Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Authoritarian Fantasies

Trump asks voters to "believe me." But why should they?

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Trump
Todd Kranin

Has America ever seen a more authoritarian presidential candidate than Donald Trump? Not since FDR—who seized coal mines and department stores, dictated wages and prices, and even weighed whether he should decree when Americans could eat meat

But at least FDR had a reason: He was fighting a world war. What's Trump's excuse? 

The other day Trump said he approved of Obamacare's individual mandate—perhaps the biggest expansion of government authority over individual choice since the suspension of the draft. 

Trump also is a big fan of eminent domain—the process by which the government confiscates someone's property because it thinks it has a better use for it. He once tried to use eminent domain to seize the home of an elderly widow so he could build a limousine parking lot. Nice. 

Der Donald also wants to build a wall on the southern border—"a great, great wall"—and he will make Mexico pay for it. How will he do that, exactly? As with everything else Trump proposes, details are fuzzy. 

But Mexicans aren't the only thing Trump wants to keep out of the country. He promises to enact "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." That would rival FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans not only in scale but also in the degree to which it lacks any legal, constitutional, or even rational justification. 

Trump also has proposed slapping a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to America. Put another way, he wants to raise consumer prices here 45 percent. This would be terrible for shoppers at Walmart, whose shelves are stocked with many made-in-China products. But it also would be terrible for people who shop elsewhere, because Walmart's low prices exert downward pressure on prices at other retailers. If prices on Chinese goods go up by almost half, prices on American-made goods will go up, too. 

Yet even if that were not the case, Trump's proposal amounts to telling Americans who want to buy products manufactured or assembled in China—which includes everything from cheap plastic toys to iPhones—that they should not be allowed to. Who the heck does Trump think he is, to decide what other people may and may not buy? (Answer, of course: He's Trump!) 

Trump also endorses not only waterboarding, but other "much worse" forms of torture, and says that if elected he would use them. "Don't tell me it doesn't work—torture works," he said in South Carolina. How does he know that? Because he says so: "Half these guys (say) 'torture doesn't work.' Believe me, it works." 

"Believe me." That is Trump's answer to any skepticism about his notions: It's true because he says so. 

– "I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me." 

– "I would have Mexico pay for it. Believe me, they will pay for it." 

– Jews will "like me very much, believe me." 

– "If I'm president, you're going to see 'Merry Christmas' in department stores, believe me." 

– "Ted Cruz gave us Obamacare, believe me." 

He doesn't always say "believe me," but he often invokes its equivalent. For instance, his proposal to deport 11 million unlawfully present foreigners is contingent on being able to find them. Regarding that, he told CNN: "Politicians aren't going to find them because they have no clue. We will find them, we will get them out. It's feasible if you know how to manage." 

Which Trump does. Just ask him yourself. 

This is more than a verbal tic. It's an argumentum ad verecundiam, an appeal to authority: Something is true because so-and-so says it is true. Most of the time people who employ this logical fallacy appeal to an external authority: a constitutional scholar, Wikipedia, the Bible. Trump's authority is himself. 

Indeed, that's probably part of Trump's appeal: He is the Strong Man who will Get Things Done. He is not going to be stopped by inconsequential obstacles like "political correctness" or the separation of powers—or the laws of physics—because he is so strong. As he put it in a recent email: "I am the strongest on the borders and I will build a wall, and it will be a real wall. I am the strongest on illegal immigration, strongest on ISIS, strongest on the military. …." 

Hulk strong! Hulk build wall! Hulk smash puny immigrants! 

One of the great ironies of Trump's success in the polls is that much of his support comes from people who profess to be angry over Barack Obama's serial offenses against the Constitution and limited government. It turns out that many of them positively relish the idea of someone who will go even further than Obama has. 

At bottom, Trump is making the same pitch as the current president did: Give him enough power and he'll take care of everything. Trouble is, that's not what presidents are for.

NEXT: Rubio Is Saying Nasty Things About Trump, but Let's Not Pretend This Isn't Politics as Usual

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  1. WWII was an excuse for FDR to go even farther. The Great Depression was both the result of, and the original excuse for FDRs authoritarian excesses.

    1. Agreed. It makes you wonder what sort of wars Trump would start to justify his power grabs.

    2. Is there a Reason “style guide” that demands Trump be called “authoritarian”?

      Please name the Presidential candidate who is NOT an “authoritarian”!

      It’s getting rather old…

  2. There is nothing ironic about this at all. It just says that people have lost faith with the idea that the way to counter abuses by the other side is affirming the proper principle. They don’t care that Trump would be an authoritarian because they know electing someone who isn’t an authoritarian would do nothing to change the behavior on the part of Democrats and just result in Democrats kicking them in the teeth with no worries of their victims ever fighting back.

    Obama sicked the IRS on his political opponents. He ignored the transparency laws at every opportunity. He refused to enforce laws he didn’t like. The only thing that seems to have thankfully restrained Obama’s behavior was a direct order by a court.

    After 8 years of that reason finds it ironic that Obama enemies are now looking for someone to do the same thing to the Democrats?

    1. Republikkkanz bad, mmkay?

    2. I think trump’s base doesn’t care about red vs. blue. They just want to be at the head of fhe feeding trough.

      1. And why shouldn’t they? They have been getting fucked by the people who have been at the trough. So why the hell not?

        1. Because that’s called “being a fucking thief moocher.”

          1. And they or anyone else should give a fuck about you thinking that why?

            Maybe you missed it but not everyone is willing to die for your principles.

            1. John, your comments are now more than triple the word-count of the article.

            2. I don’t know, why shouldn’t they want to become murderers? Other people kill people. It’s their turn, isn’t it?

        2. They’re just pissed that others are finally getting a spot at the trough.

      2. They just want to be at the head of fhe feeding trough.

        When a crony/patronage driven feeding trough is a large and seemingly ineradicable feature of America, this is hardly irrational.

    3. They don’t care that Trump would be an authoritarian because they know electing someone who isn’t an authoritarian would do nothing to change the behavior on the part of Democrats…

      Then they’re incredibly short-sighted. Putting an authoritarian of your own to respond to your enemies’ authoritarianism is very emotionally appealing. It’s cathartic, I’m sure. The problem is all you wind up doing is expanding the authority your enemies can employ when they regain power.

      Do they think when The Donald is out of power, the progressives won’t turn religious discrimination in immigration policy against them? Do they think when The Donald is out of power, the progressives won’t further leverage the excuse of “getting things done” to push their agenda?

      1. hen they’re incredibly short-sighted.

        Maybe or maybe you are incredibly naive. Why on earth would the Democrats ever stop embracing an authoritarian executive as long as they know it will never be used on them?

        It might be that both sides doing it will lead to a complete breakdown. That, however, strikes me as the same arguments that say gun control will stop violence. No gun control just emboldens those who have the guns. The same principle probably applies here. If the Democrats ever experienced four years of a President doing to them what they do when they are in charge, they just might decide that there needs to be some agreed rules. It is hardly certain for sure.

        What is certain, however, is that they will never stop as long as there is no price for being that way. Your argument seems to be that if one side just acts right the other will fall in line our of shame or something. It would be nice if we lived on rainbow puppy lsland and things worked like that. Sadly, we don’t.

        1. No, it’s not naivete. You’re ignoring the distinction between willingness and ability. I don’t doubt for a moment the willingness of progressives to embrace executive authoritarianism. I just recognize that that willingness can be constrained by ability. By putting your own authoritarians in power, all you do is increase that ability. I don’t for a moment believe that a term or two of “walking in others’ shoes” is going to enlighten progressives to the virtues of limited government. That seems to be the very naivete you’re attributing to me.

          1. . I just recognize that that willingness can be constrained by ability.

            Since when do they not have the ability? The only thing that stops them is keeping them out of power, which you can never do forever. And you are pissing in the wind if you think putting in restraints on government power will stop them because there is no restraint they won’t ignore once they are in power.

            1. I disagree.

              To ignore a restraint, you must first establish that you have the authority to ignore that constraint. That’s precisely the where the administration’s gotten smacked down by the courts. Or, as another example, it’s why the mandatory minimum imposed on the Hammonds was considered acceptable. Putting your own authoritarian simply does the yoeman’s work of establishing that authority in the first place.

              1. And how do you plan to restrain the authority if one side knows it will never have to worry about the authority ever being used against them?

                You can’t. And even if you could achieve that perfect Republican majority, the temptation to use the new found power would be too great. You have to get both sides to agree or your restraints will either be ignored or never come into being. And the only way to do that is for both sides to worry about the power being used against them.

                1. Yeah, that’s all kinds of not a good idea. I think it’s as least as likely that the people currently in power might decide to stop playing by any kind of rules if they think they’re about to lose that power and get hammered. If the cost of losing is too high, people may decide that this whole peaceful-transfer-of-power thing is over.

        2. Why on earth would the Democrats ever stop embracing an authoritarian executive as long as they know it will never be used on them?

          Did the George W Bush presidency not happen in our current timeline?

          1. How did Bush ever use the executive power against the Democrats? Name one example of it.

            Meanwhile, the DOJ framed a sitting US Senator Ted Stevens and were guilty of such gross abuses of power in doing so a federal judge wrote an entire report about it after the charges were dismissed. And George Bush’s DOJ also indicted the former majority leader of the house on charges that were so legally bogues an appeal court threw them out before they ever got to trial.

            Please explain to me how Progs were in fear of executive power being used against them during the Bush administration. I would love to hear that.

            1. I don’t actually believe that you don’t remember this, for the record.

              Here’s a bit of a roundup.

              The most sustained complaints about executive branch power grabs were reserved for George W. Bush during his two terms in the White House.

              The New York Times titled a famous 2005 editorial: “Mr. Cheney’s Imperial Presidency.” Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage wrote a book assailing President Bush, entitled “Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.”

              Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared in a Senate floor speech in 2006: “In matters ranging from domestic spying to the use of torture, the current president has effectively declared himself above the law.”

              Leading up to the 2008 presidential election, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times also piled on Bush, warning readers that “Bush has transformed the balance of power in our government. We are seeing the erection of an imperial presidency, immune from oversight when it fights terrorists and when it rescues banks.”

              Here’s another column. I encourage you to Google [George W Bush abuse executive power] for copious results.

              1. So his political opponents said Bush was a meany. That is the best you can do Nikki? Give me some examples. I just gave you two that went the other way and were about as serious as one can get that happened even while Bush was in office.

                And you honestly think a bunch of unsubstantiated assertions by Harry Reid is a response to that?

                Jesus fucking Christ what the hell is wrong with you?

                1. You said, “explain to me how Progs were in fear of executive power being used against them during the Bush administration.” That’s exactly what I did, and you claim I didn’t do so because all I provided were…things those people said about being in fear of executive power.

                  1. I don’t think they were really in any fear and I don’t just mean that in the partisan sense. Much of the overreach they were complaining about consisted of Bush not giving them what they wanted, e.g. global warming. The one exception would be domestic spying, but their only real concern was that it wasn’t their guy doing it.

                2. Fuck, John, are you really being serious?

                  The shit Edward Snowden revealed started under W. The whole post-9/11 security apparatus was put in place during his administration. Mass surveillance was introduced during W’s tenure. That was in tandem with the K Street Project at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

                  And now you’re shocked (shocked I tell you) that the Democrats are taking the pieces to the next level? And you still want to pretend that GOP expansions of executive power don’t give proggies the ammo they need go after conservatives?

        3. If the Democrats ever experienced four years of a President doing to them what they do when they are in charge, they just might decide that there needs to be some agreed rules. It is hardly certain for sure.

          Some of us were hoping this would happen to the Republicans after 8 years of Obama. Looks like not so much.

          1. No, Nikki, Republicans never abuse their power. Democrats are only ever able to push through power grabs that are unprecedented in American politics because of their space-based mind-control lasers.

            I know this because John told me so.

            1. Democrats hold power; Republicans hold office.

              John/derp

        4. Why on earth would the Democrats ever stop embracing an authoritarian executive as long as they know it will never be used on them?

          Democrats are just as short-sighted as the people who suggest that we elect authoritarians to somehow solve the problem of authoritarians in our government. They will criticize republicans who abuse their powers, but when a democrat gets into power, their criticisms vanish.

          If electing more authoritarians could fix the problem, our problems would already be fixed. We’ve had nothing but authoritarians.

    4. It just says that people have lost faith with the idea that the way to counter abuses by the other side is affirming the proper principle.

      It doesn’t say that, because this whole article is bullshit.

      I only wish that what you’re saying were true.

      We’ve have gotten less and less free because while the Progressives are completely contemptuous of the rule of law, and employ *any means necessary* to rule, while those who value the rule of law are still playing by the rule of law.

      The trouble is, just as a one sided armistice isn’t an armistice, it is surrender, a one sided rule of law isn’t the rule of law, it is subjection.

      Rule of law would mean that Progressives who conspire to violate your rights would be *behind bars*, that they are *fought* until they no longer threaten your rights, and the Constitution is *restored*.

  3. Oh joy another Trump article, it’s been so long since the last one. What did Reason use to fill the pages with before Trump?

    1. Yeah, it’s crazy that they’d want to write about one of the leading candidates for president. Fuck you, Reason!

    2. What did Reason use to fill the pages with before Trump?

      Spam?

    3. Some SJW shit that affected about no-one. Blogger wars. Gay marriage. Fake rape. Deep dish.

      When Postrel was here…

  4. how does approving things already in place make Trump “the most authoritarian evah”? The guy was upfront from the get-go about how the sausage gets made and about how he’s helped grind some of it.

  5. Worst since FDR? I don’t see any mention of Nixon’s wage and price freeze, surely a major authoritarian move.
    And then there’s Obama’s extra-judicial murders. We would have burned the country to the ground if Nixon had tried that kind of overreach.
    Sorry, but I remain convinced that each president has been worse than his predecessor, without exception. We’re set to continue that trend, probably with afterburners lit.

    1. Let’s be 100% clear on what Obama approved: extra judicial murders of an American citizen living abroad because he was saying things considered “anti-American”. Then his son was killed for absolutely no reason.

      And barely anybody batted an eye. This is where we are these days.

      1. Well, under President Trump, his son would have been killed on purpose.

        1. His son WAS killed on purpose. It wasn’t like collateral damage. They went after the kid explicitly 2 weeks later and when questioned about it the whitehouse said he should have had better parents.

    2. I don’t think they have all been worse than the last. Johnson was just as bad as Nixon and Carter and Reagan both better than that. Obama is really the first time we have approached having another President as bad as Nixon and Johnson because he is the first one since those to to turn the law enforcement power of the federal government loose on his enemies.

      And nothing Trump is proposing even approaches that kind of abuse. And sorry but changing trade policy is not on the same level of as price and wage controls.

      1. Didn’t Trump say he wants so change libel laws so he can punish journalists who write unflattering things about him?

        1. Libel laws are not federal laws, they are state laws. And the protections that he is bitching about are rooted in the Supreme Court interpretation of the 1st Amendment in NYT v. Sullivan. Trump is talking out of his ass there. That is not good for sure but there is zero threat that he could ever do that.

          1. Still, if that is his mentality, don’t you think he’d find other ways to punish his enemies?

            1. Sure. But so would Hillary. And Hillary could do that with immunity because the media will cover up for her just like they did Obama. Trump would not have such protection. And even if he was able to do it, the only way I can see to get Progs to wake up is to make them suffer some pain. As long as only they abuse power, they will never give a shit about doing anything to curb it.

              1. Progs don’t give a shit about the abuse of power. They celebrate it (when their side does it). They are thieves and liars who don’t give a shit as long as they get what they want. Principals, not principles.

                1. Maybe so sarcasmic. If that is the case, then the only solution is to put someone in there that at least doesn’t abuse power against you. I don’t see how letting them crush you in the name of principle is much of an answer.

                  1. If that is the case, then the only solution is to put someone in there that at least doesn’t abuse power against you.

                    mumble mumble Iron Law mumble mumble

              2. True, Hillary actually gets applause for saying she wants to “overturn Citizens United”, which means essentially overturning the First Amendment.

              3. You assume trump is not a prog. Citation needed.

  6. Has America ever seen a more authoritarian presidential candidate than Donald Trump? Not since FDR?who seized coal mines and department stores, dictated wages and prices, and even weighed whether he should decree when Americans could eat meat.

    FDR was doing most of that and a whole lot more well before he figured there would be a World War.

    This would be terrible for shoppers at Walmart, whose shelves are stocked with many made-in-China products.

    As opposed to…?

    As for Reason and the Trump articles…social signalling, cocktail parties etc. Trump loses. Great. Hillary isn’t going to be any better policy wise for a libertarian. Who gives a fuck is the right answer when it comes to this and most elections.

    1. Has America ever seen a more authoritarian presidential candidate than Donald Trump?

      Well, there’s Obama, for one. His aggrandizement of the Presidency and disregard for Congress, the courts, and the Constitution are nothing if not authoritarian.

      Seriously, there have been any number of more authoritarian candidates than Trump (assuming, of course, that you can get any kind of handle on what Trump will actually do and/or try to do).

  7. Is it ironic that Trump’s supporters will likely be harmed the most by the Chinese tariff proposal?

    1. You mean when greedy retailers raise prices for no reason other than greed?

    2. It seems to track with their general lack of awareness.

    3. Why do you think that? That may be true but it is hardly certain. Also, Trump has never said he wouldn’t back off from that if the Chinese gave us a better deal, The Chinese run a huge trade surplus with the US and need access to our market a lot more than we need access to theirs. I honestly can’t see why they would not want to make a deal if they felt they had to to avoid being shut out of the US market.

      1. Why do you think that?

        Because tariffs on Chinese goods would result in cheap Chinese imports not being cheap anymore. Then the economically ignorant Trump supporters will scratch their heads when they find their paychecks don’t go as far as they used to. But you can be sure they won’t figure out it is because of the tariffs. Tariffs are supposed to punish the Chinese, not American consumers. But as we all know, most people can’t see results. They only see intentions.

        1. Indeed. The rise of industrialization in Asia has been a boon for consumers everywhere.

          1. Last I looked China wasn’t the only country in Asia or the only country in the world willing to sell us cheap shit.

            1. They aren’t. They just have the most capacity. And, quality is improving every year.

              1. Government subsidies and currency manipulation will do that. Moreover, I assume they like selling us those things and thus have every reason to give back a few things if that is what it takes to continue doing it.

                I fail to see why the US government acting like every other government in the world and getting as good of a deal as possible for its economy is the dark night of fascist protectionism falling on America.

                1. That isn’t fascism. Still doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

                2. I dunno John, maybe because what’s being touted as getting a ‘good deal’ is bad for US consumers?

                  And, protectionism isn’t fascism though I’m sure fascists love protectionism.

        2. Because tariffs on Chinese goods would result in cheap Chinese imports not being cheap anymore.

          Assuming that is how it played out yes. But the economy would adjust to that. A tariff is nothing but a sales tax on foreign goods. A sales tax on good has both its good and bad points. But like any tax, as long as it is certain the economy will adjust to it.

          How bad would that adjustment be? In 2015 the US imported $481 billion dollars woth of Chinese goods.

          Our current gross national product is 16.7 trillion dollars.
          http://www.tradingeconomics.co…..al-product

          So you are talking about a tax on 16% of the economy. And it is really not even that, since it is not like there is anything we buy from China we can’t buy from somewhere else if at a slightly higher price. Yes, that costs us but not the entire value of the trade, just the price difference whatever that is.

          My point is that whatever the effects, it would hardly be catastrophic or really even that noticeable.

          1. A sales tax on good has both its good and bad points.

            Citation needed.

            1. No citation needed – taxes are the forcible confiscation of private property.

            2. True sales taxes are amongst the least distortionary we have. Import/export taxes aren’t true sales taxes.

          2. I never said it would be catastrophic, though I do think it would be noticeable. Slightly anyway.

            Regardless, you’re missing the point. Tariffs don’t punish exporters. They punish consumers.

            Think of it this way. When a country imposes economic sanctions against another, that’s basically an act of war is it not? Tariffs make imported goods more expensive, and are basically an act of war by a government against its own people. The only difference is the stated intentions.

            1. Tariffs don’t punish exporters. They punish consumers.

              People pay taxes. No one else, only people. Tariffs can be worse – it provides cover for inferior goods to be accepted as a substitute.

              1. There is a hefty tariff on imported shoes to protect a single New Balance factory here in the states. Millions of people have to pay more for shoes, just to protect a few hundred jobs. That means single moms who have to buy shoes for several children are shelling out a gas tank’s worth of cash anyway in tariffs alone, just to protect a few hundred jobs. I’m sure the factory workers appreciate it, but I say fuck them. And fuck anyone who supports punishing millions of people just to protect jobs at a single factory. Protectionists are assholes, one and all.

              2. One more thing: New Balance shoes are shit. My family got me some a couple times because they sell them at L.L.Bean (so they must be good, right?) but they’re crap. Made in America by workers who owe their jobs not to the quality of their product, but to protectionist tariffs.

      2. What better deal would you like from China?

    4. “Is it ironic that Trump’s supporters will likely be harmed the most by the Chinese tariff proposal?”

      If ironic means unexpected, then no, it’s the opposite of ironic.

      And the thing is . . .

      It’s bad for the economy when lazy people are overpaid to do nothing. Getting paid $65 an hour to tighten lug nuts all day because you’re in the UAW is not good for the economy.

      But it’s good for the lazy idiot who gets paid $65 an hour!

      I’m not sure the losers who can’t compete with uneducated illegal immigrants for jobs and can’t find decent employment without tariffs, that they would necessarily be worse off if Trump crushed illegal immigration and got a tariff through.

      It’s just that the rest of us would be worse off. The rest of the economy would be worse off. The people who can’t compete given the way things are now might be better off.

      1. I’m not sure the losers who can’t compete with uneducated illegal immigrants for jobs and can’t find decent employment without tariffs, that they would necessarily be worse off if Trump crushed illegal immigration and got a tariff through.

        Yeah Ken, international trade an immigration is just that simple. And people’s objection to immigration has nothing to do with the costs associated with immigrants using schools and other public services. No, they are all just too lazy to compete with immigrant labor.

        I am sorry Ken but the people who say these sorts of things are ignorant, economic illiterates. They just are. It is one thing to disagree. It is quite another to disagree based on such obvious fairy tale bullshit. And that is what that is. You are not thinking here ken. You are emoting as a way to feel superior. That is it.

        1. “Yeah Ken, international trade an immigration is just that simple. And people’s objection to immigration has nothing to do with the costs associated with immigrants using schools and other public services.”

          I wish we lived in a world where the American people were concerned about the costs associated with schools and other public services.

          Unfortunately, they don’t give a shit.

          1. I wish I posted on a board where anyone understood international trade issues at a level beyond “they took our jerbs”. I guess we both know how it feels to want.

            1. Classical projection.

              You wrote that seven minutes AFTER writing:

              “You will never suffer a single bit of personal harm from immigration or the trade policies this country has”

              John|2.29.16 @ 1:22PM

              Meanwhile, I’m the one saying that some people are better off because of tariffs.

              1. Some people are better off because of tariffs Ken. It is a complex issue and doesn’t lend itself very well to people who let their ideology do their thinking for them.

  8. Every time I see that picture of Trump, I hear the words “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

    1. I hear that noise Godzilla makes.

  9. That would rival FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans not only in scale but also in the degree to which it lacks any legal, constitutional, or even rational justification.

    This seems like a stretch. Imprisoning citizens on the basis of their ethnicity is a far cry from keeping people out based on their ethnicity.

  10. Hulk strong! Hulk build wall! Hulk smash puny immigrants!

    So, basically, the appeal of The Donald to his supporters is that he’s macho

    1. The appeal of the Donald to his supporters is that they don’t realize that ideologically and physically, he’s looking more and more like Benito Mussolini.

      1. Bullshit. Seriously, that is just bullshit. And the people who say that didn’t know Mussolini was a form of pasta and in fact was an Italian fascist up until someone gave them the talking point.

        Whatever Trump is, he is not Mussolini. Here is Mussolini’s most famous quote

        Fascism is for the only liberty which can be a serious thing, the liberty of the state and of the individual in the state. Therefore for the fascist, everything is in the state, and no human or spiritual thing exists, or has any sort of value, outside the state. In this sense fascism is totalitarian, and the fascist state which is the synthesis and unity of every value, interprets, develops and strengthens the entire life of the people.

        If you think that sounds like Trump, you are retarded.

        1. If you think that sounds like Trump, you are retarded.

          Actually, it sounds more like Melissa Harris-Perry.

          1. That is not unreasonable.

    2. Hi Bill,

      Yeah, that “macho” sh!t is a joke, right!

      Trump’s a “Strong man!” I don’t know about the folks here, but any REAL “strong man” I have ever know, NEVER, EVER threw a temper tantrum, or WHINED about people not treating him “fairly” (whatever the hell “fair” means – LIFE IS NOT “FAIR”).

      You saw what he did the minute Rubio punched the bully in the nose, he immediately ran and got a pit bull to fight his battles for him (Chris Christie). Some “strong man!”

      HA, HA, HA, HA!

  11. WHY SO MEAN TO GREAT AMERICAN?

  12. Then the economically ignorant Trump supporters will scratch their heads when they find their paychecks don’t go as far as they used to.

    NEEDZ MOAR WAGE INFLASHUNZ!

    Get Janet Yellen on the horn!

  13. “But at least FDR had a reason: He was fighting a world war. What’s Trump’s excuse?”

    Trump’s excuse that no one else in government is doing the will of the people.

    Everyone else (especially the progressives) are about inflicting their own will on the people.

    I’m not a Trump fan by any means, but that’s the way politically legitimate authoritarians are born.

    Hitler took power in 1933. He didn’t invade Poland until 1939. Before then, he enjoyed a tremendous amount of legitimacy–and it wasn’t because he won an election. It’s because he started delivering on the things people wanted.

    Trump is in that kind of position, too. There are so many stupid things we’re doing right now. Trump has a really easy act to follow. If he just delivered on a couple of things, he would stand out in this generation as the rare kind of guy who gets things done.

    1. Most of our problems come from politicians not following the will of the people and enacting programs they think are good over the public’s objection. The majority of the public did not support the creation of the Great Society and punished the Democrats severely in the 66 midterms for enacting it. Johnson knew this and didn’t care because he thought he knew better. The public did everything it could to tell the Democrats not to enact Obamacare and the Democrats did it anyway because they knew better than the public.

      The public never supported spending 10 years and 50,000 lives in Vietnam. It may have supported invading Iraq but sure as hell never supported spending 8 years nation building there.

      Reason always speaks in hushed tones about the horrors of a President giving the public what it wants. I have never figured out exactly how that is supposed to be so much worse than politicians who tell the public to fuck off in the name of the greater good.

      1. The people didn’t want ObamaCare.

        The people wanted the Iraq War–when they thought Saddam was complicit in the anthrax attack.

        Sometimes, the people want really shitty things. Sometimes, the people want to take away our gun rights. Sometimes, the people want to throw Rosa Parks in jail for being black.

        My rights are not a popularity contest–but a lot of people think they are.

        I was trying to point out that whether I like what the people want is beside the point. Whether I like Trump is beside the point.

        Trump can gain a tremendous amount of legitimacy by giving the people what they want–after they’ve been starved of that for so long. Legitimacy isn’t necessarily a good thing. Hugo Chavez and Hitler and Vladamir Putin were/are more dangerous for enjoying a certain amount of legitimacy. Lacking legitimacy would have made them weaker than they were/are.

        1. My rights are not a popularity contest–but a lot of people think they are.

          Your rights exist outside of the theoretical because you or someone else is willing to kill so that you can have them. You only have rights to the extent you can keep other people from taking them from you.

          Trump can gain a tremendous amount of legitimacy by giving the people what they want-

          You cannot deny people what they demand forever. And if you think what people are demanding is anything like what Chafez did, then I don’t know what to tell you other than you are a paranoid nut. And if you honestly loath people that much, I honestly can’t see why you believe in freedom and don’t think they do need to be managed by top men.

          1. “You only have rights to the extent you can keep other people from taking them from you.”

            Actually, my rights exist independent of government–even if the government is violating them, Tony.

            Haven’t you ever read the Declaration of Independence?

            If they repealed the Second Amendment tomorrow, I’d still have the right to own a gun. And the defense of my right would be up to me–not someone else.

            1. Actually, my rights exist independent of government–even if the government is violating them, Tony.

              They exist in your fucking head sure. But unless you are willing to kill to keep them, they won’t exist in the real world. They only reason your rights have any manifestation out side of your imagination is because someone is willing to kill for you to have them. That is it. The day you are unwilling to do that or have no one who will do it for you, someone will come along and enslave you and you will still have “rights” and they will be big meanies but those rights will not mean anything outside of your imagination.

              1. I agree with John. It’s why people say that the second amendment should be the first and why Europe is so quick to give up freedom of speech when scary people are offended. If you don’t recognize the importance of defense, when the time comes, you will have to surrender or die.

                1. You either believe people have rights or you don’t.

                  The consequences of North Korea violated its people’s rights are very real.

                  I’m not saying that the government violating our rights is a good thing.

                  I’m saying that the government violating our rights has consequences in the real world.

                  It would be better if the laws in this country matched the reality of people’s right to choose their own intoxicants. Unfortunately, our government and our laws don’t respect that right. We suffer the negative consequences of the Drug War because of that. But the drug trade continues despite our government and the law.

                  What’s fantasy and what’s reality? The government thinking it can violate our rights with impunity? Or the idea that our rights exist in the real world regardless of whether the government recognizes them?

                  1. That last one’s the fantasy.

                    I don’t believe people do, as some physical fact, have rights. What I believe is that they should have rights. Ought vs. is.

                    1. The existence of people like Rosa Parks defy your observation.

                      If the law had to change to accommodate Rosa Parks’ fantasy, then it wasn’t Rosa Parks that was asserting a fantasy.

                      It was the law that was the fantasy.

                      Fantasy disappears when it comes in conflict with reality. Our rights are the reality. Violating them negatively impacts every society that violates them–whether they believe in those rights or not.

                      The only way to stop the negative impacts of violating people’s rights is to bring the fantasy of law back into harmony with the reality of our rights. It is politicians and their laws that are the fantasy. Our rights are the reality. There has never been a government so big, massive, scary, and authoritarian that it couldn’t be brought down for violating people’s rights.

                      Some rights may be more elastic than others. You can probably get away with violating people’s free speech and suffer fewer negative consequences than violating people’s property rights. But those negative impacts are there in the real world all the same–and the negative impacts tend to be consistent cross-culturally. I don’t care if you’re violating people’s free speech or property rights in China, Belarus, or on an American college campus. Across all times and cultures, the negative impacts of violating those rights are remarkably consistent in nature.

                    2. “I don’t care if you’re violating people’s free speech or property rights in China, Belarus, or on an American college campus. Across all times and cultures, the negative impacts of violating those rights are remarkably consistent in nature.”

                      If that is the result of violating people’s rights in the real world–regardless of whether those governments believe in our rights–then why wouldn’t we conclude that it’s our rights that our real.

                      The law comes and goes. It changes. It’s reinterpreted.

                      Our rights remain the same.

          2. You only have rights to the extent you can keep other people from taking them from you.

            Now I know where the label “Red Tony” comes from.

            1. I never thought you were a fucking retard Bill. I honestly didn’t. Just exactly how do you think the real world operates? Do you honestly think if I set you down unarmed in the middle of say that Migrant camp in Calais or some lawless town in Mexico that you would have any rights at all? That people would just respect your rights because they should?

              How do you think the world works? Seriously, how does someone like you feed themselves?

              1. I think this is a freshman philosophy student debate over semantics.

                John says, “You only have rights to the extent you can keep other people from taking them from you.” And when he says this, I’m pretty sure that he means “rights [that] exist outside of the theoretical”.

                However, a right is not a tangible object; it is an inherently theoretical construct. By and large, libertarians subscribe to a Lockean theory of rights predicated upon liberty. Progressives and other statists subscribe to notions of rights that are entirely different.

                Regardless of which theoretical construct of rights they adopt, people institute governments to secure those rights.

                This insult-ridden discourse confuses two different debates over rights: first, the normative debate about which theory of rights is correct on moral or utilitarian grounds; second, the empirical debate about which rights are in fact exercisable or enforceable.

                1. “However, a right is not a tangible object; it is an inherently theoretical construct.”

                  I reject this notion of rights as an intangible object.

                  Rights are people making choices. People are quite tangible.

                  People have the right to make choices for themselves regardless of whether the government recognizes it and regardless of whether the law protects that right to make choices for themselves.

                  Government is a fantasy. The law is a fantasy.

                  Our laws only seem real–because many of them do an excellent job of approximating our rights int he real world. As written, the First Amendment closely approximates our right to choose our own religion. But don’t get confused! I would still have the right to choose my own religion even if the First Amendment had never been written. If the First Amendment has any weight in the real world, it’s because that particular fantasy closely approximates our real rights. But it’s our rights that are real.

                  They could repeal the First Amendment. My rights would stay the same regardless.

                2. However, a right is not a tangible object; it is an inherently theoretical construct.

                  I would take it a step further. Rights are properly understood as a moral construct. When we say someone is violating someone’s rights, we are making a moral judgement. When we say you have a right to do something, we are saying it is immoral to stop you from doing it.

                  To say that rights only exist by means of force is to say that morality only exists by means of force, that what is moral is whatever the man with a gun says it is.

            2. And you are such a government obsessed retard that you think that my observation that your rights come at the barrel of a gun necessarily means it must be the government holding that gun? It can be you holding the gun but someone has to be holding it.

              If anyone is Tony here, it is you. You are the one who seems to think any necessity must necessarily be provided by government. Not me.

            3. No, I think John has a point here. Rights are suffered by the majority. Once that majority decides it doesn’t have to honor them, good luck keeping them. Abstracting things with a constitution helps, but if the majority stays cohesive you’re fucked.

              1. The USSR is on the phone. They say there are negative consequences to ignoring people’s rights.

                The Nazis lost largely because they ignored people’s rights, too.

                When governments ignore and violate people’s rights, it has real negative consequences in the real world.

                The ash heap of history is chock full of examples.

                You also might want to look at Rosa Parks. She said she had the right to sit in the front of a public bus. The popularity contest that put the government in power said she didn’t. Rosa Parks was right, and the government and the people were all forced to change because of it.

                Martin Luther King didn’t march because the government protected his rights. The government came to protect his other black people’s rights–because Martin Luther King marched.

              2. You’re putting the cart before the horse. The law is a fantasy. Our rights are what’s real. You can tell because whenever the law conflicts with a real right, there are consistent and negative consequences in the real world. The idea that you can violate people’s First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth Amendment rights without negative consequences is a fantasy. If government institutions endure, it is because they are consistent with those rights.

                The CCP had to reform to better protect individuals’ property rights–or face annihilation like the USSR. We’re yet to see how long they can survive without the Glasnost, but if and when they capitulate, it won’t be because the people of China’s rights are defined by the CCP. It’ll be because the government couldn’t survive without capitulating to the very rights you’re suggesting don’t really exist in the real world.

              3. If a majority decides rape is morally acceptable, is it? Evil people exist. They are sometimes able to get away with doing evil things. That doesn’t make the things any less evil.

                1. It means it’s morally acceptable to them. Morals are a human invention. The rocks & trees didn’t have morals.

      2. It may have supported invading Iraq but sure as hell never supported spending 8 years nation building there.

        Then, invade Iraq and…what, exactly?

        1. Go home. If people had known what was involved doing it, they wouldn’t have supported it. This is where I really part ways with Libertarians. Libertarians hate the public just as much as Progs do. The whole point of being one for some people seems to be to express how everyone else is inferior. I don’t get that and have never wanted to be a part of that.

          1. There is a really big difference between libertarians seeing the public as generally ignorant on economics, and as a result supporting really stupid government policies that harm the very people who support them; and progressives holding the public in contempt, and in need of a coercive government to force them to live their lives in a manner in which the progressives see fit.

            I don’t think there is much of a comparison, actually. The fact that you don’t see a difference just inches my already low opinion of you even lower.

            1. There is a really big difference between libertarians seeing the public as generally ignorant on economics

              I used to think that too. Then I talked to a few libertarians and found that while their ignorance of economics is generally not malevolent like the Progs’ it is just as real. Very few libertarians actually understand how markets work and view markets as some kind of panacea that will always produce the best result instead of “markets” just being a set of natural laws of human behavior that describes and explain human behavior.

    2. Whenever I read shit like this Ken, I am reminded of a statement Lanny Friedlander, the founder of reason is said to have made. Friedlander said, though I can’t remember the exact words, that the danger arises not from people who are interested in a problem making decisions but when people who are disinterested in it make the decisions.

      You and people like you are a perfect example of this. You will never suffer a single bit of personal harm from immigration or the trade policies this country has. You are totally detached from the situation. As a result, the harm that these policies create aren’t real to you. Your kids will never see their school go to shit as it is overwhelmed by refugees with no English skills. You will never lose your job because of some HB1 scam. So none of that matters or ever will matter to you.

      1. You will never suffer a single bit of personal harm from immigration or the trade policies this country has. You are totally detached from the situation.

        Perhaps. But, are the people you’re referencing attached to the decision-making process about whether they relocate their factory offshore because labor costs are too high? Are they attached to the businesses that can no longer compete on global markets because tariffs made the cost of inputs outlandishly high?

        Don’t worry, though, we all understand your concern for the seen.

      2. “You will never suffer a single bit of personal harm from immigration or the trade policies this country has”

        I’ve been supporting myself since I was 14.

        I competed with illegal immigrants when I was working construction (stocking drywall) in San Diego. Competed and won, I should say.

        I competed with illegal immigrant labor when I started a landscaping business in San Diego right out of high school, too. Being able to communicate with and connect with my clients was a big advantage.

        A few years ago, when the commercial real estate industry was cratering, I went to Mexico–and found work there and thrived, too! Came back stronger than ever–again.

        You’re right. There isn’t anything illegal immigration or trade policy could do to hurt me personally. I work my ass off. I’m smart as hell. All my bosses love me. They all wish I’d stop working for myself and come back and work for them. If I started working for a new company–doing anything–I’d make manager within a short period of time. I’m a smart, hardworking, SOB with a fantastic work ethic. I’ve done everything from cleaning chicken coops to drywall, from being a financial analyst to doing quality control on software. I’ve started more than one successful business amid economic catastrophes in the wider economy–and there is nothing illegal immigration or trade policy could ever do to hold me down.

        1. I’ve been supporting myself since I was 14.

          That is wonderful Ken. You should write a novel or something. It is however completely besides the point. All you are telling me is how wonderful you consider yourself and how inferior you consider everyone else. Good for you I suppose.

          1. Did I say I thought I was superior to other people?

            What I meant to say is that I have proved myself superior to people who can’t compete with illegal aliens or without trade barriers.

        2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..ldren.html

          Is this guy just some lazy piece of shit Ken? Maybe he is. I don’t know him. I am not as simple minded as you, however. I can’t just go to bed every night in the absolute certainty that the world is fair and wonderful and I am where I am because of my moral and intellectual superiority and how everything I know and think about the world is correct. My mind is a bit too active to do that.

          So I see this and think perhaps he isn’t just some lazy piece of shit. Perhaps the world is a bit more complex than just a ready made list of pietys that make me feel good about myself.

          It is a tough way to live I will admit. You no doubt have it easier.

          1. Cool story, bro. Which part of that makes it okay for this guy to use force against his neighbors?

          2. When people lose their jobs, it can be a sad thing.

            When people lose their standard of living because of protectionism, it’s also a sad thing.

            Would you feel better for this guy if his low cost replacement had been an American citizen?

            If so, why?

      3. You will never suffer a single bit of personal harm from immigration or the trade policies this country has. You are totally detached from the situation. As a result, the harm that these policies create aren’t real to you. Your kids will never see their school go to shit as it is overwhelmed by refugees with no English skills. You will never lose your job because of some HB1 scam. So none of that matters or ever will matter to you.

        DOWN WITH DISPASSIONATE ANALYSIS!

        UP WITH LUMPENFEAR!

        GOVERNMENT SCHOOL IS ONLY CHILD ABUSE IF ENOUGH SPANISH-SPEAKERS ATTEND!

        1. Yeah Nikki, you are so dispassionate on these issues. And name one policy you support that results in harm to you personally.

      4. You will never lose your job because of some HB1 scam.

        Scam? What if I prefer to hire Mexican accountants over American ones? Isn’t it my choice to hire/fire whomever I want as the head of an accounting firm?

  14. I think that trump dude likes to hear hi,self speak.

    http://www.Anon-Net.tk

  15. I didn’t know that authoritarians supported the right of citizens to have guns.

    I didn’t know wanting to stop immigrants from the region that you’re at war with meant you’re an authoritarian. FDR actually rounded up Japanese-Americans, you know actual citizens. Trump wants to temporarily ban non-US immigrants so of course Reason equates the two.

    Yes, Trump has a lot of stupid ideas, just like the rest of the Democrats or Republicans. But I think Reason’s problem with him is that he’s more honest about what he believes in. I think they would support Sanders if by some miracle he became president because he was always against the Iraq War and he wouldn’t be overly assertive with his socialist ideas.

    But hey, it’s another day so time for more shallow Trump hate.

    1. Trump’s history on the Second Amendment doesn’t impress me.

      I honestly don’t know what he’s going to do on that once he gets into office.

      He could come after your little sister’s AR-15 faster than Hillary, for all we know.

      I remember how Bush pushed for the prescription drug Medicare benefit–because it was to stave off something worse.

      It just ended up paving the way for ObamaCare.

      If and when the critical mass gathers to do something big on gun control, I can easily see Trump pushing an assault weapons ban–to save us from a worse form of gun control, doncha know.

      Trump’s support for the Second Amendment has evolved over the years, and I’d expect it to continue to evolve if he gets into the White House.

    2. Shallow Trump hate? I respectfully disagree, I don’t think there is enough Trump hate, obviously too much love for that authoritarian.

    3. Oh, I think (unlike Hillary), both Sanders and Trump are quite honest. The problem with those latter too is simply that they are idiots and that what they propose will fail miserably.

  16. F.A. Hayek warned about the strongman-the path that leads to it, It is frightening how accurate he was.

    1. Well, lucky for us then that we’ll have the choice between a strongman and a strongwoman 🙁

  17. They don’t believe him. They support him out of sheer FYTW, as the only effective way to send a message. Not a specific message in terms of content, but just like, “Hey, pay some att’n to me already, won’t ya?” It’s the alarm going off, doesn’t say anything except that it needs att’n.

    It’s working. Since last summer, people keep saying there’s a ceiling to Trump’s support, & he keeps beating those successively announced ceilings. I believe that’ll continue past the nomination into the gen’l election. I’d say it was like Fujimori in Peru, but it’s well beyond that because it’s not just magickal belief in Trump but also the FYTW quality.

  18. there was a time in our nation when one had to be rich to import something from china, now you have to be poor…if every thing comes from another country, what are the consequences if its stopped?..repeal the new deal that was placed during the Roosevelt years

  19. I and many of my friends believe him and voted for him in GA and it is people like you that want to run him down so he will not get elected. It sounds like you are a Hillary person. Or maybe you are a Cruz person who is not eligible to be President because he is a Derivative Citizen of the US. I suppose that you are for that as well.

    When Trump makes President of the United States and fixes things that need to be fixed you will probably tell people that you voted for Trump.

    1. We’re libertarians.

      I don’t know if you realize what that means. Suffice it to say, just because Hillary doesn’t have anything to offer us doesn’t mean Trump has anything to offer us either.

  20. “Strong man!” I don’t know about you folks, but any REAL “strong man” I have ever know, NEVER, EVER threw a temper tantrum, or WHINED about people not treating him “fairly” (whatever the hell “fair” means – LIFE IS NOT “FAIR”).

    You saw what he did the minute Rubio punched the bully in the nose, he immediately ran and got a pit bull to fight his battles for him (Chris Christie). Some “strong man!”

    HA, HA, HA, HA!

  21. He promises to enact “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That would rival FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans not only in scale but also in the degree to which it lacks any legal, constitutional, or even rational justification.

    Another day at Reason, another Trump article that is full of crap.

    Because limiting immigration is just like rounding up citizens in internment camps. Why stop there? Why not claim it is just like rounding up people and throwing them in ovens?

    No legal or constitutional basis for the Federal government restricting immigration based on ideology? Really? We did it with Marxists. But I guess that was EVIL too. Lacking any “rational justification”, right? It’s just irrational, hateful EVIL to try to keep people devoted to overthrowing the constitution from immigrating to the country.

    Hmmmm, ever check on the worldwide stats for Muslim support for making the Koran the law of the land? Wouldn’t that count as overthrowing the constitution?

    Bah! Totalitarians get a free pass to turn the country into a back to the cave theocracy, as long as they say “God says so”, because otherwise we’d be discriminating against a religion.

    I note again with increasing disgust that the turn toward Progressitarianism has been accompanied with a turn toward the tactics of Progressives – to lie and lie and lie and lie again.

  22. I especially love the link to the MSNBC article – yeah, that’s a place Reason readers go to for authoritative information, right?

    Randomly selected bullshit from the article:

    Tribe, a constitutional law expert, said Trump’s proposal also conflicts with the Constitution’s general prohibition on religious tests outside of the immigration context.

    “outside of the immigration context”, i.e., outside the *current* context. It doesn’t apply at all to the current topic, but let’s throw it in there anyway, and hope that it sticks.

  23. It’s going to be a great wall! Best part is Mexico will pay for it.

  24. The unfortunate thing about Trumpism is that a lot of yahoos in the mobocracy DO believe him. All he is doing is using the classic script of the demagogue.

    Well, Obama did the same thing, promising hope and change and the end of rising tides–but hiding the agenda of transforming America by Presidential fiat and partisan politics.

    I’m a little surprised that so many folks are buying into a demagogue’s B.S. again.

  25. Reason.com has the gall to ask this ridiculous question after 7 years of obama? Seriously, Reason.com? How about asking something RELEVANT? Like “Why isn’t Hitlery in prison, yet? Why is the FBI derelict in their duty? Why are they obstructing justice? Aiding and abetting? Conspiring? Betraying the American people? Acting as traitors? Violating their oaths? How about those questions Reason.com?

  26. Preventing sworn enemies from entering the US is very different from what FDR did to US citizens when he interned German Americans and Japanese Americans.

    The US still prevents Communists and Nazis from obtaining entry into the US, not much different from preventing Islamists from entering our nation. President Carter did the same in 1979 , when he denied Visas to Iranians and deported all Iranian students from America. It was deemed legal…if the United States cannot choose who enters our nation we our nation will not exist for long.

  27. “Half these guys (say) ‘torture doesn’t work.’ Believe me, it works.”

    I believe him: he probably uses it on both his employees and contestants all the time.

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  29. Mark Kirk (R) is running for Senate reelection in Illinois.

    He is running on “Muslims need to be vetted and the government has no way to vet them.”

    In other words – Trump has coat tails.

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