The debate about the Trans Pacific Partnership is certainly different than free trade debates of the past. For one thing, you have smart erstwhile proponents of free trade like Tim Lee raising legitimate concerns about intellectual property laws. But while this adds up to a debate that goes beyond the usual free trade argument, I don’t think Noah Smith is right that “repeating the same basic case for free trade that we’ve been hearing all our adult lives” is too simplistic. I don’t think Paul Krugman is right when he says “it’s off-point and insulting to offer an off-the-shelf lecture on how trade is good because of comparative advantage, and protectionists are dumb”, or that “David Ricardo is irrelevant”. No, the basic case for free trade still matters a lot.