Saturday, March 19, 2016

Libertarians and Trump

There are a wide variety of opinions amongst libertarians regarding Donald Trump.  I do not intend to examine the entire spectrum, and doubt this is possible in any case.  I will touch on two of the more vocal groups: libertarians who are afraid of a Trump presidency, and libertarians who are enjoying the show.

I know that generalizing is dangerous, so consider the following as painted with a very broad brush.

Fearful Libertarians

The president can make a fundamental difference in the way Washington works.  Serious engagement in politics is the only effective way to make change.  This sums up my view of the fearful libertarians. 

Pass the Popcorn

On the national stage, I don’t recall anyone at this level poking so much fun at establishment politicians and the mainstream news media in my lifetime.  Whether Trump is sincere or merely an actor for a much larger game, who knows?  But his actions can only help serve to de-legitimize politics and politicians.  There is everything good about this and nothing bad.


I don’t think the individual who sits in the chair of the president makes that much of a difference.  The system will continue to move along until it can’t – and it can’t when the funding available can no longer meet all the promises made.

In the meantime, every action that de-legitimizes the state and politicians is a helpful action.

As to Trump: Where a president can act with little or no congressional approval necessary – foreign policy and wars – Trump at least offers some hope.  It is precisely in wars that the most egregious violations of the NAP are to be found.

Where Trump seems to be craziest – building walls and banning Muslims – congress has more control (for whatever that’s worth).


  1. Excellent summary of things- good job. I'm in the "pass the popcorn" camp, and agree with your conclusion.

  2. Trump on war: I agree, better "maybe less war" than "MOAR, MOAR, MOAR!"

  3. I am pleased with Trump's reluctance to invade the world, but I think for different reasons than Mosquito. I do have a problem with killing people en masse who pose no threat to you, but I am much more concerned with why War is bad for America (Blood and Treasure).

    However I also care about the second part of the de facto American Imperial Dictum: Invade the World, Invite the World.

    "Where Trump seems to be craziest – building walls and banning Muslims"

    Man, that is the best part! I am not sure why libertarians would ever applaud the mass migration of welfare dependents and socialists. Futhermore, if you accept the Ron Paul type "blowback" argument why would you want to accept Muslims who may commit terrorists acts in revenge for the bombing and invasion of their countries?

    Also, Bionic, can you explain the "fearful" thing a bit more. Why is it "fearful" to believe you need to engage in politics if you want to win at politics? Or am I misreading? If so I apologize.

    1. “…I am much more concerned with why War is bad for America.”

      What is “America”? No trick question, no geography question.

      War is bad for some Americans and good for other Americans. For those who fall in the “good” camp, they don’t care about some “balance sheet” calculation.

      “I am not sure why libertarians would ever applaud the mass migration of welfare dependents and socialists.”

      They will suggest that the issue of welfare programs is a separate issue. I am not agreeing, merely stating what I believe to be the position of those who generally fall into the “open borders” camp.

      “…if you accept the Ron Paul type "blowback" argument why would you want to accept Muslims who may commit terrorists acts in revenge for the bombing and invasion of their countries?”

      Hence, you might look again into the order in which you place the “killing people en masse who pose no threat to you” point. Although I could also see your order through this “blowback” issue.

      “Why is it "fearful" to believe you need to engage in politics if you want to win at politics?”

      The libertarians who fear Trump take politics seriously. They believe the president can make fundamental changes, that “who” is president is somehow of supreme importance. They fear the changes Trump will make on civil liberty-type issues.

    2. Part 1

      "What is America." Excellent question, and before I answer that, I need to clarify my original statement.

      When I say war is bad for America. I should say that war is bad for the Americans that have to pay for it. Incidentally (though not coincidentally) that is where my sympathies lie. I mentioned the primary costs of Blood and Treasure, and I'm sure we have a similar analysis of these costs. As for the "Americans" who benefit from these imperial wars, they belong on the wrong end of a rope since they are traitors or foreign agents. To my mind treason is simply a betrayal of the American people, particularly the productive people who fund the State. These wars are committed in their name, with their money, and with their sons. That demands justice.

      Since it is pretty obvious which Americans are harmed, who are the ones that benefit? In this camp I would put the knowing and the unknowing. There are a lot of Americans who work in the "defense" industry, or military-industrial-complex if you prefer, and there are also those who have invested in it. It is true that some of them do end up on the net gain side, and that is regrettable but they are not the true enemies. The true enemies are the ones who lie and manipulate America into perpetual war for their own profit. The Merchants of Death, Wall Street, International Firms, and of course the Israel lobby (as well as some other foreign states like Turkey in particular.)

      As for "what is America?" America is an Empire. The American people are allowed two identities. You can be a subject of the State and a participant in the market. If you are a "minority" you are allowed a racial and cultural identity. That is it. So in that sense America is a dead nation, or its a nation that was killed before it ever got off the ground (perhaps because it was a doomed project once the constitution was adopted and the path toward centralized power began).

      I will refrain at this point from going into detail as to what a Nation is (though I would be happy to expound), suffice to say that the root of the word is Natal meaning birth. A Nation is about blood and soil and the identity that goes with that.

      The question of the American Nation is difficult for two reasons.

      1. The Empire is heedless of the ethnic and cultural heritage of its subjects. It is hostile to all forms of community and authority outside its dominion, and it seeks to expand its clientele without end.

      2. America has a complicated history being a nation of European immigrants arriving at different times. Different etho-religous groups settled different regions and for a time forged identities of their own (see the book Albion's Seed). This, as you well know, was destroyed by centralized power, particularly in the wake of the "Civil" War. If the South had won that war and their was a Southern Nation today, that nation would be easier to define. There is also the problem of Slavery which is responsible for the existence of the 50 some million blacks in America and the racial conflicts that have, and continue, to result from that. To top all that off now there are millions of people from third world countries pouring in and our elite would like that we refer to them as Americans.

    3. Part 2

      Now, as to this: "They will suggest that the issue of welfare programs is a separate issue." I understand that you prohibit the use of profanity and I fully intend to respect your rules, but I struggle with how to say this politely. I either question these people's sincerity or their intelligence. I believe open borders libertarians are either intellectually challenged or left-wing entryists. The idea that these are "separate" issues hardly passes the laugh test. These people are coming here and making use of welfare as well as politically supporting the welfare state. If you oppose welfare you should oppose importing its supporters or dependents.

      "Hence, you might look again into the order..."

      I am afraid I don't quite understand what you mean here. Order, like sequential/temporal order? I would really like to respond to your point, could you please clarify Mr. Mosquito?

      As to your last point, I believe I understand what you are saying. To which I would reply that I believes Libertarians (no offense man) are politically useless. They have accomplished basically nothing in politics since the word "libertarian" came into use (I believe it was Rothbard who coined it, but I could be mistaken). That is not to say there aren't some fantastic libertarian writers who cover current events, my favorite of which is Justin Raimondo,only that libertarians are not very good at IRL politics.

    4. “I believe open borders libertarians are either intellectually challenged or left-wing entryists.”

      I believe many, but not all, fit the left-wing category. I deal with one of the more vocal of this strain here:

      “I am afraid I don't quite understand what you mean here.”

      I was referring to the order as referenced in this earlier comment: “I do have a problem with killing people en masse who pose no threat to you, but I am much more concerned with why War is bad for America (Blood and Treasure).”

      “[Libertarians] have accomplished basically nothing in politics since the word "libertarian" came into use…”

      There are many libertarians for whom this is not only perfectly fine, but the only proper objective for a libertarian to hold (at least when considering the term “politics” in its common usage).

      However, I think you are quite wrong in your statement. Trump is an outgrowth of Ron Paul’s last two runs at office. I offer the following, and especially the conclusion:

      While Ron Paul did not run as a strict libertarian, he came closer to this line (by many orders of magnitude) than any major-party politician I have seen in my lifetime.

    5. “[Libertarians] have accomplished basically nothing in politics since the word "libertarian" came into use…”


      I will add…to which political movement advocating meaningful rollback of the state is this not applicable? We have more government, more regulation, more spending, more taxation, more money manipulation, more foreign interventions….I could go on.

    6. It is not about choosing between the what the Establishment offers us. It is about making something new. There are a lot of strategies, tactics, and alliances that would be fruitful, but libertarians are always hung up moralizing or theorizing about how things would work in a PPS.

      A good example of this from 20 years ago was the libertarian-paleocon alliance. This was the right direction and we should learn from why it failed. We should also learn why Ron Paul failed.

      It is my opinion that libertarians are their own worst enemies and that they will probably be bred out of existence in the future if we can't come up with an effective political strategy against the Empire.

      Which, brings me to something you said in an exchange of ours on a previous post. You said that you are uninterested in politics that aren't libertarian. This, in my opinion is the worst attitude a libertarian can have. You are choosing an ideological ghetto as well as intellectual and political irrelevance.

      The best strategy I can offer is a pan-secessionist, pan-nationalist platform. We should focus on pushing for national self-determination rather than individual self-determination. This resonates with people all over the world, especially in Europe. The political struggle of the future is particularism and nationalism vs universalism and globalism. Not the individual (abstract) against the state (abstract)

    7. “You are choosing an ideological ghetto as well as intellectual and political irrelevance.”

      Yet you are the one who self-identifies as “unhappy.” Not one to be lecturing others, it seems to me.

      I am perfectly happy in my ghetto. How many or few join is outside of my control and beyond my concern. I write what I write; if it moves even one person to think outside of the brainwashing the state has given to them, this is sufficient. Actually, even if my writing moves no one, I enjoy writing for my own benefit.

    8. I am sorry if I came off that way. I am just sick of losing ground to the enemy, which is why I am unhappy.

      I have to say though, you didn't refute what I said. You just said you didn't care. I think that is sad man, because if you have values you care about you should be willing to fight for them. We need smart people like you actually engaging with our enemies rather than writing for their own satisfaction.

    9. Unhappy,

      Many people have commented on this site and privately in emails to me that I have helped moved them along a path toward more libertarian thinking or questioning the government's actions or mainstream history.

      Must I also bash my head against a rock in trying to convince the merchants of death to stop their ways, or Hillary to become a moral person, or any of the millions of their blind worshipers to open their eyes?

      I have neither the energy or desire to subject myself to those unwilling and unable to consider the NAP, and in fact violently oppose it.

      Read Isaiah's Job. Those who have an ear will listen, those who don't... pearls before swine - what a waste of time.

    10. "Even if they remain silent, the stones will cry out".

    11. "Read Isaiah's Job. Those who have an ear will listen, those who don't... pearls before swine - what a waste of time."

      There's a corollary to that statement as well(IMO) that I recently read via Bill Bonner/Acting-Man; a link he posted that rings true at times(ignore the spelling) called the BS asymmetry:

    12. The Remanent is larger than just Libertarians who accept the NAP. I do not accept the NAP and I am not your enemy. We have a better chance going forward if we make allies where ever we can.

    13. "The Remanent is larger than just Libertarians who accept the NAP."


      "I do not accept the NAP and I am not your enemy."

      What do you reject about not initiating aggression? Depending on your answer, we might be enemies - or you might find that you accept the NAP (in which case, my working model will demonstrate one more success).

    14. " Depending on your answer, we might be enemies "

      Oooosh. I should probably be careful how I answer.

      So what is the NAP? As I understand it, the NAP is a the basis of just jurisprudence. I have heard Walter Block say as much so I presume that will be an acceptable definition.

      It is not so much that I have a problem with that. My problem is more with what some libertarians take that to mean and how those, and others apply it to political philosophy and strategy.

      On a political level the NAP is a question of rights. Obviously if you put this in vague terms you end up with something of a tautology, basically: Violating peoples rights is a violation, or initiating aggression against rightful property is a transgression against rightful property.

      The interpretation of what constitutes aggression and what constitutes property is not solved by this framework, and it is more a question of jurisprudence than politics since even if you answer it you haven't solved the problem of enforcement.

      Who gets these rights and what is aggression?- are the questions we have to ask.

      An example: if I insult your mother and you bash my face in who is the aggressor?

      It depends on whether or not you see an attack on the honor of ones mother as an initiation of aggression. My ancestors would have no doubt thought it was.

      On a political level. If you are dealing with an existential threat like communist take over or invasion, it should be within the domain of the sovereign to act to defend their long term interests. If you had a libertarian society and you had marxists agitators move into town and begin promoting communist take over over the town, I would support very harsh measures.

    15. Libertarian theory is quite young, as you know. Therefore many things are still to be worked out. Further, there are those who claim to be properly applying libertarian theory to some problem or another are just plain wrong.

      See this post:

      The relevant portion begins with the section entitled "A discussion worth sharing," all the way through the conclusion.

      There are some who bash me over the head as not being libertarian when I suggest that culture matters - precisely because libertarian theory does not (and can not) answer every question.

      But I am just re-writing again what I have written in the linked post.

    16. I read that post when you first published and thought it was very good. I especially agree with:

      "The NAP isn’t God, it isn’t even a god. It doesn’t hold the key to every door, the answer to every question. The NAP cannot define itself; the NAP cannot apply itself; the NAP cannot defend itself. The NAP doesn’t insist that it is defined, applied, or defended in exactly the same way in every situation, every time, everywhere on earth. I don’t expect it to deliver heaven on earth, a utopia – the NAP won’t even get very far without a lot of help"

      You should check this guy out if you are unfamiliar:

    17. Also, good job quoting Sobran, a total boss.

  4. One thing I don't get about (ok there are several things I don't get) about Libertarians supporting ANY candidate, and supporting the State at all, is I thought we are suppose to anti-state abolishionist. Quit supporting the State!
    And Trump? I'm tired of people saying he sounds less war like. He babbles on and on with nothing clear about any policy except one.
    He flat said he will send 30,000 ground troops to wipe out ISIS. The one time his ramblings were very clear.
    I don't get the nationalism of Libertarians either.
    I am an Anarchist, I live in a town called Fairbanks. I own a house and land here. I am not loyal to any "American" government, any more than to the Chinese government. I think the State of Alaska is an illegitimate organization. I see the local borough government here just as I would see a outside band of thieves who would ride in and pillage me from time to time. I want this community I live in to remove consent from the gang of thieves that have decided to set up camp here.
    I don't care how people in Idaho or any other area, including all the other States and any other country or state, wants to live. Heck, I don't even care how the people in Anchorage want their community to be like. It's none of my business.
    The president of the US does what he is told or he is shot. Pretty simple. The deep State rules.
    Libertarians should be doing all they can to remove consent from the State and to live their lives against it with every opportunity that comes to them.
    Do we really hate the State?
    I wonder.
    I Think there is a large group of libertarians that would cry like babies if the US State fails. All because they never had a chance to have "their guy" become president. All because they never got a chance to have political power, they think they could somehow show the world that libertarians can wield political power and all would be good.
    Reject the State. Have a high time preference, work towards THAT, and it will happen.
    If you want to vote for Trump, go for it, but please don't pull a Dr. Block and try to justify it with any Libertarian principles.

  5. "I am not loyal to any "American" government, any more than to the Chinese government"

    Joshua, are you at least more loyal to the American people than the Chinese people?

    "I thought we are suppose to [be] anti-state abolishionist[s]".

    Question: which State(s) would you like to abolish?

    1. I interact with people who I live near more than folks who live thousands of miles away. So, I am more interested in my community than I am in the rest of the world.
      I would love Americans to be free, as well as Chinese. I see people as people. There are different cultures, ethnicities, of course. But I don't think there should be arbitrary lines drawn up by States. Look at the havoc this has caused in the Middle East. There should be Private Property. Period.
      Personally, there is little I can do for "American" Liberty, much less Chinese. But I can have an impact on my community. Do folks like Ron Paul just want to see free Americans? I doubt it.
      Disloyalty to a State has nothing to do with how I feel about humans who happen to live in this or that States arbitrary borders and imaginary lines.
      Which State would I like to see abolished?
      Well, all of them of course.

    2. Joshua

      It is good to consider (whether or not you personal "boundaries" extend so far: you likely have more in common with someone from the Northwest Territories of Canada than you do someone from Florida.

      The lines are meaningless other than to signify which thug has the authority to skim off of your production and tell you how to live.

    3. Joshua,

      You ideology seems to me simply a liberal form international communism, incidentally the end goal of which was a global and stateless workers paradise.

      Another thing you seem to have in common with communists is your institutional determinism. Private Property determining the social order rather than the other way around.

      Don't get me wrong. I know you are not a pinko, but you are applying your ideology like a pinko.

      Question: what is your definition of State?

    4. Left libertarians will point to many intellectuals from the past who also have connections with communist thinking. I read them and see how they contributed to the development of anarcho-libertarian thought. Many of the descriptions of the "problems" are identical, albeit we part ways on solutions - most important being the absolute respect for private property.

    5. Unhappy conservative, you got me to think a little. I have never been accused of thinking like a commie,(well, except by a neocon) and I appreciate that you believe I am not. I am definitely not for a global communist workers paradise. I am a full on capitalist. I own a business with almost 50 employees.
      Why wouldn't private property determine the social order? I own my body, ( well I think God does and I am merely a caretaker of His property) . What better social order is there? Don't steal? You have the right to do as you please with your property, and a non-owner has no right to determine your use of it? I guess you could say that if people have the right to their own self determination then they should have the right to be commies, and I agree, but only if others who don't want to be commies have the right to secede. No one, has the right to steal another persons property. As BM said above, "the most important being the absolute respect for private property."
      I don't hate Americans, or "America" I have a deep admiration for the regular farmers and others who fought to throw off a Kings tyranny, who changed what the world thought about Liberty. (Yes I can make a good argument that the founders were crooks too) I am simply trying to make a point about nationalism." We are better than them." Exceptionalism. Its how wars always start. Plus a good healthy state.
      My definition of the State. This may be to simplistic, but I see "the State" as that entity with the monopoly of force, violence, and taxation, and who is the ultimate arbiter of its own disputes within a given territory.
      Down with the State.

    6. Joshua,

      Congratulations on your business, that is indeed very un-pinko. Thank you for your detailed response.

      The social order determines the economic/legal order and not the other way around. Marxists believed it was the other way around and that is why they sought to overturn the economic order.

      The social order is determined by the ideas, values, and genetics of the society. If it were possible for people to create sovereign communities in the U.S you would see alot of different types of societies, and many of these would certainly fail to meet your standards of Private Property (as you see it) and the NAP. One obvious example of this would be a theonomic society (paging Gary North). This is why I do a double-take when I see libertarians talking about a world-wide version of the PPS utopia, it fails to recognize that people are different.

      As for your definition of the State. I see no real difference between that definition and the definition of private property. I think because most libertarians study economics more than they study politics they prefer an economic definition of what they want rather than a political one (which is also why they think the solution lies in the economic order). I think we should be focusing on the question of Sovereignty rather than Private Property, since the former recognizes the political realm where these questions are really decided.

    7. Utopia is thinking that a State can be minimal and held accountable. I don't believe in any utopia. You are missing a key element in what I am talking about. Secession. I don't care if people want to live in a theonomic society. Let them. They have the right to. They just don't have the right to force me to be in it. Each persoon should be able to live in the community
      they choose.
      Hoe can you not see the difference between monopoly force and voluntary association? Libertarians think about the free market? Of course we do. Voluntary exchange between 2 parties without 3rd party interference is the essence of freedom. States make themselves involved in all transactions. We so called utopians think there only needs to be 2 to exchange.
      Libertarianism is actually a political philosophy. That's it. The fact that many of us also follow the Austrian economic theory has nothing to do with Libertarianism per say.
      The 2 just fit together well.
      I don't need a political realm to understand that I am the sovereign of my life and property. Politics always destroys individual sovereignty.
      We don't need political means to recognize private property.

    8. "They just don't have the right to force me to be in it."

      Would you at least recognize they have a right to force their children and those who marry into it?

      "Hoe can you not see the difference between monopoly force and voluntary association."

      I am criticizing you from the right. I do believe that free men should be able to interact as you described, however I don't extend this to all people. The political question that you seem to want to ignore is who specifically gets these rights? (and if you want to get philosophical, where do they come from?)

      The reason I think you are being Utopian is that you are not being specific. When you talk about "liberty" in a macro-sense you are talking about the self-determination of nations. Which means, as I already stated, that many of the societies that emerge will not be libertarian in any narrow sense. The interactions of disparate communities, whether they be friendly or in enmity is the realm of politics.

      I too believe secession is a an absolute necessity, but only from the empire. If you tried to secede from a theonomic society you would be attacking the territory of that society and they would have a right to defend themselves. Agreed?

      "Libertarianism is actually a political philosophy. That's it."

      While I believe a libertarian political philosophy is possible I don't believe it presently exists. What people like Walter Block talk about is merely applied legal theory. Two examples of a libertarian-esque political philosophy that I support are Pan-seccessionism/pan-nationalism and National Anarchism

      "We don't need political means to recognize private property."

      Private property is relevant because its a question of sovereignty and rights, these are unavoidably political questions.

  6. Too many folks are vested in the "Big Lie" at this point. That is from the mixed economy (many high paying jobs) to the welfare state, i.e. Social Security.

    As far as I can tell the elite bloodlines have just gone from Devine Right of Kings to Political Representation/Democracy as a tool to monopolize their power.

    Businessmen by in large are not dedicated to a free market civilization or world community for that matter. See Rothbard for that analysis not Rand's fictional fairytale of maverick businessmen. Yes I know there are a few, but they are in a small minority.

    As far as the Deep State...the henchmen of the elite that are given Carte Blanche Dominion to act as they wish given cover or legitimate authority of that State as a protectorate of the of the collective of the people as a whole. All in the name of national security/interests. We can thank the two great wars in the 20th century for this coup de tat and the majority support among the people.

    The open border issue is a problem of the landlord actions or eminent domain laws of the state...and the social justice actions of the state with welfare..which has fueled the fire immensely.

    I'm with you as well as others regarding Trump. So Pass me some Popcorn Mr. Mosquito. Your analysis is awesome as always. Thanks.

  7. I don't like popcorn, but otherwise sit with the pass the popcorn group. Trump is very entertaining, and more importantly the response of the collective establishment has demonstrated the depth of its corruption. Even some of my hard core left/right friends have become more aware of it.

  8. What seems to be missing here is comment about the elephant in the room, or the donkey,....or whatever. This nomination process is about picking the person who will represent their party in the general election. Now, granted, Trump was allowed into the mix of potential candidates, probably to "juice" up the entertainment value of the debates. Who, among the intelligencia could have predicted his popularity, given the rarified circle they travel in? But, and this is a big but, will he be allowed to represent the Republican party in the general election?
    Sorry, that would be a rhetorical question, as I think it answers itself.