Lance the Boil: How a Donald Trump Victory Might Be Good for Liberty

Because some people just read the headline, let me be clear: I loathe Trump’s politics. I’m completely against him.

That out of way, let’s deepen our analysis.

Imagine if the next president, when he takes office, immediately makes history as the most unpopular president ever, not just in the US but all over the entire world. Imagine 90% of the world’s population allied against the world’s most powerful man. That could make an impression.

Imagine that very election was a fluke, a result of a divided opposition and a unified but fanatical minority, paired against a deeply unpopular establishment opponent, at a time of economic and imperial decline.

As a result, his every policy is questioned. Every failure of government is blamed on him. Every war gone wrong, every policy screw up, every late check, every infringement on rights and liberties, falls squarely at his feet. Every inefficiency, bad deal, waste, abuse, fraud, and foul up has a name written on it: TRUMP.

Just like his tower. Just like his steaks. Just like his golf clubs. Just like his “university.” The whole of the world’s largest and most intrusive government is now branded with his name. Trump Government. Instead of an amorphous bureaucracy catching blame, instead of the diffusion of responsibility to Congress or some legacy from the past, every single problem in people’s lives that results from government is now personified.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Absolutely.

Now compare it with the alternative of a Hillary Clinton victory. She will continue politics as we know them, the very politics that gave rise to the Trump movement in the first place. Trump supporters will seethe as never before. They will demand the wall, protectionism, prohibition on immigration, an intensified drug war, more surveillance.

If we think this brown-tinged movement is scary now, imagine what it will look like after four years of a Clinton presidency! That’s a terrifying prospect. This could build a culture of revenge and build a blowback like we’ve never seen before. And it will not be friendly to liberty.

On the other hand, a Trump victory would give this crowd the red meat they demand, and then the problems start. Having achieved their dream of power, they now bear responsibility for the results.

Let’s just rule out right now that Trump’s hope of personally making America great is achievable. In fact, the illusion that it could happen is ridiculous. Societies become great only through the diffusion of action among millions and billions of people, one decision at a time. It is the absence of power, not its presence, that builds nations. It does not result from the authoritarian dictate from some great man.

Plus, not even the world’s most powerful and intelligent person is capable of managing such a sprawling apparatus as a central state, especially not one with millions of employees and tens of thousands of agencies and sub-agencies, plus 200 years of embedded legal and regulatory cruft gumming up the works. The whole of the modern state in developed democracies is structured to make them impossible to manage.

Presidents often talk about the vision they will impart to the country and the world but this is so much campaign blather. The remarkable thing about Donald Trump is that he might — in fact, he certainly does — believe his own rhetoric. He is in for a rude awakening from his first day in office. As Khrushchev discovered when he became the Soviet ruler, the bureaucracy does not obey you; controlling it is like controlling a “tub of dough.”

Just imagine how the bureaucratic class is going to treat his ruling pretensions! They will want nothing more than to humble him and take him down. He starts his job with zero credibility and loads of loathing. He is the last person that the permanent class of the deep state will obey. They will resist his every dictate.

He says he is a natural negotiator but business and government are very different things. He can’t count on profit and loss statements. He can’t count on people’s sense of what good business is. With the state, it’s all about maintaining status and power. To discombobulate people in high places takes a lot more than fear of a declining stock price. This is why there are such things as professional politicians and why business people are so often flummoxed by the world of politics.

Still, by the then, the entire Leviathan state will be branded with his name. He might start attempting to do things, some of them good, such as throwing monkey wrenches into the Pentagon spending gears. He might demand changes in the healthcare system. He might turn on the bureaucracy generally, in education, transportation, and even national security. He will try to cause chaos through scapegoating.

All of this can be good. The establishment in shambles, he will not be able to count on the old guard to put the pieces back together again. He will have to go it alone, while everyone who is anyone will work against his success. There are grave dangers to this approach. He could manage to wreck trading relationships, impose terrible tariffs, intensify the police state, use regulatory agencies to punish political enemies, and so on.

But remember that the resistance this time has tools at its disposal. We have social media. We have access to a gigantic publishing system. We have the world’s most efficient communications system. Combine that with a presumption of moral outrage at the “commander in chief” of the country and you have the makings of a serious and unignorable opposition.

And who will be the resistance? Think of everyone who has been criticizing Trump in the last six months. We are talking about the whole of the educated opinion classes: left, right, and center. Trump might moderate his tone. He might try to mainstream himself, and even attempt to ingratiate himself into the culture of the ruling elite. But it won’t work. He will never be forgiven for gaining power without their permission. He will never be forgiven for his long string of insults. He will be opposed at every step.

We need Trumpism now, if only to discover that Trumpism is a fake. We need to know this before it is too late.

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Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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48 comments

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  • Yes. Exactly what I’ve been thinking. I’m actually rooting for the guy now. It may be the only way to actually get some real political opposition in this (adjective withheld) country.

  • Yes. Exactly what I’ve been thinking. I’m actually rooting for the guy now. It may be the only way to actually get some real political opposition in this (adjective withheld) country.

  • I’m wonder if the public-school indoctrinated population will ever realize that the problem isn’t Obama, or Congress or SCOTUS, or any of the current crop of populist demagogues vying to “lead us.” Governments operate by force. No one nor group of people has ever existed who were capable of ruling others by force to the benefit of the general welfare. Even Jesus of Nazareth, a man of astonishing wisdom, refused to allow his devoted followers to even consider making him their ruler. He walked out on them when some of his disciples began murmuring along those lines. Humans have evolved and developed all the technologies and industries necessary to do away with the concept of governments ruling people by force.

  • I’m wonder if the public-school indoctrinated population will ever realize that the problem isn’t Obama, or Congress or SCOTUS, or any of the current crop of populist demagogues vying to “lead us.” Governments operate by force. No one nor group of people has ever existed who were capable of ruling others by force to the benefit of the general welfare. Even Jesus of Nazareth, a man of astonishing wisdom, refused to allow his devoted followers to even consider making him their ruler. He walked out on them when some of his disciples began murmuring along those lines. Humans have evolved and developed all the technologies and industries necessary to do away with the concept of governments ruling people by force.

  • Perhaps it could be worthwhile comparing the prospect of an election between Trump and Hillary (or Bernie) with the similarly distasteful electoral options in Peru five years ago. Through peculiarities of the Peruvian electoral system (which I need not go into) the final election was between Ollanta Humala (Nationalist Party: fascist populism) and Keiko Fujimori (heir to the corrupt, authoritarian political machine of her father). Both had an immovable block of support in the 30% range. Both were opposed by a large majority of the Peruvian people.
    Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa lamented the sorry political situation facing Peruvians by characterizing it as a choice between cancer and AIDs.
    In a very close election the fascist won (partly by promising not to govern as a fascist!).
    Humala’s instincts and desires (and those of his supporters and family) were to do enormous damage to Peru. But in the end, after being in office over 4 years, he has not been able to do much harm because most Peruvians have been vigilantly opposed to his every initiative. As his term draws to an end he is polling about 15% popularity and the Nationalist Party is nearly dead.
    I am not sure exactly how to make an analogy with a Trump presidency, but the example is something to think about.

    • Craig, I think your example is one to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing it. We just don’t know what the outcome of large changes in governance will be. Talking heads like to pontificate about “the inevitable” but they are almost inevitably wrong. So I think your analogy works as a warning about predictions. By the way, the cancer and AIDS reference is a good one….sadly.

  • Perhaps it could be worthwhile comparing the prospect of an election between Trump and Hillary (or Bernie) with the similarly distasteful electoral options in Peru five years ago. Through peculiarities of the Peruvian electoral system (which I need not go into) the final election was between Ollanta Humala (Nationalist Party: fascist populism) and Keiko Fujimori (heir to the corrupt, authoritarian political machine of her father). Both had an immovable block of support in the 30% range. Both were opposed by a large majority of the Peruvian people.
    Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa lamented the sorry political situation facing Peruvians by characterizing it as a choice between cancer and AIDs.
    In a very close election the fascist won (partly by promising not to govern as a fascist!).
    Humala’s instincts and desires (and those of his supporters and family) were to do enormous damage to Peru. But in the end, after being in office over 4 years, he has not been able to do much harm because most Peruvians have been vigilantly opposed to his every initiative. As his term draws to an end he is polling about 15% popularity and the Nationalist Party is nearly dead.
    I am not sure exactly how to make an analogy with a Trump presidency, but the example is something to think about.

    • Craig, I think your example is one to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing it. We just don’t know what the outcome of large changes in governance will be. Talking heads like to pontificate about “the inevitable” but they are almost inevitably wrong. So I think your analogy works as a warning about predictions. By the way, the cancer and AIDS reference is a good one….sadly.

  • Mr. Tucker, that is a fascinating take on Trump and the potential fallout should he be president. I live in Canada so watch this election process helplessly. My hope is that there will be more and more voices in the U.S. decrying the increased use of force that Trump represents. Sadly, I suspect most of it will be ‘how’ force is increased, not ‘that’ it will be. The upside of all this is the general upset of the status quo IF he actually upsets it. Then the potential outcomes of which you speak move closer to reality. But election campaign talk is cheap and his reaction to holding the power of the office will be telling.

  • Mr. Tucker, that is a fascinating take on Trump and the potential fallout should he be president. I live in Canada so watch this election process helplessly. My hope is that there will be more and more voices in the U.S. decrying the increased use of force that Trump represents. Sadly, I suspect most of it will be ‘how’ force is increased, not ‘that’ it will be. The upside of all this is the general upset of the status quo IF he actually upsets it. Then the potential outcomes of which you speak move closer to reality. But election campaign talk is cheap and his reaction to holding the power of the office will be telling.

  • I’m a bit doubtful. Yes the things you posit might come to pass, but it’s also true that Hillary might have similar things happen for different reasons, and that it really doesn’t matter who is captain of the ship USSA Titanic. Or it might be that Hillary drives us into revolution with a bang, while Trump manages to patch things together for another 4 years, making the subsequent revolution that much more desperate.

    We can’t really tell how things will play out, and we have no influence anyway, so just prepare as best you can, and get the popcorn on the burner.

    • I am essentially with Paul on this; and why I have descended into a comfortably numb state of Anarcho-nihilism. I see 3 Fascists seeking power: Bernie, Hillary and Trump (discounting the minor Jr. Fascists trailing Trump)

      Bernie: Overt promises to deeply inject the monopoly of Big Gvt force into Business in order to force compliance with centrally planned directives for centrally planned results; for the benefit of the voting class at the expense of the producing class. Lacks the overt nationalism of chanting USA! USA! USA!

      Hillary: Standard middling Fascist with all the instincts of centrally planned interventionism of Bernie, but with less spit spewing hateful honesty at the loathing of the Business class. Hers is a more “knowing” collaboration with leaders of giant Corporations who themselves are as bureaucratic as the Federal gvt and adjust quite well to the commandments of the State, for the reward of the resulting regulations acting as barriers to new competition. Hillary also refrains from the Overt Nationalism of a standard Fascist by screeching “USA! USA! USA!”

      Trump: Embodies the signature nationalism of Fascism in the soaring chants of “USA! USA! USA!” amongst his adoring throngs. His fascist interventionism in business via centrally planned dictates for conduct of private business is less overt than his Democrat fascist rivals. His calls to dictate to business from on high are sheathed in USA! IUSA! USA!-like appeals to fairness of foreign trade. “I will make Carrier STAY! OR ELSE!”

      So.. Heads its Fascism, Tails its Fascism. I am still an Anarcho-Capitalist of the mind, but an Anarcho-Nihilist of the ever more saddened heart. And I agree with Paul Bonneau, “We can’t really tell how things will play out, and we have no influence anyway, so just prepare as best you can, and get the popcorn on the burner.”

      PS. Trump WILL be the most entertaining of the lot.

  • I’m a bit doubtful. Yes the things you posit might come to pass, but it’s also true that Hillary might have similar things happen for different reasons, and that it really doesn’t matter who is captain of the ship USSA Titanic. Or it might be that Hillary drives us into revolution with a bang, while Trump manages to patch things together for another 4 years, making the subsequent revolution that much more desperate.

    We can’t really tell how things will play out, and we have no influence anyway, so just prepare as best you can, and get the popcorn on the burner.

    • I am essentially with Paul on this; and why I have descended into a comfortably numb state of Anarcho-nihilism. I see 3 Fascists seeking power: Bernie, Hillary and Trump (discounting the minor Jr. Fascists trailing Trump)

      Bernie: Overt promises to deeply inject the monopoly of Big Gvt force into Business in order to force compliance with centrally planned directives for centrally planned results; for the benefit of the voting class at the expense of the producing class. Lacks the overt nationalism of chanting USA! USA! USA!

      Hillary: Standard middling Fascist with all the instincts of centrally planned interventionism of Bernie, but with less spit spewing hateful honesty at the loathing of the Business class. Hers is a more “knowing” collaboration with leaders of giant Corporations who themselves are as bureaucratic as the Federal gvt and adjust quite well to the commandments of the State, for the reward of the resulting regulations acting as barriers to new competition. Hillary also refrains from the Overt Nationalism of a standard Fascist by screeching “USA! USA! USA!”

      Trump: Embodies the signature nationalism of Fascism in the soaring chants of “USA! USA! USA!” amongst his adoring throngs. His fascist interventionism in business via centrally planned dictates for conduct of private business is less overt than his Democrat fascist rivals. His calls to dictate to business from on high are sheathed in USA! IUSA! USA!-like appeals to fairness of foreign trade. “I will make Carrier STAY! OR ELSE!”

      So.. Heads its Fascism, Tails its Fascism. I am still an Anarcho-Capitalist of the mind, but an Anarcho-Nihilist of the ever more saddened heart. And I agree with Paul Bonneau, “We can’t really tell how things will play out, and we have no influence anyway, so just prepare as best you can, and get the popcorn on the burner.”

      PS. Trump WILL be the most entertaining of the lot.

  • I absolutely disagree.

    As Trump’s name is associated (poorly) with business in America, it will only lead to more people being misdirected into anti-capitalist beliefs.

    On the other hand, if Hillary wins, there will be a continued awakening among the public because they will see with these last 30 years that the government has been controlled by an elite group. The policies of the left will also be made clear as the continued war and debt can only be blamed on a continued leftist presidency (Obama then Clinton).

    Hillary winning would be the right path toward waking more people up to the corruptness of government. Trump will be a distraction and a “useful” tool in blaming “capitalism” by the leftist mainstream media.

  • I absolutely disagree.

    As Trump’s name is associated (poorly) with business in America, it will only lead to more people being misdirected into anti-capitalist beliefs.

    On the other hand, if Hillary wins, there will be a continued awakening among the public because they will see with these last 30 years that the government has been controlled by an elite group. The policies of the left will also be made clear as the continued war and debt can only be blamed on a continued leftist presidency (Obama then Clinton).

    Hillary winning would be the right path toward waking more people up to the corruptness of government. Trump will be a distraction and a “useful” tool in blaming “capitalism” by the leftist mainstream media.

  • I’m with Jamie…he represents capitalism, although it is faux capitalism, not to mention republicanism, although faux republicanism, and supposed conservatism, although faux conservatism. He is the perfect straw man, set up to when the system down in all these names. I’m still not convinced he’s not progressive plant.

    You have to remember all the crazy s#$t he is saying every day, is all being recorded and stowed away, for if/when he wins the primaries. And then the progressives will make cute little campaign videos…and make him out to be the crazy guy he is…when the time is ripe and most everyone is really paying attention.

    Cruz, the constitutionalist and the closest thing we’ve got to libertarianism, hated by most Republicans because he is a true small government conservative, is not out of the race, and is beginning to find favor by the RINOS. Even Lindsey Graham because Cruz is the lesser of two evils.

    Kasich, who “refuses to take the low road to the highest office in the world” just took a $700,000 bribe from Soros making himself out to be the weasel he seemed to be. There is no numerical chance of him winning, so his job is to make sure no one wins at the moment, and it goes to a brokered convention.

    Only thing that really worries me about Hillary (or Trump) are the supreme court picks. Really the country doesn’t win with trump/hillary/kasich…only with Cruz. That has the potential to be 1980 on steroids. You young folk probably don’t remember.

    There is a lot to undo, but there is so much energy built up now, that just a little undoing will go a long way…

    • Given the fact that Cruz has been an establishment insider his entire professional life, working intimately for the Bushes, receiving hundreds of thousands in “loans” from Goldman Sachs where his wife just happened to be in upper management it’s quite a stretch to paint him as libertarian friendly. Even if there was nothing wrong with this loan, it has the appearance of impropriety, which lawyers are supposed to avoid.

      But the most odious aspect of Cruz is his unrelenting neocon warmongering. You call him “the closest thing we’ve got to libertarianism” but his knee jerk support for all things military belies his alleged “libertarianism”. it also ignores the fact that the US military is but another big government program, albeit one that if misused as seems to always be the case with neocons, that with his anti-Russia and anti-Putin bluster Cruz (as well as Hillary) could stupidly launch WWIII.

      By contrast, and the only reason I prefer Trump, is, like Walter Block explains on behalf of ‘Libertarians for Trump’, that he has expressed reluctance to engage in more foreign intervention; that unlike Hillary and Cruz he does not pointlessly insult Putin; that he acknowledges the US has no dog in the Ukrainian fight (though it would be nice if he pointed out that entire conflict is the result of US intervention, just as he told the American people – what everyone should have already known – that the Bush administration “lied” the US into the Iraq war); that he eschews blind support for Israel and instead expresses neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though admittedly he makes conflicting statements throwing suspicion as to what, if anything, he really advocates. But with Hilary and Cruz, we know they will support whatever crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians.

      Finally, as Jeffrey says, Trump will not get his proposals through as Congress will oppose him, not to mention bureaucratic inertia will thwart him. Thus, there will be no wall. He will not scuttle and create new trade deals. He will not raise tariffs. He will have little effect on domestic policy. The one thing he will have control over as president is foreign policy – since that is the one area presidents can act unilaterally. And that is why he is important. Trump can (though not necessarily will) literally save the world by cutting back foreign intervention – which neither Hillary nor Cruz will do.

  • I’m with Jamie…he represents capitalism, although it is faux capitalism, not to mention republicanism, although faux republicanism, and supposed conservatism, although faux conservatism. He is the perfect straw man, set up to when the system down in all these names. I’m still not convinced he’s not progressive plant.

    You have to remember all the crazy s#$t he is saying every day, is all being recorded and stowed away, for if/when he wins the primaries. And then the progressives will make cute little campaign videos…and make him out to be the crazy guy he is…when the time is ripe and most everyone is really paying attention.

    Cruz, the constitutionalist and the closest thing we’ve got to libertarianism, hated by most Republicans because he is a true small government conservative, is not out of the race, and is beginning to find favor by the RINOS. Even Lindsey Graham because Cruz is the lesser of two evils.

    Kasich, who “refuses to take the low road to the highest office in the world” just took a $700,000 bribe from Soros making himself out to be the weasel he seemed to be. There is no numerical chance of him winning, so his job is to make sure no one wins at the moment, and it goes to a brokered convention.

    Only thing that really worries me about Hillary (or Trump) are the supreme court picks. Really the country doesn’t win with trump/hillary/kasich…only with Cruz. That has the potential to be 1980 on steroids. You young folk probably don’t remember.

    There is a lot to undo, but there is so much energy built up now, that just a little undoing will go a long way…

    • Given the fact that Cruz has been an establishment insider his entire professional life, working intimately for the Bushes, receiving hundreds of thousands in “loans” from Goldman Sachs where his wife just happened to be in upper management it’s quite a stretch to paint him as libertarian friendly. Even if there was nothing wrong with this loan, it has the appearance of impropriety, which lawyers are supposed to avoid.

      But the most odious aspect of Cruz is his unrelenting neocon warmongering. You call him “the closest thing we’ve got to libertarianism” but his knee jerk support for all things military belies his alleged “libertarianism”. it also ignores the fact that the US military is but another big government program, albeit one that if misused as seems to always be the case with neocons, that with his anti-Russia and anti-Putin bluster Cruz (as well as Hillary) could stupidly launch WWIII.

      By contrast, and the only reason I prefer Trump, is, like Walter Block explains on behalf of ‘Libertarians for Trump’, that he has expressed reluctance to engage in more foreign intervention; that unlike Hillary and Cruz he does not pointlessly insult Putin; that he acknowledges the US has no dog in the Ukrainian fight (though it would be nice if he pointed out that entire conflict is the result of US intervention, just as he told the American people – what everyone should have already known – that the Bush administration “lied” the US into the Iraq war); that he eschews blind support for Israel and instead expresses neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though admittedly he makes conflicting statements throwing suspicion as to what, if anything, he really advocates. But with Hilary and Cruz, we know they will support whatever crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians.

      Finally, as Jeffrey says, Trump will not get his proposals through as Congress will oppose him, not to mention bureaucratic inertia will thwart him. Thus, there will be no wall. He will not scuttle and create new trade deals. He will not raise tariffs. He will have little effect on domestic policy. The one thing he will have control over as president is foreign policy – since that is the one area presidents can act unilaterally. And that is why he is important. Trump can (though not necessarily will) literally save the world by cutting back foreign intervention – which neither Hillary nor Cruz will do.

  • Sorry but It sounds like enthrone Hitler to cure Germany. Trump is not Hitler, but it is full of examples of disruptive rules and builders of personal power based on resentment, and Hitler was not Hitler until he made what he made. You know how this stars, but you don’t know how it ends.

    What awaits the resentment is not success, but revenge. Failure feeds these links. So no failure is a remedy. The only plan to combat what is occurring is des-radicalize, facing the fallacies Trump says that fuel resentment.

    Can this kind of regime be fight with social media? I can speak with knowledge, that that only worries the civilized government, not one based in it`s strength. Social media become a useless catharsis that makes people think the are doing something, when they are not doing anything.

    Not only will not arise any great libertarian opposition, what will happen is that people will be afraid to oppose first the angry Trump fans and eventually many end up identifying with the aggressor. Libertarian opposition is not going to be a consequence of the worst government possible, this is just a big step in the way to serfdom.

  • Sorry but It sounds like enthrone Hitler to cure Germany. Trump is not Hitler, but it is full of examples of disruptive rules and builders of personal power based on resentment, and Hitler was not Hitler until he made what he made. You know how this stars, but you don’t know how it ends.

    What awaits the resentment is not success, but revenge. Failure feeds these links. So no failure is a remedy. The only plan to combat what is occurring is des-radicalize, facing the fallacies Trump says that fuel resentment.

    Can this kind of regime be fight with social media? I can speak with knowledge, that that only worries the civilized government, not one based in it`s strength. Social media become a useless catharsis that makes people think the are doing something, when they are not doing anything.

    Not only will not arise any great libertarian opposition, what will happen is that people will be afraid to oppose first the angry Trump fans and eventually many end up identifying with the aggressor. Libertarian opposition is not going to be a consequence of the worst government possible, this is just a big step in the way to serfdom.

  • If Donald Trump is the Republican Party nominee for President in 2016, the most important detail of the election will be whom has he selected, and the convention nominated, for Vice President? We know that Speaker Paul Ryan and the House of Representatives will have a Bill of Impeachment already written and it could be passed through the House in a few days, and Senate removal of the President from office could happen in another week. But whom would the United States then get as Commander in Chief?
    A Democratic Party speaker of the House would probably move even faster to impeach Trump.

  • If Donald Trump is the Republican Party nominee for President in 2016, the most important detail of the election will be whom has he selected, and the convention nominated, for Vice President? We know that Speaker Paul Ryan and the House of Representatives will have a Bill of Impeachment already written and it could be passed through the House in a few days, and Senate removal of the President from office could happen in another week. But whom would the United States then get as Commander in Chief?
    A Democratic Party speaker of the House would probably move even faster to impeach Trump.

  • There are a lot of things to like about Trump. Unfortunately, none of those things are qualifiers to be considered for the position of President. Indeed, his identification as a successful CAPITALIST, when his thinking is about as far away from a free market philosophy as you can get, is the scariest part of putting him in charge of the greatest destructive force on the planet. He has succeeded not by becoming a better producer, or by being a champion of voluntary exchange, but by using the force of government to give him advantages in business that are not afforded his competition. His failures have been when he has not taken into consideration the free market forces that act against him in the free marketplace. Having said all of this, at least he is open about the particular kind of Fascism he practices, but to many this will be mistaken for Capitalism and lead to further undeserved indictments of the free market.

    I fear a great destabilization with a Trump Presidency. People openly lobbying government to act against their neighbors, whom they feel have somehow harmed them by their actions (He was smoking in his bathroom and the vent fan took that smell outside. I should be compensated for having to smell his cigarette smoke). In a larger context, the “Let’s Make America Great” slogan will be rolled out as lets help big business get even bigger. The rationale will be job growth, but the reality will be small start-ups who produce the most new jobs will vanish. The Entrepreneurs who would normally lead the way in a free market, will shrug (As in Atlas Shrugged) and depart for markets where there skills and experience are valued and able them to produce the wealth that is being denied them in the good old USA.

    Trump has already stated that he will use that wall he is talking about to keep business hostage in this country, while the rest of the world leaves us in the dust. Don’t think this could happen? Do some research on the Ottoman Empire. The beginning of the end for the Ottoman Empire was the invention of the printing press. The Ottomans saw the printing press as a threat to their power and banned it. But, all this did was to keep progress moving at the same old slow pace that it had been moving for centuries. The rest of Europe shifted into a new gear and the information that was previously withheld from the populace was now more and more available. Within a generation (20-30 years), the advantage, that the Ottoman Empire had enjoyed, evaporated. Over the next 400 years it shrank to the borders we know as Turkey. Don’t think something similar won’t happen here, if we start building walls. Freedom requires free movement, voluntary exchange and the elimination of force and coercion in the market place (no minimum wage laws, no trade agreements, no taxes, only private voluntary welfare, no government privilege, no government enforced monopolies like the Federal Reserve, and so on…).

    Trump will not expand freedom. He will constrict it, and the resulting despair (they call it a vampire economy for a reason) will be blamed on capitalism.

  • There are a lot of things to like about Trump. Unfortunately, none of those things are qualifiers to be considered for the position of President. Indeed, his identification as a successful CAPITALIST, when his thinking is about as far away from a free market philosophy as you can get, is the scariest part of putting him in charge of the greatest destructive force on the planet. He has succeeded not by becoming a better producer, or by being a champion of voluntary exchange, but by using the force of government to give him advantages in business that are not afforded his competition. His failures have been when he has not taken into consideration the free market forces that act against him in the free marketplace. Having said all of this, at least he is open about the particular kind of Fascism he practices, but to many this will be mistaken for Capitalism and lead to further undeserved indictments of the free market.

    I fear a great destabilization with a Trump Presidency. People openly lobbying government to act against their neighbors, whom they feel have somehow harmed them by their actions (He was smoking in his bathroom and the vent fan took that smell outside. I should be compensated for having to smell his cigarette smoke). In a larger context, the “Let’s Make America Great” slogan will be rolled out as lets help big business get even bigger. The rationale will be job growth, but the reality will be small start-ups who produce the most new jobs will vanish. The Entrepreneurs who would normally lead the way in a free market, will shrug (As in Atlas Shrugged) and depart for markets where there skills and experience are valued and able them to produce the wealth that is being denied them in the good old USA.

    Trump has already stated that he will use that wall he is talking about to keep business hostage in this country, while the rest of the world leaves us in the dust. Don’t think this could happen? Do some research on the Ottoman Empire. The beginning of the end for the Ottoman Empire was the invention of the printing press. The Ottomans saw the printing press as a threat to their power and banned it. But, all this did was to keep progress moving at the same old slow pace that it had been moving for centuries. The rest of Europe shifted into a new gear and the information that was previously withheld from the populace was now more and more available. Within a generation (20-30 years), the advantage, that the Ottoman Empire had enjoyed, evaporated. Over the next 400 years it shrank to the borders we know as Turkey. Don’t think something similar won’t happen here, if we start building walls. Freedom requires free movement, voluntary exchange and the elimination of force and coercion in the market place (no minimum wage laws, no trade agreements, no taxes, only private voluntary welfare, no government privilege, no government enforced monopolies like the Federal Reserve, and so on…).

    Trump will not expand freedom. He will constrict it, and the resulting despair (they call it a vampire economy for a reason) will be blamed on capitalism.

  • So with the disclaimer that of course the candidates are all bad in their own special way I would say, Jeff, that this is probably your weakest argument against Trump thus far (or for Trump, however you look at it). Not much commentary on policy or statements. This is mostly just a lot of speculation about really unknowable events. There’s nothing wrong with that but I feel a lot of the arguments would be true of any insurgent candidate from Ron Paul to Ross Perot. You indeed are likely correct that a large part of the ruling class would permanently resent any insurgent who takes the throne they’ve spent so long making into a throne (strong executive office). I don’t think that the Trump will be as unpopular with ‘the people’ as you are projecting though. No more than Obama was with Conservatives. Indeed I think they’ll just understand the feeling that I had when he won in 2008 having been a new devotee to Ron Paul. The only difference is that unlike the right wing the easily offended left who are upset by perceived ‘divisive’ or ‘violent’ rhetoric will actually use violence in protesting use the 1st amendment. So things seem crazier and more hateful. The intelligentsia that really hates him are just a paper tiger of hypocrites. I think most people understand that at some level. All using their massive intellect to exploit a living via the state and its satellites. My speculation will be pretty much the opposite of the Obama phenomenon. I think that the highly likely Trump presidency will begin with some despair from the left, parts of the right and maybe the world to some extent but then ease into a more tolerant and sober relationship with the American president. Unlike Obama’s hope to despair path I think Trump will be Despair to Hope… but who knows what he and/or the world with throw at the presidency? As a former Ron Paul supporter who was even a delegate to the 2012 RNC I have to admit that just the idea of someone who is a real insurgent actually winning is kind of enough for me sit back contented and see what happens. Perhaps I’m too optimistic (I mean we are talking the state here) but I’m happy to go on the record as such here.

  • So with the disclaimer that of course the candidates are all bad in their own special way I would say, Jeff, that this is probably your weakest argument against Trump thus far (or for Trump, however you look at it). Not much commentary on policy or statements. This is mostly just a lot of speculation about really unknowable events. There’s nothing wrong with that but I feel a lot of the arguments would be true of any insurgent candidate from Ron Paul to Ross Perot. You indeed are likely correct that a large part of the ruling class would permanently resent any insurgent who takes the throne they’ve spent so long making into a throne (strong executive office). I don’t think that the Trump will be as unpopular with ‘the people’ as you are projecting though. No more than Obama was with Conservatives. Indeed I think they’ll just understand the feeling that I had when he won in 2008 having been a new devotee to Ron Paul. The only difference is that unlike the right wing the easily offended left who are upset by perceived ‘divisive’ or ‘violent’ rhetoric will actually use violence in protesting use the 1st amendment. So things seem crazier and more hateful. The intelligentsia that really hates him are just a paper tiger of hypocrites. I think most people understand that at some level. All using their massive intellect to exploit a living via the state and its satellites. My speculation will be pretty much the opposite of the Obama phenomenon. I think that the highly likely Trump presidency will begin with some despair from the left, parts of the right and maybe the world to some extent but then ease into a more tolerant and sober relationship with the American president. Unlike Obama’s hope to despair path I think Trump will be Despair to Hope… but who knows what he and/or the world with throw at the presidency? As a former Ron Paul supporter who was even a delegate to the 2012 RNC I have to admit that just the idea of someone who is a real insurgent actually winning is kind of enough for me sit back contented and see what happens. Perhaps I’m too optimistic (I mean we are talking the state here) but I’m happy to go on the record as such here.

  • I can’t really think of a plausible way Trump could both win the election AND immediately be the most unpopular president in US history, at least in the US. That would imply that his opponent was even MORE unpopular.

    But even just his candidacy is already having a lot of the effect you talk about, because people are already thinking about what they would do if Trump were president. It’s also forcing us to stop pretending there isn’t an undercurrent of fascism in this country. People are suddenly able to say the “f-word” and even the “n-word” (Nazi, not the other one) without having someone immediately cite Godwin’s Law and declare the conversation over.

    “Authoritarianism” isn’t a word I used to hear very often from progressives. Now I hear it all the time. And if they’re trying to distinguish themselves from authoritarians, well, what’s the other side of that?

    The thing that kills me is that there are still some libertarians twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify voting for Trump or staying with the GOP. But I think plenty have finally realized that the GOP truly isn’t the party of small government and less interference with people’s lives and hasn’t been for a long time.

    I doubt this will suddenly bring the LP to the fore. I think it’s more likely we’ll see a new party form, not as a split from any particular party but as a coalition of those who don’t really feel like they fit into any party now. Or maybe Trump supporters will get pissed off and start their own party, leaving the GOP to reconstitute itself yet again as it did in 1980.

    • The libertarians “twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify voting for Trump or staying with the GOP” are making the mistake of “strategic voting.” First, since “your vote counts” only applies to the marginal vote (not yours, nor the “average”), it is unlikely to make any difference – except to you if “your team” wins. Rah. Rah.

      The most effective way “to communicate” your views that both Demopublican (Top2?) candidates are Authoritarians would be to vote for the Libertarian candidate. However, I will be the first to say that libertarians who want totally to boycott the “consent” nonsense are welcome in my large tent.

  • @seanlynch just an aside, I do not think that trump should be called a nazi. The main ideological difference between nazism and fascism was racism, and I think Trump is just nativist, not particularly racist. Also, his rhetorics and posture reminds me more of Mussolini (and Berlusconi) rather than Hitler. trump is dangerous but he’s still a clown, I never found anything even involuntarily funny in Hitler.

  • After more than 40 years of working with Jay Snelson and thus thinking about liberty non-stop, I read this with apprehension. My take is that it is important to let the big machine keep running while the teachings of the liberty/anarchy movement gain traction. Any sudden derailment of the status quo has as much likelihood of throwing all extant governments into turmoil as not.

    It is my view that allowing the rapidly growing liberty organizations to create alternatives to the status quo is the best way forward. The more alternatives the more fragmented the extant governments will become. Imagine Washington DC with a huge wall around it. Inside the politicians continue with their efforts to increase their influence, but everywhere else we will witness their dying ability to control. We will see a resurgence of kids running lemonade stands, a sure sign of dwindling tyranny. Alternatives to all current government functions will spring up.

    To channel Jeffery Tucker from a talk he gave, “think of government as a huge mountain that has been there for millennia. The mountain can’t be removed or pushed aside, but with technology it can be bypassed. We can go around the mountain, over the mountain, under the mountain, and tunnel through the mountain, until finally the mountain is behind us, worn out and useless.”

    This seems to me to be the most powerful way to proceed. Spending time and effort to destabilize (Trumpize) existing governments is a dangerous tack that may produce results exactly opposite of what was intended.

    And remember, nothing good has ever come from voting.

    • I concur with Luke, and my entire focus in the past 40 years, has been to find the “entry point.” Where is the crack in the concrete where the water can seep in?
      My choice of attack was with money. It was necessary to persuade Ron Paul to reject Rothbard’s idea of a “gold dollar” and focus on the WEIGHT. He introduced a bill (PL99-185) to enable the use of a legal tender gold coinage, introduced as a “parallel currency.” This was precisely what you describe as an “alternative” vehicle (legal tender unit of accounting – “ounce”). I hope it may become one tiny step in some evolutionary DNA toward total financial freedom.

      • Check out The United Precious Metals Association in Salt Lake, which maintains vault services (using Brinks) and has transactions and accounting in “Gold Dollars” = 1/50 American Eagle Ounce coin. They are laying the foundation for a legal process to re-establish the weight of gold as an acceptable Unit of Accounting in the payments system, and as a denominator for Balance Sheet accounting.
        That is “gradual progress.”
        Now I read in the media that Goldman Sachs is launching ‘Bitgold,’ as a gold gram accounting system transferred among participants using a Blockchain. That will become “rapid progress” toward our desired evolution of finance like Hayek’s vision of competition in the macroeconomic catallaxy.

      • Hi Joe, I concur with your choice. All the world’s governments’ money is fatally flawed. The only two alternatives I know of are precious metals and crypto currencies. And of the two, the precious metals have been time tested for millennia. Crypto currencies are new and in the road testing stage so there’s really no telling how stable and robust they will become.

    • Yes, the philosophical approach here is instead of fighting the system, to build a bridge around the system, making the original system obsolete, that shrivels up and dies in its own good time. Rand Paul, Secretary of the Treasury could make that happen.

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