Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After the Night Before

Proverbs 24: 17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, 18 or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.

I will do my best, Lord.  But I really look forward to seeing you keep your end of the bargain.

23 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: 24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.  25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.

OK, I get it.  I can judge, as long as a) I do not show partiality and b) I do not gloat or rejoice. 

In case you didn’t notice, there was an election on Tuesday…. In the biggest shock since…Brexit…the result was a complete and total shock to those whom Nassim Taleb calls the “Intellectual Yet Idiot” class.  It shouldn’t have been much of a shock to anyone paying attention – well, maybe mildly surprising, but not a shock!

OK.  So…now what?  I will offer some thoughts on a wide-ranging set of topics, all related to this election. 

The Big Losers

I begin here because this strikes me as the most important point for minarchist-libertarians; those who support political change via political action; those who have been convinced that weakening the libertarian message is the path to political success.

The first big loser is Rand Paul.  The second big loser is the Libertarian Party.  You were both wrong.  It has been obvious all along that you would be wrong.  You set out with a strategy sure to fail, and in this you completely succeeded.

Why are these two the big losers (in the context of change through political action, for those who believe this path)?  To make a long story short, both Rand and the LP completely misread the tea leaves; both Rand and the LP threw away the movement and momentum that took root thanks to Ron Paul; both Rand and the LP either didn’t understand or purposely ignored what made Ron Paul successful.  They were given a gift horse and decided not only to check its teeth, but to greatly over-estimate the horse’s age. 

Both Rand and the LP blew it.  The mood of the country was changing; Ron Paul tapped into this (he would probably say “unknowingly,” at least in 2007).  Rand and the LP couldn’t figure this out even after eight years of ever-compounding evidence.

Libertarians for Clinton

Yes, such as these existed.  God knows why.   There were absolutely no good reasons for any libertarian (or any person of even half-decent moral character) to support Clinton.

Libertarians Against Trump

There were many more of these.  To the extent this was based on libertarian principle (“I cannot support any politician,” or “I cannot support any politician other than Ron Paul”) I get it.  (And by “support” I don’t mean only voting). 

There were two (and in my mind, only two) good reasons for libertarians to support Trump.  I will touch on one of these here: Trump represented a blow to the establishment.  I use the word “represented” as I cannot say if he is (or will actually be) a “blow” to the establishment.  Whether he is or isn’t, those who voted for him and believe he is a blow to the establishment will not go away anytime soon.

Most libertarians have a hard time remembering: the enemy is the state.  This isn’t about smoking pot or gay marriage or open borders or limited government or more efficient government.  It is about killing the beast known as the state.  It cannot be killed by physical force – they have bigger guns.  It can only be killed by ideas, and since much of the audience doesn’t really grasp (or doesn’t agree with) the ideas, the next best thing is to strip the state of any semblance of legitimacy.

Toward this end, Trump has succeeded in the US far better than anyone else has to date.  But for the pot-smoking, same-sex loving, open borders, make-government-smaller-and-more-efficient libertarian class…well, they waste time and capital fighting meaningless battles while the war around them is lost.

It is clear that many of those who supported Trump wanted a complete break from everything that the intellectual-yet-idiot class was telling them.  This is nothing but a win for liberty.  A big win.

But many libertarians don’t get that.

The End of the End of the World

This is the only other reason for libertarians to support Trump.  While I cannot know if Trump will actually try to (or be able to) tone things down between the US and Russia, I am quite certain that Hillary would not. 

When it comes to war and end-of-the-world possibilities, any chance is better than zero chance.

And when it comes to libertarian theory put into practice, there is no bigger impediment than war.  Even more so, nuclear war.  (Obviously not obvious to all libertarians.)

I Will Try Not to Gloat or Rejoice

This is going to be difficult….

First, the mainstream media.  So, when I heard some of the first results, I thought to myself “this meltdown is going to be fun to watch.”  (I figure by confessing my sin, God might still go ahead with his end of the bargain.)  Oh, the whining, the crying, the shocked look on their faces.  I think there would be less disbelief on the screen if they had heard Dick Cheney confess to his role in 911.

Next, the professional pollsters.  Either incompetent or manipulative.  Either way, to the extent fewer people pay attention to them in the future, this is an absolute good.  Perhaps if those who actually pay money for the nonsense spewed by most of these decided they would pay on a scale based on accuracy of prediction, things would change.

But I think most of the mainstream buyers didn’t want accurate predictions, and most of the polls wanted to satisfy their customers.

Oh Canada

Many of the loudest Clinton supporters swore they would leave the country and move if Trump won.  What are you waiting for?  Canada is a good option.  Close enough.  They speak almost the same English.  They already have socialized healthcare and high personal tax rates.  They have more gun laws.  You will be safer from the destruction of global warming.  The traffic in Toronto is as bad as it is in the places most of you live – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC. 

This, however, leaves me torn.  People in Canada did nothing to deserve this (well, neither did many in the United States).  Then again, I hear that LeBron James has just demanded to be traded to the Toronto Raptors – so you have that going for you. 

I guess for those in Canada that aren’t looking forward to this invasion, I say move south.  It will be a good trade for everyone on both sides of the border (just do it before Trump kills NAFTA!).  Not everything is worse south of the border.  Give me a minute…the weather is better?

But back to the soon-to-be émigrés: good riddance; don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Why not “County”?

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount.

Recall the political maps of medieval Europe – hundreds, if not thousands, of little counties; each under the sovereignty of their own little count.  A real decentralization and diffusion of power.

The election maps were interesting.  So much red across the majority of the land mass of the United States.  More interesting: the state maps by county.  Even in blue states, red was the predominant color.

Political decentralization is libertarian theory put into practice.  A great step would be 50 sovereign states; a better step would be 3000 sovereign counties; even better would be 100 million sovereign households, but I don’t want to sound greedy. 

The election maps by county paint this picture so beautifully.  

Why not?

Mainstream Advice for Trump

Govern as if you were Clinton; reassure markets about trade; reassure Yellen about her position; reassure Europe about NATO, reassure Mexico about everything, etc.  In other words, do everything that Clinton would have done.

The sad part?  For the most part (except war with Russia, I hope), I expect Trump will govern as if he was Clinton.  If not exactly what Clinton would have done, well just as bad but on different stuff.

The Reaction of the Elite

Not the segment of the elite that wanted Trump (or someone like him) in, but the segment who wanted Clinton.  They will not go quietly.  There are too many independent actors with enough power to cause significant mischief, and they will.  There are two months before he is inaugurated, for goodness’ sakes.

Trump’s hand will be forced on more than one occasion, and Trump will not want to be seen as weak or indecisive – because he is not weak and indecisive.  He may be often wrong but he will never be in doubt.

Will they pull a November 1963 on him?  If they do, it will not be as blatant.  Maybe food poisoning or a convenient stroke.  Could they blame Putin even for this?  Don’t put it past them. 

But I think if Trump dies while in office, the anger from the populace might be overwhelming…well, unless the enemies of Trump wait a few weeks first – because Trump is already saying some things to turn off his supporters (do you really think he will put Hillary in jail?). 

The Next Four Years

What will Trump do?  Will he keep his word?

There are many things he promised that he will not be able to deliver without support of Congress.  “No problem,” you say, he has a Republican House and Senate.  Not so fast.  How many of them still report to the forces that oppose Trump?  Many?  Most?  Set aside Congress – what about the bureaucracy?  Buried in there are the ones with more control.

In any case, I don’t count on him doing much of anything that he said.  More accurately, I count on him doing approximately half of what he said – because, on many issues he took opposite sides depending on how he felt or whatever.

So, he can keep his word on half.  That’s better than most politicians.

Look, other than war, I don’t care about the rest: Trump, Hillary, Hillary, Trump.  Six of one, tails you lose on the other (or something like that).  Well, I do care – I just don’t expect any meaningful difference between Trump’s actions and what Hillary would have done in his place.

Now, if he names Judge Napolitano to head the Department of Justice and after a few years nominates him to the Supreme Court?  Ron Paul as Secretary of State?  These might be reason enough to open a bottle of Hennessy Richard.

But I think my liquor is safe in the cabinet – it will likely have to wait for another reason to be poured.  After all, in his only important announcement to date Trump chose Pence.  My guess is most of the cabinet will be of like character.


Sooner or later, the economy and markets will tank.  Trump will do something, and whatever he does will only worsen the problem.  Under “do-something” presidents, jobs won’t return, the economy won’t improve, the deficits won’t be reduced, the national debt won’t shrink, regulations won’t become less onerous.

The tension in the country will only increase: tension between the intellectual-yet-idiot class and the deplorables; tension between the useful idiots and the productive class; tensions within the elite and deep state.  All will increase over the next four years.  Tension will lead to conflict.  Open conflict.

The country will clamor for a strongman.  They will elect that strongman.  Trump will do all to convince he is that strongman.  It will be him or someone even more of a strongman.

Eventually we will see the destruction of centralized politics as we have come to know it.  Eventually.  That’s the good news. 

The bad news?  In the meantime, I am afraid we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


  1. "The enemy is the State".

    Yes, and anyone who claims to be a libertarian would do well to always remember this.

    Re: Rand

    Contrary to what Rand may assert, he does not, IMHO, remotely grasp the traits & characteristics & beliefs that make his father such a great man.

    Re: the LP.


  2. What would had happened if Ron Paul had been nominated for POTUS by the LP?
    The LP is dead, long live the LP.

  3. There are ways around Congress and the bureaucracies. The power of the pardon is a pretty big stick. Trump can pardon everyone in federal prisons caged for victimless crime laws. He could pardon all tax evaders and violators of legal tender laws. The latter is a bit esoteric for most, but it would allow for competing currencies.

  4. Also don't ignore the fact that of all 25 or so candidates, Trump was the only with with any personality. Albeit some if not most is negative, he still has personality. Clinton, Bush, Cruz, etc seem to be from the same humdrum, privileged mold while Trump although privileged does not seem to be part of this cabal.

  5. Yeah, that pretty well sums it up. I would dispute only one (aside from the Biblical, but I don't want to get into that) minor point. I've seen a few, if not good, at least arguable reasons why a "person of even half-decent moral character" might have supported Clinton:

    Things will have to get a lot worse before they can get any better - let's get it over with.

    If the economy and markets tank on Trump's watch, there could very well be, as Gary North put it: "a political sweep in 2020 comparable to Franklin Roosevelt's in 1932 . . . I have two words with which to scare you. They scare me: Elizabeth Warren. She is the most likely candidate to pick up the pieces. She will become the first female American President."

    1. With or without Trump, things will get worse before they get better. Whoever sat in the oval office, this will only serve to delegitimize the state. This is a good thing, and happens with Trump or Clinton.

      In the meantime, we get a lower chance of nuclear war.

  6. "It is clear that many of those who supported Trump wanted a complete break from everything that the intellectual-yet-idiot class was telling them. This is nothing but a win for liberty. A big win.

    But many libertarians don’t get that."

    With all due respect my brother, no freaking way.

    Sure, you can have the Alex Jones crowd. As weird and conspiracy ridden as they are, many of them have very libertarian instincts.

    But the vast majority of Trump's supporters want things that will result in a win for liberty? No way. I don't care what rhetoric they are using, that would require a massive intellectual change that cannot be accounted for by the fact that they are the party out of power. The reason they are against Clinton and the DNC and the RNC's corruption is not because they are against statism in general, it's because those groups do not serve their interest.

    These supporters and their grassroots leaders like Michael Savage, Mark Levin, etc, are not libertarians. These are the people who supported all sorts of statism and bloodshed during the Bush year and advocated for it during the Obama years, just of a different variety from the liberals. I used to listen go Savage all the time in high school, screaming his head off about how the Democrats should be charged with sedition. Are you really saying all these people will stop advocating for war and killing in the middle east or tell the govt no more agent provocateurs sent to the mosques? they will advocate no more drone strikes? most of these people dismiss away collateral damage as just the cost of doing business without caring one bit. My guess is putting all muslims on a database is not something they would reject based on trump's initial comments during the primaries. And of course they all want tariffs, probably the biggest issue Trump ran on. Nothing liberty like about that. Building tons more infrastructure? check.

    There's virtually nothing about liberty being promoted here. You can certainly argue that the net effect may be liberty by coincidence, but that's a separate argument than they are advocating for Trump due to liberty. To argue otherwise you'd have to argue some honest philosophical shift has occurred here from the Bush years, and I see nothing. Mouthing a few words about liberty because somebody else is in power means nothing.

    1. "But the vast majority of Trump's supporters want things that will result in a win for liberty? No way."

      Dexter, I did not write anything remotely close to this.

      Read again the line you cite that I wrote. If it still isn't clear, read the entire post again for context. The point is to delegitimize the state. I wrote nothing more.

      This is a victory for liberty. Not a victory of the entire war, but a big victory of a battle.

      But as I wrote the first time, and you also cite: "But many libertarians don’t get that."



  8. Good you're back, I took you off my blogroll. Praise LR.

    Browsing for the libertarian opinion on the election I realized you are The Place to get a summary of recent events.

    Well done, it's a sad conclusion that there are very different kinds of us, like you surmised recently.

    Perhaps try to reserve some time in the future for a longer weekly post to keep the readership.

    1. Thank you for the comments.

      When my work becomes intense, I find it difficult to get in the right mental place to write - even if I have some time available.

      Not so easy to modify the software....

  9. "I find it difficult to get in the right mental place to write" Bionic

    Here's a different perspective, from

    “The Evolution of Dissent: on November 8th the nation will decide whether dissent will stop being racist and become sexist - or it will once again be patriotic as it is when the right wing conspiracy is elected."

    And another….

    “Afraid of dangerous Trump presidency, protesters pre-emptively burn America down to the ground.”

    1. That's funny. I like the second quote especially.

  10. There's a chance Trump can spark real economic growth if he follows Reagan's prescription: 1. Decent tax cuts. 2. spending restraint. 3. Stabilizing the dollar; Reagan/Volcker did it at $350 an ounce, which lasted till 1997-2001 or so. Trump could do it at $1200 or so. He remembers the pre-1971 quasi-gold standard. Yes, Reagan did increase the deficits, but that was temporary to increase defense until the Soviet Union was broken; after that, the deficits started going down. A gigantic wild card is the $200 trillion unfunded liabilities (per Prof. Kotlikoff, who actually ran for prez on a minor party). Similar successful programs were launched by Harding in 1921 and JFK/LBJ in 1963-64. It certainly would help if Trump turned out to be the cheapskate he's supposed to be, not a spendthrift like the Bushes.