Economic Sophisms/236

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XVI.

 

THE RIGHT HAND AND THE LEFT.

REPORT ADDRESSED TO THE KING.

SIRE,

Template:GapWhen we observe these free-trade advocates boldly disseminating their doctrines, and maintaining that the right of buying and selling is implied in the right of property (as has been urged by M. Billault in the true style of a special pleader), we may be permitted to feel serious alarm as to the fate of our national labour; for what would Frenchmen make of their heads and their hands were they left to their own resources?

The administration which you have honoured with your confidence has turned its attention to this grave state of things, and has sought in its wisdom to discover a species of protection which may be substituted for that which appears to be getting out of repute. They propose a law TO PROHIBIT YOUR FAITHFUL SUBJECTS FROM USING THEIR RIGHT HANDS.

Sire, we beseech you not to do us the injustice of supposing that we have adopted lightly and without due deliberation a measure which at first sight may appear somewhat whimsical A profound study of the system of protection has taught us this syllogism, upon which the whole doctrine reposes:

The more men work, the richer they become;

The more difficulties there are to be overcome, the more work;

Ergo, the more difficulties there are to be overcome, the richer they become.

In fact, what is protection, if it is not an ingenious application of this reasoning—reasoning so close and conclusive as to balk the subtlety of M. Billault himself?

Let us personify the country, and regard it as a collective being with thirty millions of mouths, and, as a natural consequence, with sixty millions of hands. Here is a man who makes a French clock, which he can exchange in Belgium for ten hundredweights of iron. But we tell him to make the iron himself. He replies, "I cannot, it would occupy too much of myTemplate:Smallrefs