Friday, December 21, 2018

The Remarkable Adventures of Donald John Trump: What is a Libertarian To Do?

By Robert Wenzel

For a very long time, I have thought it would make sense to produce a movie that featured a starring role for a Chauncey Gardner-type character that somehow fell into the presidency and by a series of off-the-wall happenstances moved the United States one step after another out of foreign wars and on the domestic front eliminated regulation after regulation and agency after agency (starting with the Federal Reserve).

The establishment would, of course, be portrayed as horrified with each move, but after a near panic period with the media obsessed with the destruction of the very fiber of the deep state, the reduction in the overseas US military footprint and the elimination of regulations and agencies would cause such a natural boom in the economy that no one would object to the moves outside of those who directly gained from the Empire. And after a while, these defenders of the previous status quo would be recognized as evil lechers and plotters.

This, I thought, would be a great libertarian movie to teach the masses about the advantages of true liberty.

The movie has never been made, not even close, but something else is occurring in real life, with a twist. Instead of a Chauncy Gardner character, we are experiencing a real life Mr. Magoo presidency.

This means it has unpredictable twists and turns that sometimes may move in the direction of liberty and at other times not.

On the not side, last week President Trump appeared to call the Defense Department budget of $716 billion "crazy" in a tweet and then agreed to a request from Defense Secretary James Mattis to propose a defense budget of $750 billion for the coming year.

Also, the president has cut corporate taxes but has not cut spending thus contributing to massive new deficits that are crowding out private sector funding and contributing to the current downturn in the stock market.

The president has successfully put major impediments in front of nationalized healthcare only to call for a new government healthcare program.

He has decried NAFTA as a "bad" trade deal only to replace it with a different crony deal, USMCA--which will, by the way, be more difficult to attack even from a pronunciation perspective because it is a four-letter word that has the vowel in the wrong place to be easily pronounced.

And he is attacking the Federal Reserve Board for hiking interest rates rather than calling for the Fed to get out of the interest rate and money supply manipulation game completely.

This is not the track record of a president at the head of the libertarian movement. These are the actions of a street hustling Mr. Magoo. He's always in the middle of the action but we just never know how things will end after he moves on to the next presidential adventure.

And so in Thursday's edition of the remarkable adventures of Donald John Trump, he signaled that he would not sign a stopgap spending bill that he apparently earlier signaled to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell that he would. And while on one level I am quite amused by the Republican members of the Senate and the House walking around in a dazed state after this remarkable Trumpian flip, there is still no indication how this madness will end.

Apparently, the Trump flip on the spending bill came about because the screechy sounding. immigrant hater, Ann Coulter, exploded on twitter that she was done with Trump and the nation would soon be also.

This babe, who seems to break up with Trump as often as a woman in an abusive relationship breaks up with a battering husband, shook Trump so much that this man, who desperately desires attention, blocked her from his Twitter feed.

He then maneuvered to signal that he would not sign a bill that does not contain $5 billion for his wall with Mexico---although he had already tweeted, just days earlier, that Mexico was paying for the wall via the new trade deal.

But this all happened while he was still in the White House residence in his pajamas. The flip on the spending bill was the equivalent of him having roses sent to Coulter after he hit her over the head with a brass miniature version of Trump Tower for which she called the police.

But the day was just beginning. He still had the farm bill to sign, which made a mockery of his trade war.

Benn Steil informs in a tweet:

This was Trump's tweet on the topic:

Then the big news came, news leaked and later confirmed by Trump, that he is pulling all troops out of Syria (and possibly 50% of the troops out of Afghanistan). This to a libertarian is music to the ears.

To add to the juiciness of the story and disrespect for government authority, Trump apparently made the decision without informing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others at the Pentagon and State Department that would normally be briefed in advance on such a major development. It was just Mr. Magoo riding through town and making a decision.

The entire establishment exploded about this "reckless" decidedly libertarian, anti-intervention decision. Defense Secretary John Mattis in response submitted his resignation letter that was a not very well hidden rebuke of the President's "leadership."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, while delivering the news of the President's decision, appeared as though he was just 1 mmHg higher in blood pressure away from a brain aneurysm.

The kids will all think the president is nuts and think even more about socialism. As Lew Rockwell recently pointed out, "We live at a historic moment. The Left is on the march as it has not been since the 1930s."

The Magoo-like qualities of Trump are easy to spot and Lefty second-hand dealers in ideas are strategic enough to equate Trump as a capitalist, to dirty both.

Thus championing Trump is a very bad idea.

This kind of stuff makes no sense:
Nor does it make sense to write what Stuffed Pimento did at the post, BREAKING Trump Considering Drawdown of US Troops in Afghanistan By As Much As 50%:
Trump threatens a trade war with sick, murderous Communist totalitarians and this place goes beserk. Trump promises to end the war in Syria and wind down the war in Afghanistan and crickets.
If Trump pulls this off then it's Trump > HRC 100 million times. Libertarians for Trump 2020!
I note Stuffed claims this site went "crickets." It must be pointed out however that the news of the Syrian pullout and possible Afghanistan drawdown were both prominently posted with the large size "Breaking News Banner" ---with BREAKING in all caps in the headline. And posted before most major news media outlets announced the story.

But back to the main point, cheering Trump given his many, many flip-flops and erratic behavior is a strategic error.

It is entirely possible that Trump could change his mind, though he has dug himself in very deep. Or more likely, as he has done on other positions, claim one thing and do another. Will there be private contractors left behind, or more sent in to "protect the Kurds"? No one knows what will eventually happen not even Trump.

That said, the pull out of troops from Syria under Trump would be a great thing. And Trump should be cheered for the decision. Got that? Trump shouldn't be cheered, why would we want to align with an erratic Mr. Magoo? It is strategically dumb and dangerous. We should, however, cheer the decision and point out that, for one reason or another, the unpredictable, erratic President Trump has backed into a policy decision that would have been cheered by our Founding Fathers, in particular, George Washington who said in his Farewell Address:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities...
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences...
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
This is the message that we must deliver. That the bungling Trump backed into a sound decision. But we should also make clear that we are not defending the Trump presidency or even stand behind the belief that he will necessarily follow through on Thursday's order. He simply has too great a track record of going off in many unpredictable and contradictory ways.

The message that should be delivered is that the United States should be staying out of the affairs of foreign countries and if the bungling Trump backed into this decision with regard to one or two US adventures in foreign countries, well then good, but he should do it for more.

In fact, no US military personnel should be outside the United States.

That should be our message in the days ahead as mainstream media will attack Trump's withdrawal order, and the "I always stand by Trump" crowd will try to convince, in a nutty effort, their left-leaning friends and neighbors that Trump is all around sound.

One more very important point.

As things stand now, a US pullout may lead to a massacre by Turkish forces of our former allies the Kurds. It is not clear but Trump should help the Kurds to pull back to less exposed areas from where they are located now because of our previous support and encouragement.

Remember, even Washington said:
So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Leaving our former allies totally exposed is not a very decent thing and major media has never given the battles in Yemen the coverage they deserve, but you can be sure the media will provide gruesome coverage of the massacre of the Kurds that occurs after the US pull out if nothing is done for them. It will be used as a justification to keep US troops everywhere.

If the Kurds want to try and defend the greater territory they currently occupy, well good luck to them and the US should not be part of it. But as far as providing retreat support to Kurds, I see nothing wrong with that provided it is short and sweet and part of an immediate pull out.

I doubt Trump has thought that far out and it is unclear what the military withdrawal order includes.

So when we discuss the pullout, we must make clear that we are not advocating the open slaughter of Kurds and that the withdrawal should include US help in getting Kurds back to well-fortified positions. But US troops must come home immediately with this one limited proviso.


Also see: How Do We Get To a Free Society?: Libertarians Need to Think Deep, Not Shallow

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. I think you're on to something, that he always seems to be in the middle of the action. He seems to get a dopamine or adrenaline rush from the hub-bub, din and frenzy that occurs when he says, tweets or acts out outrageously---like a daredevil addicted to ever more risky stunts.
    I see Trump as a primitive, small-brained creature, running mostly on instinct or uncontrollable impulse---like a Triassic or Cenozoic shark...a prehistoric Megalodon shark...attracted to frenzy, disruption and brightly-colored distractions, and then following the instinctive impulses of his primitive brain in joining the fray, in attacking, etc.; He is ever in motion, like a shark, just cruising the ocean slowly and ever-vigilant for "action"...moving this way and that, but with no rational thought, no plan or intentions aforethought.
    He has no principles or ethics as a foundation for anything he does. Just doing...whatever. And going wherever the currents and his impulses lead him. Striking at shiny lures and brightly-colored or fast-moving things...

  2. I am surprised by your suggestion that the US government should help the Kurds retreat. First, this principle could be abused to justify an endless presence there, and other consequential foreign interventions, until the Kurds' safety can be "guaranteed." Second, the Kurds have repeatedly and stupidly trusted the US government before, and been burned. If you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. There are lots of folks who take action assuming that the US government will be there for them, but I don't see that as a justification for continued global policing by the US government.

    1. I agree. The U.S. citizens are forced to be sureties or guarantors of the government's reckless behavior, and forced to underwrite and bail-out the reckless decisions of the Kurds or any other group or party that enters into a foolhardy agreement or relationship with our government.
      Maybe R.W. would likewise advocate forestalling U.S. government bankruptcy at the expense of the American taxpayer, and in bailing-out holders of government debt, in order to "honor our prior commitments" to those who detrimentally-relied on government promises.

  3. Anyone that was under the illusion the Cheeto in Chief would do other than what has done is quite simply a fool. No president outside the constitution framers has ever done kept their word. Its what keeps government in business.

    They lie to your and you support them in their lies. BAU

  4. Trump is not a libertarian, however he is advancing several libertarian policy objectives. No candidate not named Paul would be so good for liberty as Trump has been so far. Hence, we as libertarians must support Trump. Sitting on the sidelines is now a silent vote for war (assuming Trump follows through). No candidate is perfect, maybe excepting Ron Paul (whose imperfections would be more in his ability to accomplish his policy objectives in the Swamp). Priority 1. Bring our troops home. Priority 2. End the Fed.

  5. Don't worry, Walter Block and I have saved you a seat on the Trump train.

    You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  6. When you believe that the end justifies the means, you are no longer a Libertarian.