Economic Sophisms/177

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"And yet free-trade is blamed for disasters which it tended to prevent, and in part, at least, to repair!

A poor leper lived in solitude. Whatever he happened to touch, no one else would touch. Obliged to pine in solitude, he led a miserable existence. An eminent physician cured him, and now our poor hermit was admitted to all the benefits of free-trade, and had full liberty to effect exchanges. What brilliant prospects were opened to him! He delighted in calculating the advantages which, through his restored intercourse with his fellow-men, he was able to derive from his own vigorous exertions. He happened to break both his arms, and was landed in poverty and misery. The journalists who were witnesses of that misery said, "See to what this liberty of making exchanges has reduced him! Verily, he was less to be pitied when he lived alone." "What" said the physician, "do you make no allowance for his broken arms? Has that accident nothing to do with his present unhappy state? His misfortune arises from his having lost the use of his hands, and not from his having been cured of his leprosy. He would have been a fitter subject for your compassion had he been lame, and leprous into the bargain."

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Beware of that sophism.