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Quotations about Liberty and Power

About this Quotation:

This quotation is part of a series for “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on the theme of “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men” [Luke 2:14]

On the eve of US entry in WW2 in December 1941 Frank Chodorov made an important distinction between “the business of the government” and “that free exchange of goods, services, and ideas which is indigenous to all civilizations at all times”. A major trigger for the war against Japan was the embargo placed upon some of its key imports by Britain, the Netherlands, and the U.S., in other words, the breakdown of free trade and the use of trade restrictions as an instrument of war. According to Chodorov it is the business of government to prevent the natural inclination to trade with others by teaching its citizens to hate the citizens of other countries and to restrict the flow of information which might show that the enemy shares our common humanity. The “warriors” who fight these wars do not understand that free trade is “synonymous with civilization” because “their speciality is destruction” not production and they are essentially parasites who live off the productive activity of others who produce the goods and pay the taxes. Turning to the Gospel of Saint Luke II, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men” Chodorov concluded that free trade is “the harbinger of goodwill among men, and peace on earth”.

Other quotes about Free Trade:

5 January, 2013

FrankChodorovPipe180

The 12th Day of Christmas: Frank Chodorov on free trade as the harbinger of goodwill among men and peace on earth (1940)

Read the full quote in context here.

The American radical individualist Frank Chodorov (1887-1966) notes that trade is “the harbinger of goodwill among men, and peace on earth”:

It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to teach you to hate. It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to teach you not to trade with certain peoples because they have bad “ideologies.” It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to prevent information coming to you which might predispose you kindly toward the people whom you will be called upon to kill. It is the business of war to break down that free exchange of goods, services, and ideas which is indigenous to all civilizations at all times….

Trade, internal or international, is the harbinger of goodwill among men, and peace on earth. The opposite of trade is isolation, and isolation is a mark of decadence, of a return to a caveman economy. If it is good for America to isolate itself from other countries, economically and culturally, it is good for New York to isolate itself from Connecticut, for Manhattan to isolate itself from the Bronx, for every man to isolate himself from his neighbor. Just as individuals specialize in occupations, so do nations, and usually the specializations are determined by superior natural resources or the development of special skills. It is no reflection on the United States that Australian wool has been a staple longer than that grown on American sheep. But it is a reflection on American intelligence that America makes it difficult for us to get this better wool, just as it is a reflection on the intelligence of Australians that they impose on themselves difficulties in the getting of our superior automobiles.

The full passage from which this quotation was taken can be be viewed below (front page quote in bold):

It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to teach you to hate. It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to teach you not to trade with certain peoples because they have bad “ideologies.” It is the business of the government which prepares you for war to prevent information coming to you which might predispose you kindly toward the people whom you will be called upon to kill. It is the business of war to break down that free exchange of goods, services, and ideas which is indigenous to all civilizations at all times.

You have no doubt observed that in dealing with the interrelated questions of trade and civilization, I have not distinguished between international trade and internal trade. There is none. What difference is there, essentially, in the exchange of goods between a New Yorker and a Vermonter and the exchange of goods between a New Worker and a Canadian? Does a political frontier inherently make a man a bad customer? When Detroit sells an automobile to Minnesota, the debt is eventually liquidated by a shipment of flour; and if the automobile is sold to Brazil, the sale is completed with a shipment of coffee. Nationality, color, race, and religion are of no consideration in any of these exchanges. These characteristics become of importance only where the war technique has become an integral part of our political system.

Trade, internal or international, is the harbinger of goodwill among men, and peace on earth. The opposite of trade is isolation, and isolation is a mark of decadence, of a return to a caveman economy. If it is good for America to isolate itself from other countries, economically and culturally, it is good for New York to isolate itself from Connecticut, for Manhattan to isolate itself from the Bronx, for every man to isolate himself from his neighbor. Just as individuals specialize in occupations, so do nations, and usually the specializations are determined by superior natural resources or the development of special skills. It is no reflection on the United States that Australian wool has been a staple longer than that grown on American sheep. But it is a reflection on American intelligence that America makes it difficult for us to get this better wool, just as it is a reflection on the intelligence of Australians that they impose on themselves difficulties in the getting of our superior automobiles.

Isolation and self-sufficiency are war techniques. Both ideas derive from the stupid concept of war as the reason for and goal of national existence. Both, therefore, are tendencies toward decivilization. And in the final analysis, the isolation and self-sufficiency idea is merely national caveman economy.

[More works by Frank Chodorov (1887 – 1966) and on War and Peace]