by Spencer P Morrison, NEE
I note that Mr. Shapiro has yet to respond to my challenge for a debate on the subject of tariffs & trade policy—or economics more generally. After responding haphazardly to my first piece (presumably expecting an easy win), he has since ignored my response & my work generally for the last year.
In addition to being arrogant (and wrong), Mr. Shapiro is a coward. I am not “some nobody” on YouTube spoiling for a fight. My work has appeared on major conservative outlets like the Daily Caller, Real Clear Politics, and American Greatness. I have been featured on BBC World Service Newshour and a variety of local radio shows.
I am more than happy to have a conversation with Mr. Shapiro, but I think it’s quite obvious that he would prefer to debate college kids & ignoramuses like Cenk Uygur. After all, he has a personae to maintain.
Last Thursday Ben Shapiro responded to my article “Why Ben Shapiro is Wrong on Free Trade” with his own piece: “Yes, Tariffs Are Still Stupid. Here’s Why.” He also talked about my article on the Ben Shapiro Show. Ben Shapiro made it crystal clear: he hates tariffs. But no matter how Ben feels, the fact remains: tariffs work.
Mr Shapiro begins with a call to authority fallacy—precisely the error I accused him of earlier this week. Shapiro states:
The reality is that my arguments on free trade have been supported by every major free market economist in history. . .
This is a tautology: of course most “free market” (read: Austrian School) economists support free trade—just as most American School economists support tariffs, or most labor economists support unions. Does the fact that most Marxist economists support socialism prove that socialism works? No. This is sophistry.
Shapiro is also a hypocrite: did he not make his name by ignoring the so-called “97 percent of climate scientists” who believe climate change is anthropogenic, or the (I imagine) 100 percent of gender studies professors who think biological sex and gender identity are different? Why is Ben Shapiro so willing to ignore “experts” on climate change or feminism, yet treat them like (false) gods when it comes to economics? Shapiro would be wise to remain ever-skeptical, and heed the following aphorism:
Take not the merchant at his word, but trust only by the skin of his fruit.
Finally, Shapiro says the articles I cited “do not mention tariffs”, and they are therefore irrelevant. This is like saying a paper on Elizabethan England, that never mentions Shakespeare, is irrelevant to studying Shakespeare—really? This is the difference between scholarship and parroting: my sources lend support to a novel conclusion, while Shapiro clearly googled “path-dependency” and cited the first book he could find—a case study of Microsoft.
While the book does discuss path-dependency, it does so explicitly within the context of a single industry, and makes no claim that the findings should be applied between industries. There is a big difference between supporting Microsoft relative to Apple or Google, and supporting America’s IT entire industry relative to foreign competitors. These are different debates, and the nuance is clearly lost on Shapiro.