Definition of libertarian:
1) an advocate of the doctrine of free will.
2) A person who upholds the principles of individual liberty, especially of thought and action.
Ladies and gentleman there you have it, straight from Merriam-Webster. It is with a sad heart that I write this article, but I feel I must. Many of us “liberty minded” people need to be reminded of what and we stand for.
Libertarianism is non-aggressive. We don’t steal, we don’t bomb, and we don’t forcefully impose our will on others. We are the only political group that can honestly say we support real liberty. I use the word group instead of party, because you don’t need to support a party to support a principle. We can support a member of any party, or an independent. It is principle that matters. That same core principle, called non-aggression, is at the heart of every stance we take. While we make jokes about the N.A.P. and endlessly debate about how it applies to certain issues, on most issues it is quite clear.
So why is it, that some libertarians are so supportive of Trump? Sure, the TPP exit was a solid win for liberty, and the repeal of the ACA sounds great. Hell, Trump even supports an audit of the Federal Reserve. There is more too, like his Department of Education appointee. In fact, if you cherry pick certain issues he doesn’t sound half bad. However, with that logic I can make any president or politician a “libertarian”. Small government is only a part of what libertarianism is about.
Some libertarian social media campaigns have even started using slogans like “Are you tired of winning yet?” when they post about these supposed victories that have come out of Trumps administration. But let’s make something clear, we have not won anything at all.
By saying we have, you are further discrediting the libertarian movement and reinforcing the myth that we are “pothead republicans”. To be brutally honest, many of us are acting like that is true.
Authoritarian government, by nature, violates the core principle of libertarianism. Donald Trump is authoritarian, and there is no argument against that which holds any merit. That does not mean we can’t give him some credit where it is due. Reducing regulations and government power is good. A handful of good things however is not “winning”.
By saying Trump is “the most libertarian president ever,” you are doing serious damage to the message that we are finally starting to get out.
Let’s not lose sight of the core principles we stand for, or throw them away altogether. Don’t sit back and talk about how you are happy with Trump. Not when he supports civil asset forfeiture, or appoints someone like Jeff Sessions. Don’t talk up the same guy who already is dropping bombs, or the guy who appointed Mike Pompeo to head the CIA.
The “conservative” Trump wants to spend 20 billion dollars on a wall, rather than fix the issues that caused illegal immigration to be the problem it is. Isn’t more government to fix government problems one of the things that Libertarians are against? How does this not qualify?
We should have the same outrage now that we had with Obama. You can make the argument that it is “not as bad,” but it really is no different. Authoritarian government is still authoritarian government. We are liberty minded, or at least we claim to be. Libertarianism and authoritarianism are polar opposites of each other.
It is almost scary how fast things went downhill. How can we lose sight of things so fast?
We complain about the inability for government to maintain roads, but expect them to maintain a wall? The Federal government can’t even maintain the current fence that spans only a fraction of the border. Is eminent domain going to suddenly going to be acceptable when the construction of the wall begins, or will we still care about property rights?
How did we go from calling Edward Snowden a hero, to supporting someone who put an advocate of spying programs in charge of the CIA? How did we go from pointing out every flaw in the left, to ignoring flaws in the right? We are starting to ignore facts and issues that are hurting our cause, showing blind support to an authoritarian, and that makes us just as bad as the authoritarian regime.
To not stand up to injustice, is just as bad as causing injustice.
Maybe our memory is also a problem. We seem to have forgotten the support Trump has given to the “progressive” left, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, from 1989-2010 he donated over $150,000 more to Democrats than he did to Republicans. Curiously that changed before he announced a potential run for the white house in 2011. Suddenly his donations went mainly to Republicans. Those Democrat donations included Hillary Clinton, who he swore would be in jail if he won, yet last I checked she is roaming free.
His other actions since the election have already proven to be contradictory to his campaign promises as well. I am still waiting for a big Ed McMahon style check for the price of the wall to be sent from Mexico. Instead, we will pay for it with a price increase in Mexico’s products. It’s okay though, because somehow we all decided that taxation isn’t theft anymore and that taxes on companies aren’t passed onto the consumer, foreign or not. The laws of economics have been suspended so that the almighty Trump can be praised by libertarians for implementing a tax.
Perhaps it is time to reevaluate what being a libertarian actually means. Is it “small authoritarian government” or is it “non-aggression and personal liberty”. Are we suddenly a mix of left and right ideas, or are we really something different?
With all of the infighting and drama stirred up in Libertarian groups, we certainly are not acting like the logical and rational people we claim to be.