Prof. Walter Block has written President Trump an open letter and ended it this way:
Mr. Trump, I was recently in a debate with my good friend Bob Wenzel. I defended you against his unjustified attacks on your presidency. You might want to take a peek at it.For the record, the motion we debated was RESOLVED Is Donald Trump a Disaster for Libertarianism?
I took the affirmative position.
Now there are a few things to unravel here as far as the debate. As a top libertarian wrote to me in an email:
I have listened to your debate with Walter. Basically, according to Block, you are right in everything you say about Trump, but Trump is good because he is not Hillary. That's all he is really saying.Of course, Hillary lost the election and is probably spending most of her time trying
to stand for more than 15 minutes at a time. Hillary, at this point in time, has nothing to do with Trump and libertarianism.
As I pointed out in the debate, anarcho-capitalists must view politicians as tools. We must judge their administration and see how we should position to advance liberty in the context of presidential administrative decisions
This means, of course, supporting Presidents when they take positions in line liberty. President Trump rarely takes a position in line with liberty. However, I support Trump, for example, on his leaving the Paris Climate Accord. Dr. Block also mentions his leaving the Accord as a positive.
But Block then hails the Trump nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as a plus for Trump. But Gorsuch is an absolutely horrific choice. Gorsuch wrote a famous 2005 essay for National Review, where he hailed, get this, the judicial restraint of Supreme Court Justices 'in the face of great skepticism about the constitutionality of New Deal measures..."
And in the same essay, he said Congress had right "to experiment with economic and social policy."
Can you imagine a Gorsuch Supreme Court vote under a Democratic Congress that wants to experiment with social and economic policy?!
Trump has put an IED on the Supreme Court against limiting the power of government. This is not a small matter. And Walter thinks this is a positive!
Walter then hails the appointment by Trump of Betsy De Vos to the Education Department. To be sure, she has ended some political correctness promoted by the DOE in the past, and she should be praised for that, but her big push is for horrific school vouchers. Here is Tom Woods on the problem with school vouchers.
And Lew Rockwell seems to be writing directly to Walter when in his essay, Voucher Socialism , he concludes:
We are talking about mountains of paperwork here, and a sacrifice of all independence...
If American education is to have a future, it’s not through more government spending, control, and centralization. It is through increased local and private spending and control. The ideal is zero government involvement. Why does any freedom lover have to be reminded of that?Putting De Vos, when her day is spent advocating a horrific voucher system, as a positive Trump accomplishment just shows you how desperate libertarian Trump supporters are.
Walter then makes noises about "“Trump digs coal," and seems satisfied with this listing of Trump's "accomplishments." And then adds:
I could go on and on complimenting you on your really wonderful achievements, but I am sure I have now established my “street cred” as a person hardly suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.I'll say Walter doesn't suffer from TDS! He suffers from mirror image TDS: Supporting Derranged Trump. This is a perfect example of SDT: Walter proclaiming the "wonderful achievements" of Trump.
Meanwhile, as Laurence Vance points out, Trump’s real "accomplishments" include:
And I hasten to add that Trump plans to lower the engagement bar for nuclear attack! And he has nominated some terrible people for the Federal Reserve, including Marvin Goodfriend, who supports the use of negative interest rates, that is, a tax on consumer checking and savings accounts during a recession!
- Increased the sanctions on Iran and refused to recertify Obama’s disastrous agreement with the nuke-hungry mullahs.
- Bombed a Syrian airfield and destroyed a fifth of Assad’s jet fighters.
- Took the gloves off our military and ended ISIS’s “caliphate.”
- Rolled back Obama’s cringing concessions to Cuba.
- Put Russia on notice by recommitting to the Magnitsky Act and increasing sanctions on regime oligarchs
- Removed Obama’s “crushing Rules of Engagement in combat” and “empowered military leaders to ‘seize the initiative and win’”
- Dropped the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) in Afghanistan, killing “a hundred or more of the worst human beings since Hitler”
- Increased the size of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Increased defense spending
- Approved a 2.4 percent pay raise for U.S. troops
So yes, Trump is terrible for libertarianism because, despite all this, some libertarians support Trump, especially some Rothbardians. Including Walter in his open letter to Trump where he soft-pedals the disaster Trump's first year has been for liberty. Wonderful? Trump has been a horror show.
The last item that Rothbardian Trump supporters lean on is the notion that Trump is politically incorrect. But as a top libertarian pointed out to me in an email:
Paul Gottfried said once at the Mises Institute, Trump's rudeness and crudeness is often mistaken for political incorrectness. (I am paraphrasing)There are ways to go after political correctness and Jordan Peterson is doing a great job of showing us how this can be done but Trump crudeness and comments that make it unclear if he is dog whistling neo-Nazis is not exactly the best approach to attacking PC from an intellectual perspective. These Trump antics particularly turn off the young.
Murray Rothbard in his unpublished strategy paper put heavy emphasis on attracting the young. Support for Trump is not going to get us the youth audience.Youth, however, will listen to anti-Trump commentary, right now that audience is being captured by the Left. If libertarians don't speak out against Trump, and there is no reason not to, we are going to lose the youth to socialists and lefty libwaps. And it will be particularly damaging to Rothbardians, since the left and lefty libwaps are trying to draw a line from David Duke to Pat Buchanan to Trump. This attempt could be completely countered by attacking Trump positions, which would completely destroy the Duke to Buchanan to Trump charge.
So, no my attacks on Trump positions are not unjustified and they deserve aggressive airing. It's the least we can do for Murray Rothbard.