The Guardian has pulled together five pieces from conservatives and libertarians who are critical of President Donald Trump's authoritarian tendencies and policies. I'm happy to be represented in the mix (for my commentary about Trump's awful, inhumane, and idiotic ban on refugees and travelers from seven countries tied to terrorism). It's a good mix of people, including some conservative critics (The New York Time's Ross Douthat, National Review's David French, Commentary's Noah Rothman) and Steve Horwitz of Bleeding Heart Libertarians along with yours truly. Here's a snippet from my piece:
That's certainly the case with Trump and his orders on sanctuary cities … and on immigration and refugee policy. The laws were not just poorly phrased and timed, they clearly will not work to address the basic issues they ostensibly are meant to ameliorate. As Anthony Fisher noted here earlier today, the US embassy in Iraq has said that Trump's action is a recruitment tool for jihadists, as pro-American Middle Easterners realize they're being hung out to dry. As for keeping America safe from terrorists entering the country as refugees, the fact is the country has an incredibly safe record.
Because no good deed or kind word can go unpunished, I'd like to add a bit of nuance to the way the writer, Jason Wilson, encapsulates his piece. Here's the headline and subhed:
I think it's accurate to call Douthat, French, and Rothman conservatives, but it's clear that neither Horwitz or I have nothing to do with conservatism.
Yet the confusion is right there in headline: The "conservative articles" are the product of Trump "ril[ing] libertarians"? Wuh?
I just don't get the slowness with which people are fully grokking that libertarianism is as distinct from conservativism as it is from progressivism or leftism. I'm not trying to be pedantic or coy here, but there's a reason why libertarians (certainly those at Reason) were intensely critical of George W. Bush's executive branch overreach and Barack Obama's too, while conservatives and liberals generally stayed silent when their guy was doing the power grabbing. And so it makes total sense that libertarians are leading the attacks on Trump's attempts to be a one-man (or at least one-branch) government. Libertarianism is nothing if not the antithesis of authoritarianism. Always has been, always will be. Be sure to check out Reason's attitude toward whoever eventually replaces Trump. The minute he (or she) starts down an authoritarian road, we'll be on the case.