By Jack Parkos | United States
In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency of the United States with his rising movement of “right-wing populism”. Right-wing populism is a moment based on putting the “average man” and nation first. Many key tenants include opposition to elitism, mass immigration, social spending, and globalism. Though Trump has been the most successful with his movement, he was not the first right-wing populist.
The Beliefs of Right-Wing Populism
l. Slash Taxes. All taxes, sales, business, property, etc., but especially the most oppressive politically and personally: the income tax. We must work toward repeal of the income tax and abolition of the IRS.
2. Slash Welfare. Get rid of underclass rule by abolishing the welfare system, or, short of abolition, severely cutting and restricting it.
3. Abolish Racial or Group Privileges. Abolish affirmative action, set aside racial quotas, etc., and point out that the root of such quotas is the entire “civil rights” structure, which tramples on the property rights of every American.
4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.
5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.
6. Abolish the Fed; Attack the Banksters. Money and banking are recondite issues. But the realities can be made vivid: the Fed is an organized cartel of banksters, who are creating inflation, ripping off the public, destroying the savings of the average American. The hundreds of billions of taxpayer handouts to S&L banksters will be chicken-feed compared to the coming collapse of the commercial banks.
7. America First. A key point, and not meant to be seventh in priority. The American economy is not only in recession; it is stagnating. The average family is worse off now than it was two decades ago. Come home America. Stop supporting bums abroad. Stop all foreign aid, which is aid to banksters and their bonds and their export industries. Stop gloabaloney, and let’s solve our problems at home.
8. Defend Family Values. Which means, get the State out of the family, and replace State control with parental control. In the long run, this means ending public schools, and replacing them with private schools. But we must realize that voucher and even tax credit schemes are not, despite Milton Friedman, transitional demands on the path to privatized education; instead, they will make matters worse by fastening government control more totally upon the private schools. Within the sound alternative is decentralization, and back to local, community neighborhood control of the schools.
These statements sound extremely blunt and to the point. “America First”, unleashing the cops on criminals and “bums”, and slashing welfare. One may think this sounds like President Donald Trump. Indeed it does draw parallels to Trump’s platform, as Trump spoke much of clearing the streets, slashing taxes, and especially putting America first. However, Trump is not the pioneer of this movement
Murray Rothbard and Populism
In fact, it was anarcho-capitalist philosopher Murray Rothbard who wrote this in his essay entitled “Right-Wing Populism.” In the 1990s, Rothbard began his “Paleo strategy”, creating paleo-libertarianism. This movement attempted to create a right-wing populist libertarian coalition to take down the political elites.
This began when the conservative movement split into two groups: the “old right” as Rothbard stated, who were isolationist, and the neoconservative Warhawks. Rothbard, who was sick of the libertarian movement’s progressivism, decided that the former was the best option. Rothbard himself held socially conservative views and began his support for paleoconservative Pat Buchanan. With his help from Buchanan, the Paleo movement (right-wing populist movement ) was born. (During this time, Rothbard was also an avid supporter of Ron Paul).
Rothbard died in 1995, and with him, his right-wing populist movement. The neoconservatives and social democrats that he feared started to win offices. However, in this past election, a man was elected that Rothbard might have dreamed of. This man was Donald Trump. To quote Rothbard:
“And so the proper strategy for the right wing must be what we can call “right-wing populism”: exciting, dynamic, tough, and confrontational, rousing and inspiring not only the exploited masses, but the often-shell-shocked right-wing intellectual cadre as well. And in this era where the intellectual and media elites are all establishment liberal-conservatives, all in a deep sense one variety or another of social democrat, all bitterly hostile to a genuine Right, we need a dynamic, charismatic leader who has the ability to short-circuit the media elites, and to reach and rouse the masses directly. We need a leadership that can reach the masses and cut through the crippling and distorting hermeneutical fog spread by the media elites.”
Trump’s Populist Movement
At the time, this leader was Pat Buchanan. However, this leader is now Donald Trump, who is dynamic, charismatic, and has attacked the media elites plenty of times was the perfect man for Rothbard’s strategy. Rothbard would have loved Donald Trump and likely would have endorsed him in 2016.
Indeed, Donald Trump’s movement can be seen as Rothbard and Buchanan’s movement rising from the dead. Trump has been compared to Buchanan and has even quoted him in tweets. Furthermore, paleolibertarians such as Lew Rockwell (who also played a role in Rothbard’s movement), Walter Block, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe have shown some sympathy to the Trump movement, although they are not undying loyalists to his cause.
The parallels are very similar. Both of the movements do have a big theme of “America first” with an opposition to neoconservatives and globalism. Furthermore, both Buchanan and Trump were promoters of tariffs (although the libertarians were opposed to this). Trump’s views on immigration are similar to those of Buchanan and Rothbard. Moreover, the movements were tough on crime, progressivism, elitism, and the mainstream media.
Rothbard did not ideally want a state. However, he did have a pragmatic view of a decentralized state with less bureaucratic elites and less war. Although it took time, the 2016 election was a movement that was started by Rothbard and Buchanan two decades ago, and it has finally emerged.
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