Tag: trump libertarian

Grading President Trump’s Libertarianism: Personal Liberty

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address marks the midway point of his first term. This is the first of four articles to analyze his policies and how well they relate to the Libertarian Party’s platform and libertarianism in general.

The four points to be analyzed are:

  • Personal Liberty
  • Economic Liberty
  • Securing Liberty
  • Overall Liberty

The Presidents policies will be analyzed with regards to how well I believe they correlate with the LP’s platform.

Self-Ownership, Expression and Communication, Privacy

President Trump’s appointment of two anti-marijuana legalizations Attorney Generals (Jeff Sessions, William Barr) and his expansion of the Drug War, most especially concerning opioids and the wall, are attacks on self-ownership. When it comes to substance use, he favors an authoritarian approach to substance use.

Self-Ownership Grade: D

His attacks on NFL players for kneeling to highlight the need for criminal justice reform, as well as to support immigrants from Muslim-dominant countries, are violations of freedom of self-expression. At the same time, he created a special class of citizens for law enforcement officers and public employees in which crimes against them would be legally treated as hate crime. However, he has not taken much legal action to stifle expression which means the government is not growing in this area.

Expression and Communication Grade: C

President Trump hasn’t ended the NSA/DHS spying on American citizens, despite complaining about being bugged by President Obama. Our President has demonized Edward Snowden but praised Wikileaks. Basically, he only supports whistleblowers when it helps him. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court despite his anti-Fourth Amendment writings. Many credit Kavanaugh’s legal writings for building justification for the surveillance state.

Privacy Grade: D

Personal Relationships, Abortion, and Parental Rights

President Trump has not made an issue out of defining marriage. If he continues the hands-off approach on government involvement in marriage, that would aid his score. Removing government from personal relationships is the preference. However, he has been antagonistic toward transgender persons regarding bathroom usage and has banned them from military service. I see this as the all too familiar republican story of only being for small government when personal beliefs coincide.

Personal Relationships: C

Early in his administration, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which keeps Federal funding from being used to pay for international abortions. Later, he authorized State governments to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Both moves reduced the amount of State involvement in the abortion issue. However, he does advocate for legislation to ban various forms of abortion, which re-engages the State on the issue. Many are concerned that he has stacked the Supreme Court with Justices who will overturn legal precedent on the issue.

Abortion Grade: C

President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, signaling a commitment to end Federal involvement in our education. In this capacity, DeVos has worked to eliminate Federal involvement while promoting private and home-schooling options. Additionally, our President signed an Executive Order aimed at curtailing the amount of Federal involvement allowed in education.

Education Grade: A

Crime and Justice, Death Penalty, Self-Defense

The First Step Act is a great opening salvo at a larger and more comprehensive criminal justice reform. Trump has talked about going further on this issue. Yet, his expansion of the Drug War that criminalizes victim-less crimes and his State-centered approach on sex-trafficking contradicts a libertarian stance on crime and justice.

Crime and Justice Grade: B

President Trump is in favor of the administration of the death penalty by the State.

Death Penalty Grade: F

Our President portrays himself a champion of gun ownership rights. He has opposed various attempts at gun control on the Federal level. However, he banned bump stocks and advocates for enhanced background checks.  He also supports red flag laws. He has also expressed support for Senator Feinstein to pass Assault Weapon Bans. In terms of immigration, private property owners deserve the right to enforce their property boundaries, even on our international border with Mexico, however they see fit. Immigration reform should address that reality.

Self-Defense Grade: B

Rating Trump on personal liberty, I give him a C (2.0). He could really harm his score if he continues promoting State-centered solutions at the expense of individual rights. I am truly rooting for him to improve that score.

Stay tuned for the next article in which I will grade Trump’s policies on Economic Liberty.


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Will Trump Take Down The Fed?

By Mark West | United States

Since October the stock markets have been on a ride of ridiculous levels of volatility enough to make those closing in on retirement squeamish. Volatility showcased its’ unpredictable nature as the Dow Jones Industrial plunged more than 600 points on Christmas Eve only to rebound with a more than 1000 point surge to close out the holiday week.

During this insanely cataclysmic trading week, President Donald Trump was cozy with his cell phone and his television as the tumultuous market events unfolded. You see, the government has been shut down since the Saturday before Christmas so President Trump has some extra time on his hands, especially during the holiday season, to enjoy his favorite activity…tweeting.

In the midst of President Trump’s Christmas Eve tweet storm, I found a jewel. He tweeted something that some people hope signals not necessarily a change in policy but a modification for how our economic and financial systems operate as a whole. I’m giving you advance warning, wading through our President’s Christmas Eve tweets can be a treacherous journey that isn’t beneficial for the timid at heart.

So, what did President Trump tweet that could be at least encouraging, at most inspirational, to certain segments of our political society?

Our President narrows all of our economic issues down to only one problem: The Fed. For those who aren’t sure what this Fed is that Trump is referencing, it is the Federal Reserve Bank, which is not a government bank, but rather a private bank that sets our federal monetary policy. It was invented out of thin air by Congress in 1913, although many of its concepts were already working in the economy in an unofficial capacity.

The Fed functions in a sort of private-public collaboration that is designed to prevent recessions and curb inflationary pressures that hurt the economy. Basically, the Fed can affect our economy and is practically unaccountable to Congress, or the President, for the decisions it makes. The Fed’s driving concept is that a politically independent Fed will lead to solutions that aren’t politically motivated and thus better for the nation in its entirety.

President Trump’s tweet threatens and undermines the state of independence the Fed has enjoyed since it’s inception. I think this, and President Trump’s Syria move, expose what may be a secret relationship which could generate a lot of excitement in the liberty movement. Taking on the Fed would be a move right out of Senator Ran Paul’s playbook, just like a less-interventionist foreign policy.

Maybe Senator Paul has been working behind the scenes to shift President Trump toward more libertarian solutions to the variety of issues our nation faces. Paul has been working on Trump about auditing the Fed since the bill began working through Congress in the Spring.

If President Trump’s tweet signals his desire to bring the Fed under Congressional oversight and accountability, then it is definitely a threat to the autonomy under which the bank has operated.

A turning point in how our elected leaders deal with the Fed could lead to more unstable and volatile markets in the days to come since those markets are naturally uncertainty-averse. However, the long-term benefits of restoring control of our monetary policies to a more accountable and constitutional process could secure our economic stability for generations to come.

Yet, we have to leave the possibility open that President Trump’s tweet was just a momentary ventilation of his frustration with Fed chair Jerome Powell’s rate hikes and their impact on the markets. If so, this means that nothing will change structurally in that relationship and that President Trump will rely on the bully pulpit he has as President that includes his Twitter account to influence the future monetary decisions of the Fed.


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Libertarians Must Defeat the Left: A New Strategy.

By Jack Parkos | United States

Recently, I wrote on the importance of right-wing unity. This will serve as a follow up to that piece; it is important to go into further detail about why this is essential for society to prosper.

What Is the Left?

Two main groups make up the threat of the left. First of all, there is a wave of modern Marxists. These are the groups like Antifa, who want to bring down capitalism and the social order. According to them, capitalism oppresses various groups like women, minorities, and the LGBT community. As they want to see the end of free markets, they are not friends of liberty.

The other main threat of the left is the elites. These are often crony capitalists in positions of high power and influence. These people feed the previous group of Marxists, even if they differ from them. They also tend to support wars and do shady business behind the backs of the general public. In many cases, they have a monopoly on the media and education. Both elected and appointed, elites use big government against the people. They have infected both parties. Establishment Republicans may speak against left groups like Antifa but are as pro-war as the left elites.

Together, the establishment and Marxists are a deadly weapon in politics, culture, and society. They are a threat to liberty. Antifa advocates for an ideology (communism) that opposes private property. They both are against free speech. Antifa does this via riots when conservatives speak.

It is time that libertarians adopt a strategy to stop this. Principles are dying in politics; mobs are filling the void. Trying to reason with the left will not work; they are unable to peacefully come to resolutions. We have crazy enemies in the media, establishment, left and more. The old saying goes “desperate times call for desperate measure”. But we may not need to come up with a completely new strategy, there exists already an idea that, if adapted to modern times, could serve as a solution.

Right-Wing Populism

Murray Rothbard was the father of both Anarcho-Capitalism and Paleo-Libertarianism. An anarchist, of course, believes in no government and consequently, no politics. But Murray Rothbard, while believing in an ideology that would end politics, paid very close attention to modern politics. Not only that: he participated in it. This would be shocking to some anarchists, but Rothbard knew this was necessary to advance the movement.

In 1992, Murray Rothbard published a controversial essay entitled “Right-Wing Populism”. Although the essay contains some horrid ideas (such as allying with white nationalists), some parts of this essay are a good guide for how to approach modern politics. It is very important that we (libertarians) condemn white nationalists. Once we remove this portion of the essay, what does it say?

Rothbard presents an interesting idea, that with a new approach, could be beneficial. He writes:

The basic right-wing populist insight is that we live in a statist country and a statist world dominated by a ruling elite, consisting of a coalition of Big Government, Big Business, and various influential special interest groups. More specifically, the old America of individual liberty, private property, and minimal government has been replaced by a coalition of politicians and bureaucrats allied with, and even dominated by, powerful corporate and Old Money financial elites (e.g., the Rockefellers, the Trilateralists); and the New Class of technocrats and intellectuals, including Ivy League academics and media elites, who constitute the opinion-moulding class in society.

Rothbard described the right-wing populist movement as an “old right” that opposes big government and corporate unity. Many of the things he talks about apply to problems we face today. We are under a crony capitalist system that elites run without care for the people, and this must cease.

Allies of the Right

Cultural Marxists and elites work towards similar goals that lead to the weakening of society. Given this, it becomes abundantly clear that libertarians need allies, even if they are not pure lovers of liberty. Given the modern state of politics, this is absolutely necessary. Rothbard supported the idea of allies. But who do we choose? Rothbard makes a great point in his essay:

Libertarians have long been puzzled about whom, about which groups, to reach out to. The simple answer: everyone, is not enough, because to be relevant politically, we must concentrate strategically on those groups who are most oppressed and who also have the most social leverage.

So, who opposes the left and elite and has the leverage to help us win? Donald Trump’s populist movement. Before throwing away this idea, it is important to look at it deeply. It is nearly obvious that Rothbard would have liked this idea. Rothbard supported Pat Buchanan, someone who is not a 100% pure libertarian. If he were around in the 2016 election, it is extremely likely he would have supported Trump.

A Voice Against the Establishment

Trump did run an anti-establishment campaign, calling out the coalition of bureaucrats and politicians that Rothbard also criticized. Take a look at these proposals below. Who does this sound like?

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…

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 are all Rothbard’s points, but some show considerable overlap with Trump.

Additional Similarities

Rothbard further details some similarities below:

So far: every one of these right-wing populist programs is totally consistent with a hard-core libertarian position. But all real-world politics is coalition politics, and there are other areas where libertarians might well compromise with their paleo or traditionalist or other partners in a populist coalition. For example, on family values, take such vexed problems as pornography, prostitution, or abortion. Here, pro-legalization and pro-choice libertarians should be willing to compromise on a decentralist stance; that is, to end the tyranny of the federal courts, and to leave these problems up to states and better yet, localities and neighborhoods, that is, to “community standards.”

A Coalition of the Right

If the father of anarcho-capitalism was open to the idea of working with “non-libertarians”, it cannot be against anarchist principles to do so. Of course, we do not have to support every idea on the list or change our principles. However, the Trump Populist Movement is a good “target” to ally with. They also could become future libertarians, as many current libertarians come from this camp. We need to put aside our differences and unite with populists. We need to find common ground and defeat our common enemy: the left.

If this alliance weakens elitism and stops the left, then there is no real reason not to consider it. Along with this, we must call out when Trump is right as well as when he is wrong. But, we need to appear friendly. Trump likes this, and if he likes us, he may ally with us and lean towards libertarian positions. Without supporting every bill or abandoning principle, we can take this new strategy. Rothbard’s thoughts on the matter are not perfect, but lay the framework for a move towards true liberty.


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Is a “Libertarian for Trump” Really a Libertarian?

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

When looking at libertarians, it is first important to distinguish between the two key types. As a point of clarification, there is a difference between ‘libertarian’ and ‘Libertarian’. Much like ‘catholic’ and ‘Catholic,’ the two have some philosophical differences. ‘Libertarian’ with a capital ‘L’ is of the philosophy of Liberty and the official Libertarian party; ‘libertarian’ with a lowercase ‘l’ is a malleable philosophical adherence to Liberty.

Many of the organizations such as Cato, FEE, Mises Institute, Independent Institute, Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Liberty, etc. put ‘libertarian’ with a lowercase ‘l’ on their paperwork due to government restrictions for 401c3 nonprofit organization holders to not be affiliated with a political party, even though they are each advocating Liberty and mostly adhere to Libertarian ideology.

Libertarians (capital L) DO NOT SUPPORT TRUMP.

Any that claim the name ‘Libertarian’ and do support Trump, are completely LINOs (Libertarian In Name Only). Sure, there are things he has done that Libertarians will be happy about. But, that also goes for Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. The fact is, he is not consistently a friend of liberty at all. As the old saying goes, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

When I met Ron Paul almost a few years ago (2016), one of the questions a few of us asked was, “If Libertarians want to vote for one of the main 2 candidates, Clinton or Trump, which is better?” His response, that applause nearly drowned out, was this: “If they vote for Clinton or Trump, you know they are not actually Libertarian!” I couldn’t agree more.

Joshua D Glawson with Ron Paul
February 6th, 2016. Irvine, CA. Pictured: Joshua D. Glawson (left), Dr. Ron Paul (right).

On the other hand, ‘libertarians’ with a lowercase ‘l’ may be in the Liberty Caucus of the GOP. Or, they may be a part of the new growth called ‘libertarian socialists’. This, though is such a contradiction of everything each stands for and is philosophically at complete odds with liberty. So, ‘libertarians’ may support Trump, Clinton, Bush, Sanders, etc. but they have no philosophical consistency.


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