Donald Trump

Flipping the Script: The Case for Trump

In the spirit of inquiry.

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"The spirit of liberty," wrote Judge Learned Hand, "is the spirit that is not too sure it is right." Authoritarianism starts with absolute certainty: Why tolerate any dissent when it is so clearly wrong? Why allow people their own choices if they choose incorrectly?

The antidote to absolute certainty is a spirit of inquiry—but that spirit runs up against various mental habits we're all wired with, such as confirmation bias and the backfire effect: People confronted with information that contradicts their belief often end up digging in their mental heels.

In one experiment, conservatives were presented with Bush administration claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Some also were given information refuting those claims. Thirty-four percent of the first group accepted the administration's claim. But 64 percent of those presented with the refutation accepted the administration's claim. The contradictory evidence made them truculent.

This has serious consequences in more than one way. As Bloomberg columnist and George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen recently wrote, "a few years ago, when I read people I disagreed with, they swayed my opinion in their direction to some degree. These days, it's more likely that I simply end up thinking less of them." (His comment is reminiscent of Santayana's remark about newspapers: "When I read them I form perhaps a new opinion of the newspaper, but seldom a new opinion on the subject discussed.")

As an antidote to such cognitive biases, Cowen suggests not merely reading things you disagree with, but actually writing them—and, he further advises, "try to make them sound as persuasive as possible." The exercise is similar to the invention of another GMU economist, Bryan Caplan, who came up with the Ideological Turing Test: Try to write an essay in the voice of an ideological opponent. If a neutral judge can't tell the difference, then you pass.

These are excellent proposals that might help break the political logjam America seems to have gotten itself into. Instead of knocking down straw men and rebutting claims nobody actually believes, they make us take on the best arguments from the other side. If nothing else, this makes our own case stronger. If you don't comprehend your opponent's point, then you can't counter it. And if you can't counter it, then you can't convince anybody who believes it.

More hopefully, arguing for the other side might inculcate a healthy sense of self-doubt.

To that end, then, here is one case that could be made for Donald Trump, from someone who has spilled a lot of ink making the opposite case.

Let's begin with Trump's most controversial act, his executive order on immigration and refugees. While it's fair to quibble over his selection of countries or the legal technicalities of the measure, nobody should oppose its core assumptions—liberals least of all. In fact, Trump's order epitomizes a concept that liberals gave birth to: the precautionary principle.

The precautionary principle says that if a particular policy carries a potential risk to the public, then it should be avoided until it can be proven safe. Put another way, the principle says we should take action to protect the public even when the science is not yet settled.

A classic example is the introduction of genetically modified foods. We don't know that GM foods are dangerous (in fact, there is much evidence that they are not)—but we don't know they are perfectly safe, either. So why take the unnecessary risk of permitting them?

The parallel to immigrants and refugees should be obvious.

Liberals have made a similar argument about nuclear power for years: Yes, it is a carbon-free source of energy that can help in the fight against global warming. But while the odds of a nuclear catastrophe are low, the consequences of such a catastrophe are horrific. Just look at Fukushima. Ergo, the potential for a calamity of historic proportions argues against permitting even a minuscule probability.

Trump is doing nothing but making this very same point about immigrants and refugees from select countries with known terrorist cadres. If he is wrong, the worst that can happen is that some foreigners are delayed in enjoying the privilege of entering the United States. But if he is right, then he has prevented another 9/11.

What else has Trump done right? Two words: Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is universally recognized as a brilliant jurist. He is Antonin Scalia without the straight-razor tongue. Progressives are telling one another scary stories about what they claim are Gorsuch's views, but many Democrats attacking him now voted to confirm him to the appellate court (we're looking at you, Chuck Schumer).

Replacing a conservative on the Supreme Court with another conservative leaves the balance unchanged. Gorsuch is exquisitely qualified, and there is no good reason to oppose his confirmation. ("Yeah, but when Obama nominated Garland …" does not count. "Paybacks are hell" is not a good argument.)

These two moves alone would be good enough. But Trump also has upset a calcified and sclerotic order that badly needed shaking up. As Jefferson wrote, "God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion." By that yardstick Washington—a city of the political aristocracy, by the political aristocracy and for the political aristocracy—was about half a century overdue.

Liberals are complaining that Trump is flooding the zone with a flurry of action. "These are the things that happened in THE LAST 7 DAYS," goes the breathless complaint.

Really? And to think that liberals used to complain about Washington gridlock. Well, that's no longer a problem. Score another point for Trump.

Trump also has asked some big questions. Given NATO's purpose when it was founded in 1949, does it really need to remain the same organization until the heat-death of the universe? Why, exactly? And why is asking the question treated like child molestation? Whatever happened to "question authority"?

We are all supposed to be horrified that Trump is installing Cabinet secretaries in the departments of Education and Labor and at the Environmental Protection Agency who take a different approach to the agencies' historic missions. That's a pretty rich complaint coming from people who scoff at ideas like "original intent" and fidelity to the Constitution. If you read that document, you won't find anything in it—or in the Declaration of Independence, for that matter—authorizing such executive agencies in the first place.

The federal government today looks nothing like the federal government as conceived of by the nation's founders. Instead of worrying about the historic mission of the EPA, perhaps we should worry about the historic mission of the United States of America. That's where the real problem lies.

Well, that's one argument for Trump, anyway. His supporters could make others—and no doubt could have made this one better. But it's a useful exercise nonetheless.

Now: Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. reason throws a curveball headline!

    1. Hey that flipping the script wasnt there when posted!

    2. An anti-Chapman article!

      1. In other news…Chappedass currently undergoing intensive psychiatric care after accidently reading the title of this article. The prognosis is not looking good for even a partial recovery.

  2. Uh humm… You forgot to do this:

    Is there a case to be made for President Trump? Sure Donald Trump is a racist bigot monster and worse than Hitler, but…

    1. Who knew that shrieking like banshees at every little statement and action causes people not only not to want to listen to you, but also to believe the opposite.

      To their credit, right-wing press has been consistently giving the opposition an opportunity to speak on their programs. Left-wing press refuses, and the rare times they do, they play shitty games like overwhelming a guest with a bunch of leftist talking points to avoid giving them an opportunity to speak. See, we gave the opposition a chance to speak! No, you gave me four and a half minutes of your viewpoints and your guest about thirty seconds to get a word in edgewise.

      Is TDS still on at Reason? Are the writers still trying to shore up and sooth the crumbling left? Proggies dug their own grave on this one, and we should honor their DNR. They do not deserve allies, and especially not from us, because even if we do make some progress with them, the second they’re back in power they’ll go right back to viciously assailing us.

      I’ve been ignoring the site for weeks now, and will continue to for as long as necessary.

    2. Hey man, but how ’bout that them thar “precautionary principle” mentioned in this them that here article?!?!?

      “Hey, are we absolutely SURE that this them here NEW guv-mint program… Or this them here BIGGER BUDGET for this them here old guv-mint program… Are we SURE it won’t harm ANY fluffy bunny waaabbbits, anywhere, in any known universe?”

      How cum THAT question hardly ever gets asked, let alone, acted upon?!?!?

  3. Pffff, Trumpkins are taking over this web sight. I’m done!

    1. Looks like they’ve infiltrated your spell checker.

      1. I see what he did there.

      2. There are Trumpkin squirrels?

    2. I consider the use of “web sight” sufficient cause to suspend the Non-Aggression Principle.

      1. I considel Engrish sufficient cause to suspend Non-Agglession Plincipre!

  4. Another Pro-Trump article? Am I still allowed to puke in Trump’s America??

    1. Trumpty Dumpty, He’s quite off-the-wall,
      Trumpty Dumpty won’t stay in His toilet stall
      He just goes ahead and takes His shits,
      Totally regardless of whereever He sits
      Whenever He simply, no way, can sleep,
      He Twits us His thoughts, they’re all SOOO deep!
      He simply must, He MUST, Twit us His bird,
      No matter the words, however absurd!
      He sits and snorts His coke with a spoon,
      Then He brazenly shoots us His moon!
      They say He’ll be impeached by June,
      Man, oh man, June cannot come too soon!
      So He sits and jiggles His balls,
      Then He Twitters upon the walls
      “Some come here to sit and think,
      Some come here to shit and stink
      But I come here to scratch my balls,
      And read the writings on the walls
      Here I sit, My cheeks a-flexin’
      Giving birth to another Texan!
      He who writes these lines of wit,
      Wraps His Trump in little balls,
      He who reads these lines of wit,
      Eats those loser’s balls of shit!”

  5. I used to think A. Barton Hinkle was A Fartin’ Stinkle, but now that he says stuff I agree with I realize what a brilliant mind he has.

    1. Ha! This reminds me of how quite a few Republicans treated Mark Levin.

      When Levin was shouting at Obama, Republicans loved him.

      When Levin was standing on conservative principle and supporting Cruz against Trump, Republicans hated him, called him a prog sellout, just chasing ratings, secretly wanting Hillary to win, etc….

      But then when Levin came around and jumped on the Trump Train, he was embraced yet again.

      1. Although at the end it was clear that Levin really was just chasing ratings.

        1. I really can’t stand him. At least Michael Savage as batshit as he is, is consistent. Also he’s entertaining for like 5 minutes when he’s just tirading about some pointless culture bullshit.

          1. Yeah I don’t like Levin either. He just shouts a lot. He is definitely a smart guy and I don’t know how much of the shouting is just an act or an expression of a genuine rage. But I would rather have someone much more calmly discussing things rather than shouting and raging all the time.

            But I didn’t like Levin even when he was shouting at Obama, or shouting at Trump, or shouting at Hillary.

            1. He doesn’t do it all the time, or even most of the time. You really exaggerate.

              1. But he does it enough of the time to turn me off.

        2. Clearly, you don’t listen to Levin because he definitely isn’t giving cover to Trump. In fact, if you listened you would hear him standing on princile (not always good ones) to get Republicans to go against Trump on things like free market economics. Just admit it, you heard loud noises and got scared; you didn’t hear his words. I disagree with Levin a lot on things, like homeland security and his hardon for wars, but his idea’s on how government should be limited are spot-fucking-on most of the time.

      2. I listen to Levin. He is in no way on ‘the Trumo train’. He calls it like he sees it. Just because he praises Trump when he does something right doesn’t make him a sycophant. Especially when he goes into huge tirades against cabinet nominees like Tillerson.

  6. Reason has decided that they must appease all these Trumpkins before they join up with the squirrels and wreck the place.

    1. Of course, because there is no way Trumo could possibly get a single thing right, or should be acknowledged for it if he did.

  7. Good, it’s getting like a medieval disputation in here – making the case for different sides of a proposition!

    1. Thomism? Sweet… *polishes his analogies*

  8. There’s more pros to list about Trump. First of all, he trolls the left. Second, he appointed a denier to the EPA. Third, he appointed a woman to head dept of education who seems to have caused yet another meltdown of the left. And then the things that he’s promising to do, massive rollback on regulations, and a yuuuuuge tax cut.

    The bad? Sessions.

    So far, Trump has more upside than downside. But he has plenty of time to change that.

    1. You list these things as “positives” along the lines of “causes the Blue Tribe to have a sadz”. But why should I care about whether Red Tribe or Blue Tribe is feeling bad about anything?

      1. The thing that I like about Trump is that he doesn’t just pay lip service to his core fanbase and then does nothing, but actually tries to fulfill campaign promises. He’s no libertarian, but that alone makes me respect him twice as much as the average politician. Also, I like that he has so far rejected the sea of neocons such as Abrams and Bolton that the political establishment has been probably trying to push through in the State Dept.

        1. Sure, it is admirable on some level that he is trying to fulfill his campaign promises. From a personal point of view, I just wish he wouldn’t do so, because I disagree with many of the promises that he made.

          And yes I am glad that Bolton was shown the door. I never understood why so many people on the right liked him so much.

          1. It’s the secret of the stache.

            1. Yes. Fine. He has a great moustache. But in terms of intellect, he’s basically Sean Hannity with a good moustache.

              1. If Sean Hannity had a glorious mustache, I’d watch his show every night with the volume muted, just to watch it heave and quiver as he got angry…

                1. He would no doubt twirl it too.

          2. Well, my concern is that the parts of his campaign promises that I absolutely love (reducing the regulatory state, threatening to cut federal departments and programs, rhetoric about term limits, simplifying the tax code and lowering taxes, encouraging a repeal of Obamacare, ending Dodd-Frank, etc.) are a lot harder to pull off than the parts that I don’t like (tariffs against Mexico and China, spending on infrastructure w/o cutting the bloat first, not touching entitlements, etc.) That’s because the first instinct of politicians will always be to grow.

      2. Because with few exceptions, things that make Team Left sad tend to be an improvement for the country.

        1. I could say much the same thing about Team Right though. For instance if Trump called off his threatened trade war, that would give Team Right the sadz.

          I guess it just goes back to some people hating the left more than loving liberty.

          1. Well, I said there were exceptions. Plus, I don’t see the right calling for a trade war. In fact, I think in general they would rather see that promise fade way.

            1. NeverTrump existed for a reason, but I think this is more a case of the ‘cultural gatekeepers’ of the right having a more consistent philosophy than the people who actually vote Republican, who have more diverse set of interests.

            2. “Plus, I don’t see the right calling for a trade war.”

              The right just voted for Trump.

              1. Not every issue is left or right… jesus you can’t be this simple-minded?

              2. “The right” spent a great deal of time going on and on about how Trump isn’t a real conservative, his character is lacking, etc.

                It’s more accurate to say that “the right” voted against Clinton.

                1. The ones I know leaned over 75% in that direction. And they were not alone in making their vote a protest one against Clinton and/or more of the Obama tyranny, but now on steroids.

          2. You could say it but you would be incorrect.

            The left is based on authoritarian forced economic collectivism that stomps all over the individual economic rights of freedom of contract and private property rights.

            And those are the ones with the most real world impact on the lives of individuals. A smart and industrious person could live a far better life and retire far earlier with more wealth that he had a property right if he was not forced to subsidize the existence of lots of other people his entire life.

      3. But why should I care about whether Red Tribe or Blue Tribe is feeling bad about anything?

        Long term strategic interests. A hysterical and half-mad left helps to destroy their legitimacy, while a calm one talking about ‘smart power’ and how they’re the only rational choice is more appealing. The biggest advantage of the Trump candidacy, not even the election, was how the left completely tore off its mask.

        1. I was just reading a piece yesterday about how flawed Buckley’s “standing athwart history crying ‘stop!'” idea of conservatism was – if you categorically oppose some program then you’ve got no standing to influence the way the program operates once it becomes a fait accompli. The particular instance was Obamacare, a national healthcare program – to those who just put their heads down and said “no way no how are we going to have universal healthcare”, well, now that we’ve got universal healthcare you’re on the outside looking in and only those working from the inside have a voice in steering the direction of the universal healthcare system. Sucks to be you when the Republicans are deciding what flavor of universal healthcare we’re getting when you’re on the record as saying you didn’t want any universal healthcare at all.

          That’s why I’m not a Republican – for all their talk about smaller government they’re only opposed to an expansion of government power when they’re not the ones in the driver’s seat. I don’t care what “good” things Trump’s doing if he’s using ever-expanding government power to do them. Whether you’re trying to cram poison down my throat or steak and lobster and 20-year old scotch, I object to having stuff crammed down my throat.

          1. I was just reading a piece yesterday about how flawed Buckley’s “standing athwart history crying ‘stop!'” idea of conservatism was

            But that’s part of the problem, the assumption that progressivism is just the forward march of history. The left actively delegitimizing themselves makes people stop and go “do I really want these screaming crazy people to decide the future for me?”

            1. progressivism is just the forward march of history

              It is. It’s marching everyone right off a socialist cliff.

              You can make progress towards terrible ends.

              1. And the left sure has spent the last century marching humanity there. At last count they had over 100 million murdered and billions imprisoned under one or another of their insane social justice systems…

            2. One of WFB’s strengths-and-weaknesses-alike was his ability to coin a pithy phrase. He could write a library of great books and essays and everyone remembers (and argues over) a few instantly-crafted lines.

          2. If you’re not gonna finish your surf & turf and Laphroaig, can I have it?

            1. Steak, lobster, and scotch also seems quite Bucklerian…

      4. Because Team Blue are authoritarians seeking to ever increase the pressure of the boot on your neck, while Team Red has been mostly about the status quo with a slight liberalization (classically) over the past decade.

        Neither is perfect, but Team Blue are anathema to libertarianism, while Team Red can be convinced on most anything that doesn’t have to do with morality, and even with that, enough of them can be convinced as to make a difference, even if it takes a while.

        1. while Team Red can be convinced on most anything that doesn’t have to do with morality

          With some obvious exceptions, you need to throw foreign policy and anti-terrorism policy in there as well.

          1. Well, even that, it is hard to find a Team Red guy who wants more boots on the ground in any country currently and doesn’t understand what an idiotic screw-up the Iraq War was.

            Terrorism policy, I’ll give you though.

            1. Well, even that, it is hard to find a Team Red guy who wants more boots on the ground in any country currently

              It’s not that hard, however, to find Team Red guys who are still into ‘smart power’ solutions about geopolitical problems that have nothing to do with the United States. The amount of Team Red guys I’ve seen pushing for some kind of intervention in Syria under the logic of “we have to show the Russians we’re tough!” is telling.

              1. Who are these team red guys? I don’t see many of them. And none of the few I do are Trump supporters. Am I missing any?

                1. Shitbirds like McCain and Krauthammer. I don’t think it’s a very common sentiment among the rank and file, particularly among those who are true-blue Trumpists.

                2. Not talking about Trump supporters, I’m talking about Team Red. It crops up on the American conservative reddit, websites like Red State’s comments, articulated by some Team Red guys like Shapiro, etc.

                  1. Team blue nominated someone who thought that shooting down Russian jets to enforce a no fly zone in Syria was a good idea. Judging by the anti-war movement over the past 16 years, team blue doesn’t have any particular aversion to war, just to people with R next their name leading them.

                    1. What isn’t the Left like that on? Everything is ok as long as they are the ones doing unto others.

              2. I don’t think McCain and Graham speak for Team Red, quite the opposite in fact.

                Which goes to show the biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats are in lock-step with their Top Men, while the Rs are willing to tell them to piss off.

        2. I’ve got 4 trillion reasons not to believe Team Red is any better than Team Blue.

      5. A lot of the things that enrage progressives are also somewhat libertarian. Like having an Ed secretary that favors school choice, or a climate denier EPA head who will likely muzzle or even shitcan the progtards under their authority.

    2. One thing we know for sure. Trump is not afraid to say “You’re Fired”. If Sessions or any other appointee does not perform to his expectations he will fire them even knowing that the Chuck Schurmers will gleefully gloat “I told you so!”

  9. WHERE’S MUY REASON GONE!!!!

    1. MUY REASON

      Even Reason is biglier in Trump’s America.

      1. This schadenfreude is killing me!

        1. Muy schadenfreude? What happened to English?

  10. We’re all Trumpkins now.

  11. Four years of the President doing stuff and the courts immediately overturning said stuff? I’ll play Richard. Derptears added bonus.

  12. One reason people are hesitant to seriously consider contrary information is that presentation of the new information is usually preceded with a phrase like “Listen here, you ignorant ass!” and followed by “Did you learn anything, you feeble-minded abomination?”

    1. It’s not their job to educate you dumb racist hicks, but they’re going to enact the labor to do so all day every day anyway.

      1. They’re just trying to keep busy while waiting for their writing to be appreciated.

    2. I dredged some fresh, weapons-grade derp along those lines from the Caplan article for your viewing pleasure.

      ProbStat ?????????????? ? 20 days ago
      Well, reality does have a known liberal bias.
      Just a quick quiz for you:
      Human-caused climate change: real or hoax?
      Racism in America: historical artifact or current problem?
      Universal healthcare: successfully implemented around the world or guaranteed to destroy economy?
      Tax cuts: reduce government revenues or pay for themselves?
      Because, if you’re stupid, I don’t really care what your opinion might be.
      2?Reply?Share ‘

      1. That’s a lot of binary choices for non-binary topics.

        1. That’s a whole lot of confirmation bias, not liberal bias.

  13. This does not conform to my preconceived opinions of the this magazine or of the president. I demand that you provide me with an echo chamber!

  14. So why take the unnecessary risk of permitting them [GM foods]? The parallel to immigrants and refugees should be obvious.

    Except for the tiny difference that restriction of one of these finds support in the Constitution and the other doesn’t.

  15. “As an antidote to such cognitive biases, Cowen suggests not merely reading things you disagree with, but actually writing them…”

    When I was in HS, I took an advanced speech class. During the first week, we were given a little survey to fill out. I cannot remember what excuse the teacher used for giving it to us, and it wasn’t until near end of the semester that we found out the real reason. Each student was given a subject on which to give a persuasive speech, except the subject was an opposite view of which the speech giver held based on that survey. Anyone could easily tell what a great exercise this was by listening to the speeches. Definitely challenged people to think.

    1. So…always lie on surveys. Got it.

    2. I was on the debate team in high school. The whole ting was an exercise in developing contrary arguments. Most people would greatly benefit in some exposure to both Policy and Lincoln/Douglas debating types. It greatly sharpens one’s critical thinking skills.

  16. But while the odds of a nuclear catastrophe are low, the consequences of such a catastrophe are horrific. Just look at Fukushima.

    I remember that one. All life on earth was destroyed, and the planet rendered uninhabitable for centuries, right?

    1. No, but Japan is littered with the dead….

      Or not…

      “A May 2012 United Nations committee report stated that none of the six Fukushima workers who had died since the tsunami had died from radiation exposure. “

      1. How many have returned as nuclear zombies and/or ghost kaiju?

        1. The only reason we don’t see them is cause they are busy battling the ones from Chernobyl!

          /derp

    2. I was totally derailed by that comment too. What exactly were those consequences besides exactly zero people dying of radiation poisoning?

      1. Well, it caused the media to have a freak out. Won’t somebody please think of the journalists?

      2. From Wikipedia:

        Costs to Japanese taxpayers are likely to exceed 12 trillion yen ($100 billion). In December 2016 the government estimated decontamination, compensation, decommissioning and radioactive waste storage costs at 21.5 trillion yen ($187 billion), nearly double the 2013 estimate.

  17. Oroville dam more like Orville dam. I need some popcorn up in here.

    …too soon?

    1. Headline: Failed Dam Causes Democrats to Rethink Hydropower!

  18. A classic example is the introduction of genetically modified foods. We don’t know that GM foods are dangerous (in fact, there is much evidence that they are not)?but we don’t know they are perfectly safe, either. So why take the unnecessary risk of permitting them?

    The parallel to immigrants and refugees should be obvious.

    The M&M analogy;

    “You’re eating M out of that bowl. What if I told you 2% of them are poisonous, and if you eat one of those, you’ll die a horrible death? Would you keep eating them?”

    What if I knew YOU might die if I ate the ‘lethal’ M&M, and I would suffer no ill effects? What makes you think I’d stop eating them?

    1. To be fair, you could make the same analogy about flying in an airplane, or owning a gun, or buying furniture. They all just have different values of the 2%, as do refugee admittance and GMO foods.

    2. If you’re going to do that, you should probably use better numbers that reflect the actual probability?. Otherwise you’re lying to justify a policy.

      And if you have to lie to justify a policy, what does that say about your policy?
      ________
      ?Hint: the risk that any of the folks stopped by Trump’s EO were going to kill anyone in a terrorist act is way lower then 2%.

  19. I thought these articles were usually posted before the election.

  20. I guess it just goes back to some people hating the left more than loving liberty.

    I hate the left because they hate liberty. Win-win.

    1. I guess it just goes back to some people hating the left more than loving liberty.

      This is a completely rational instinct because the left is trying to destroy liberty.

      For example, if someone were trying to kill me, my hate for them would burn stronger than my love for myself.

      1. Why hate them? Just Mozambique their ass and get along with your day.

  21. Also: Hottest First Lady and First Daughter ever.

    1. True. This is the first time I’ve ever fantasizes about having a thressome with the First Lady, and the First Daughter.

      1. Make America Be In Its Bunk Again

      2. It wouldn’t even count as incest.

      3. Really? Now this is officially a thought in my head now. Thanks a lot.
        No really, I mean thanks a lot.

  22. Now: Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

    I’ll give it a try:

    1. Progressives and Leftists outnumber Conservatives and Libertarians by head count but have their powers checked because they are mainly concentrated in urban areas and a handful of blue states. If the economy is in a recession by 2020, socialist candidates like Sanders might become a greater threat than during any other time in our history.

    2. If the GOP grows infrastructure spending without acting on the threats to cutting federal departments such as the DOE and ending Obamacare, a Trump presidency could lead to even higher deficit spending than during the Obama admin.

    3. A Sessions-led DOJ could restart the WoD if the president (who at least seems to be pro-state’s rights on weed) doesn’t keep him in check.

    4. Pursuing an unorthodox, less interventionist foreign policy is IMO the right thing to do, but foreign policy missteps could potentially anger the wrong country (i.e. the fishtail effect: Trump is likely to be a better foreign policy president than Hillary would have been, but there is a non-zero chance that he could be catastrophically bad).

    5. I like how Trump understands that the bureaucracy is stagnant and bloated and that taxes are too high, but I don’t like his stance against free trade. Unfortunately, as far as government is concerned, it’s a lot easier to add tariffs than it is to cut regulation and lower taxes.

    1. 1 and 2 are based on “if” statement without any evidence or reasoning why those ifs are going to occur. So we can dismiss them out of hand.

      3. A Sessions-led DOJ could restart the WoD if the president (who at least seems to be pro-state’s rights on weed) doesn’t keep him in check.

      Restart the war on drugs? Restart like it ended or something? What the hell kind of drugs are you taking? Whatever they are, they are not good for you.

      Number 4 is another “if” statement and can be dismissed like 1 and 2.

      You don’t like his stance on trade. You don’t really explain why but it is at least a valid criticism of reality as it stands now. So I will count it.

      You score 1/5. F-.

      1. On #3, I think the specific concern would be federal pushback on state’s medical and recreational pot. Which will be a huge shit storm if it happens. Even progressive liberal Obama reneged on his campaign promise and had his DEA Chief start a bunch of smash-and-grab raids of medical dispensaries in states where this was legal.

        1. Since as you say, Obama already did it, it wouldn’t be restarting anything.

          1. Instead of “restart”, I will replace with “escalate”. Then my point will make more sense.

        2. This may be a good thing. Obama raiding dispensaries was no big deal. If trump did it, it would be huge. It may lead to something good in the federal drug law reform. At least the issue will be brought to light.

        3. But even Obama didn’t crack down on recreational mj, only med’l. It’s like they said, if you’re going to have restrictive rules, we’ll help make sure they’re restrictive, but if you’re going to sell pot to the gen’l public, then there’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing Sessions could do about it would be to make sure nobody bothers w being licensed by their state.

          1. The big fight now is w a much more diffuse enemy: the medical-legal establishment in the USA, which has decided that the pendulum swang too far in the direction of pain rx a few yrs. ago, & that now more att’n has to be paid to iatrogenic “addiction” to narcotics.

    2. Hey, Zenome, I agree with what you say, and think that John is just being pedantic, buy you’re trying too hard.

      Trump lacks intellectual depth, but is exceptionally talented at self-promotion. He is an authoritarian with scant appreciation for constitutional constraints on the presidency. He’s literally Hitler.

      1. I see what you did there…

  23. Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

    Not sure why this is necessary, given that the so-called “mainstream media” tries to make the case every second of every day, with a few good occasional arguments mixed in among seemingly dozens of insane ones.

    But here goes: Jeff Sessions is a bad appointment, period: an extreme anti-libertarian, anti-drug zealot. His immigration stop executive order was clearly too vague, broad, and hastily drawn up, as evidence by the mass confusion that was taking place at the airports. And his general temperament continues to be too childish, narcissistic, petulant, thin-skinned, and divisive for a president. He’s the mirror image of Obama in more ways than either side would probably like to admit.

    1. Not sure why this is necessary, given that the so-called “mainstream media” tries to make the case every second of every day…

      The MSM may critique, but they are incapable of giving an honest critique of the presidency without going right back to “RACIST!” “SEXIST!” etc. This is why the best critiques of the presidency have so far come from the right.

    2. “given that the so-called ‘mainstream media’ tries to make the case every second of every day”

      The general idea is to reverse the sides and see if you can argue against your own position effectively, as a sign of being at least open and understanding where the other side is coming from. Thus Trump supporters should try making a case against Trump, and Trump detractors should try to argue for Trump.

      1. This exercise seems aimed at discovering how much of a bullshit artist you can be.

        1. To be fair, I think most people in the commentariat, be they yokel or cosmo, are far and away better than the rest of the population at understanding the ideological outlook and motivations of their foes. I think there’s even some sciency data out there in the world that shows this about libertarians in general.

      2. Making a case for and against trump is dead easy because he is so all over the place on issues. Trade=bad.
        AG=bad
        Regulations & Taxes= good
        social issues=good (mostly because I don’t think he cares)

    3. The trick would be to show mental flexibility and show that you actually understand the debate, not just your side’s talking points.

  24. Now: Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

    Problem is most here don’t support Trump per se. The better question is can we make a convincing case for Progressivism? Trump is the enemy of our enemy, nothing more and nothing less at this point of his administration, which if I’m honest, has been pleasantly surprising overall even if he has said a few things I vehemently disagree with (such as how awesome civil asset forfeiture is).

  25. Well, that’s one argument for Trump, anyway. His supporters could make others?and no doubt could have made this one better. But it’s a useful exercise nonetheless.

    Now: Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

    There are all these reasons why Trump is not a bad President, but I just cant’ buy them because I am more loyal to my class than I am to reality or the principles I claim to hold dear.

    Thanks for being honest there Bart.

  26. I don’t know about “making a case for him” but I’d offer some advice: Slow down.

    Don’t buy into the bullshit “first 100 days” idiocy peddled by the media and the establishmentarian chin-scratchers. Take a little extra time, and think your moves through; that doesn’t mean abandon your ideas, just try not to step on your dick quite so hard.

    The immigration order was a clusterfuck largely because they rushed it, I suspect.

    1. I am not even sure it was a clusterfuck. Time and again these “clusterfucks” end up benefiting Trump and screwing his enemies. Before the EO, Trump by virtue of being President was rightfully going to be held responsible if someone did manage to get into the country and commit an act of terror. Now, the 9th Circuit and really the Democratic Party as a whole owns that responsibility. I am not even sure that the terrorist coming from a country not covered by the EO will save them if something happens.

      Even if it doesn’t, a pretty substantial majority support the EO. Thanks to the 9th Circuit and the Democratic Party’s reaction to this, the political debate is now between Trump who wants to stop immigration from failed states and the Democratic Party who think Trump’s problem is he isn’t letting enough Muslims immigrate. I don’t think that is going to work out very well for the Democrats.

      1. That wild be the ‘reality’ problem that often intrudes into prog’s policies and beliefs.

  27. I am not even sure it was a clusterfuck.

    The part about green card holders was a clusterfuck.

    And- I cannot help wondering if this was an instance of bureaucrats and career govt employees saying, “We don’t approve of this new rule, so we’re going to enforce the shit out of it and apply it to everybody we can, just to prove what a shitty idea it was.”

    1. The thinking behind enforcing it on green card holders was as follows. The idea was to make Green Card holders stay in the country. If they stay in the country, then they can’t go back over and radicalize or get training if they already are. If you stop green card holders from traveling, it makes recruiting and training a lot harder. ISIS targets green card holders for recruitment because they already have the ability to travel into and out of the country. Taking that ability away would reduce the recruiting pool to citizens only.

      You can disagree with that thinking. But they didn’t enforce it on green card holders by accident. They had a plan and meant to do it.

      1. Regardless of that idiocy, the court ruling that foriegn nationals living in other countries now have due process rights should be a clusterfuck. Did you know that Trump is now violating the due process rights of billions of people? I think America needs to go on a crusade…I mean mission…over to the Middle East so we can enforce those rights on soverign nations against their will.

        This is the house that’s being built. I’m pretty sure nothing can be done to stop it, but we’ll see I suppose.

  28. Can Trump supporters make a convincing case against him?

    I don’t know too many who haven’t. Wide swathes of present Trump supporters were opposed to him the primaries, yet among ground level Republicans his present approval ratings belay that fact.

    1. It really isn’t a matter of making cases for or against the MAN. It’s a matter of making individual cases against his POLICIES. I like a lot of what he is doing, but certainly not everything. I think at the end of his term he will be regarded by most libertarians as a president they could at least live with, and maybe even as one who moved the ball in the right direction.

      Either way, to paraphrase the great, and under appreciated Colin Baker, Trump is the President, whether you like it, or not.

      1. “It really isn’t a matter of making cases for or against the MAN. It’s a matter of making individual cases against his POLICIES”
        Seeing as President Trump is a holistic package, then you really can’t make an argument for him without making an argument for his policies, even if sooner or later you have to say “The good of X outweights the bad of Y”. You don’t get to vote for 3/4s or 7/8ths of a man, you vote for the package deal.

        1. I think you miss the point. Even if you can’t vote for 3/4s or 7/8 ths of the guy, you still hold the right to call him on the things you don’t agree with him on.Progressives tend to be the ones that are all or nothing about their god-kings (see Obama, Clinton).

  29. ?Hint: the risk that any of the folks stopped by Trump’s EO were going to kill anyone in a terrorist act is way lower then 2%.

    I was merely repeating an argument I have heard. I do not waste my time worrying about either terrorists or lethal M.

  30. WTF, skwerlz?

    Are hard shelled chocolate candies on a “proscribed references” list?

  31. M

  32. Weird.

    1. I think the problem’s with an ampersand in the middle of a word. Let me try “M & M”s.

    2. My guess is that the HTML checker plugin for this site interprets the ampersand as a concatenator/special character, and if it is not properly escaped, causes stuff to vanish in thin air.

  33. I guess by now I count as a Trumpeteer, so here goes:

    His background as an urban large-scale real estate developer would make it difficult for him to conceive of business in a generally laissez-faire environment, since everything he’s used to requires a good deal of specific gov’t cooper’n, as via permitting, condemn’n, & tax abatement.

    He hasn’t repeated his pro-legaliz’n sentiment re narcotics in the past few yrs., & when you consider that those statements had been so prominently associated w him for decades, his current silence on the issue seems to indicate a reversal. When such reversals occur, they tend to indicate not mere repudiation, but new opposition.

    His only recent statements re freedom of communication also imply only opposition.

    1. He hasn’t repeated his pro-legaliz’n sentiment re narcotics in the past few yrs., & when you consider that those statements had been so prominently associated w him for decades, his current silence on the issue seems to indicate a reversal.

      Or expediency.

  34. The problem with making the argument for the other side is that the other side has to have an argument first. Trump has one, and only one, guiding principle: “Do what is best for Trump, and don’t ask questions.”

    I can understand the motivations behind Progressive policies even while recognizing that they are financially disastrous. I can empathize with religious conservatives’ desire to maintain an orderly society even while calling out that it results in bigotry against people who aren’t the same as they are. These are people who are following a moral compass, however misguided it is. But Trump? Trump doesn’t have a compass. His world doesn’t even have a magnetic north. It’s just Trump, Trump, Trump, all the way down.

    1. America First isn’t complicated.

  35. RE: Flipping the Script: The Case for Trump
    In the spirit of inquiry.

    As much as I can’t stand Trump the Grump, he would get some respect from me if he would lower (better yet, eliminate) the federal income tax. Another way to improve the economy would be to lower the corporate tax down to two or three percent. I wonder if this self-proclaimed capitalist is wise or brave enough to do even one of these ideas.
    I seriously doubt it.

    1. He will lower the federal income tax. And the deficits will balloon. And like a true Republican you’ll suddenly forget that the national debt matters.
      Start calling for spending cuts now*

      *military spending, Medicare not to be touched

      1. Amazingly, when taxes go down revenue goes up. Up until a certain point, that is.

  36. I think the real question is if Trump is going to be able negotiate foreign relations better than a masturbating bear while disassembling NATO. My money is on the masturbating bear. Best to close the borders, and make room for the masturbating bear. Nuking Iran will be very, very, very great. Believe me.

  37. Some cognitive bias is formed from years of experience with facts. Other cognitive bias seems to be totally void of any factual base what-so-ever.

  38. This is a truly insightful article. We all have spare or emergency tires on our cars. We do not EXPECT a flat but we take the precaution.

    The FACT that the word “Muslim” does not appear in Trump’s PO yet the press associates those two demonstrates that the media KNOWS the source of the terror. THEY made the leap. That means they KNOW. What real harm is done by a DELAY? Trump did NOT ban all Muslims forever. That is the implication of the protesters.

    1. WHAT are you SURE i cant really TELL if you’re SERIOUS

      1. Well, 85% of the Muslim world aren’t from those 7 countries so how is it a Muslim ban is the real question.

  39. “perhaps we should worry about the historic mission of the United States of America. That’s where the real problem lies.”

    Would that it were so. No need to worry about the historic mission of the United States of America. It’s over, and the chickens are coming home to roast.

    1. . . . the chickens are coming home to roast.

      Specifically, they’re headed for KFC.

  40. The parallel to immigrants and refugees should be obvious.

    Even when Reason “tries” to make a go at an article supporting Trump, they fail.

    Fundamental difference between Progs retarding science, and Trump opposing open borders. The Progs are limiting the rights of citizens, Trump is refusing to grant a boon to aliens.

    Government of, by, and for the people? The people referred to are the citizens of the country, not everyone in the universe.

    I can see that the anarchists at Reason don’t accept this, seeing all government as invalid (queue Imagine on sound track), but they could at least acknowledge the ideological basis of what everyone else believes.

    1. I believe you’re a con retard. I suggest you go backbackbackdavis to the Federalist.

  41. The democrat socialist snowflake chicken hawks are butt hurt because their candidate, Hillary Clinton the vicious war monger, lost to Trump and is not able to use her ‘smart power’ to invade nations that are not a threat to the USA.

    1. “The democrat socialist snowflake chicken hawks are butt hurt because their candidate,”

      You think that it was socialists who came up with the billion + $US that allowed Clinton to do her thing?

      1. you’d be surprised how much money unions like NEA, SEIU and AFSCME extort from the productive classes!

        1. You’d be even more surprised how little the unions get from their generous donations.

  42. Finally, a ‘on the other hand’ article on Trump.

    There’s so much pant shitting going on it’s a miracle stores haven’t run out of Huggies.

  43. Wow, took three weeks, but finally. Reason.com finally came through with their overt support of Drumpf

  44. this must not have been very good because no one peeped a word about it yet

  45. Just look at Fukushima. Ergo, the potential for a calamity of historic proportions argues against permitting even a minuscule probability.

    Quit reading right here.

  46. While it’s fair to quibble over his selection of countries or the legal technicalities of the measure, nobody should oppose its core assumptions…

    I oppose its core assumptions. Who gets to decide who is denied their basic human right to travel freely, and on what basis? Collective guilt? What happened to due process? A pro-liberty government doesn’t only constrain the government when dealing with its own citizens, but in dealing with anyone at all. The Bill of Rights doesn’t have a citizenship test — it limits the government from taking aggressive action against anyone without due process.

  47. Overall, a good exercise (writing a pro-Trump article by an anti-Trump writer), but far from the best libertarian-leaning case that could be made for Trump.

    What about deregulating business? Pushing for tax cuts? Taking a pro-business tone (except of course on trade) and meeting with CEOs for their input, instead of putting new constraints on them like the previous president?

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