This article is dedicated to every individual who has ever lost their home or businesses to eminent domain.
It wasn’t long ago that Edward Snowden dropped the bombshell of information on the American public that exposed the fact that the Federal Government uses a highly sophisticated system of network monitoring tools to record your interactions over the internet. The fear that dated back to the signing of the Patriot Act (and became far more real with the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act) that the government mistrustfully watches our every move, was confirmed. Public reaction to the unveiling of the information was very clear: domestic spying has gone too far.
Knowledge of domestic spying was not new, but it had finally become an issue the public wanted to talk about. As the ACLU documented nearly 10 years ago, many conservatives were very vocal in their opposition to the NSA’s crime against privacy long before Snowden entered the scene. When President Obama attempted to justify domestic spying, conservative voices grew louder than ever in opposition.
“You can’t have one-hundred percent security and also then have one-hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. … There are trade-offs involved.” – President Barack Obama.
The virtue of refusing to trade liberty for security predates the existence of American political parties. It is a part of the very foundation of America as a country. Liberty is the blood of America, and we all want liberty and justice for all. And conservatives, who are well known for holding steadfast to traditional American values, could never be expected to abandon the principle of liberty.
In support of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency, many conservatives have changed their minds about trading liberty for security. With so many dangers lurking outside our borders, it appears that liberty has become the enemy of the American way of life. We may need to extinguish some liberty to “Make America Great Again.”
One of the loudest moments for the American conservative sphere was the vicious national turmoil that ensued during the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became known as “Obamacare.” Panic over death panels, rumors of mandatory digital implants, fears over loss in healthcare quality, and outrage over the mandatory status of health insurance purchases became household concerns when the 906 page bill entered Congress.
Trump, who passionately helped the Democratic Party take back Congress in 2006 with copious financial endorsements, is just as much a supporter of universal healthcare as Barack Obama. Of course, after capturing the devotion of a conservative voter base became a necessity, Trump has offered some very vague criticisms of Obamacare by calling it “the big lie” and promising to replace it with “something terrific.” Trump is now, and has always been, a supporter of a single-payer healthcare system, noting the success of similar systems in socialistic countries.
Cronyism – the support of people in power in exchange for favors – is something Donald Trump excels at. While noting that the system he uses to gain favors from politicians is “a broken system,” Trump admitted to funding political campaigns with the intent to use positions of political power for personal gain.
“I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them 2 years later, 3 years later, I call them; they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.” – Donald Trump
Business elites such as Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, and George Soros, are able to use their status as businessmen to propose very business-unfriendly ideas by tagging those ideas as strategically business-friendly, especially when the exact “strategy” can’t be understood by the average person. Trump, much like Bernie Sanders, pushes the notion that the path to prosperity lies in the action of making the rich pay for everyone else. Also much like other business elites, Trump has been a longtime supporter of the Democrats, and maintained his pro-Democrat position through financial support. Though Trump also provided support for select Republican candidates, Trump was a strong Democratic donor until 2011, when a political career became Trump’s focus. After all, it’s hard to make a group support you when you’re in bed with their rivals. And in this case, Trump has been out of the Democrat bed just long enough to look like a man with Republican virtues.
Trump is very confused about the role governments play in business transactions. It should be noted at this point that the New York Stock Exchange is a private entity owned by NYSE Euronext Inc. Private means private; no matter how entitled you feel to be involved in private business, you have no right to be involved in someone else’s private business. While Deutsche Boerse AG, an obviously German company, was in the process of agreeing to purchase the New York Stock Exchange from NYSE Euronext, Trump voiced his disapproval and went as far as to state that this example of free trade was obscenely ‘too free’. “If I were in a position, I wouldn’t even have allowed the discussions to take place,” Trump stated on Stuart Varney.
Despite Trump’s blatant opposition to free trade, Trump has historically regarded himself to be relatively pro-trade. But is seems that Trump’s ignorance regarding government authority over the right to conduct business extends to a comical ignorance of macroeconomics as well. Trump is aware of the very real problem of enormous domestic production costs, and the ensuing high price of domestic goods. His solution, however, is to make the problem much worse. To prevent the low price of internationally imported goods from competing with the sale of highly-priced domestic goods, Trump has asserted that his solution would be to raise the price of the imported goods as well, forcing American families to pay higher prices for practically everything they buy. In reality, Americans spending more money on the same things they buy now, thus saving less money (or buying fewer things) doesn’t help anyone – it simply hurts the consumers. This is fairly obvious.
Trump is known for attempting to pass outrageous falsehoods off as facts to an audience he seems to believe is too stupid or lazy to fact check his statements, including the synopsis of a White House conspiracy to distribute 250,000 Syrian refugees to Republican-majority states, an attempted sabotage by Hillary Clinton to derail Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign by starting the “birther movement,” a false indication that the vast majority of White homicides are perpetrated by Blacks (the actual FBI statistic is only 15%), a dystopian description of Muslims all over New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center, among many more unrealistic lies.
Donald Trump takes pride in his ability to make deals. And he has proven that when he cannot make a deal, he will use the government to force the would-be deal taker to take the deal or face violent coercion. He doesn’t take no for an answer, and he doesn’t care who he hurts or steals from to achieve satisfaction. The 2005 “Kelo decision,” an infamous Supreme Court case that led to private companies being permitted to force people to hand over their property, is one of the sickest and most twisted Supreme Court rulings to date, which Trump has found to be an easy avenue to punish people who don’t want to take his deals.
“Just so you understand, nobody knows this better than I do, because I built a lot of buildings in Manhattan, and you’ll have 12 sites and you’ll get 11 and you’ll have the one holdout and you end up building around them and everything else, okay? So, I know it better than anybody.” – Donald Trump
Much like his stance on universal healthcare, Trump’s advocacy for eminent domain has remained actively consistent. Even before the Kelo decision made theft an easy avenue for Trump to acquire other people’s property, Trump was already a veteran of coercing people beneath him to bend and break when they refused to give him what wasn’t his.
When Trump was in the process of erecting a casino in Atlantic City in the 1990s, the location he selected turned out to not be ideal. Trump was unable to acquire the property to build the limousine parking lot on the proposed casino grounds. Trump offered Vera Coking, an elderly widow of Atlantic City, a bad deal to remove herself from her home of more than 3 decades to make room for his limousine parking lot. She declined. In response, Trump used his influence to convince the CRDA (Casino Reinvestment Development Authority) to seize her home through eminent domain and give it to him.
Another obstacle in the way of Trump’s casino was a pawn shop, which had been purchased by two brothers for $500,000. Trump was able to convince the CRDA to seize their shop as well when they refused the absurd offer, and they were told to accept compensation of less than half of the purchase price of their shop and remove themselves from the premises.
Opposition to free trade, higher taxes, support for leftist organizations, and the abuse of government authority to coerce the vulnerable for personal gain are only the surface of Donald Trump’s socialistic views. His social policies, however, turn Trump’s platform into a very familiar form of socialism.
“You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques, because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques. In the old days, meaning a while ago, we had great surveillance going on in and around mosques in New York City.” – Donald Trump
Much like Barack Obama, Donald Trump has also rationalized domestic spying as a necessary evil, since privacy is not compatible with the type of security that is in demand. In Trump’s case, support for the abolition of privacy seems to stem from a fear of Islamic terrorism. Interestingly enough, Trump praised the spying practices of the New York Police Department that failed to generate even a single terrorism case, yet resulted in a few lawsuits and a feeling of animosity between the NYPD and the Muslim community of New York City.
Trump’s extreme caution toward the Muslim community is not something fit to criticize. It’s his right, which is the same right that everyone else possesses, to view any person or community through the filters of whatever opinions he possesses. Considering the USA’s past (and present) involvement with hostile countries with Muslim majorities, as well as the political and social instability in some Muslim-majority nations, there are many recent historical references that can be made to justify any level of personal caution. Trump’s caution, however, goes as far as to dehumanize adherents to Islam, and his views have become his policies.
When asked if he would support the creation of a database system to track Muslims in the USA, Trump responded “There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. There should be a lot of systems.” When he was asked if there was a difference between the system to track Muslim identities in the USA, and its predecessor in Nazi Germany, Trump responded “You tell me.”
Trump’s disregard for one of the most sacred principles of the American justice system, that the accused remain innocent until proven guilty, coupled with his disregard for the right to privacy, is unsettling at best and downright dystopian at worst. Few governments in the modern developed world have ever reserved the right to divide their populations into groups and treat those groups differently depending on the current opinions of the state.
“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” – Donald Trump
In The America We Deserve, Trump highlighted his distaste for “assault weapons” with a statement of support for an assault weapons ban. This is a very controversial issue in most political spheres, but from a libertarian standpoint this is alarming in two ways. Firstly, considering the amount of power that governments wield, an armed population can prevent many intrusions of power. Secondly, and more importantly, the national fear of “assault weapons” is paranoid, misguided, and fueled entirely by the whining of worried reactionaries. Those who do even a small amount of research on assault weapons will find that they go practically unused in the sum of armed crimes in the USA. Trump has historically been among the whining reactionaries.
From an economic standpoint, Trump’s views on immigration are phenomenally comical. He is confused as to where jobs come from, and this tends to show when he talks about immigration. Trump, who believes that there are 30 million illegal immigrants within US borders (the actual number is closer to 11 million and decreasing, according to Pew Research Center), also believes that they should be removed because they crossed a line, which he doesn’t own, without his permission. Yes, it is illegal to cross the border without the government’s permission, and even though the ethics and necessity of such permissions are debatable, the economic effects of removing 5.1% of the labor force overnight, is not.
Considering the time it takes for an applicant from Mexico’s application to be processed and an immigration visa to be granted is generally anywhere between 1 and 33 years, it’s no surprise that many don’t wait for the inefficiency of the US Federal Government to get them out of the current dismal economic situation of Mexico. Crossing the border, whether legally or illegally, takes a lot of work and dedication. Trump is under the impression that the Mexican government is responsible for the swath of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, and that the immigrants have been handpicked to be the terrible people.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Donald Trump
The American Immigration Council found in a large-scale study that the exact opposite is true, and this was known well before Trump made his outrageous statement. In reality, immigrants are actually less likely to engage in criminal behavior than their native-born counterparts. Again, this is alarming primarily because Trump did not bother to look into this before spouting off to his conservative audience that he shared their misplaced fears. Trump’s tendency to refuse to research the topics he chooses to talk about appears to have gone unchanged in the years since he made the same mistake on the topic of assault weapons.
At this point, it would be proper to note a few positive Trump features, since it would be an injustice to label this man by any title without at least praising the features that have allowed him to achieve such support from so many. Trump is not afraid of backlash, and the public knows it. The sense of dominance is his demeanor have left him impervious to criticism and no number of scandals or unpleasant discoveries can shake this. Trump commonly leaves reporters in search of dirty laundry with nothing dirty enough to report, because he doesn’t hold his opinions back and nothing discovered by an investigator could ever match the headlines already reported by news journals. Trump does not back down from confrontations, nor does he pick battles unwisely. He is somewhat of an American icon – a man who looks for deals around every corner and manages his friends with precision and cunning. Sadly, these are all skills that we prefer politicians not exercise for personal gain, but that is just Trump’s nature as a deal maker.
Many Trump supporters who choose not to deny Trump’s previous leftist positions often opt to argue that Trump’s mind must have changed somewhere along the line. But this doesn’t appear to be the case. On the issue of free trade, Trump appears to have actually become even more trade-unfriendly since deciding to run for president and suggesting massive tariffs to punish businesses for finding ways around the massive American taxes imposed on domestic production. His views on universal healthcare certainly haven’t changed. His gaming of the political system for personal gain at the taxpayers’ expense hasn’t changed. The only view he appears to have changed drastically is his view on abortion, and that has only been since his decision to appear conservative.
In summary, Donald Trump is an opportunist with socialistic tendencies masquerading as a conservative, planning to use the ignorance of his supporters to propel himself to the White House. It’s working. The many conservative voices who once loudly opposed the travesty of domestic spying are now in full support of it, just as they are in full support of Trump’s model of socialism. Asserting that there is a magical class of rich people who can afford to carry the entire population on their shoulders with progressive taxes is socialistic. Universal healthcare is undeniably socialistic. Government power over all private property is atrociously socialistic. Outlawing free trade is socialistic as well. Historically, domestic spying has been a model of security used primarily by rampantly socialist countries. Trump is not just a socialist by policy, but a model socialist, competing with even the likes of Bernie Sanders in the purity of his acceptance of anti-capitalist ideas.
The anti-capitalist belief that it is the government’s responsibility to turn markets into monopolies for the greater good has migrated from the ideological circles of modern progressives to the minds of conservatives who no longer see any fault in restricting free enterprise. The belief that the rich can pay for everyone else is now a policy that Trump supporters, economically illiterate liberals, and socialists can agree on. The collective conservative voice has finally joined the rampant leftist sense of entitlement, all thanks to Donald Trump, the model socialist candidate.
* Editor: the text above has been reviewed for readability, but not content. The opinion(s) reflected therein are those of the author, and not of the BeingLibertarian.com website or Being Libertarian LLC.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Nathaniel Owen, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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