Авторы: 159 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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SCIENCE AND EXPERIENCE

On the total survey, then, the case for Free Trade is not only unshaken, it is stronger than ever before, were it

only because many of the enemy have visibly lost faith in their own cause. The Coalition, in which professed

Liberals were prepared to sacrifice something of Free Trade to colleagues who were pledged in the past to

destroy it, has quailed before the insuperable practical difficulties which arise the moment the scheme of

destruction is sought to be framed.

All that has resulted, after four and a half years, is a puerile tinkering with three or four small industries−−a

tinkering that is on the face of it open to suspicion of political corruption. To intelligent Free Traders there is

nothing in it all that can give the faintest surprise. They knew their ground. The doctrine of Free Trade is

science, or it is nothing. It is not a passing cry of faction, or a survival of prejudice, but the unshakable

inference of a hundred years of economic experience verifying the economic science on which the great

experiment was founded.

On the other hand, let me say, the tactic of tinkering with Free Trade under a system of special committees

who make decisions that only the House of Commons should ever be able to make, is a "felon blow" at

self−government. It puts national affairs under the control of cliques, amenable to the pressures of private

interests. Millions of men and women are thus taxable in respect of their living−costs at the caprice of

handfuls of men appointed to do for a shifty Government what it is afraid to do for itself. It is a vain thing to

have secured by statute that the House of Commons shall be the sole authority in matters of taxation, if the

House of Commons basely delegates its powers to unrepresentative men. Here, as so often in the past, the

Free Trade issue lies at the heart of sound democratic politics; and if the nation does not save its liberties in

the next election it will pay the price in corrupted politics no less than in ruined trade.