Trump vs. Hillary: Does It Really Matter? Support Reason for More & Better Choices

The future is unwritten but the first draft is looking pretty awful. Reason is working to make the future a place we'd actually want to live.


Today is the FINAL day of Reason's annual webathon and we're asking our loyal readers to kick in $250,000 toward our efforts to produce cutting-edge, mind-blowing, and occasionally knee-slappy journalism, essays, debates, videos, and live events that explore and popularize libertarian values of "Free Minds and Free Markets." All gifts are tax-deductible, we accept Bitcoin (of course), and everybody gets a thank you plus some level of swag. Go here now for details.

In 1998, Reason's then-editor Virginia Postrel wrote a great book called The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress. It's still very relevant to contemporary American cultural, political, and commercial life. She organized people into one of two opposed groups, stasists and dynamists. Stasists prefer the status quo or, better yet, a slighly older version of the status quo when competition was even more limited and things were even more settled. Dynamists welcome change that springs from increased individual choice, and market and intellectual competition, and they're open to new ways of doing things that are less managed and more self-organizing. That's a bastardized version of her incredibly powerful and nuanced argument but it gets the main points across, I think.

In today's political world, it's easy enough to see stasism on both sides of the aisle and it's exactly this sort of active inertia that needs to change. This isn't a right-wing/left-wing thing; this is a forward-looking/backward-looking thing. The response to the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shooting has raised calls for border control on the part of the Republicans ("no more Muslims!") and for gun control on the part of the Democrats ("no more guns that weren't used in the shooting!"). The key is neither wants to give up control (if anything, they want to expand their control even if it will do nothing to make us safe). When it comes to U.S. actions in the Middle East—including years of invasion, occupation, and bombing that helped to destabilize the entire region—both sides agree that basically holding course is the right thing to do. More bombs, more drones, more allies, fewer troops, unless they're necessary, right? How is any of that different than what we've been doing? Despite various low-energy attempts, neither the president nor the Congress has forced an AUMF on the matter.

Unlike Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Republican candidates such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush support what Uber represents—a great new way to do business that necessarily disrupts the status quo. But then ask Rubio about sugar subsidies or Bush about the drug war and they'll sing you a siren song of stasism. Don't you see, we gotta keep doing things this exact way if I like it—or the people I want to vote for me like it? You and I want the same thing, says the politician, except for these couple of things you find offensive, so I'm going to ask you vote for me anyway and give up on your vision of the world. 

In 1955, the conservative magazine National Review famously declared in its first issue that, "It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it." Note that NR felt things were moving too fast for people to…what? Adapt to newfound social and cultural freedoms (they really disliked rock and roll back in those days, and don't even get them started on race-mixing and Ayn Rand)? The slow bleeding of religion out of American life? The breakdown of traditional hierarchies as an increasing percentage of Americans had access to money and education and the confidence that breeds?

In 2015, things are not moving fast enough and too few people feel a need to hurry them along. The right and the left have their pet issues but are fundamentally yoked by a desire to control and limit desires and developments they deplore, even when those things grow out of voluntary exchange, technological progress, and freely chosen actions.

Reason stands athwart not history but astride possiblity, shouting "Yeah! Go! Go!" like Jack Keroauc did at a different 1955 moment, the famous debut of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" at San Francisco's Six Gallery. Reason's journalism across all our platforms—the print mag, the website, the videos—is dedicated to applying the insights of dynamism to all aspect of human activity. We can learn—we must learn—from the past. But we should never feel commanded to endlessly repeat it or hold on to its ideas and institutions long after they stopped serving any clear purpose other than perpetuating a diminishing status quo.

Over the past few years, we've spent a lot of time here at Reason.com championing the "Libertarian Moment," or an ongoing, technologically driven increase in all sorts options for how you want to live your life. Across virtually every category of our lives, most of us can more live how we want to than 10, 20, or certainly 30 years than before. Part of the deal, though, is that you have to give up your demand that others live like you (win them with suasion, not laws and regulations).

Such progress is never complete and there are alway counter-movements. In the current political season, with very few and inconsistent exceptions, we've seen a reversion to the old politics of command and control, and a defense of a status quo that is less and less pleasing to anyone.

If you want to know just how tired the political establishment is, just think for a second of President Obama's pathetic hashtag campain, which asks us simply to "#dosomething."

What a complete admission of impotence from the most powerful man in the world. And he's not alone in his desperate gambit to #dosomething in a world that long ago slipped from his and other politicians' fingers.

Support Reason as we argue for and explore the possibilities—good and bad—of a world in which you and your children and your children's children (who will likely by part human and part cyborg and we're totally OK with that) have more choice to live how they choose to live.

Today is the FINAL day of Reason's annual webathon and we're asking our loyal readers to kick in $250,000 toward our efforts to produce cutting-edge, mind-blowing, and occasionally knee-slappy journalism, essays, debates, videos, and live events that explore and popularize libertarian values of "Free Minds and Free Markets." All gifts are tax-deductible, we accept Bitcoin (of course), and everybody gets a thank you plus some level of swag. Go here now for details.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Trump Calls for Banning Muslims from Entering U.S., Air France Flight Diverted After Anonymous Threat, F.B.I. Says San Bernardino Killers Radicalized 'For Quite Some Time'

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  1. Reason stands athwart not history but astride possiblity, shouting “Yeah! Go! Go!”

    Which is why the Peanuts don’t like the editors/writers here. They are more into TEAM RED yelling STOP!

    1. LOL, says the person who goes by the handle Palin’s Buttplug. There’s no one here with a more partisan pseudonymn here than yours and yet still you think pointing out the mote in their eye is informative.

    2. Zing! Nailed it, bro!

  2. Don’t compare yourselves to smelly beatniks if you want donations from today’s Reason readers.

  3. Giant Douche Vs. Shit Sandwich, Round 5.



  4. Support Reason for More & Better Choices

    Sure, because we really need a fearless and independent voice championing things and advocating contrarian positions no one else will take on like gay marriage… or massive third-world immigration… or legalizing pot… or climate change… or… you know, all of those status quo challenging positions no one else has the balls to promote. Now that’s a real choice!

  5. IF its Trump v. Hillary, and

    IF I decide to vote, and

    IF I feel compelled (likely due to psychoactive substance intake) to vote for a major party candidate –

    I’ll vote Trump before I vote Hillary.

    1. I’m the opposite. If I had to vote between the two, it would be for Hillary. At least the GOP will refuse to pass anything that spouts from her blowhole. Trump on the other hand will get lots of bad shit done, if only because TEAM RED is happy to pass intrusive, expensive boondoggles if their Guy suggests it.

      1. Do we vote for who we want to win, or vote by conscience? I always try to go with the latter, so Gary Johnson will get mine for the second election in a row. While I don’t want to see Hillary in the white house, I fail to see how Trump is better. One is a liar and one is a total buffoon. I would have considered Jim Webb and Rand Paul quite strongly, but they have little to no chance of winning their respective party’s nomination.

        1. I meant to say “who we think will win or vote by conscience”

      2. Supreme Court nominations.

        They matter a lot this time.

      3. Like the way the GOP congress has refused to pass anything of Obama’s? Ok, I’ll bet my vote on THAT happening.

  6. A Trump v Hillary election will automatically solve the immigration problem by creating a counter-swarm of people trying to GTFO of here.

    Not really. But it should.

    1. There’s always the Southern solution if someone you don’t like wins the presidency. Leave and take the land with you.

      1. My solution is to get rid of all the progs and let them take nothing with them. Or deposit them in landfills. I’m flexible on that.

    2. My family is the only thing that would stop me. But yeah I have thought about it if that scenario occurs.

    3. Spartacus, Spartacus, this is Reason. Here there is no immigration problem ever. No matter what.

  7. Trump will not be the nominee.

    If he is, it will be very interesting. Everyone sees him now as some crazy right-winger.

    But he’s not. So in the general expect him to go to the left.

    Expect Peron.

    1. Very true

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