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Why “Buy American is Un-American”

Posted: October 12, 2013

Author: Jonathan Hoenig

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On “Buying American” — Fox News 10/12/13:


In a classic essay, Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger explains why, in fact, “Buy American” goes against America’s moral code and sense of life.

 

“Buy American is Un-American” by Harry Binswanger

Philosophically, Americanism means individualism. Individualism holds that one’s personal identity, moral worth, and inalienable rights belong to one as an individual, not as a member of a particular race, class, nation, or other collective.

But collectivism is the premise of “Buy American.” In purchasing goods, we are expected to view ourselves and the sellers not as individuals, but as units of a nation. We are expected to accept lower quality or more expensive goods in the name of alleged benefits to the national collective.

Most “Buy American” advocates are motivated by misplaced patriotism. But for some the motive is a collectivist hostility towards foreigners. This xenophobic attitude is thoroughly un-American; it is plain bigotry.

Giving preference to American-made products over German or Japanese products is the same injustice as giving preference to products made by whites over those made by blacks. Economic nationalism, like racism, means judging men and their products by the group from which they come, not by merit.

Read Binswanger’s compelling argument


3 Comments

  1. Wm Morgan

    Some questions for Mr Binswanger:

    If a US-made product of equal quality to a foreign made product costs a little more, does his philosophy tell him it’s wrong to buy the American made product? Or is the individual free to make this decision?

    Does it matter if purchasing a foreign made product supports a regime that has nuclear missiles pointed at one’s home (the US)?

    Conversely, does it matter if purchasing an American-made product supports the legal and governmental institutions that protect your individual liberty and individual rights?

  2. William Gerald-Michael Kilburn

    Very well written and thoughtful question, as well.

    Thank you.

    William Gerald-Michael Kilburn

  3. Steve

    I buy made in the USA to support employment in the USA.

    I buy made in the USA to keep dollars in the USA.

    I shop and find goods that are better and cheaper, made in the USA.

    Corporation prefer foreign made goods because it increases their profits, they can pay $2 for a t-shirt made in China or pay $4 for made in USA and sell both for $10 – where do they make the money – cheap imports!

    I have requested stores to sell items made in USA openly to be told that it costs to much and they cannot stay in business making less profit from made in the USA.

    So I shop via Internet and no longer shop at the malls…

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