Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Note to Tim Koechlin at 'Common Dreams' on Libertarians in the Trump Administration

Stephen Moore, statist
Dear Mr. Koechlin,

You write at Common Dreams:
In late November of 2016, as then President Elect Trump began naming members of his cabinet, his White House staff, etc., John Cleese commented (brilliantly) that “it looks as though Trump is assembling the crew for a pirate ship.”  Indeed.

Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Mnuchen, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions – each appointment more appalling than the last. A memorable moment of shock and awe for me: the recurring suggestion that we should feel “reassured” that Trump chose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson – a man who had spent most of his life ravaging the planet from profit – as his Secretary of State.  Trump’s Energy Secretary is Rick Perry, a lifelong lacky for Big Oil and, also, an idiot. Trump’s Secretary of the Interior is a former coal lobbyist. The list goes on and on.

A collection of laissez-faire billionaires, racists, and libertarian nuts. 
There are plenty of nuts in the Trump Administration, I have written about them extensively here at Target Liberty, but there are no libertarians in the higher ranks of the Trump administration (There are a couple of infiltrators at lower levels).

As far as "libertarian nuts," libertarianism is about liberty for the individual that is all. That is not nutty to me. In your essay, you seem to classify President Trump's nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Moore, as a libertarian.

But a consistent libertarian wants nothing to do with the Fed other than to shut it down, see my book: The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Moore not only desires to be a part of the Fed but has called for more aggressive Fed manipulation of the money supply. Libertarians hold there should be no central banks and no government manipulation of interest rates or the money supply. We view it as statist intervention for the benefit of the crony elite.

When you are calling out Moore, you are calling someone out on your staist side of the tracks, not the libertarian side. He is a nut all right, which I have detailed for a long time, but he is a statist nut.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. Excellent, Robert,

    But I would be surprised if Mr. Koechlin posts this in the comment section of the article, or if indeed it would make an edifying impression on him.

  2. I think the Kochs and Cato have about ruined the libertarian brand. I hate changing names (again), but maybe we should consider "AnCap" or something to differentiate ourselves from those guys. Of course, "AnCap" is an economic term, and libertarian is generally philosophical, so not a great fit, I'll grant you.

  3. I use "AnCap" and "Rothbardian", depending on my audience. Usually I say something like "I'm a libertarian...really I'm an AnCap". I think you're right that the word "libertarian" is somewhat vague and many people have a caricature in their mind of what libertarianism is. So I try to get my audience hooked with the terms AnCap and Rothbardian. I want to entice them to ask what that is, which is basically an invitation to make my elevator pitch. Plus, anarchy does refer to a political philosophy while capitalism refers (loosely) to an economic philosophy.