Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Block-Wenzel Debate on Donald Trump's First 100 Days

Dr. Walter Block and Robert Wenzel appeared on the Tom Woods Show to debate the first 100 days of the Donald Trump presidency. Below is the full debate.


Mentioned in the debate:

 Murray Rothbard on Ronald Reagan's Function in Slowing the Libertarian Movement

Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy by Murray Rothbard

Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard 
Edited by David Gordon

Walter Block books

On Neil Gorsuch see: A Libertarian Take on Donald Trump's Supreme Court Pick



  1. I side with Wenzel over Block and always thought Libertarians For Trump was misguided. However, I see some silver linings that Robert did not acknowledge. I don't agree that the election of Trump will have the same effect on stunting the libertarian movement as Reagan did in the 1980s.

    People actually thought Reagan was for small government and free markets. But who thinks that Trump believes in these things? If anything, Trump's victory proves that the Republican Party and it's base resolutely reject these principles.

    The one thing that has had hurt the libertarian movement more than almost anything has been the popular mythology that the Republican Party is a viable vehicle for limited government and that libertarians are some kooky subset of extreme right-wingers, just like Republicans but more dogmatic.

    Nobody in their right mind could ever confuse Trump for a libertarian. So I don't buy the argument that Trump's election will stunt the growth of the libertarian movement. Bob also seems to have given up on the idea of converting disaffected left wingers, but I have more faith. We should be making efforts to reach out to everyone who despises Trump.

    1. I don't know where you live but I have lost many conservative friends to the Trump movement.

      Politico has a major piece on Pat Buchanan where he is fawning all over Trump. He would never be doing that if it was Hillary doing the things Trump is doing.

      We have lost many "fellow travelers" to Trump.

    2. I live in California so I'm surrounded by more leftists that you probably are. I guess I see the election of Trump as very clarifying. If these "fellow travelers" stick with Trump through his first term, it would just go to show that they were never that close to us.

      I think we have an opportunity to present libertarianism as a sane alternative to the lunacy that is taking place on both the left and right. The American Right has become the party of anti-trade protectionism, closed borders, white identity politics, anti Muslim bigotry, wars of aggression and a police state. The Left has become the party of the social justice warriors, minority identity politics, anti-free speech totalitarianism, anti Russia conspiracy theories, and "humanitarian" wars of aggression.

      Unshackled from the fallacy that our movement is a part of the Right, we can present it as something distinct that would appeal to those who are sick of both sides.

      Maybe some conservatives who would have been willing to work with us to oppose Hillary have been lost to Trump, but we have an opportunity to build a new coalition with Bernie voters to oppose Trump's wars of aggression and his police state tactics, among other issues.

      I think Pat Buchanan has certain cultural values that seem to override his anti-government and even his anti-war views. I think he'll come around at some point, but he's always deviated pretty substantially from libertarianism on tons of issues.

  2. I think we are missing what is really going on here.
    Forget "Libertarians for Trump". All what, 50-100 of them?
    I was sent a text this Easter from a "friend", and he had about 15 others on it, and he said let's pray for... and he had a short list of things, I text back, "let's pray for peace".
    I immediately was attacked by the other folks. "God knew we needed a strong man (no joke) to be president to stop what Obama has done with foreign policy".
    I mocked Trump. I said he was a lousy example of a "Christian". Then I really got attacked.
    And was sent this:
    Watch this.
    This is the real danger. Libertarians didn't get Trump elected. "Conservative Christians" did, and they honestly think that Trump is anointed by God to do exactly what he is doing. And they think it is great.
    This is the real danger. They think a world war is not out of the question, because God wants to extinguish evil on earth, and protect Israel by doing so.
    And we are talking about millions of American evangelicals.
    Of course, their theology is mixed up crap, but, as Dr. Paul told me once when I interviewed him, they really believe they are right.
    Just look at the way they mocked Dr. Paul for bringing up the golden rule.
    The leftist, pinko commies have nothing on the right wing evangelicals in this country. They will be the doom of America.

    1. Josh this is completely wrong. Progressives dominated the last 100 years across the west, which is why today they control governments, media, education, churches & synagogues, corporate boardrooms, the arts, and popular culture across the board. Why else would we even be talking about transgenderism instead of war, the Fed, state power, etc.?

      Central banking, progressive income taxes, public schools, retirement "insurance," healthcare entitlements, welfare programs, and gay marriage were all deeply radical ideas at one time. Progressives prevailed on each and every one. Was this because the Right is so powerful?

      The idea that America stands poised to devolve into an Xtian theocracy at any moment unless we all stand bravely against Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee is laughable. It's a false equivalency narrative you've swallowed. The Right may be just as bad ideologically, but to suggest it poses anywhere near the threat posed by progressives is laughable.

      There are very real progressive authoritarians everywhere around us, including at your kid's school. Rank and file Democrats would nationalize whole industries (education, medicine, energy), criminal hate speech, expand the Fed's role, vastly increase taxes, regulations, and entitlements, and mandate sweeping fossil fuel restrictions to fight "climate change."

      You know all this.

    2. Jeff, I did not mean to undermine what the progressive left has done to this country, or even to the world really.
      I fall much closer to right wing conservatism than left wing progressivism.
      I am also a bible believing Christian.
      Maybe my last statement was a little harsh, but Christian churches today are the war mongers. Or maybe Fairbanks has all of them? Theology that is being taught in the evangelical church is anything but Christ-like. Nothing close to the teachings of Matthew 5. Hukabee and Cruz, I've never heard them preach. But McCain and Graham are surely dangerous, aren't they? The evangelical right is pissed about what the left has done, especially what they see accomplished under Obama, for all the things you mention. But they also see foreign policy the same way, and they are itching for war. "North Korea needs taught a lesson, even if we have to nuke them, and God will protect us!" We have to destroy the Middle East to protect Israel! God demands it from us!"
      While I realize what the rank and file democrats would do, and have done for that matter, it's the rank and file republican evangelical christians who have not just allowed, but cheered the wars and murder in the Middle East, who are ready to "teach North Korea a lesson", who think we might have to do something to Putin for flying bombers around Alaska, and who have allowed and support things like the Patriot Act, and all the Liberty destroying laws to supposedly prevent terrorism. They think Snowden types are treasonous. These folks, and I know hundreds of them, are good law abiding family loving God fearing typical republican Americans. And if a guy claims to be a republican and is willing to go to war "for the Lord" and protect Israel, they won't question anything he does.
      Even more Liberty will be lost at home under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Not because of Ted Cruz, but the teachings of folks like John Hagee certainly.
      Who will care about climate change arguments and who's bathroom who can use, if we are living in a militaristic police State, all in the name of the Lord.
      I think maybe you don't give the right the credit it deserves, and maybe the credit it will deserve more soon, at destroying Liberty here in America.

      Most Christians think that God has ordained the government. And anything it does, especially the American government, because they know God ordained the constitution, anything the government does is what God wills it to do. Progressives win a lot of political battles, because if the SCOTUS says it's "law", the Conservatives say aww darn. It's Gods law now.

      Lastly, there are no progressive authoritarians at my kids school. We homeschooled all 8. But I know what you meant.

  3. This is one of the silliest "debates" that I have listened to on the Tom Woods show. Walter Block's defense of his pre-election support of Trump simply ignores the reality of modern politics and the failing state of the American Experiment. He won't even admit that he made a mistake, or say that he did "the best he could at the time". Clearly he helped Trump get elected (a person he now claims he wants to impeach?). The real issue is that we had to choose between Hillary and Trump in the first place. And whether Americans even have the desire or means to change that sorry state of affairs at this point in our devolution. Arguing about which cigarette started the fire, and who is now recommending us to use ashtrays, when the whole building is burning and falling down around us seems such a waste of time. Can the Idea of America even be saved? Or is it so hopeless that we are left with silly discourse?