My design in this little volume is to refute some of the arguments which are urged against the Freedom of Trade.
I do not propose to engage in a contest with the protectionists; but rather to instil a principle into the minds of those who hesitate because they sincerely doubt.
I am not one of those who say that Protection is founded on men's interests. I am of opinion rather that it is founded on errors, or, if you will, upon incomplete truths. Too many people fear liberty, to permit us to conclude that their apprehensions are not sincerely felt.
It is perhaps aiming too high, but my wish is, I confess, that this little work should become, as it were, the Manual of those whose business it is to pronounce between the two principles. Where men have not been long accustomed and familiarized to the doctrine of liberty, the sophisms of protection, in one shape or another, are constantly coming back upon them. In order to disabuse them of such errors when they recur, a long process of analysis becomes necessary; and every one has not the time required for such a process—legislators less than others. This is my reason for endeavouring to present the analysis and its results cut and dry.
But it may be asked, Are the benefits of liberty so hidden as to be discovered only by Economists by profession?
- The first series of the Sophismes Économiques appeared in the end of 1845; the second series in 1848.—Editor.