The most vociferous bearer of anti-foreign bias that I know is also a life-long car afficionado. (He and his buddies call themselves “car guys.”)

A couple of days ago he was telling me about the low level of quality control for U.S. cars into the 1960’s. New cars were routinely sold with dents, scratches, and fairly obvious mechanical problems.

What changed? I was taken aback when he freely admitted that the driving force was… competition from Japan. Japanense auto-makers held themselves to much higher standards than the Americans. Once U.S. car-buyers saw the difference, U.S. auto-makers soon felt intense pressure to raise the bar. And they did.

At this point, you might ask: Does this mean that my car guy is going to change his mind about imposing a naval blockade on Japan, and offer a heartfelt “Domo arigato”? Not on your life. Japanese competition may have done some good forty years ago, but now it’s ruining our great country!