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Donald Trump and the Libertarian Future

We need a new, individualized operating system for politics and it will happen on the new president's watch, whether he wants it or not.

Nick Gillespie, Time, ReasonNick Gillespie, Time, ReasonDonald Trump is nobody's idea of a libertarian but his presidency provides a tremendous opportunity to advance libertarian policies, outcomes, and aspirations in our politics and broader culture. Those of us who believe in reducing the size, scope, and spending of the federal government and expanding the autonomy, opportunities, and ability of people to live however they choose should welcome the Trump era. That's not because of the new president's agenda but because he enters office as the man who will inevitably close out a failing 20th-century model of governance.

Liberal, conservative, libertarian: We all understand that whatever the merits of the great political, economic, and cultural institutions of the last 70 years—the welfare state built on unsustainable entitlement spending; a military that spends more and more and succeeds less and less; the giant corporations (ATT, IBM, General Motors) that were "beyond" market forces until they weren't; rigid social conventions that sorted people into stultifying binaries (black and white, male and female, straight and mentally ill)—these are everywhere in ruins or retreat.

The taxi cab—a paradigmatic blending of private enterprise and state power in a system that increasingly serves no one well—is replaced by ride-sharing services that are endlessly innovative, safer, and self-regulating. Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson's campaign slogan—Uber everything—was the one self-evident truth uttered throughout the 2016 campaign. All aspects of our lives are being remade according to a new, inherently libertarian operating system that empowers individuals and groups to pursue whatever experiments in living they want. As one of us (Nick Gillespie) wrote with Matt Welch in The Declaration of Independents, the loosening of controls in our commercial, cultural, and personal lives has consistently enriched our world. The sharing economy, 3D printing and instantaneous global communication means businesses grow, flourish, adapt, and die in ways that perfectly fulfill Schumpeterian creative destruction. We live in a world where consuming art, music, video, text, and other forms of creative expression is its own form of production and allows us to connect in lateral rather than hierarchical ways. Pernicious racial and ethnic categories persist but they have been mostly supplanted by a tolerance and a level of lived pluralism that was unimaginable even 20 years ago, when less than half of Americans approved of interracial marriages. Politics, Welch and Gillespie wrote, is a lagging indicator of where America is already heading and in many cases has already arrived.

Thus the White House Donald Trump enters and the government he heads is being dragged into the 21st century by forces against which he will ultimately be proven impotent. He famously wants to "make America great again," by which he means to return to the imagined world of his younger years, when the United States could dominate (or pretend to, anyway) the global economy, keep jobs from leaving, and successfully direct foreign affairs from the barrel of a tank or via international accords. That for his entire baby-boomer life the country was rarely "winning" on any of those scores is beside the point to Trump, even as it's important for the rest of us to realize that even as we were "losing" all wars (except the one that mattered most, the Cold War) and losing manufacturing jobs and gaining immigrants, our standards of living increased massively. What Donald Trump fundamentally doesn't understand is that our politics and culture aren't about winning and losing; they are about improving our options, opportunities, and possibilities.

Trump enters the White House with historically low approval ratings. This is not merely his fault by any stretch. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, was similarly distrusted, a reflection of broad loss of faith not in this or that candidate but the entire political system and especially the two major parties, Congress, and most parts of the federal government. Our declining faith and confidence in government are direct results of failures in government to deliver what it promises and, as a majority has long believed, a belief that it is trying to do too much. Trump is coming after not just eight years of an imperial presidency but 16 years of such behavior. For the entirety of the 21st century, the White House has been occupied by men who consistently arrogated more and more power to themselves, often only advancing their complex and self-serving legal arguments in secret or amongst their own advisers.

Trump's bullying personality, seemingly boundless egotism, and personal vindictiveness simply pour gasoline on the fire that is already lit. Serious conservatives and, at least temporarily, many conventional liberals have a heightened appreciation of limiting government power, especially in the executive branch. From secret kill lists to limitless surveillance to an endless list of presidential orders on everything from workplace rules to immigration, Obama "leaves a loaded gun in the Oval Office" for his successor.

The hysterical left, who dream of political concentration camps, and defense hawks, who conflate Putin's beggared Russia with the Soviet Union at its height of power and influence, see Trump as without any redeeming potential. They're wrong, at least from a libertarian angle. He is an iconoclast and has uttered many statements that suggest he may well be interested in smashing idols and the temples that house them. On some specific issues—such as education, where he has fully supported the idea of school choice for K-12 students—his thinking meshes easily with libertarian sensibilities about devolving more power and choice-making to individuals. He is bullish on lowering regulatory burdens pretty much across the board, which is a long overdue gesture that the last Republican president showed no interest in (George W. Bush authored a then-record number of major regulations). Despite his politically timed conversion to an anti-abortion position, he seems to indeed have the "New York values" that Ted Cruz pathetically tried to smear him with. As befits someone born and raised in the unparalleled mixing chamber of New York, he doesn't seem troubled in the least by gays, lesbians, and all forms of alternative lifestyles. On an individual level at least, he seems to connect with people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe.

In many—perhaps most—other instances, of course, Trump is as far from libertarian as possible. On trade and industrial policy, he is awful and his castigation of immigrants and Muslims as sub-human and unworthy of entry into America is morally repulsive. Such views are also at odds with the vast majority of Americans, two-thirds of whom believe illegals should be given a path not just to legal status but to citizenship (even 50 percent of Republicans agree with this).

But the hallmark of Trump's politics is not its populism but its general incoherence. His mind is a landfill of ideas, attitudes, and policies from the postwar era, some of which (such as economic protectionism) that were wildly popular and even somewhat effective (or at least not ruinous) for periods of time. But there is nothing in Trump's grab-bag of discrepant impulses that can or will speak to the future. That's because he doesn't live there, or even in the present. This is a 70-year-old man, after all, who not only dreams of "closing that Internet up in some way" but thinks that Bill Gates is the guy for the job. Throughout the campaign, he would trot out 80-year-old Carl Icahn, whose stock in trade was (often smartly) selling off company assets after hostile takeovers, as his model economic advisor. If nothing, Icahn's time has passed. Trump famously doesn't use email and even his robust, god-awful, and fully enjoyable Twitter account is stuck in a flame-war mode that was tired before Usenet groups stopped being a big deal.

Washington is broke, unpopular, and dysfunctional. The only important question is what will come next. Clearly, we need a government that spends less and does less but also appeals to most Americans of whatever ideological persuasion. We know what sort of operating system has improved our commercial, cultural, and personal lives: It's one that flows directly from libertarian ideas about maximizing options for individuals and the groups they form to discover and follow their bliss. This commercial-cultural-personal system provides basic frameworks and expectations that facilitate the creation of reputation and expectations of being treated with respect and reciprocity. It's built on persuasion not threats or coercion and allows people to turn away and leave if they want to. It neither requires pre-approval nor does it demand forced affirmation (simple tolerance will do). It calls for consensus as rarely as needed and only when absolutely necessary. When there were only three or four channels on TV, conflict over what was "acceptable" was likely inevitable. In a world of infinite choices that cannot be forced on anyone, discussions over what is good or bad take the form of conversation and not censorship. We have managed to create an operating system that is better than the one it replaced because it lets more and more of us launch whatever applications we want without crashing the whole computer or network. We can learn from each other and mash-up things we want to, however we want to. When we shop at Whole Foods or on Amazon, when we stream at Netflix, when we eat what we want and marry whomever we want, we're all libertarians, regardless of whether we voted for Jeff Sessions or Elizabeth Warren.

The trick, of course, is to translate that live-and-let live ethos, the cornucopia model into politics and government, which by definition precludes exit. Here, Trump's brashness and divisiveness is forcing all of us to realize government isn't and can't be all things to all people without endless conflict. We don't agree on enough to give the power the ability to dictate terms to all of us (and needless to say, such a system can't possibly be fiscally sustainable). In a genuinely powerful, if unintended way, Trump has put everything on the table, and it's that evaluation process we need to start now and move in an unapologetically libertarian direction. Our America has changed vastly since Social Security retirement was created and Medicare passed. The planet is not in a twilight struggle between the two principal political philosophies to emerge from the Enlightenment (liberalism and communism); global terrorism pales in comparison. We are as a planet vastly richer and more educated and more connected and empowered than ever before. More people live in more freedom and they want to get on with living their lives according to their own lights, not the dictates of this or that leader.

Because he is so unpopular, abrasive, and backward-looking, Trump is the end of the line, the last Plantagenet, not the first in a new line of kings. He will rule over not just the end of the Republican Party as we know it, but the end of the federal government as we know it.

Libertarians, our opportunity is now, with conservatives and Republicans fearing what they have wrought and liberals and Democrats terrified that the swollen state they supported may be directed against them. We have a way forward that will scale down the size, scope, and spending of government while transforming the social safety net into an instrument of support and opportunity. We have an increasing number of examples (the sharing economy, Bitcoin) that permissionless innovation provides the great leaps forward that governments promise but rarely deliver. We can replace fiscally unsustainable entitlements to rich old people with unrestricted cash grants to the poor, we can offer children a choice of schools rather than remanding them to minimum-security prisons based on their parents' ZIP codes. We can insist on taxes being recognized as the revenue necessary to run agreed-upon services provided by the government, not an endless scam designed to ratchet up deficit spending. We can demand to be treated as adults, capable of deciding our preferred intoxicants and medical treatments and speech codes. We need to lay all this out both in broad, inspiring strokes and detailed, serious policy plans.

By a two-to-one margin (60 percent to 30 percent), Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a dread that was energized by the two main choices for president offered us in 2016—and then double-underlined in a signature-gold Sharpie by the election of the man who becomes president today. A future in which government is disrupted and diminished—and individuals are empowered and enlivened—is possible, but only if we make it happen.

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  • The Fusionist||

    Is this the inauguration thread?

  • esteve7||

    I think reason's trying to bury it

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    I actually laughed out loud.

  • esteve7||

    and reason has already put out ANOTHER article. We fucking get it, guys

  • SugarFree||

    I know. That darn Reason, how dare they not cover the meaningless coronation of The King of The Hillbillies?

  • Swiss Servator||

    You want sad - that is me, when I see the uniformed folks on the C-Span feed, and all I can do is check their ribbon rack and see what they got compared to what I did....

    I need to go home and drink, don't I?

  • SugarFree||

    That is always the best advice.

  • ||

    Yes, buddy. It's time.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does anyone have a map to the designated safe spaces in my area? SOMEONE HOLD MY FUCKING HAND.

  • Zunalter||

    Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Each vault has a designated room with puppies and coloring books.

  • The Fusionist||

    First broken promise - giving back power to the people.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Is this satire? If this year's election proved anything, it's that people are looking to double down on the failures of big government. Gary Johnson's shitshow poll results when running in a change year with 2 of the most hated candidates in recent memory, Rand doing squat in the Republican Primary in a change year, and the relative success of Bernie Sanders' warmed over commie-bs should dispel any notion of people re-thinking government.

    Nope, the Team Red ran a moderate democrat and Team Blue ran a lefty democrat dragged even further left by the Sanders crowd. People want moar government good and hard.

  • FD||

    +1
    "...end of the Republican Party as we know it, [and] the end of the federal government as we know it."
    They smokin' so early in the morning out west?

  • ||

    Gary Johnson's shitshow poll results...

    Which had more to do with his lackluster performance than his actual message. Excluding him from the debates didn't help, either.

  • CE||

    Posit a perfect LP presidential candidate -- articulate, knowledgeable, scandal-free, self-funding. What percent would he get against two hated major party candidates? The hate works against the third party -- people wanted to stop Clinton, or stop Trump too badly. Johnson was polling at 8 to 12 percent for most of the year, until voters realized the election was going to be close, so they jumped back to the old familiar binary choice. Johnson's campaign had very little to do with it. 3 percent was a miracle.

  • ||

    Shhh. Donald is speaking!

  • ||

    Ouch. Obama is not gonna like this.

  • Tundra||

    Who?

  • Rich||

    Michelle.

  • The Fusionist||

    Great schools, safe neighborhoods, good jobs...going for the controversy!

  • Citizen X||

    Donald Trump is nobody's idea of a libertarian

    Y'all don't visit the comment section much, do you.

  • RBS||

    + Several Hit and Runpublicans

  • ||

    I dont recall anyone calling Trump a libertarian.

    "...the most libertarian candidate...' , "...offers opportunities for libertarians..." and the like I remember but no outright accusations of being a libertarian.

  • SugarFree||

    SIV repeatedly calling him more libertarian than the Libertarian Party candidate is someone calling Donald Trump a libertarian. And he wasn't alone in that asinine assessment.

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    Meh, he was better than the LP candidate on free association for business owners and the 2A for starters.

  • SugarFree||

    Not the question asked or the assertion made.

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    No, but in some ways, important ways, he was much more libertarian than GayJay on the campaign trail. It's worth pointing out.

  • SugarFree||

    Still not the point though. What Suthenboy is starting is the process where four years of Trump fucking shit up people will be going "was there really anyone in the commentariat that actually wanted Trump to be President, though?"

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    Oh. Well he can put me in that column now. I wanted Trump to win. We needed a reset on the permanent political class we racing toward. Whether he ends up pushing us toward smaller government remains to be seen. Whether liberty expands or contracts in ways he has control over remains to be seen. But he was infinitely better than the alternative establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton and considerably better as a Republican than Gary Johnson would have been a libertarian president.
    Plus we get the added benefit of a skeptical media and a legislative branch that will try to claw back the powers they should have. That's always a good thing.

  • trutherator||

    Not hard to be more libertarian than Gary Johnson.

    #. Pick for VP saying "Hillary Clinton" is just fine for president. What libertarian thinks this is okay to say on a "Libertarian" ticket?

    #. Wanted to keep the drug laws, except for marijuana. Heck the baddest hardliner in law enforcement agrees in medical marijuana states.

    #. Wants to tear up the "free assembly" part of the First, and extort their property and labor in favor of GROUPS. Honorable mention goes to the snide comment about people accepting gay marriage. None of your business. How many evangelicals have YOU at the point of a gun forcing you to sign a Happy Nazi Party note for a skinhead?

    #. Wants to keep lots of troops overseas.

    #. Talking about the federal budget, he talks in terms of people getting more out of their tax dollars, instead of exposing taxes as extortion. Ron Paul did that and he got a LOT more votes with the Party throwing everything they could at him.

    Gary Johnson could have done better IMO if he had been Ron Paul #2. But instead he threw away the chance the LP had to educate the ones who are still in the dark and reaching for an answer.

    Trump took the oxygen out of 2016 politics obviously NOT because he was the closest to libertarian views, but because he was the best chance the electorate had to actually tell the Deep State Establishment, including the Operation Mockingbird Fake News fronts, that they wanted to SHRUG these global socialists monsters OFF their backs.

  • commodious is fated to pretend||

    He was certainly the most libertarian candidate of three.

    ZING!

  • ||

    Had to spend too much time explaining to Suderman and several others that the Libertarian Case for Hillary didn't pass the laugh test.

  • ||

    He's going yyyuuugggeee on the promises and hyperbole!

  • The Fusionist||

    Oh, and let's stop crime...

  • flye||

    Finally someone has the guts to say it.

  • The Fusionist||

    At least he's being bold...

  • Calidissident||

    Everyone here knows that I'm not exactly Trump's biggest fan on this board, but even I'm astounded by what some people are posting on Facebook. Someone compared this to 9/11 and another person posted a picture declaring today the worst day ever. Maybe a tad bit hyperbolic.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    After I commented "You're not helping" about the idiots smashing windows and the like, a FB friend actually said this to me:

    "I'm sure the Nazis said the same thing to the residents of the Warsaw ghetto."

    I'm not kidding.

  • ||

    What is their take on Krystallnacht?

  • flye||

    A tad?

    Many in the crowd are survivors of violence, who fear the upcoming Trump administration. Some identify Trump with that violence. "I look at Trump coming into office. I see the face of many who hit me when I was 18," said Jadelynn Sahl.
  • Not a True MJG||

    I think some Guardian or Independent writer said that Trump's election is worse than 9/11, because at least we regained a sense of normalcy a few weeks after 9/11. Starting on Nov 9, we're trapped in 4 years of unending terror.

  • Calidissident||

    That is a very inaccurate take on 9/11. Yeah it wasn't like the immediate aftermath after a few weeks, but the increases to the security state, not to mention the War on Terror, make it a bit difficult to say things returned to normal. Not to mention the callousness towards all the dead.

  • Calidissident||

    *The last sentence is referring to the writer's take

  • Not a True MJG||

    Yeah, I wonder if the writer is not American and was making a horribly stupid guess. Or, just a partisan hack. I should probably track it down.

  • ||

    "Donald Trump is nobody's idea of a libertarian but his presidency provides a tremendous opportunity to advance libertarian policies, outcomes, and aspirations in our politics and broader culture. Those of us who believe in reducing the size, scope, and spending of the federal government and expanding the autonomy, opportunities, and ability of people to live however they choose should welcome the Trump era. That's not because of the new president's agenda but because he enters office as the man who will inevitably close out a failing 20th-century model of governance."

    Your entire thesis here is what I and others have been saying since Trump entered the race. The whole time we were drowned out by screeches and howls of doom and gloom, Trump is a fascist, end of the world, Trump is the devil, a racist, a rapist, he kills puppies etc etc.

    Where in hell was this essay 8 months ago?

    No matter. You are a yokeltarian now.

  • pyroseed13||

    I had a similar reaction upon reading this, and it makes me think that even I may have been wrong on this. I voted for Gary Johnson, and felt that while Hillary was indeed awful, she would be awful within "normal bounds." Trump's unpredictability worried me, as well as his support of many obviously big government policies. It's too early to say anything definitive, but it's easy to see how in some ways maybe Trump is the guy libertarians need. His inauguration speech talked about how too much power has been concentrated in D.C. He wants to reduce regulations, and even make some cuts to discretionary spending. He has the potential to be less hawkish than recent presidents, but given his desire to bomb Isis and stoke a trade war with China, it's hard to say. Taxes, especially corporate taxes, will go down. School reform will happen. Trump doesn't have very many convictions and I can imagine him being persuaded to do some good on issues such as drug reform.

  • Drake||

    Bo-fucking-ho.

    Trump has been President for 5 minutes and he has already done more libertarian good than Obama in 8 years. He has nominated Cabinet Secretaries deeply sceptical of their own Departments.

    And this.

    www.washingtonexaminer.com/boo.....le/2612037

    Trump may have saved the Republican Party. The DNC may be at an end. 16 Governors and shrinking...

  • SugarFree||

    He's cleared the lowest bar possible! Yay!

  • ||

    sine qua non to clearing any higher bars.

  • Jordan||

    Trump has done nothing. Wake me up when he makes good on that promise.

  • Swiss Servator||

    ^THIS^

  • paranoid android||

    It amazes me how people who have spent their whole lives watching politicians make empty promises and then break them manage to convince themselves "THIS time will be different!" over and over again.

  • SugarFree||

    That doesn't surprise me, that's just the human brain when damaged by partisanship.

  • Lee Genes||

    That doesn't surprise me, that's just the human brain when damaged by partisanship.

  • Chipwooder||

    Battered citizen syndrome

  • Swiss Servator||

    *stands, applauds vigorously*

  • Drake||

    I'm not saying those cuts will materialize - but sure a lot more likely than it was under Obama.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Trump may have saved the Republican Party.

    OH THANK GOD!!!

  • The Fusionist||

    America First!

    The media won't like this...

  • ||

    WINNING LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

  • Citizen X||

    I'm bored of it already!

  • ||

    The Mayor of Montreal famously once said, 'The parade will go along its usual route' during the Habs dynasty of the 1970s.

  • Tundra||

    Love that.

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    I'd be willing to bet some of the roads from their last parade don't even exist anymore.

  • ||

    FULL OF POT HOLES.

  • Raven Nation||

    The Avs victory parade?

  • ||

    Man, you're hard to track down. FWIW, I answered you about FIFA in the other thread from 1946.

  • Raven Nation||

    Yeah, I saw that, thanks. We must be playing thread-tag as I also commented on your response in a later thread that day.

  • ||

    Noted.

  • CE||

    I liked the David Letterman top 10 list when Gretzky went to LA: Top 10 things Edmonton had to look forward to included not cleaning up after all those Stanley Cup parades, and not having to replace that light over the goal so often.

  • The Fusionist||

    Protectionism...

  • The Fusionist||

    Never gonna let you down...

  • The Fusionist||

    Not to impose our way of life, but shine for all to see

  • ||

    Ha! Just spotted a Hindu nodding approvingly. You can just here the producer scream, 'pan away, pan away!'

  • RBS||

    Did everyone make it out alive?

  • The Fusionist||

    Patriotism drives out prejudice!

  • Calidissident||

    For some reason I don't think he's going to accomplish his goal of completely eradicating radical Islamic terrorism.

  • commodious is fated to pretend||

    We need a new, individualized operating system for politics

    That'd be a hell of a nam shub.

  • flye||

    Democracy Vista

  • CE||

    Democracy Visa and Master Card. Choose your own government. Why not have more than one?

  • Swiss Servator||

    +1 Enki

  • The Fusionist||

    The first use of the phrase "totally unstoppable" in an inaugural address!

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    If Gary Johnson were able to give a speech like this, he'd have gotten at least 6%.

  • The Other Kevin||

    So far it seems like a standard political speech. Can't wait for confirmation bias to show itself and the Hitler comparisons to come out.

  • ||

    A NEW MAN!

  • John C. Randolph||

    I've got the video feed of this clown's speech going as I write this. He's channelling Smoot and Hawley. Hopefully, the congress will balk at implementing his anti-trade intentions.

    -jcr

  • esteve7||

    Reason, please tell me how Hillary's speech would be more libertarian.

    Trump has done more libertarian things in 5 minutes than she would have done in 8 years.

    Stupid protectionism, though....

  • MikeT1986||

    Who gives a flying fuck the election is over? that defense is without merit.

  • Tundra||

    Michelle looks cranky.

  • FD||

    She ain't proud of the country anymore.

  • SugarFree||

    And bloated.

  • Tundra||

    Stress eating, perhaps?

    She's gonna end up like White Goodman.

  • SugarFree||

    Probably. The dress isn't very flattering for starters. Aren't there any prominent designers of transclothing willing to dress the First Ladyman?

  • Citizen X||

    I guess they couldn't get hold of whoever designed Dwayne Johnson's costume in Tooth Fairy.

  • commodious is fated to pretend||

  • commodious is fated to pretend||

    Wow, not only the wrong thread but the wrong page as well.

  • ||

    She's back to eating small rodents again now that she's not proud of her country anymore.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I'm feeling great again already!

  • Brochetta's magic (((pants)))||

    Trump found some mediocre Jew to play in his inauguration.

  • The Fusionist||

    Wow, sounds like we're in for a wild ride, I think I'll go have some more coffee.

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    Damn. I'm gonna have to get used to a President not referring to himself every other sentence.

  • Brochetta's magic (((pants)))||

    Trump may be...less narcissistic than Obama. Think about that for a moment.

  • The Fusionist||

    And he's taller than Danny DeVito!

  • Citizen X||

    And he's fucked fewer chickens than SIV!

  • Tundra||

    Kim Kardashian is less narcissistic than him.

  • sloopyinTEXAS||

    I don't know if he's less narcissistic than Obama. I just know his delivery of narcissism is better.

  • Jerryskids||

    Liberal, conservative, libertarian: We all understand that whatever the merits of the great political, economic, and cultural institutions of the last 70 years—the welfare state built on unsustainable entitlement spending; a military that spends more and more and succeeds less and less; the giant corporations (ATT, IBM, General Motors) that were "beyond" market forces until they weren't; rigid social conventions that sorted people into stultifying binaries (black and white, male and female, straight and mentally ill)—these are everywhere in ruins or retreat.

    Look, dumbass, those are all the old perpetual motion machines built on principles we now know to be flawed. The new perpetual motion machines we're building are built on completely different principles. You're obviously just too stupid to understand that the failures of the past weren't complete failures, they taught us some valuable lessons about what doesn't work and we've incorporated those valuable lessons into our new designs. That means the new designs are practically guaranteed to work because we've worked out the bugs. How can you not realize that this is how progress is made? You keep making perpetual motion machines and each one that doesn't work brings you that much closer to finding the one that will work.

  • american_socialist||

    Im a libertarian but libertarian moments and individual politics seem a bit delusional

    The left may want smaller government now but it is an act. They want themselves to have power

  • ||

    Oh FFS.

  • SugarFree||

    No one feed the lying troll, please.

  • Citizen X||

    Is that even the real amsoc? What happened to its Wikipedia link?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The hysterical left, who dream of political concentration camps, and defense hawks, who conflate Putin's beggared Russia with the Soviet Union at its height of power and influence, see Trump as without any redeeming potential. They're wrong, at least from a libertarian angle."

    The deregulation Gillespie mentions is a real thing. People on Wall Street are talking about the Trump rally, and it goes down all the way through the Russell 2000--and that rally is all about Trump's expected corporate tax reform and deregulation.

    In addition to other deregulation, we should point to ObamaCare. Libertarians everywhere decried the individual mandate and it being upheld by the Supreme Court as being incompatible with freedom, and because Trump was elected, there probably will not be an individual mandate four years from now. It may not even survive to see Spring.

  • John||

    Dregulation will do more to help the economy than whatever symbolic protectionism Trump engages in.

    If DeRugy and Gillespie were smart they would hold off on the histrionics about protectionism. It is entirely possible that Trump will turn the economy around with deregulation to such a degree that the harm created by his protectionism won't be noticed. At that point, people will only see the correlation and believe it is causation. And thanks to their histrionics on the subjects and all of the slobbering and yelling about trade wars, people like Gillespie and DeRugy will have no credibility to dispute it.

  • american_socialist||

    See i think this is a negotiating strategy by trump whereas a guy like sanders who has the same position on trade is a true believer. Trump wants leverage...not it all

  • Shinin' Pete||

    Glenn Reynolds gets it.
    Nick Gillespie... not so much.

  • DesigNate||

    That...is fucking genius!

  • ||

    So. Safe to say the celebrity videos didn't work?

  • SugarFree||

    And after Lena Dunham ate of that organic kale to slim down for them too...

  • ||

    Bad Rufus, bad. [slips hip flask to Canadian friend] Nip?

  • Tundra||

    Lacist!

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Velly funny!

  • ||

    That better be pure hootch.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Also, rapprochement with Putin underscores a rejection of the neoconservative path we've been on since 2000--specifically, the part of the neoconservative movement that says we don't make nice with foreign leaders unless they meet our standards. I hold that stance as essentially unlibertarian--that the best interests of the U.S.A. cannot be pursued unless they promote the best interests of everyone else in the world is a socialist concept.

    Before China joined the WTO, Democrats used to argue against MFN status for China because of their human rights record, etc.--as if the economic interests of Americans should be sacrificed on such an alter. Bush invaded Iraq and defended the occupation in terms of what was best for spreading democracy in the Middle East and what was best for the Iraqis--as if spending American treasure and losing American lives primarily for the benefit of Iraqis were somehow appropriate.

    We libertarians can still argue with what Trump does in terms of whether it's really in the best interests of the U.S., but the primary concern of our foreign policy has not been what is in the best interests of the U.S. for at least 16 years. I think Trump changes that.

    For instance, whether it's in our interests to work with Russia in fighting ISIS may be open to debate, but our decision on that should not be driven by how Putin treats Moscow's LGBT community. It should be driven by questions of whether working with them is in the best interests of the USA.

  • ||

    how Putin treats Moscow's LGBT community

    You're obsessed about this, Shultz.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Putin or Moscow's LGBT community?

  • ||

    Well, I for one appreciate the lack of cultish overtones. It was a basic blah, blah speech, people clapped and everyone went home. None of this post-modern, interpretative dance, seance shit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The seance is scheduled for midnight in the Lincoln bedroom.

  • Brochetta(MEDIOCRE_NEGRO)ward||

    So highlights of the inauguration: Hillary lock her up chants and Trump using Bane's line about restoring power to the people from Dark Knight Rises.

  • chemjeff||

    Am I the only one who regards Dr. Veronique de Rugy to be the hottest French libertarian in the history of the universe?

    https://www.mercatus.org/veronique-de-rugy

  • Tundra||

  • Bob Meyer||

    No, you're not the only one. I've been in love with her for years.

  • ||

    [Trump's] presidency provides a tremendous opportunity to advance libertarian policies, outcomes, and aspirations...

    Meh, but so did all of the past ones and that didn't happen either. Libertarians always have the opportunity, but never manage to close the deal. Part of that is the lack of a credible libertarian spokesperson in national politics. Unfortunately, the best voices there are libertarian-leaners who have been thus far too timid to leave their major parties.

    The left will suddenly discover the joys of limiting government power, and opposition to meddling in the affairs of other nations, but will not be constant or reliable allies. "Yes, we are all for limiting government power, but why do you have to go after arts funding?"

  • Calidissident||

    Do we ever really have the opportunity? The LP has never gotten anyone elected to a major office. Libertarian-leaners in Congress are maybe 1% of the body. I don't know why anyone would expect these presidents to listen to libertarians out of all the constituencies and interest groups out there.

  • ||

    Given that there are 50 Senators, Rand Paul constitutes 1% of that chamber. Assuming that only Amash and Massie count, that 2/435 (voting members of the House), that's a disappointing 0.5% of that chamber.

  • Robert||

    But you're counting only the extreme. How about counting everybody who's more libertarian than the avg. contemporary American? Or even everybody who's more libertarian than the avg. contemporary human everywhere?

  • John||

    I agree Cali. Trump got elected because a bunch of voters wanted to close the border and do something about foreign trade. But he is now somehow obligated to listen to 5% of the electorate who didn't vote for him and never would because of the Libertarian moment or something.

    Like I say below, Gillespie and DeRugy are just silly people. They are not serious and should not be taken seriously.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Well, there goes the thread....HIHNFECTED!

  • John||

    But the hallmark of Trump's politics is not its populism but its general incoherence. His mind is a landfill of ideas, attitudes, and policies from the postwar era, some of which (such as economic protectionism) that were wildly popular and even somewhat effective (or at least not ruinous) for periods of time. But there is nothing in Trump's grab-bag of discrepant impulses that can or will speak to the future.

    That is just Progressive drivel. The future doesn't go in a straight line towards "progress". Gillespie and DeRugy are to put it bluntly silly and stupid people. Whatever you think of Trump's positions, there is absolutely no guarantee or no way to say that the future doesn't belong to them. DeRugy and Gillespie have the maturity and wisdom of teenagers angry at their parents for grounding them. This entire article is nothing but a long winded and boring way of saying "some day we will show you!!"

    It is just pathetic. Who do they think they are going to convince with this drivel?

  • ||

    DeRugy and Gillespie have the maturity and wisdom of teenagers angry at their parents for grounding them. This entire article is nothing but a long winded and boring way of saying "some day we will show you!!"

    Why shouldn't the young resent being treated as second-class citizens? Rosa Parks didn't take that shit from white people for being black. Why should teenagers take it from their elders for being young?

  • John||

    Because their elders pay their bills and take care of them.

  • ||

    And that's because child labor laws and compulsory schooling laws keep teenagers from taking care of themselves. Like drug warriors, you're invoking the consequences of bad policy in order to justify said policy. Youth rights now!

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    And that's because child labor laws and compulsory schooling laws keep teenagers from taking care of themselves.

    *sigh*

    You realize that children couldn't support themselves back before those laws, right? They made so little money (because they were stupid and incapable of forethought) that they could only help get their family's finances over the hump. Unless, that is, "you're invoking the consequences of bad policy (minimum wage laws) in order to justify said policy."

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    Why should teenagers take it from their elders for being young?

    Because young people tend to be really stupid, entitled, and incapable of forethought.

  • ||

    Whereas you tend to be prejudiced against young people. What's your general impression of women and Negroes?

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    Ah, fun, a new troll.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Young or old? Stay on topic, sonny.

  • CE||

    I think you mean "libertarian past". The libertarian moment was last year, or maybe the year before, when Rand Paul still had a chance at the nomination. It's all authoritarianism from here on out.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Nothing says libertarian moment like the UBI, which unlike the inevitable slippery slope of a consumption tax/VAT can never be abused or grow out of control.

  • american socialist_||

    What would a carbon tax accomplish how much would it be?

  • technovelist||

    What does "when less than of Americans approved of interracial marriages." mean? I think you left the percentage out.

  • Trigger Warning||

    I think it was "when less than 98% of Americans approved of gay marriage."

  • Trigger Warning||

    Gay, interracial, transgendered marriage. And marriage to Soave's Hair.

  • technovelist||

    Actually I think Trump may turn out to be more libertarian than any recent President. At the very least, he saved us from the likelihood of WW III at the hands of Hitlary.

  • SF Pete||

    you have no clue, he is not a politician,..quit trying to box him in your left wing fantasies..yes, as Libertarians, you have plenty of them..unfortunately....

  • J_West||

    It's one that flows directly from libertarian ideas about maximizing options for individuals and the groups they form to discover and follow their bliss.

    If this is a joke, why is nobody laughing? It may have been true once that libertarian ideas were the basis for American culture. But in a country full of permanently aggrieved identity politics, where minorities, feminists and immigrants believe they are "oppressed" by white males and thus are "owed" dollars, programs and jobs by the taxpayer? No one is listening.

    As for "persuasion not threats" I suggest you make that argument to your buddies in Black Lives Matter or the violent anti-Trump demonstrators. Perhaps you can wag a finger or two in their faces and remind them of the Non-Aggression Principle.

  • Mesoman||

    The military "which spends more and accomplishes less" is crap, unadulterated.

    The US military spends about 4% of GDP, which is down from 10% during the cold war. And yet, it still has a global mission. It is also the most powerful and effective military in the world, and highly professional.

    Cut its funding, and you kill soldiers, and risk out freedom. It's that simple. Cut its funding, and you increase the ability of dangerous foreign powers like China to harm out interests in important ways.

    Trump, I think, understands that. Libertarians need to also. The job of the military is to preserve our liberty, and we need to make sure it remains capable.

  • Trigger Warning||

    I am always amused when reservists are told that lodging will not be provided due to lack of funds, but that they had better show up to drill OR ELSE. Then the E-3 with no money loses cash because he pretty much pays the military to attend the weekend.

    The brass deals with this by firing new, overwhelmed commanders and hiring civilian support personnel, who, as federal employees, cannot begin to give even the tiniest of fucks about doing their jobs.

  • mtrueman||

    "It is also the most powerful and effective military in the world, and highly professional."

    When it comes to nation building, no one can beat the US military.

  • LifeStrategies||

    You don't seem to appreciate that in the choice between Trump and Clinton, the failure as Secretary of State Clinton was by far the worst choice. But why make the perfect the enemy of the good (or the least bad)? Celebrate Trump, the far better choice.

    Clinton, like Obama, refuse to realize the USA is a constitutional republic, NOT a democracy. Obama did NOT live up to his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution, nor did Clinton.

    At least Trump seems to appreciate some if not much of the Constitution...

  • RodWalters||

    Loved what both of you wrote, and I follow you both in Reason Magazine. Sometimes, though, your style gets in the way. Look at that sentence above: "This commercial-cultural-personal system provides basic frameworks and expectations that facilitate the creation of reputation and expectations of being treated with respect and reciprocity." Good grief, Mr. Gillespie, I thought you were an English graduate! That essay would make your readers a little less drowsy with a more colorful way to "speak the speech." The speech is indeed a powerful one, but spoken with too many big, sleepy Latin-y words. Excellent article, but it took a while. Keep up the good work.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    "... but also appeals to most Americans of whatever ideological persuasion".

    Wrong. At the federal level, we want a government that doesn't take any actions that annoy the citizenry.

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