My fellow contributor Michelle Catlin just wrote a powerful piece against Trump from a Libertarian (notice the big “L”) perspective. In a spirit of playful and friendly point-counterpoint, I’ll make the right-libertarian case that Trump, as president of the USA, would advance our interests better than any other candidate. Since we are assuming he’s the POTUS, electability is not a factor, so I’ll include in the comparison the Libertarian Party candidates; and Rand Paul, for good measure.
TLDR: pour an ounce of Walter Block and Lew Rockwell in a Liberty Bell, add an ounce of Ann Coulter and Chris Cantwell, add some red ice , then water down and stir until the text is legal somewhere in Europe. Still, I must say, “TRIGGERS AHEAD!” You have been warned.
To be honest, in a sense I agree with Michelle that, if all you like about a candidate is his foreign policy, that’s not a very good reason to vote for him. My reasoning is a bit different, though. I’ve never been a fan of peacemongering killjoys. War is bad, violence is bad, but perceived weakness is even worse. That doesn’t make me (or Trump) a neocon. Not every “war hawk” is a neocon, and “warmongering” is not even, per se, the real problem with neoconservatism. By the way, even right-libertarians sometimes have unrealistic views on military policy. I’ll discuss this topic some other time. For now, I’ll leave it at that.
That said, it’s one thing to spend too much time playing in the sand with our toys and quite another thing to start World War III, particularly when America can join forces with Russia against the most cartoonish pack of villains in decades (who are totally asking for it) instead. In fact, Obama is doing just that, it’s only a matter of staying the course.
And then there’s the issue of money. Trump is the only Republican candidate who called out the NATO free riders. America shouldn’t just ask the “allies” to help with the cost, she should provide defense as a service for a profit, like an actual ally does (an empire goes a step further).
In summary, a sane foreign policy, from a right-libertarian perspective, is: “peace through strength, pick your fights, ask the allies to, at least, cover the cost of their protection”. Exactly what Trump embodies better than any other candidate.
Regarding his remarks on waterboarding and the like, let’s just say that enemy combatants are not US citizens (or war prisoners, for that matter). You may object to the distinction, but it’s there and it’s useful against any “slippery slope” developments. If the terrorists happen to be American citizens, that’s another matter, and more careful consideration is in order, but the war against radical Islam is real whether we like it or not. There’s no need for the US government (or the people) to choose between facing Islamic terrorism like sitting ducks , or waging total and permanent war on everyone and everything.
So much for foreign policy. Now let’s address Trump’s main selling point:
THE WALL immigration.
There’s no need to go full alt-right and get messy with population IQ statistics, or that other two-letter acronym ending in “Q”. I’d say culture is far more important than strictly biological factors, but the connection between a shared cultural and national identity and a shared network of family bonds (and hence blood ties) is so strong and so crucial for a nation’s stability that the nature Vs nurture debate is almost pointless in this context. The world as a whole is doing an acceptable job at handling its diversity and multiculturalism by such clever tricks as having borders and not having a world government (the fact that the closest thing to a world government is America and not, say, China, Mexico, Venezuela, Congo, Iran or Saudi Arabia also helps). America must go back to the idea of peacefully and patiently exporting its values to culturally hostile places, as opposed to importing culturally hostile people and hoping for the best. The sooner, the better.
Yes, other Republicans jumped into the anti-immigration wagon, but they are not nearly as credible. Ted Cruz, may look better than Trump on paper regarding economics and a few other issues (not foreign policy), he even looks good on immigration , but his conduct during the primaries (the Carson affair, the “voter violation” mailers ) makes him untrustworthy in general, and his former stance on amnesty was “legalization without citizenship“, which still leaves the door open for the immigrants’ descendants and, probably, for a full amnesty later on. He seems to have hardened his views but, again, can he be trusted? I don’t know, maybe it’s just his creepy face.
Rand Paul (now gone from the campaign anyway) is far more likable and not bad as a right-libertarian, but he’s still too weak on immigration, and his PR strategy has practically turned him into a BLM activist. Of course, he got from the left the response he deserved.
And here, on immigration, is where the positions held by all Libertarian Party candidates, following the party’s platform, are spectacularly wrong, suicidal and, frankly… well, autistic. Fun fact, Austin Petersen goes out of his way to reject the NAP as an axiom. Go figure.
Trump’s un-PC character (I mean, apart from his views on immigration and radical Islam) is also more useful in practice than it may seem from a “clean” intellectual perspective. I don’t really care that much whether you can talk in public about a bimbo’s “whatever”, or which toilet trannies use (hmm, bad example, Trump doesn’t care either) but the left does. Let’s throw them a rubber bone to chew on while we fix the mess they have been doing. The Overton Window is real, yesterday’s parody is today’s reality (ignore Poe’s law at your own peril) and tomorrow’s old news. We should learn from the left to move this window rightwards through a push-pull chaotic team work which combines respectably moderate and shockingly ambitious messages.
Alas, the LP is broken on immigration, the other Republicans are either pro-immigration or unreliable on the issue, Rothbard is dead and Hoppe could at most be a governor. So Trump it is.