In the 2008 and 2012 elections libertarians found themselves united in a powerful charismatic leader called Ron Paul who appealed to libertarians of all kinds. But in the 2016 election as Ron Paul left the political game it was expected that Rand Paul became the torch bearer of the libertarian movement. However campaign problems, bad luck, low polling, and failing to stand out like his father left the libertarians disapointed as they jumped ship and became divided over the front-runner of the Republican Party: Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has divided the libertarian community with libertarians such as Walter Block, Lew Rockwell, Stefan Molyneux, and Lauren Southern being on board with Trump while libertarians such as Ron Paul, John Stossel, Julie Borowski, Adam Kokesh, Jeffrey Tucker, Justin Amash, Thomas Sowell, and….pretty much every notable libertarian that isn’t the former being against him. The Trump supporters actually went one step further as Walter Block created an advocacy group called “Libertarians for Trump” which has seen very mixed reactions.
It’s sort of understandable why libertarians would be at least a bit attracted to Trump, as he’s charismatic, chaotic, and rebellious. Furthermore he also shares many libertarian enemies such as SJWs and Neoconservatives. But it’s far more understandable why libertarians want nothing to do with Trump whatsoever, because Trump holds many if not mostly authoritarian views.
He supports eminent domain, supports ground troops in the middle east, wants the government to create a massive wasteful wall, wants to deport 11 million people, promotes socialist economic policies on trade, wants to expand libel laws, promotes more spying and a bigger police state, advocates for torture of families, associates himself with authoritarians like Christie, Sessions, Giuliani, etc. Need I have to go on? There is absolutely nothing libertarian about Trump, if we’re really going by the lesser of two evils Sanders and Cruz would even be less worse than he is. And even those supporting Trump admit that he’s no libertarian by any stretch of the imagination.
But since I’ve already made by case why libertarians should be against Trump, let’s look at the arguments being for Trump. Spoilers: There aren’t many.
One of the poorest arguments I’ve heard for Trump for a libertarian perspective is that he challenges political correctness. Whoa there that completely changes everything, school yard cultural wars on the internet and chalk on campus are definitely super important compared to complex socio-economic issues. Even if Trump wasn’t a total hypocritical whiner who refuses debate when he gets slightly hard questions and would actually fight “political correctness” it’s really one of those issues that are at the bottom of my priorities list. When Trump’s massive tariffs could lead to a freaking global depression i’m not exactly interested in pety “culture wars”
The Libertarian for Trumps group gives a more coherent argument for libertarians to consider him to be the “lesser of two evils”, the three main arguments are this:
1. He’s the only anti-war candidate
2. Foreign policy is more important than social and economic policy
3. Any anti-libertarian positions he holds are not better with other candidates
So boiled down the only other arguments is that he’s “anti-war” and that everyone else sucks as well. That’s not very convincing in my opinion. For one he is definitely not anti-war, he could easily be classified as a neocon by his statements. Military boots on the grounds, promoting torture programs on families, and downright going as far as saying that we should invade the Middle East and take their oil which means he’s basically a caricature of the Neocon king Bush himself. Oh but he said that Libya was a mistake which means he’s anti-war now, because Obama saying the same thing about Iraq and that he would withdraw troops went so well right? In fact where was the “Libertarians for Obama” group during Obama’s 2008 campaign? Considering Obama was far more “anti-war” than Trump is presenting himself right now.
Furthermore the claim that foreign policy being more important than everything else is so flawed. Are you really willing to risk economic disaster on a global level and an unstable childish flip-flopping leader because he “might” just not be as bad on war as other candidates? That is just extremely unconvincing. And finally the idea that all the other candidate positions are just as bad as Trump is dubious. Sanders is far better for libertarians on civil rights than Trump, Cruz is far better for libertarians on economics than Trump. Even Clinton the least libertarian candidate i could imagine is at least better on trade than Trump is.
Overall not only is Trump not a libertarian candidate, he is not even “the least evil” candidate for libertarians. His anti-war record is completely bullshit, his anti-PC crusade is hardly a priority for a president, he constantly flip-flops on everything, he holds extremely authoritarian views on almost everything and when it comes to the lesser evil there’s a much better case to be made with other candidates. Sorry, but i will not be supporting Trump, nor ought any self-respecting libertarian.