I had this idea that we libertarians should support Donald Trump for the nomination of the Republican Party for president, not because he was a libertarian, nor, even, because his views were very congruent with our philosophy. My thought, though, was that out of all the Republican candidates, he was the most libertarian on foreign policy. He was the least likely to get us into World War III. And, thanks to the tutelage I had received over the years from the likes of Murray Rothbard, Ralph Raico and Bob Higgs, I knew that imperialism, foreign aggression, were more of a threat to liberty than were violations of economic or personal liberty rights.
[[I pause for a “commercial” message: here is our Twitter handle: @DTLibertarians]] Now, back to our regular programming:
I was brought to these thoughts by this excellent article:
Because of this very important essay, I wrote one of my own in this vein:
Block, Walter E. 2016. “Libertarians for Trump.” March 15;
Whereupon I asked my then acquaintance, and now friend, Dr. Donald Miller if he would join with me in starting up a group to be called Libertarians for Trump (LFT). He quickly and enthusiastically agreed to do so.
There are several highlights of the beginnings of this organization:
First, in the words of my friend and mentor Ralph Raico (who writes to refute the notion that only the uneducated can support Mr. Trump, and who soon afterward joined me and Dr. Miller as the third founding member of LFT): “My friend Walter Block, who has a Columbia doctorate and is a college professor, has started a support group, Libertarians for Donald Trump. I’m a Chicago Ph.D. and retired college prof, and I’ve joined Walter’s cabal of the intellectually deficient. We are happy to join with legions of our fellow Americans who aren’t university educated but–isn’t it obvious?–are still capable of displaying common sense. Personally, my main reason for endorsing Trump: The Art of the ... Best Price: $3.30 Buy New $3.55 (as of 01:10 EDT - Details) Trump and praying for his victory is his opponent. The Queen of Chaos would be the most dangerous person ever to fill the office of president. Quite aside from the colossal corruption of the Clinton crime family, I believe she would push Putin to a nuclear confrontation.”
And here is the second; Roger Stone on LFT:
Third, we have gathered a whole host of other blogs, essays, statements, from all sorts of people in support of Mr. Trump on our Twitter website.
Initially, I had hoped that 100 people would sign up; then, I thought, I’d send their names to the Trump campaign, and be done with this effort of mine. But this initiative grew like topsy. It is now far greater than I ever imagined it would be. By my estimate, almost 400 people have already signed up for LFT and another dozen or so are trickling in every day. I’m too busy to count them since I’m still coping with dozens of sign up letters coming in pretty regularly. However, in future, if you want to sign up for LFT, please no longer use my own e-mail address; instead, access this one: firstname.lastname@example.org The Case for Discrimin... Best Price: $13.00 Buy New $15.55 (as of 11:30 EDT - Details)
In order to get to this point, I went through, oh, perhaps 500 e-mail messages sent to me. This was quite an experience. The majority of opinion from the libertarian community was overwhelmingly positive. Many people articulated the view that they, too, had supported Trump, for reasons similar to mine, but were uncomfortable expressing this perspective, since they thought they would be drummed out of our precious libertarian movement. Trump, after all, is not an advocate of the freedom philosophy. They were delighted an organization was being started along these lines.
However, there were some objections.
One set claimed that voting was per se a violation of the libertarian principle of non-aggression. I tried to answer this objection in my initial publication in this vein regarding the overseer Goody and Baddy example. Evidently, it did not convince everyone.
Another set objected on the ground that Trump is not a pure libertarian. True, he is not as close to the freedom philosophy as is Senator Rand Paul, let alone his dad, Congressman Ron Paul. Here comes a joke: An economist was asked: “How is your wife.” Came the answer: “Compared to what?” Precisely. We are in a comparative “game” here. It is not sufficient to point out the many and serious deviations from pure libertarianism espoused by the Donald. They exist, to be sure. The issue is, is he worse on any of these than any of his Republican competitors, Cruz or Kasich (or maybe Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney, in case any of them sneak back into contention)? When put in this manner, it is clear that Mr. Donald Trump is head and shoulders above them, at least on foreign policy. Get out of NATO? Bless you, Mr. Trump. No neo-con can come within a million miles of saying anything like that. Is Trump a protectionist? Unfortunately yes, but so are all the others. Does the Donald refuse to “take anything off the table, including nukes?” Yes, unhappily, but, again, the same applies to the others. You can go down the list of Donald Trump’s deviations from libertarianism, and you will find all of his competitors for the Republican nomination, also, in the same camp.
A third set was more challenging to me. The point made was, “What about Bernie Sanders? You say anti-imperialism, anti-war perspectives are all important. Ok, I agree. But why don’t you feel the Bern? Senator Sanders is pretty good on these issues too.” When I first heard of this objection, I confess, I was taken aback. But, on more measured reflection, let me say the following. I VASTLY prefer Bernie to Hillary; certainly on these grounds (I deny the claim that I am biased in his favor since we were friends for four years in high school; we were on the Madison High School track team together and overlapped for one year at Brooklyn College). Hillary is a war-monger par Crippled America: How ... Best Price: $1.00 Buy New $5.03 (as of 08:55 EDT - Details) excellence, and Bernie is not. For me, the ideal run-off in November 2016 would be Bernie versus Donald. I judge them roughly equal in avoiding World War III, but would give the nod to my man Donald J. Trump since Bernie’s views on economics are nothing less than appalling; far worse than Donald’s. However, I confess, I find “Libertarians for Bernie” intriguing. Were Donald not in the race, I would choose Bernie over any of the other Republican contenders. This would sort of being like groups such as “Tenants against rent control” or “Unionists against the minimum wage law” or “Corporate capitalist businessmen against bailouts.” It would certainly garner attention. I have no real problem in supporting Bernie against any neo-con warmonger, of any of the main two parties. Hey, I supported Barack Obama against John McCain in 2008; I feared the latter would drop a nuclear bomb on someone. Similarly, I was in favor of our Nobel Peace Prize President 🙂 in 2012, vis a vis Mitt Romney, who was trying to pick a fight with China, of all places.
What about the Presidential race in the fall, when there will be a Libertarian Party candidate in contention? My colleagues and I at LFT have decided that the sole purpose of this organization is to help Mr. Donald Trump attain the Republican Party’s nomination for president. When and if that occurs, we plan to disband LFT. We confine ourselves toward working toward the day when Mr. Trump receives the nomination of the Republican Party for president — and nothing else.
One final issue. Several people who joined LFT offered to help us with all sorts of things: running the website, blogging, twitter, general publicity and other such efforts of LFT. No, I misspoke. Dozens of our members have done so.
I ask that if you are interested in helping us with a myriad of such tasks, you get in touch with Martin Moulton, who is, in effect, our chief operating officer who is based in Washington, DC. Send emails to: email@example.com — with “VOLUNTEER” and “your last name” in the subject line. We have decided not to raise any money for our efforts even though several of our members have offered to help with such an initiative.