Right-wing libertarianism in the age of President Trump

 

When a famous Canadian anarcho-capitalist sings the American anthem after the US presidential election, you know something big just happened in American, and world, politics.

Emperor Trump triumphant. America is saved! (for now)

There’s something leftists were right about: the sea level will rise, after the ongoing deluge of their tears. Also, the weather is getting warmer from all the burning of private property and American flags at those peaceful protests.

Congratulations, America!

Despite some misgivings about trade policy and a few other issues, many right-wing libertarians openly endorsed Trump, and even more others would concede that he was a far better option than Hillary Clinton,  and would show some support, if for no other reason, to make leftists mad. Personally, I was fully onboard the Trump train from the beginning, and I’m still celebrating.

First of all, I’d like to thank Gary Johnson for being such a wonderful non-factor. Even his choice of VP was brilliant , a wink to undecided Democrat voters, while Gary fell short of endorsing  any particular candidate (except, reluctantly, himself) and focused like a laser beam on staying consistently unelectable across the board.

Now what?

It looks like ample sectors of the Libertarian Party are warming up to an alliance with the anti-war (???) Democrats. Uhh, yeah, why not? That would be a wonderful idea and I sincerely wish them the best of success in attracting Democrat voters in the coming years.

Should the Libertarian Party reach out to Democrat voters?

For the rest of us, who have given up on the LP long ago, the way ahead is a bit more complex. Forget about fierce battles and NEVER-X hashtags. For now, we need healthy debate and friendly competition with our brothers-in-arms (in this electoral battle,  at least) of the alt-right. Many of them are former libertarians and, perhaps more interestingly, a few right-wing libertarians have come as close as it gets to being there while arguably remaining libertarians. For instance, I’m intrigued by Max Sand and his pals at “The 1st Irregulars” (previously “Cantwell’s First Irregulars”) a small group of former Chris Cantwell fans (why “former”?  it’s complicated, don’t ask )  who are pushing this concept of National Capitalism. It’s nothing very original or mind-blowing,  but I think they are on the right path, at least compared to open-borders libertarians and alt-right neo-reactionary larpers, and they are working hard to bring people to their vision, so we should keep an eye on them.

Their catchy motto 1433 is supposed to be an All-American, national-capitalist answer to the old, stale and endlessly recycled 1488 ,  the oldest forced meme ever devised. The “33” is allegedly from article 3, section 3 of the US Constitution, which deals with treason. They made the “33 precepts” to match this motto.  There’s also the widespread notion that, just like “88” can also stand for “HH”, short for “Heil Hitler”,  the “33” stands for “CC”, short for Christopher Cantwell, but don’t mention it, they will deny it and they’ll get triggered.

Oh, and their influence is not limited to America. They are attracting a sizable  right-wing libertarian audience and even contributors from elsewhere in the Western world where decades of leftist policies are finally facing a backlash (or a “whitelash“, as Van Jones would have it).

Don’t let socialists monopolize nationalism

More generally, right-wing libertarians in the coming years must work inside the Trumpist coalition to compensate for what I like to call the Strasserist influence coming from some sectors of the alt-right. As a label for their socialist leanings it may be somewhat hyperbolic, but it makes them really mad, so I think I’m onto something.

Our main target in this context seems to be trade policy. As I mentioned in my article about free trade and automation, there are good reasons for middle class Americans to be seduced by Trump’s protectionism and even Bernie Sanders’s crude anti-elitist message. Telling middle-skill workers to drop dead won’t cut it as strategy,. We can do better. My proposal of describing workers with substantial savings as small capitalists is meant to  be a first line of defense against the specter of “technological communism” increasingly floating around, but it may seem far-fetched to a working-class audience, at least without massive wealth transfers. In the meantime, we must have a closer look at the economic phenomenon of job polarization , that is,  the decrease in middle-skill job availability in Western societies. We must look at its many causes and identify ways in which more economic freedom can address these problems, ways in which regulations and other forms of government intervention are making it harder for American workers to adapt.

Besides its alleged benefits to middle-skill workers, protectionism is often pushed on the grounds of its alleged military-strategic value. The reasoning is that the less dependent the nation is on trade with other,  potentially hostile, nations, the less vulnerable to trade blackmail. The usual “antiwar” libertarian answer is a non-starter. Most Americans are generally against war, but also against letting America’s puniest enemies walk all over the nation (remember, Ron Paul fans, the winning anti-interventionist motto is “America first!”, not “America bad!”). Instead, libertarians should, for instance, emphasize the strategic benefits of a large network of friendly trade partners, and an even larger network of neutral ones.

We should also leave the minority pandering to the left and stop making assumptions about nonwhite (actual or potential) libertarians. They aren’t a bloc, they are individuals and should be treated as such. For instance, we should dispel this notion, this false dilemma, that smart, freedom-loving nonwhites must be either forcibly integrated in white communities or forced to coexist with dimwits and criminals. Group IQ and crime statistics are almost a non-issue when sub-groups can segregate or secede.

Let’s jump into the future, fellow deplorable right-libertarians!

In summary,  IMO the way forward for right-wing libertarians is:

  • Let the LP be the LP and suck as many left-wing votes as it sucks.. in general.
  • Get used to coexisting with the alt-right and competing for the same audience.
  • Have a fair and honest look at economic nationalism, acknowledge its merits compared to the status quo (at least with current work regulations ),  find real drawbacks and propose credible alternatives. Examine the underlying problems in the job market.
  • Keep hammering home the economic case against the welfare state in general and socialized healthcare in particular. Take the time to examine specific bottlenecks caused by regulation and government intervention. This is an area where the alt-right is pretty leftist, so right-wing libertarians can make a difference.
  • Don’t let your anti-war views make you sound anti-American. Also, leave cops alone. You want them privatized, not dead.
  • Be honest and upfront about “minority issues”. Reach out when it makes sense but don’t pander. Stay focused on finding the truth and they will respect you more.

But above all, have fun! This is a time to celebrate and laugh with justified schadenfreude at the leftist meltdown.

Make way, alt-right Strasserists!

A right-libertarian case against every candidate but Trump (no exceptions!)

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.

This being a right-libertarian post, we needn’t discuss comrade Sanders and the Sea Hag, do we?  I mean, assuming we want peaceful change.

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.

Mill, Hoppe and Robespierre walk into a bar: free speech, freedom of association and political violence

As the political climate heats up, freedom of speech, that crown jewel of Western civilization, is increasingly under attack from left, right and centre.  This tail-chasing irony vortex of rhetoric ropes, ovens, guillotines, helicopters, gulags and upward index fingers is fun to watch online, but let’s make sure it stays there.

Libertarians have become complacent in reducing freedom of speech to a corollary of private property rights. Yes, property rights may well be a silver bullet against the “offense” conundrum (we can get along by staying separate) but the “freedom of speech” debate is not only about the offensive nonsense we may have to endure; it’s also about dangerously appealing mind poison and its peddlers.

The case against government censorship was famously advanced by John Stuart Mill:

Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right

 

Before we can agree on anything else, we must agree on the right to disagree, so we must let critics speak up, even if their critical remarks inspire others to commit crimes. Yes, we are leaving all those pesky intellectual trolls who cause mayhem with their doctrines off the hook, but that’s the price we pay for an honest political environment. I mean, I can also conceive of a tyrant who takes care of my interests better than myself, but I’ll take my chances, thank you very much. That’s “freedom of speech” in the political-theoretic sense.

Furthermore, an intellectually vibrant society should not discourage peaceful dissent, not even through legitimate means such as social and economic ostracism. Indeed, even without government censorship, unpopular opinions are often self-censored for fear of losing customers, a good job or a business partner. In the current political climate, anonymous internet forums and image-boards are becoming the speech counterpart of secret ballots. That’s   the stronger, cultural notion of “freedom of speech”.

While political-theoretic freedom of speech operates in the “top level” context of human relations, the “cultural” version is just a recipe for healthy communities and it can never override freedom of association. For instance, the freedom to form family-friendly covenants. Quoting Hoppe:

In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.

 

Legend has it that Hoppe originally included “bronies” in his list of undesirables, but the reference was deleted by censors. You see, he was renting a house under a covenant which banned any and all references to bronies for any purpose whatsoever. When he was informed of this clause, he bought the house.

From a practical perspective, can a libertarian community afford unrestricted freedom of speech and conscience? Yes, it can. Wouldn’t it lose land by constant secession until nothing is left? No, because people who secede can only take with them the land they own. You can’t lose what you didn’t own in the first place.

Then why are many right-wing libertarians giving up on free speech? Because in a non-libertarian society, there’s no such guarantee. For instance, in a democratic society, your political opponents can vote themselves your land, or hit you with their tyrannical laws until you are forced to leave, so it makes perfect sense to shut them out when your team gets the upper hand. The left has used this trick countless times during the twentieth century (“see? socialism works!.. oops, scrap that, it hasn’t been tried!”) and never gave a rat’s rear end about their opponents’ freedom of speech and conscience.

In general, political persecution can be described as a form of internal conquest and land consolidation against a rival group.

In Robespierre’s words:

Social protection is due only to peaceful citizens; there are no citizens in the Republic but the republicans. The royalists, the conspirators are, in its eyes, only strangers or, rather, enemies. Is not the terrible war, which liberty sustains against tyranny, indivisible? Are not the enemies within the allies of those without? The murderers who tear our country apart internally; the intriguers who purchase the consciences of the people’s agents; the mercenary libelers subsidized to dishonor the popular cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fires of civil discord, and to prepare political counterrevolution by means of moral counterrevolution—are all these men less to blame or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve? All those who interpose their parricidal gentleness to protect the wicked from the avenging blade of national justice are like those who would throw themselves between the tyrants’ henchmen and our soldiers’ bayonets. All the outbursts of their false sensitivity seem to me only longing sighs for England and Austria.

Notice the “exclusive proposition nation” aspect of Robespierre’s war. He doesn’t say “if you like the French Revolution, you are French” (that would be the better known, “inclusive” notion of “proposition nation”, which creates its own well-known problems), he says “if you don’t like the French Revolution, you are an enemy infiltrator who doesn’t belong here”. Clever. Why share or split up the land when you can have it all?

From a libertarian perspective, the problem is not the exclusionary rule itself but to the constant act of conquest against former fellow citizens, reclassified as foreign infiltrators because of their political beliefs.

Hoppe’s family-friendly covenant is different because, well, it’s opt-in. All members know what they are getting into. Presumably there’s a monetary compensation system which makes arbitrary and unfair expulsion unlikely, and even a somewhat smaller compensation for people who want to leave but can find no buyers. The same applies to their children, who inherit their homes from them with the covenant attached to it. While conceivable in theory, a “helicopter ride” clause for crimes such as wearing a Che T-shirt or watching Almodovar movies is not very likely. And, of course, someone’s right to leave the community can’t be negated by a pact he didn’t make.

For obvious reasons, the “freedom of speech” sanctuary tends to be invoked by political minorities and quickly forgotten by those same groups when they are in a position to silence, persecute and expel others. Only America’s unique devotion to freedom of speech can explain the various tiny but vocal groups of would-be censors and persecutors. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

Free Trade and Technological Unemployment: A Populist Austro-Libertarian Assessment

What do Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common? The answer is that both point out a real problem of the American middle class (that is, the working class). Trump’s solution is protectionism, Bernie’s is massive welfare. Both are terribly wrongheaded economic policies, but the long-derided, despised and ignored working class have genuine reasons to complain, even from a strictest austro-libertarian perspective. It’s essential for libertarians to understand why this is so and why we can offer something much better.

First, let’s talk about free trade. International trade is sometimes described and treated by economists as just another new technology. China is a magical black box that spits consumer goods in exchange for American stuff like crops, corporate stock and US Treasury bonds. Libertarians are quick to stress the importance of the massive T-bond emission, but that’s only part of the problem.

Let’s ignore monetary policy and treat international trade as barter. Could American workers ever be harmed in a transition from protectionism to free trade? Yes. Could ALL American workers, in principle, be harmed at the same time? YES.

“Hey, wait a minute”, I hear you say, “what about Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage?”. Ricardo assumes, among other things, that labor is the only factor of production. To the extent that, realistically, some capital (ie “means of production”) must be involved, the worker has guaranteed and unrestricted access to it. This is crucial because, while changes in the market may force the worker to switch professions, they can’t force him to increase his productivity beyond his consumption level. For instance, an Amish farmer who owns his land has nothing to fear from technological advances in agriculture (including new trade partners). He may have to switch to different crops, but he can cling to his beloved low-productivity methods. In contrast, if he doesn’t own the land, he must provide a competitive productivity level or else he will be fired and replaced.

Incidentally, as Mises points out in Human Action, something like this happened during the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, and of course, the public blamed technology and laissez-faire capitalism for destroying the good old feudal order.

Let’s remember feudal England at the start of the agrarian and industrial revolutions. You have an aristocrat who owns the land and a bunch of peasants work it in exchange for a nice share of the crops. It makes sense for both, because the landlord needs labor and the peasants need capital (land). Now, new technology arrives, only one peasant is needed and the rest.. well, let’s say they live on “welfare”, that is, they remain idle and they are given a much smaller ration of crops than before (that’s not what happened, I know).

The UBI, In this context, means that the one working peasant also gets his welfare ration in addition to his “wage”. Fine, but he’s still working for everyone else! Now the socialist would blame capitalism and the Luddite would blame technology, but the libertarian will wonder why this aristocrat owns all the land to begin with. How did he came to own it? probably not by libertarian means. Why didn’t peasants protest before? Because they, in a sense, had “a deal” with the aristocrat. They worked the land and they got food in exchange. So, a “populist” austro-libertarian would either find the original act of dispossession of the peasants and try to give them back their land, or he would argue that the pre-industrial “deal” was a de facto contract, and the aristocrat must buy the peasants off if he only needs one worker now. In any case, the end result would be the peasants taking turns to work the land and eating as much as before, maybe more, by the miracle of technology.

And here’s where many austro-libertarians freak out. On one hand, we can see that a workers’ ownership of his means of production (all else being equal) makes a fundamental difference in terms of income stability which is often underplayed in debates about foreign trade and technological unemployment. On the other hand, we know that economies of scale favor the concentration of capital in sizable factories, as opposed to an array of small self-owned factories. These big factories may be owned by someone other than the workers (the usual capitalist mode of production) or collectively owned by the workers themselves. But there are strong and well-known arguments against the efficiency of worker cooperatives compared to single-owner factories, and few successful cases are observed in practice.

Is there an austro-libertarian argument to reconcile the efficiency of capitalism (i.e., an economy based on wage labor) with the income stability of self-owned means of production? YES!

Let’s go back to our Amish farmer. Let’s say he owns the land and he can produce 10 bags of crops per month. Since he owns the land, all of that is profits and he keeps it. As we said before, his income is not threatened by new technology or changes in the labor market.

Now let’s turn him into a wage worker in a modern economy based on wage labor. Let’s assume banks do their job properly, connecting savings with investments in exchange for a small fee we can ignore in this context. The Amish farmer works the land for 6 bags a month (his wage) and he earns another 4 bags as capital gains from his savings account in the bank. Is his income as stable as before? Is it just as safe from the follies of the market? Yes, here’s why.

Let’s say there’s an influx of cheap labor. Now the average wage for a worker in a crop field of similar size is 3 bags instead of 4, while the average productivity of a worker doing this job stays at 10 bags. Then, the Amish farmer must lower his wage to 3 to stay competitive, but the average capital gains for his savings go up from 6 to 7 (that is, 10 bags minus 3 bags). Therefore, his total income stays at 10 bags.

Now let’s say these workers learn to use more efficient tools, so the average productivity of labor, for a similar piece of land, is now 11 instead of 10. The average wage stays at 3, so the average profit is now 8. The Amish farmer hates modern tools, so instead of adopting them to stay competitive, he lowers his wage again, to 2 bags instead of 3. No problem, because his income is still 10 (8 from capital gains, 2 from his wage). What if, because of further advances in technology, the productivity of land goes up to 13 bags per month, while the average wage stays at 3, and so the average profit is now 10? In this case, he has two options. He can live from his capital gains, without having to work and earning an income of 10 just as before, or he can learn to use these new tools at his own pace and become employable again, with a higher income.

Applied to real-life, present-day America (and other first-world nations), this means that, no matter what happens with international trade and automation, the working class is not doomed to depend on “universal basic income” or any other kind of welfare. What they need is jobs and savings. As technology advances, labor becomes more productive, investment in general becomes more profitable and increasingly more of everyone’s income is capital gains. People work less hours a day, take longer vacations and enjoy a higher standard of living.

And there’s the catch. The tax code, the “experts” and every government policy seem designed to discourage saving and promote consumption and indebtment. Private debt is the the main problem of the American middle class and the American economy in general. After each financial bubble, those “in the know” (i.e., politically connected) make big bucks while the rest see their savings evaporate, while those “too big to fail” are bailed out by government. The housing bubble is a prominent example. In fact, according to a recent paper , the growing share of national income deriving from capital income (as opposed to labor income) may well be imputed to the increase in housing prices.

We should indeed expect growing inequality as a product of free-market capitalism, because some people are smarter, work harder, are thriftier, and therefore accumulate wealth at as faster rate than others, but, as we have shown, the “rat race”, i.e., the constant need to stay competitive and updated in order to even subsist is by no means an intrinsic feature of free-market capitalism in any of its forms. On the contrary, the widespread, simultaneous immiseration of the whole working class, its plunge into debt and financial precariousness, must be the product of some macroeconomic shock, which in turn usually boils down to interventionist government policies.

Some obvious candidates are the housing bubble caused by the Fed,  in combination with mass immigration and restrictions in housing construction, the increase in payroll and excise taxes, welfare spending, corporate bailouts, stimulus packages,  military spending and soaring medical bills. Massive military spending is a uniquely American problem. It’s bad enough for America to police the whole world, she also does it for free. Ron Paul pointed out this problem in a clumsy, self-flagellating style and he was booed off the stage. Donald Trump, with his patriotic alpha-male swag, said basically the same and he was cheered by the crowd. Medical bills are also particularly high in America, in good part because of the the AMA cartel and the “bad deals” between Medicare and big pharma. Also mentioned by Trump, credit where it’s due.

Realistically, once all politically viable spending cuts are made, the next step is to slash all taxes accordingly, leaving only a small wealth-based income tax. That is, the more you are worth, the more you pay in income tax. This would be better than the usual, progressive income tax, because if you start poor and suddenly earn a big income, you don’t start paying a high income tax until you get to have some decent savings. It’s better than a wealth tax proper (as proposed by Thomas Piketty and others) because you don’t risk losing your assets if you have no income for a while.

“A new TAX? Some austro-libertarian proposal!” I hear you say.  Well, then, let’s audit the Fed and see who should pay back what they got from the government and who deserves a tax break. It’s not a perfect plan, but it sure beats Trump’s tariffs and Bernie’s “democratic socialism”. There’s a reason why virtually all economists agree that those are awfully bad ideas. The case against socialism has been abundantly made and there’s no need to beat that dead horse here. Protectionism might conceivably bring back some jobs for a while, but at the expense of destroying much of the aggregate American wealth, and it’s useless against automation anyway. Austro-libertarians should take worker concerns seriously, or else we’ll have a chance to see classical Marxism and economic Luddism in all their former glory.