Tuesday, March 15, 2016

SHOCK Walter Block Forms 'Libertarians for Trump' Group

Dr. Walter Block forms Libertarians for Trump.
Walter Block has taken to the pages of LewRockwell,com to announce that he has formed, along with Dr. Donald Miller, a new group called Libertarians for Trump.

Dr Block's justification boils down to this:
Suppose we were all slaves, and the master said we could have a democratic election; we could vote for overseer Baddie, who would whip us unmercifully once per day, or overseer Goodie, who would do exactly the same thing, but only once per month. We all voted for the latter. Is this incompatible with libertarianism? Would this make us worse libertarians? Anyone who thinks so does not really understand this philosophy. 
I have no problem with supporting for a president who is clearly better than opponents, but it is difficult to see how Donald Trump fits this profile,

Dr. Block makes clear that on a number of issues Trump holds position that are far from libertarian:
There are several issues upon which libertarians do not and cannot support Donald Trump. For example, protectionism. But, typically, regarding the issues where Mr. Trump deviates from libertarianism, so do the other candidates.
It might be instructive to list some of the other issues where Trump is a bit short from a libertarian perspective:

He has called for sending US ground troops to the Middle East.

He has called for expanded libel laws.

He wants to build up the military

He wants provide additional support for police.

He wants to deport 11 million unregistered foreign-born workers.

Of particular concern, he has surrounded himself with belligerents:

Rudy Giuliani

Chris Christie

Jeff Sessions

What exactly is Trump good on?

For the most part, we have no idea what a Trump administration would look like. There are signs, however, that it could go very bad, given the three mentioned above that circle him. Further, Trump appears to have a strong authoritarian streak that could be provoked for any number of reasons.

Dr. Block is correct, the other candidates are not better, but to use a Dr. Block metaphor, we have no idea how often Trump will whip us or how hard.

If there ever was a time to sit out an election this is it.

If Trump gains the Republican nomination and then wins the general election, do libertarians really want to claim that they were involved in supporting such a man on his way to victory? I, for one, don't want to have anything to do with it.

I do not want to ever have to take to this web site and apologize because Trump, as president. decided to act on his authoritarian streak.

I find it quite remarkable that Dr. Block wants to roll the dice on this? For what? What can a libertarian possibly gain by supporting Trump? Trump isn't going to listen to libertarians. It appears that he often rejects even the sound advice of a person he is close to, Roger Stone. At the same time, the downside of such support is significant. It can't be ruled out that after a Trump administration, historians far into the future may explain the support for the authoritarian Trump, by starting the explanation something like this, "Even prominent libertarians at the time  such as Walter Block were taken in by Trump and actively supported him." Does Dr. Block really want that as his legacy?

Hey, raise your hand with Dr. Block and take the Trump pledge, if you want. but I am going to do nothing of the kind.

-RW

37 comments:

  1. While I do love and respect Dr. Block, I have always thought this argument ridiculous. First, we are not being whipped. The president is not an overseer. The president doesn't have the power that a slave master had.
    And slaves, never got to vote over who was their master. The whole scenario is ridiculous. It doesn't even fit.
    The president doesn't have ultimate power, the Deep State does. The president gets told what to do. There is no goodie that becomes president, only puppet. Presidential politics is a waste of time. You are more productive making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At least that involves some market activity. Being a part of the process is un-libertarian. Anti- libertarian.
    I wonder, very seriously, after all the reading I have done by the great Libertarians, why this keeps coming up, ever. It's diluting the message. We are ANTI-STATE.
    Why does Dr. Block say we have only 2 choices anyway? Aren't we abolitionist? Aren't we secessionist?
    Instead of option A, or option B, how about giving option L a chance? Libertarianism.
    Remove all consent. Heck, it doesn't even hurt us to remove consent, but we want to make up false scenarios of baddie and goodie. For what? Because we don't think our philosophy would ever truly work? So we point the gun of the State at our next door neighbor by voting?
    I want nothing to do with the State. No presidential candidate deserves our support.
    What about the great philosopher, Ettiene De La Boetie? Remember him? I see him brought up all the time, do we think what he wrote really won't work? Do we just read Politics of obedience just to tell libertarian friends we have?
    I am for, and will only ever be for, option L. Libertarianism. Remove consent, and watch Leviathan fall. It deserves NOTHING else from us.
    With great respect Dr Block, you are wrong.

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    1. Agree. I supported Rand Paul but then voted for Sanders in the NH primary. I vote my self-interests; less war, less spying, less fed reserve, etc.

      If it comes down to Trump vs Clinton I will vote for the Libertarian Party candidate. Proudly!

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    2. Joshua,

      Your reply is contradictory. First you say that Block's reasoning in favor of voting is nonsensical because presidents don't have power, but later you say that voting is pointing the gun of the state at our next-door neighbor. How could voting for such an inconsequential figure be inflicting the state on our neighbor?

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    3. Harry,
      Political voting in general is wielding the gun. Whether the Presidency has the power that some ascribe to it or not doesn't change that.

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    4. Of course it does. If not, then you have to take back your criticism of Block's slave master analogy, or offer a new criticism. If presidents do indeed have power (which they must if voting for them is "wielding the gun"), then Block's point is not ridiculous as you say it is. The president as master holds power over the citizen as slave, and Block claims the citizen is justified in voting for a better president.

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    5. NO, political voting is weilding the gun. You are supporting the State. If a president doesn't have any power, do you think that the politics behind the deep State don't use the president? Doesn't matter if he/she has any power.

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  2. You can't complain when Goodie beats you once a month Dr. Block. And when your neighbor is getting his monthly beating, telling him the other guy would have beat him more and that's why you supported Goodie, isn't going to win your neighbor to Libertarianism. His hope will be in the abolitionist.

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    1. Yep. Block's argument sounds like 'don't blame me, I voted for Kodos' (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlcngdW2Ju4)

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  3. Trump is the least militant of the candidates. War is my major issue. Trump is least likely to start a major one, while with Clinton I rate a major war as a distinct possibility.

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    1. Matt,

      Why do you consider Trump to be the "least militant of the candidates"?

      Consider these two examples:

      "During a speech at Decker Auditorium in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Trump said he would go after ISIS-controlled oil fields and 'bomb the s--- out of 'em,' to loud applause."

      Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-bomb-isis-2015-11

      "Trump suggested the Obama administration has allowed the extremist group to flourish by ignoring his call for the US to seize oil assets now owned by Isis.

      'I’ve predicted a lot of things, you have to say, including, ‘Get the oil, take the oil, keep the oil’. Right?' he said.

      'I’ve been saying that for three years, and everybody said, ‘Oh I can’t do that. I mean, this is a sovereign country.’ There is no country!"

      Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-says-barack-obama-and-hillary-clinton-created-isis-a6794406.html

      Secondly, if one supports the candidate who is warlike, but is "least likely to start a major one", this is akin to appointing someone else's slave master- a much more pleasant task! But, the libertarian position is that no one should have such a power as to "bomb the s---" out of someone to "get the oil, take the oil, keep the oil."

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  4. Ugh, this is so disappointing....
    I am not surprised that the LRC crowd has been shilling for Trump for months now. They are not really libertarians as much as paleoconservatives. Their motivation is not so much liberty per se, as it is a perceived means of preserving their culture from various Others. As I have written before, given a choice between the NAP and the grounds for choosing the NAP, people will choose their grounds. Thus, the paleocon crowd is happy to jettison free trade in labor, and even embrace some form of taxpayer collective ownership explanation, as Lew Rockwell has written, in order to justify their anti-immigration stance.

    I thought Walter Block was different. I thought he really took the NAP as first principle. Perhaps it is just peer pressure from his LRC friends. I don't know. The rationale of Trump's foreign policy makes no sense. If that is the deciding factor, why not form a Libertarians for Bernie group? Sanders' foreign policy is orders of magnitude more libertarian than Trump's. I just don't see where people are getting the idea that Trump would reign in the empire.

    Clearly, the reason not to support Bernie are his idiotic economic ideas. But Trump is no better. He is also a protectionist. So I don't get it.

    Thank you, Robert, for sticking to your principles. Much respect.

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    1. "I am not surprised that the LRC crowd has been shilling for Trump for months now."

      >>> Who, specifically, comprises "the LRC crowd"?

      "They are not really libertarians as much as paleoconservatives."

      >>> Lew Rockwell is an anarcho-capitalist. Is every author of every piece he runs or links to an anarcho-capitalist? No. He posts 12 items a day that he finds interesting. Is libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism the only subjects YOU are interested in?

      "I thought Walter Block was different. I thought he really took the NAP as first principle. Perhaps it is just peer pressure from his LRC friends."

      >>> This is not a new position for Block. He's choosing Trump now because his original choice is no longer running (Rand Paul). And Block was on the scene long before LRC launched. He's an individual. I doubt he's subject to any peer pressure.

      Having said that, I don't agree with Block here. And I never will. But guess what? Not even anarchists can or will agree on every topic.

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    2. >>> Lew Rockwell is an anarcho-capitalist. Is every author of every piece he runs or links to an anarcho-capitalist? No. He posts 12 items a day that he finds interesting. Is libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism the only subjects YOU are interested in?

      The subject line of todays Lew Rockwell email is “Libertarians for Trump”, and it’s the first in line of the 11 other new articles in the both the email and at the website. That’s not a sign of indifference.

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  5. it will e a very select club namely Walter and Donald.

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  6. As a PPS and NAP supporter, I think this is a wise choice. All the other candidates will allow new people (immigrants) to have power over the electorate and they will vote for more aggression against us. We support Trump in self-defense.

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    1. That position is wildly in violation of NAP, and that is not why Block is supporting Trump.

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  7. Walter Block, controversial, EXCITING!

    Robert Wenzel, same old, same old, BORING!

    DesertBunny , flippant, predicable and sides with BORING.

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    1. Exciting and boring are both boring. Right and wrong are both exciting.

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  8. Why would you be shocked when Block was previously supporting Rand Paul? In terms of vulnerability to neoconservative pressure Rand Paul is a far worse candidate than Donald Trump.

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  9. Bob,

    Whats Trump good on? Well lets see. He said no more foreign wars (not sure where you saw he was seeking a new one). He said the Fed was creating a new bubble. He wants to get rid of Obamacare. Hold the line on the second amendment.

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    1. He wants to pull troops from Germany, Korea, Japan. He is neutral on the Israel-Palestine question instead of fawning all over Israel and stirring up more hatred to the US. He wants to actually talk to Putin, forget about the Ukraine, and stop trying to overthrow Assad and making other troubles in the Middle East. He has talked about throwing Hillary in prison :), putting Andrew Napolitano on the Supreme Court. He has talked about lowering taxes significantly.

      I probably won't vote for him, but he seems the 'best' of the candidates to me from a peace and libertarian perspective.

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    2. It was Gary Johnson who talked about Napolitano on the SCOTUS, not Trump.

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  10. I appreciate Dr. Block's desire and prerogative to participate in the political process as it exists in the real world today. I've seen other less prominent libertarians like Cantwell make an even better case for Trump as well. However, I also think the "LRC crowd" has gone overboard with its "rooting" for Trump.

    All that being said, in my opinion, Trump is a charlatan scion of NYC real estate wealth who, as a trained and studied actor and NLP practitioner, is playing a role in a choreographed production that, at the end, has a diverse majority of voters, from GOP oligarchs to suburban soccer moms, "ready for Hillary" as some sort of centrist or moderate vs. that "rayciss" Trump.

    I agree wholeheartedly with all of RW's points in rejecting the notion of libertarians for Trump.

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    1. NLP was the first thing I thought of when I saw the media's attempt to paint the Trump rallies as Nazi. Of course the Nazis were using NLP as well (without the nomenclature), but it's obvious that Trump would use NLP on a crowd.

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  11. 1. This announcement appears only a few hours after I hear Ron Paul completely eviscerate Trump on the Tom Woods show. Trump’s shtick is to promise something to virtually everyone, including contradictory statements in the same breath, with the insinuation that he will be able to deliver you the goodies due the force of his personality.

    http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-617-ron-pauls-guide-to-the-election/

    2. We might spend our time better in trying to get more the .5% of the population to understand that inflation is a purposeful government program and not a mysterious force of nature.

    3. If we are going to interact with him, we should make him come begging to us.

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  12. My whole libertarian world has been rocked by this letter. I scanned it three extra times to look for hints of Walter's token sarcasm and many times I was prepared for it to come in the next line, but it never did.

    I'm just completely dumbfounded.

    Moreover, while I agree that Trump's foreign policy rhetoric has been the least worse of the candidates, his domestic policy statements have been completely totalitarian. Furthermore, I'm only 30 and I've learned that a candidate's modest foreign policy easily becomes a president's Iraqi, Afghani and drone wars. I would think intelligent, more experienced libertarians would know this lesson even more keenly. I am perplexed by the naivete of Block.

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  13. I voted for trump today. I admit I had to hold my nose but I guess my reasoning is

    1) He is the only who can be kasich in ohio, kasich is practically a demon, hillary's twin brother.

    2) I hold out very slim hope that trump can be influenced by liberty and freedom respecting people, we know the others cannot.

    and 3) Trump v Hillary national debate will be too much fun!

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    1. It's one thing to do it and hold your nose. We can cordially debate merits of voting itself and the voting for someone to keep another out of office, but Walter's post goes beyond this. He is actively voicing support for a very unlibertarian candidate who has voiced some horrifying beliefs on domestic freedoms.

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  14. I am still amazed that Libertarians think whoever become the president means jack diddly for Liberty.
    Come on, aren't we smarter than the stupid masses? I am starting to wonder.
    I seriously think Libertarians hold onto Presidential politics because they hope ONE day, their guy will win.
    And so they won't come out and be outright anti-president. They won't be anti-State. "If only our guy won".
    What a joke.
    Resist! The odds don't matter anymore, if they ever did.

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    1. Okay. You've made enough comments that you require rebuttal.

      First, libertarians aren't anarchists. I'm an anarchist as well, but you seem to have forgotten the difference. Libertarians accept that some state is necessary to protect liberty. Most of the early 20th century free market writers weren't anarchists; anarchism was and is still quite rare. In elections, I go libertarian despite being an anarchist because libertarianism is obviously the first step on the road to anarchism, just as agnosticism/pantheism/deism is the first step on the road to atheism.

      Furthermore, you've consistently said the presidential office is powerless, and you've consistently said the president is used by the Deep State (which necessarily means the president must have power to be used at all).

      Regardless, libertarians are not and have never been anarchists. They do not support the abolition of the state. That's what makes them libertarians, not anarchists.

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  15. I'm team Wenzel. My love for Dr Block is undiminished, but I disagree wholeheartedly.

    That said- of all the candidates Trump is the least objectionable on foreign policy, immigration and taxes.

    Trumpussolini still scares me-

    https://trumpussolini.wordpress.com

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  16. Bob, Since libertarians used to say, "There's not a dime's worth of difference," this furor over Dee and Dum is puzzling. Have they changed their minds?

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  17. I think Block grievously miscalculates Trump. When Trump says Iraq is a mess, it is a political statement - not a statement about foreign policy. The purpose is to place blame and cast doubt on Establishment Republicans, the status quo. The implication is that Trump can do it better. He would have won Iraq. He will win ISIS. The Establishment Republicans can't win. Trump can win.

    Now more than ever libertarians should get behind the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party could get unprecedented press and mainstream attention because Trump and Clinton are so polarizing. Gary Johnson was governor of New Mexico. He has better qualifications than Trump or Clinton. He can at least make some noise.

    Let's even suppose Johnson has no shot of winning. It is still in the best interest if libertarianism for Johnson to garner as much attention as possible. He's not perfect, but he'd represent steps toward more freedom and less government. There is really no reason for any libertarian to be for Trump.

    RW interviewed Johnson last presidential cycle. It would be great if this could happen again. I wonder if Johnson has studied economics since that interview.

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  18. Political ideology versus political reality makes for interesting comments.

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  19. Trump for the primary, Libertarian for the election.

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  20. Firstly, one must be elected before any movement can be made towards Libertarian. Donald Trump is doing what it takes to put himself in the best position to get elected, something true libertarians are not likely to be able to do anytime soon. So perhaps we should be happy just to move in the right direction in some important areas such as getting government off businesses' backs. To me that alone would be a great start, and one to build on as people see the great results which would follow.

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