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Free Minds & Free Markets

Admit It. You Just Want Your Own Dictator

Calls for "leadership" are unsavory, dangerous, and unAmerican.

This incessant clamoring by voters and punditry for better "leaders" and more "leadership" is one of the most unsavory, dangerous and un-American tendencies in political discourse.

When Donald Trump was asked last week by Joe Scarborough what he made of an endorsement from Vladimir Putin—a thug who's probably murdered journalists and political opponents and more—the GOP presidential front-runner responded, "He's running his country, and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country." Then he offered an incredibly dumb moral equivalency about how the United States also does "plenty of killing."

There was plenty of well-earned criticism directed at Trump's comments. Most commenters were offended not because the Russians are being aggressively "led," mind you, but because Putin does things we don't approve of.

Perhaps if the Russian strongman used his muscle to tackle global warming as the Chinese Communists are pretending to do, The New York Times' editorial page would praise him for his forethought and willingness to act. If Putin banned protests aimed at abortion clinics instead of Pussy Riot, how many progressives would cheer him?

In contemporary American parlance—and maybe it's always been this way—a "leader" typically describes someone who will aggressively push your preferred policies. How much do Americans really care about what this aggressiveness entails?

Trump's entire case, for instance, is propelled by the notion that a single (self-identified) competent, a strong-willed president, without any perceptible deference to the foundational ideals of the nation, will be able to smash any cultural or political obstacles standing in the way of Making America Great Again.

But this is certainly not the first time we've seen voters adopt a cultish reverence for a strong-willed presidential candidate without any perceptible deference to the foundational ideals of the country whose personal charisma was supposed to shatter obstacles standing in the way of making America great again. Many of the same people anxious about the authoritarian overtones of Trump's appeal were unconcerned about the intense adulation that adoring crowds showered on Barack Obama in 2008, though the spectacle featured similarly troubling signs—the iconography, the messianic messaging and the implausible promises of government-produced comfort and safety. Just as President Trump fans will judge every person on how nice or mean he or she is to Trump, so, too, those rooting against Obama were immediately branded unpatriotic or racist.

Obama's inevitable failure to live up to the hype has had many repercussions—and none of them healthy.

One: Liberal hypocrites, who only a few years ago were lamenting how W.'s abuses had destroyed the republic, now justify Obama's numerous executive overreaches because they correspond with liberal political aims. Obama's argument—and, thus, the contention of his fans—seems to pivot on the notion that the president has a moral imperative to act on his favored policies because the lawmaking branch of government refuses to do so. That is weird. This reasoning will almost certainly be modus operandi for presidents unable to push through their own agendas—which, considering where the country is headed, will be every president.

Two: Other liberals (and maybe many of the same ones) argue that Obama hasn't done enough with his power—that the president is unwilling to lead—even if there are procedural or constitutional barriers for him to achieve what they demand. Too many Americans seem to believe that presidents can make laws if they fight hard enough, and these people now view checks and balances as antiquated and unnecessary impediments to progress.

Three: Many onetime small-government conservatives, frustrated with the president's success and the impotence and corruption of their party (often a legitimate complaint but often an overestimation of what politicians can accomplish), are interested in finding their own Obama—or what they imagine Obama is, which is to say, a dictator.
Not that this fetishizing of leadership is confined to the progressive left or the conservative right. In fact, more than anyone in American discourse, the self-styled moderate pundit loves to talk about leadership. It would be a full-time job cataloging how often a person will read about the nation's dearth of genuine leadership—which is, in essence, a call to ignore the democratic forces that make truly free governing messy and uncomfortable. There are entire conferences teeming with D.C. technocrats trying to figure out how proles can be led to preferred outcomes and decisions. The moderates seem to believe that organic disagreements can be smoothed over by a smart speech or two, and they always mythologize about the political leadership of the past.

For many, it's always the worst of times and we're always in need of the greatest of leaders. It's worth mentioning that Putin was democratically elected, with polls showing his approval rating usually somewhere in the 80s. Unity! Regrettably, sometimes I think that's how unity would look here, as well. We, on the other hand, have disparate forces with an array of concerns, outlooks and conflicting worldviews. This is why we might be thankful that federalism and individual freedom, often scoffed at, are at the heart of the American founding.

"There is danger from all men," wrote John Adams in what may be the most genuinely conservative of all positions. Now, obviously, you have to have a certain skill set to bring people to some consensus, to make decisions about war and to administrate such a massive body as our government. But the president is not your savior. A person empowered to make everything great also has the power to make everything horrible. If a president alone can transform America, then something has gone terribly wrong with the system.

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  • Dangerous Buffoon||

    Well David, if you don't have a government of laws, you get one of men. Enjoy the ride.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Well said.

  • seanmom||

    Please tell me you are joking when you say "I am not sure what you mean by a government of laws." Or tell me you are still in high school. Or that you don't intend to vote. If the schools are no longer teaching that "we are a government of laws, not of men," we are doomed. It means that the United States--unique among all nations at the time of the Founding--would be a place where the rich and the highborn would not have their own set of rules, that no man would be above the law, that the Constitution and the laws made by Congress under it would apply to every man, from the president to the peasant. This is a fundamental concept of the American Republic, and if it is ignored--as I fear it soon will be--we will soon be no more free than we were in 1775.

    God help us.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    “God help us.”

    Oh, the irony.

  • Libertarius||

    You are confused because your mind is corrupted with the premise of subjectivism. Limited government is a government that is delineated by objective laws, the fact that these laws are created by men does not make it a free-for-all of interpretations and whims.

  • aldousd666||

    Of course there is always some interpretation of a law. That's why we have courts. However, the 'objectivist' vs 'subjectivist' view of criminality is that roughly like this: objectivists think the severity of the harm is all that matters with regard to a crime and should be the sole determining factor in administration of punishment, whereas 'subjectivists' (using the terminology supplied by the GP) are actually more focused on the culpability of a criminal based on the state of mind they had at the time. The objectivist variety, supposedly, allows one to know if they would be committing a crime, before they commit said act, regardless of what they were thinking about it, and to know in advance exactly what the punishment should be. The latter, subjectivist, means that the person doing the interpreting also has to interpret your state of mind at the time, so you technically can't know ahead of time if what you did was wrong until you do it and come under scrutiny for it, and even if you do, the punishment will depend not on what you were even really actually thinking or intending, but what the interpreter supposes you were. This of course is making a lot of assumptions on both sides, neither of which are completely air tight in real life. (disclaimer: I am not an objectivist, but I do agree with a lot of what they say a lot of the time.)

  • seanmom||

    I responded to the wrong post above and cannot find a way to delete it, so I am repeating it here, where I meant it to be anyway, so it is not missed. Sorry about that.

    Please tell me you are joking when you say "I am not sure what you mean by a government of laws." Or tell me you are still in high school. Or that you don't intend to vote. If the schools are no longer teaching that "we are a government of laws, not of men," we are doomed. It means that the United States--unique among all nations at the time of the Founding--would be a place where the rich and the highborn would not have their own set of rules, that no man would be above the law, that the Constitution and the laws made by Congress under it would apply to every man, from the president to the peasant. This is a fundamental concept of the American Republic, and if it is ignored--as I fear it soon will be--we will soon be no more free than we were in 1775.

  • Tejicano||

    Color me overly hopeful, in a somewhat dark way, but I would gather that many of the founding fathers were figuring that the second amendment would at least keep the necessary tools in the hands of the populace to allow them to re-start the process when it got too far off track. I suppose their expectations may have been too high.

  • Scalro Humillimus||

    I want a pony, a Red Ryder BB gun and a hummer.

  • Ted S.||

    *Hums "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"*

    Oh, you don't mean that kind of hummer.

  • pronomian||

    You'll put your eye out!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Or hers.

  • XM||

    Shoot your eyes out

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Of course people clamor for a leader -- it's the natural outcome of having any monopolistic government. It can only be a monopoly by being coercive and not letting people opt out. Most people might have strong opinions on how other people should behave, and says things like "there oughta be a law", but when push comes to shove, we'd most of us just rather get on with our own lives than waste the time and effort in controlling other people. But the more a monopolistic coercive government interferes in our lives and forces us to divert our attention to staving off its worst affects, the more important it becomes for us to waste time and effort in influencing that government in our own favor before others do unto us whatever we don't want.

    It's fucking human nature. We might be willing to leave others alone if we had the choice, but when it's us fucking over them or them fucking over us, there's not a chance in hell we will meekly turn the other cheek, and so you end up with everyone clamoring for the coercive government to coerce others, not us.

    Of course coercive government requires dictators. We're getting them good and hard.

  • contrarian||

    Never heard a game theory take on coercive democratic government... you're on to something.

  • Harun||

    You may not be interested in government, but its interested in you.

    Also explains the rush to get stuff passed - hurry! hurry! before people decide its not a good idea.

  • lgk27||

    Government is by its nature and purpose, monopolistic and coercive. People want that way as it also brings peace, certainty, law and order. People want a government that will coerce criminals into prison. People want a government that will coerce businesses to sell them products that work as promised. People want a government that will coerce manufacturers to make products that will not poison or otherwise kill them.

    Otherwise you will have to get a gun and chase down the people who robbed you who probably have guns of their own and will shoot back at you. Otherwise you will have to get a gun and order the business to give back your money for a defective product. This assumes they do not have their security guards shoot you dead first. Otherwise you would have to get a gun and go to the factory and shoot the people who put lead paint on your child's toy that poisoned him.

    There are simply too many cases where it is better to have the government do the coercing for you when something generally considered wrong is done. Otherwise we would all spend all out time hunting own people to kill ourselves and more likely getting killed first.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Fuck off, slaver....after watching Gov operate for 6 decades it does nothing well...zip...nada...zilch. So no, it's not better for them to have their hand in what we do.

    Here is a test...name for us one thing government does well. I'll be waiting.....

  • lgk27||

    There is nothing like an obscenity to make it clear that you know you have lost the argument totally and have no rational reply.

  • ||

    Hmmm. So, you can't think of anything.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hey Man… I have an example of when Government Almighty protects us all, and we’d all be helpless w/o said Government Almighty!

    Please look up “lung flute” (Google it) or use that (“lung flute”) as a search string on the web site www.churchofSQRLS.com

    It’s about the same as a simple child’s-toy flute, but… Prescription required!!! If the Government Almighty’s FDA didn’t protect us all from abusing lung flutes (w/o a physician’s approval), WHAT or WHO in the Name of Sacred Government Almighty would PROTECT us all?!?!?!

  • dan'o en barrel||

    (posted something similar a year ago or so) My wife uses supplemental o2 24/7. She's also severely immuno-compromised, so any infection is a potential life threat. A few years ago she accidentally dropped her nasal cannula into the wet gutter when exiting our car. Its basically impossible to sterilize the inside of the tubing, but thankfully there was a medical supply store within a couple blocks. They couldn't sell us a new cannula without a physical prescription, though they admitted that she obviously had a prescribing pulminologist since she was connected to a $5,000 portable o2 concentrator. Our plans for the day were canceled and I drove home with one hand on the wheel, the other trying to help balance the heavy concentrator on my wife's lap as she attempted to breathe from the nozzle.

    Such prescription laws protect the interests of the AMA at the expense of patients.

  • buybuydandavis||

    *All* prescription drug laws and medical licensing laws protect the AMA at the expense of the consumer.

    The medical Mafia is second only to the government itself is shaking down the tax cattle.

  • Sevo||

    lgk27|12.25.15 @ 7:53PM|#
    "Otherwise you will have to get a gun and chase down the people who robbed you who probably have guns of their own and will shoot back at you."

    You are one imbecilic asshole.

  • lgk27||

    Your reply shows you are the imbecilic asshole.

  • Win Bear||

    I don't know whether you are "imbecilic" or an "asshole", but you're certainly quite ignorant and not very smart, given the ludicrous false dichotomies you use as an attempt at a logical argument.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    no you are

  • Win Bear||

    Otherwise you will have to get a gun and chase down the people who robbed you who probably have guns of their own and will shoot back at you. Otherwise you will have to get a gun and order the business to give back your money for a defective product. Otherwise you would have to get a gun and go to the factory and shoot the people who put lead paint on your child's toy that poisoned him.

    That's a false dichotomy. The two options are not government monopoly on power and coercion vs. everyone for himself with his own gun. A libertarian world would still have something like "police", "courts", and "law enforcement", but it would be private and voluntary, not subject to lobbying or mob rule.

    In fact, historically, these kinds of institutions have operated successfully many times through human history, they just got thrown under the bus as part of building large, centralized nation states.

  • PaulW||

    Is Igk27 a known troll?

    Seems to be a decent argument, for an idiot. But seems like he is an idiot who is trying to make a coherent argument. Don't see the point in just calling him an imbecile, so thanks for the reasoned response Win Bear.

    I was going to write something similar. I don't get why we let people get away with the argument that it is either Authoritarianism or Chaos. It does seem to be entirely disingenuous because it is so moronic, but I think we should be pointing out why, because maybe the person isn't being disingenuous. BUT when the guy can't differentiate between coercion and justice, maybe he does deserve to be called an imbecile.

    We have hundreds of years of evidence that free markets coupled with a form of government that protects liberty, including property, is by far the most successful from a human progress standpoint. The problem seems to be that government has given itself a bad name (deservedly) but we also have to understand that we libertarians do want a form of government, just not one that is coercive, but instead, based upon justice.

  • Paul GL||

    This is an excellent show case of the mindset people acquire in public school. The government is killing and coercing FOR ME! Its a selfless thing this government. Endless power held in the hands of someone endlessly responsible.

    Meanwhile far away from the suburban domicile of lgh27 where he may be found singing "Govmint loves me this I know because everyone tells me so!" the government is ensuring peace by blowing up an afghan village and certainty by borrowing more money in your name that is has no plans to pay back. It is ensuring law an order by proffering Hilary Clinton as the most likely presidential candidate while strangling some black guy in front of a public who will immediately retroactively try to figure out how articulate that he deserved it. ( If you ever want to find slavers saying out of this world things, NRO is a gold mine)

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ack-dunphy

  • RickC||

    "As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious. To know this, it is hardly necessary to examine what transpires in the French and English legislatures; merely to understand the issue is to know the answer." - Frederic Bastiat, The Law

    He called it over 150 years ago.

  • PaulW||

  • PaulW||

    Fucking squirrelz.

    Love Bastiat.

    Someone gave me shit about not caring about the Beirut bombings as much as I did the Paris bombings. I told them Beirut didn't give me Bastiat. I got a blank stare.

  • CZmacure||

    "LET'S GET A MAN WHO CAN MAKE A PLAN WORK!"

    http://libertyiq.org/media/The.....les/09.jpg

    What follows, of course...

    http://libertyiq.org/media/The.....les/10.jpg

  • Suicidy||

    "LET'S GET A MAN WHO CAN MAKE A PLAN WORK!"

    Baldrick?

  • CptNerd||

    I would prefer a "dictator" like Calvin Coolidge.

  • EasyEight||

    I agree with what Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair said. And I would remind the author that the "progressives" who supported Obama went deep into creepy Dear Leader territory and desire the Strong Man to lead them...which, simply put is Un-American from a cultural and historical standpoint. So some percentage of any group of people are quite happy to unburden themselves from decision making and want to be led, driven to be led. I will never understand that impulse -- is it hardwired in our DNA from eons of evolution as pack animals, to follow the Alphas, and Self Rule in the libertarian sense is overlaid upon that impulse by the mind and by considered will?

    Well produced Obama Dear Leader kids video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtGrp5MbzAI

    Hollywood pledging personal allegiance to Obama:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51kAw4OTlA0

  • lgk27||

    Human have a hardwired DNA function to defer to authority. That has been proven by studies of the Holocaust death camp guards and experiments such as Dr. Philip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment. However these studies also show that people suffer psychologically when they are order to do things that they know are wrong and a few will outright refuse to obey orders. So with humans DNA is not destiny.

    DNA is less likely to become destiny in an open society. When there is a free exchange of ideas, the few who do not defer to authority have a chance to convince others to not defer and even to resist. The result is possible rebellion to overthrown the authority or to secede. That is probably why democracies are more successful than all other forms of governments. They have bigger economies. They provide a better standard of living. And they win the wars despite the fact that dictatorships often field better armies. Bad leaders tend to get replaced.

    So while Obama may try to become Fearless Leader and many will support his ambition, there are also many more who will resist. The evidence is in the gradual loss of Congress under his leadership.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Maybe pussies like you....not so much here in Montana. You don't know what the fuck you are talking about and if that's your world you can have it. Try to bring it to my turf it won't end well for you and your sycophants.

  • lgk27||

    If you do not know what I am talking about you clearly know nothing. That must come from living in Montana.

  • Win Bear||

    I know enough about what you're talking about to know that your knowledge of it is superficial and your interpretation of those results is bogus.

  • Sevo||

    lgk27|12.25.15 @ 7:35PM|#
    "Human have a hardwired DNA function to defer to authority."

    You are one imbecilic asshole.

  • lgk27||

    Once again you show by your reply that you are the imbecilic asshole.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    "I know you are but what am I" isn't exactly an erudite reply.

  • Win Bear||

    Human have a hardwired DNA function to defer to authority. That has been proven by studies of the Holocaust death camp guards and experiments such as Dr. Philip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment. [...] DNA is less likely to become destiny in an open society. When there is a free exchange of ideas, the few who do not defer to authority have a chance to convince others to not defer and even to resist.

    That drivel and collection of platitudes isn't even wrong, it is meaningless.

  • soflarider||

    Hence the need for big government types to eliminate the competition.

  • snoopdougg||

    EXCELLENT!!!!!!

    I would add 2 points.

    1) During a debate in 2000, GW Bush said *one thing* about Jesus *one time*. Based just a few words and just a few words alone, millions of totally undiscerning Christians followed him slavishly for the next 8 years, even though there was little, if anything, Christian about his presidency. The Obama cult is nothing new.

    2) Speaking of Christianity, this article reminds me of the story in I Samuel 8:4-20. The people begged God for an earthly king. God said, in effect, I well let you have a king ... but you'll be sorry you ever asked.

  • jgress||

    Spot on, and very apt biblical reference.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Samuel was just pissed that the Israelites were tired of the Levite priest class running the show. So he anoints a minor noble from the lowest tribe in Israel to serve as his puppet, and when Saul didn't play along, he incited a coup by anointing a shepherd boy (again, someone he thought would be easy to manipulate) from the most powerful tribe in Israel.

  • block30||

    "But the president is not your savior. A person empowered to make everything great also has the power to make everything horrible. If a president alone can transform America, then something has gone terribly wrong with the system."

    A thousand times this! Excellent article! And the leftys and the rightys are too ensconced in their own agendas and hypocrisy to care.

  • block30||

    Lefties, righties? Whatever it is, forgive me!

  • Harun||

    I doubt they will even get the transformation they wish.

  • Suicidy||

    But they might get the transformation it deserves?

  • Harun||

    I just read the Stossel piece on political guardrails, and I think I know what's going on.

    People are now attracted to leaders who promise results, without Congress, etc., because there is a vague understanding that something is broken, government is ineffective, and thus they need a "strong leader."

    I suggest that people have a vague angst that government now exists mainly for itself and doesn't deliver much in actual services. The VA can't fire anyone, still pays bonuses, and let's people die. Or we fund education to the hilt, and get SJW by the bushelful for our harvest. From the left, they might say that they nationalized student loans, taking them from the evil bankers, and yet, kids still have to borrow at sky-high rates.

    My theory is that government probably already has done all the low-hanging fruit, and now the law of bureaucracy, PC, and having enough voters as dependents means that the system can't reform or change. Others call it kludgeacracy.

    Our body politic is insulin resistant, but we keep shoving sugar into our mouths trying to get energy. Thus the attraction of dictator.

  • Harun||

    You can see the with the immigration issue.

    One reason its such an issue is that government just sorta declined to do its job and deport illegals for several decades.

    People laugh at the wall, but San Diego has a wall, because too many illegals were running through backyards and onto freeways.

    Its so bad now that illegals call the court papers that tell them to appear at such and such court as "permisos"

    Doesn't that seem weird? As if the system is running backwards?

    Hey I got a ticket and a court summons and so I have a driving permit!

    I'm sure there are tons of other examples.

  • lgk27||

    When polls from 20, 30 or even 40 years ago are compared to polls today, people back then believed much more so than today that government got things done. The 50s and 60s were golden eras of prosperity and low crime rates. Politicians were generally trusted. The body politics has not gotten more insulin resistant. It has gotten out of shape and become diabetic. That is where the insulin resistance come from, an unhealthy body politics. Why this came to be is the reason there is now a great divide between Democrats and Republicans. Back in the 50s the complaint was there was really no difference between the two parties. Now there is a huge difference as the parties have moved far apart on issues such as the military, welfare, alternate versus traditional family values, etc.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    You fail to realize that 40 years ago government didn't have its nose in every god damn thing people did.

    And no, on the federal level there is no difference whether D or R. The millions of entrenched, unaccountable bureaucrats remain no matter which team rules the roost

  • CptNerd||

    This is what I've been saying for years, it's not the Legislative Branch that's the main problem, it's the uncontrolled growth of the Executive, with unelected bureaucracies passing "regulations" that have the force of law, and which increasingly work for the betterment of selected industries and corporations. Why do we need all these regulations, and why do we need to arm the bureaucracies to enforce them?

  • jgress||

    I would say all three branches of government are at fault. The problem is that there are no checks on the federal government as a whole, even if each branch checks each other. Just look at the number of No votes Ron Paul entered: Congress is quite capable of ignoring Constitutional restraint on its own.

  • Sevo||

    lgk27|12.25.15 @ 8:03PM|#
    "When polls from 20, 30 or even 40 years ago..."

    You are one imbecilic asshole.
    Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

  • lgk27||

    Yet a third comment showing you are the imbecilic asshole.

  • Win Bear||

    The 50s and 60s were golden eras of prosperity and low crime rates.

    Prosperity? No. People in the 1950's and 1960's lived very poor lives compared to people today. People were doing well relative to the rest of the world because all the other great nations had fallen, but that couldn't last.

    Crime rates in the 1950's and 1960's weren't particularly low; rather, crime rates in the 1970s-2000s were abnormally high by historical standards, for a variety of reasons (war on drugs, war on poverty, leaded gasoline, demographics, etc.).

    Now there is a huge difference as the parties have moved far apart on issues such as the military, welfare, alternate versus traditional family values, etc.

    In practice, there seems to be little difference, probably less than in the 1960's.

    I'm sorry, but post after post you keep demonstrating that your understanding of history, science, and economics is extremely superficial and faulty.

  • seanmom||

    How is leaded gasoline related to crime? That sounds like an episode of Batman66.

  • Suicidy||

    Batman Vs. The Lead King?

  • CZmacure||

  • CZmacure||

    Of course, due to the awesome reason commenting system, you will probably never read my reply.

  • SIV||

    The art of trolling lies in subtlety and plausibility. FAIL

  • Mike1776||

    Great article.

  • Contrarian P||

    Anybody have the mandatory Loki clip?

  • Michael Price||

  • buybuydandavis||

    Nice, thank you. I saved that to my email links for reuse.

  • lgk27||

    The inherent danger in democracy is demagoguery. Strong leadership is NOT demagoguery but demagoguery can be mistaken for strong leadership.

    Obama has proven himself to be a demagogue. He spoke all the right words to get elected and re-elected but has failed to provide the needed leadership to run the country. The evidence is the gradual loss of Congress as people lost faith in his leadership. Now he attempts to rule by executive orders fighting the system of checks and balances in the Constitution intended to limit demagogues who managed to get into power.

    Trump definitely acts like a demagogue but whether he is one will depend on how he performs IF he is elected. Both politics and business is about the art of the deal. However in the business, the deals are made with people outside the company while in politics the deals are made with people inside the government. Trump will be no more than a demagogue if he cannot understand that difference.

  • Slim Strontem||

    Demagoguery is a necessary function of democracy. In fact, as much as a republic, or any other form, seems to act with populism, it is demagoguery in action--Blatant or subtle.

  • lgk27||

    Demagoguery is as necessary as cancer. It is democracy gone amok just as cancer is normal cell reproduction gone amok.

    Populism is not demagoguery. Populism is a movement among the general population that arises naturally. Demagogues will take advantage of populist movements but they do not create them. Populist movements reflect actual concerns of the people on actual problems and generally arise from problems that the government has failed to solve.

  • CZmacure||

    When looked at across entire animal populations, cancer may very well be "necessary" to avoid animals living too long?

    (not sure this is much of a comment, but fwiw, lol!)

  • Sevo||

    lgk27|12.25.15 @ 8:11PM|#
    "...generally arise from problems that the government has failed to solve."

    Which the government has no business trying to solve.

  • Win Bear||

    It is democracy gone amok just as cancer is normal cell reproduction gone amok.

    The pseudo-science is strong with this one.

  • Win Bear||

    The inherent danger in democracy is demagoguery. Strong leadership is NOT demagoguery but demagoguery can be mistaken for strong leadership.

    More importantly, you can apparently fool yourself into believing that platitudes amount to an argument.

  • CZmacure||

    24 comments and nobody mentions this "sentence" of non-parsing writer/editor failure?

    "But this is certainly not the first time we've seen voters adopt a cultish reverence for a strong-willed presidential candidate without any perceptible deference to the foundational ideals of the country whose personal charisma was supposed to shatter obstacles standing in the way of making America great again. "

    English, do you write it?

  • jgress||

    It's grammatical to me. Perhaps you were tripped up by the lack of comma before "whose"? That is the only error I can find.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Same for me.

  • Kuwanki||

    You know what? This would have been a GREAT article if it were written by Gillespie. Obviously, it would have interfered with him endorsing Hillary a few months down the line. And it would have been very hard to write this article and still hope for a cabinet post in Hillary's administration, like secretary of token libertarianism, or secretary of cool black leather jackets, or maybe secretary of changing thousands of libertarians into lemmings and leading them off a cliff. When, exactly, will he endorse Hillary? It will be so much fun!

  • Sevo||

    Kuwanki|12.26.15 @ 12:01AM|#
    "You know what? This would have been a GREAT article if it were written by Gillespie. Obviously, it would have interfered with him endorsing Hillary a few months down the line."

    New handle there, and obviously a so-con. Any evidence anyone here (outside of turd) *will* endorse HRC? or just your fantasies?

  • CZmacure||

    You know who else is going to endorse Hillary... ?

    ... Your Mom.

  • ztnjpv||

    I say this all the time. So glad to see it expressed in long form. Made my day.

  • LemonMender||

    Yesterday I was at a gathering with some (mostly leftist) friends. One of them is just as hard-core libertarian as I am. They were all ragging on Trump’s followers, and then I observed that the appeal of Trump for those on the right is pretty much the same as the appear of Obama for those on the left. You could have heard a pin drop. And then one of my friends, who is normally pretty bright, told me it was different because Obama got a lot of Good Things done and how, when he was elected, it all felt “different”. I decided not to alienate everyone on Christmas by mentioning how nicely he had just demonstrated my point.

  • PaulW||

    Do what I do: If you are a dumbass who also can't handle differing opinions, you're not worth being my friend.

    Makes life much easier.

  • onebornfree||

    "You,Trump,Hitlary, Vs "Dictator Syndrome" "

    http://onebornfree-mythbusters.....drome.html

    Regards, onebornfree.

  • See Double You||

    Excellent piece, Harsanyi.

  • seanmom||

    I assume it goes without saying that Trump is the next step in the devolution of the Republic.

    A populist tyrant who cares nothing for the law, a strongman with no understanding of the Constitution and no intent to learn. The second overtly "pen and phone" presidency awaits.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I like him more than our current elitist tyrant.

  • antodav||

    If you think about it, anarchy is essentially every individual citizen becoming a dictator onto him or herself. So really, in a way, Libertarians desire dictatorship as much as Democrats or Republicans do. That's a bit of a mindfrak…

  • buybuydandavis||

    "In contemporary American parlance—and maybe it's always been this way—a "leader" typically describes someone who will aggressively push your preferred policies."

    What we're seeing with Trump is the Republican base getting off the Rule of Law, and onto "Our Guy for Us". It was inevitable, particularly with this completely lawless administration just stuffing whatever it wanted down the throats of Americans, while the IRS attacked this regime's political opponents, and then pissed in the face of Congressional oversight when caught. I think Lovely Lois got a fully paid 3 year vacation to the tune of half a million when she would have been swinging from a rope in a country with the rule of law.

    I'm not enthusiastic about Der Trumper, but he at least is not out to destroy the US. I'm tired of the one way rule of law where Progressives break the law and get away with it most times, while Libertarians and Republicans are content to play by the rules, ensuring a continual drift toward Progressive Power. One way rule of law is *submission*.

    Vote Woodchipper 2016
    If not Now, When?

  • Hand Surgeon||

    He anoints a minor noble from the lowest tribe in Israel to serve as his puppet, and when Saul didn't play along.

  • jeffm8||

    Good piece, however, I'd like to know how you came to the conclusion that Obama uses executive overreach. As he has the fewest executive orders in a 100 years.

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