Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Sobering Reality of Trump

Justin Raimondo has a great piece, entitled “Trump: America’s Funhouse Mirror,” subtitled “He’s not saying anything that hasn’t been proposed before.”  To summarize: Trump may be over-the-top in how he says things, but he is saying nothing more than what has been said by others before.  Trump’s difference is one of style, not substance (a shocking insight, I know).

It is a sobering read, only because it is so true.  Like Trump, Raimondo’s piece puts it right in your face.  What is the “it”?  Trump is America – more specifically, Trump represents what many Americans want, believe, think.  Trump is merely a manifestation of this desire.  Trump’s words are no different than what other politicians believe and say and do; other politicians just find flowery (or deceptive) ways to say it.

It is a sobering read because Raimondo puts in your face the picture of your neighbors, friends, relatives – many of the people you know, and many of the people you don’t know.

The latest outburst of self-righteous indignation directed at Donald Trump underscores what hypocrites Americans are, as well as illustrating their seemingly endless capacity for self-delusion. This latest eruption of moralizing is occasioned by Trump’s proposal that all travel by Muslims into this country must be ended – “until we find out what the heck is going on.”

Raimondo goes on to point out that this call by Trump is just another plank in a building long ago constructed – for example:

Yet Congress is set to approve a bill with broad bipartisan backing that would deny visa-free travel to anyone who has been in Iraq or Syria in the past five years.

Raimondo offers other examples of supposedly outrageous Trumpisms that are outdone by the actions of politicians and various security agencies every day – today.

And not just today.  Trump points out that it wasn’t just the Japanese that were abused by Roosevelt during WWII. 

“Take a look at Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527, having to do with alien German, alien Italian, alien Japanese. They stripped them of their naturalization proceedings. They went through a whole list of things; they couldn’t go five miles from their homes. They weren’t allowed to use radios, flashlights. I mean, you know, take a look at what FDR did many years ago and he’s one of the most highly respected presidents.”

As Raimondo ends the post:

The fear-mongering and war hysteria that has dominated the American political landscape since 9/11 has come back to haunt our Establishment – and they don’t like it one bit. This is “blowback” with a vengeance, and it conjures in my memory this quote from a trenchant observer of the march of human folly, Henry Louis Mencken:

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

I am not so sure that the “Establishment” doesn’t like it.  Anyone with half a brain knew that the road being travelled could lead to this.  (NB: there was a time it seemed Trump was less warmongerish than the others; I am no longer so sure about this.)

In any case, for me a couple of other quotes come to mind.  First, from Étienne de La Boétie:

Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives.

All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.

Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves?

You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check.

If that was too long, I offer a summary from Senator Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005):

"So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."

How weak this so-called liberty.  Since 911, there have been a total of 45 people killed by so-called jihadist attacks in the US (including San Bernardino). 

Or about one typical month in Chicago.


  1. "Since 911, there have been a total of 45 people killed by so-called jihadist attacks in the US"

    In other words, a mosquito bite. ;-)

    I too am amazed at what kind of panic a few showy deaths can throw people into. When you ask them if they are personally afraid of being killed by jihadis, they might think a bit and say, "no". But still, just the idea some people somewhere in this country were attacked by a specific group, they take it as a personal attack. The victims are their friends and neighbors, rather than just some people they never knew or heard about, as prior to the attack.

    I just try to tell them about blowback - "Play at empire, expect to take a hit now and then." They don't want to look at it that way. It would never occur to them to favor the end of the bombing of Syria for example.

    As to Trump, he and Hitlary and the rest are getting pretty irrelevant. Debt-fueled crash ahead...

    1. Less than two weeks work for the cops.

  2. "(NB: there was a time it seemed Trump was less warmongerish than the others; I am no longer so sure about this.)"

    My thoughts exactly.

    1. Via LRC, Trump did double down today on Iraq being a distaster and his being against it in 03' in retort to Darth Cheney:

      " Excuse me, extremist point of view? I was against the war in Iraq in 2003, I said don't do it... Cheney is the one that started the War in Iraq. You talk about an extremist. "

      The thing about Trump is this:

      He uses false threats in negotiating to get a better outcome. I have to read his book "Art of the Deal" when I get time.

      But my point is, he's really hard to nail down, purposely I suppose.

  3. Americans' lack of perspective is truly astonishing. Almost twice as many Americans perish in traffic fatalities every day than have been killed by jihadists on American soil since 9/11. And who knows how many more are permanently crippled every day in traffic accidents?

    The media drum beat for more gun control laws is supposed to solve what problem? Guns falling into the hands of crazy people? How many of these mass killers are obvious raving lunatics? None. They are invariably described by those who know them as friendly, easy going friends, neighbors and coworkers. So, using which standards, who is to decide who can and cannot be trusted with guns? Even disarmament of the general public in France didn't prevent fully automatic rifles, grenades and explosive vests from falling into the hands of terrorists. All that disarmament does is to prevent victims from defending themselves, thus at least limiting the carnage.

    If private gun ownership in America dies to the thunderous applause of the left, it will be because Americans are ignorant of the fact that they will have placed their lives at the mercy of the very institution, the state, which during the last century, first disarmed its subjects before slaughtering them by the scores of millions. I doubt that the belief in American exceptionalism will save them from that same fate.

    1. There's a qualitative difference between murders by terrorists who shouldn't even be in the country and deaths by car accidents. You may not think being machined gunned to death at a Christmas party is anything out of the ordinary or any more remarkable than any other death, but it really is. Accidents happen. Domestic Muslim terrorism is the preventable result of willfully stupid immigration policy.

      Why only since 9/11? Because it's convenient for your argument? 9/11 cost the country thousands of lives and billions of dollars. The animus behind it It permanently changed our society and laws. And for what? The privilege of living with Muslim extremists?

    2. Before 911, the US government killed Muslims and Arabs by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Before 911, the US government supported the most tyrannical Muslim/Arab state in the region. Before 911, the US government supported every action of Israel, no matter how heinous.

      Before 911, European countries did the same.

      When do you want to start the clock?

  4. BM, excellent using De La Boetie. Almost hard to believe this is from a 22 year old in 1552.
    Also, only 8 more days until Star Wars Episode 7 here in Alaska. We get to watch it on the 17th. :-)

  5. I'm a life long libertarian and I trust nothing Lew Rockwell and his associates say, particularly DiLorenzo, who I believe knows he's a liar.

    1. When you get a moment, could you explain to us specifically why you distrust Lew Rockwell? You do hold the NAP as a core tenet of libertarianism, correct?

    2. The crowd frowns on the very office of the presidency itself, and that hasn't changed. They may sound as if they're Trump fans, but it's only because to them, the only interesting and noteworthy thing happening right now is how furious the establishment is that he isn't kissing their ring.

    3. from lew's political theatre blog
      "Why restart this solo blog, last active in 2012, given my view of politics? I see it, of course, as corrupt and corrupting, and designed to fool the people into thinking they have some say over the state. In other words, it’s a fraud, and a potent and dangerous one, run by nasties who seek coercive power over others, and love war and other forms of killing.

      Only Ron Paul—who did not seek nor want power over others–was able to use the system against itself, to teach millions here and abroad about Austrian economics, freedom, and peace.

      I do have to confess, though I don’t even vote—and why in the world would I?-that I do follow politics, and indeed was long involved in it, before going straight. Now I enjoy puncturing their balloons, and translating their propaganda into plain language.

      NB: this is not a place for positive news as sculpted by the campaigns: “Politician X Introduces Bill To Stop Wasps From Stinging Children.” Of course, I want to sting the pols.

      Last time, LRC readers seemed to like my subversive point of view. I hope you do again."

      much in this spirit i presume
      'A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.'

  6. Liars alway censor. Thats,who you are.

    1. I want to be sure I understand:

      "I'm a life long libertarian..."

      Got it.

      "Of course you censor."

      An actual life long libertarian would know that private property owners discriminate; governments censor. This is libertarianism 101.

      And if your future comments add no value beyond these, I will discriminate...with pleasure.

  7. If I understand correctly, you agree more-or-less with Hoppe's views on immigration, yes? Hoppe (in private correspondence) has called Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Moslem immigration "ridiculous". Now, what do you think would be the best immigration policy, given what we have now? Do you agree with Trump's wall and immigration ban? Or is there another way of approaching this you would prefer? Stefan Molyneux has made a recent video defending Trump's proposal by citing many statistics that suggest many (if not most) Moslem immigrants coming into the US and Europe possess very radical views, including (but not limited to) waging jihad against us infidels. How do you view all of this? Thank you, great piece by Raimondo, and I am looking forward to your response.

    - James Waldrop Jr

    1. As I have written before, the closest I can come to a libertarian approach to immigration in this world is for the potential immigrant to present some combination of a) a letter of employment, b) a letter demonstrating housing (a rental contract or home purchase), and c) a letter from one or more sponsors, ensuring good behavior and ensuring that the immigrant will not present a financial burden to the government.

      Unfortunately, this application will be processed by government officials. This, sadly, is the situation of the world we live in; but this is what you asked.

    2. That'd be a fine immigration policy for a country that was only a market, populated by asperger syndrome cases, with no culture, history, religion or ethnic groups, etc. Nevermind that such a country only exists in libertarian ideological fantasies. In the real world you end up with Yugoslavia when you don't pay attention to those things.

  8. I think it's fair to say that if Trump didn't make it policy to rebuke all things politically correct, nobody would care about him - libertarians or otherwise.

    To be honest, I'm more disturbed by the potential of his presidency than any other candidate, in any party. My sole reasoning being that he's got the charisma to be the most successful dictator in modern history. Recent ideas of his indicate he's not a friend to liberty.

    Consider the things both Bush and Obama have been bold enough to do to liberty, knowing they didn't have the charisma to sell it. Trump could sell ice water in the arctic, and insist the customer is getting a deal.

    And everyone would eat it up.

  9. R. Shackleford:

    At which point in time does a nation freeze immigration in order to protect the dominant culture? When did the U.S. ever have ethnic, religious and cultural solidarity in need of protecting from the foreign? Was it during the mid 19th century when Irish immigrants were regarded by the then dominant culture as hardly more desirable than stray dogs? Or during a late 19th century census when Slavs and Italians were classified as non White? How about when Chinese immigrants were viciously discriminated against legally for their superhuman work ethic? Or when Jews were suspected of being unassimilable connivers? Maybe when Germans were feared as rabble rousers of labor? Or Perhaps when Native Americans and Japanese were placed in concentration camps? Or certainly when the dominant religion believed that Roman Catholicism was the work of the devil?

    Despite the fear of the other, over the generations the above clashing ethnic groups, religions and races somehow learned to tolerate each other and live peacefully together. They assimilated and even intermarried, and now this hybrid, cultural mish mash is thought by many today to be the dominant American culture in need of protection from the new other- Muslims.

    I think that BM's proposal to allow further immigration from any source only to the extent that the property rights of existing Americans are not further eroded, is a practical libertarian solution within the context of our existing political reality.

  10. Besides the Raimondo article, Bill Bonner has also written a couple of great Trump posts in the last couple of days.

    One of his readers responded with a great Mencken quote :

    " As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron."

    "Trump – Too Rich to Steal… Too Dumb to Lie" :

    Regards, onebornfree.