists," or, as Tony Snow called...