Is Donald Trump a disaster for libertarianism? Open Letter to the Donald

Dear President Trump:

I am a co-founder of the group Libertarians for Trump. We started that organization in order to help you get elected. We garnered somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 signatories in your behalf.  How did I justify engaging in this initiative, given that Gary Johnson was also running for president, on the ticket of the Libertarian Party? I advised people living in red states such as Texas, or blue ones for example California, to vote for him, not you, on the ground that you didn’t need these ballots. You would win big without libertarian support in the former places, and lose by a large amount to crooked Hillary in the latter ones. However, in purple states where the polls placed you and the Wicked Witch at a dead even heat, my thought was that even the small number of votes from libertarians in your column would be of significant help to you, and would not really hurt the LP candidate, since there are so few of these jurisdictions.  In that way, we libertarians could “have our cake and eat it too”: help you precisely where you needed it, and also aid the LP ticket.

I also co-founded Scholars for Trump, and gathered about 150 signatures therein. The criterion for membership in this august group was an advanced degree such as a Ph.D., or a law degree, or an M.D. I did so since our friends in the lying mainstream media put it about that only ignorant red-necks in flyover country could support you. I wanted to help put paid to such nonsense.

Why did I support you? Mainly, ‘twas because you ran on pretty much of a peace and anti-imperialist program. You said beautiful things such as I can get along with Putin. You excoriated past US practice in Libya and Syria, saying “Not on my watch.” You indicated you would pull out of our now 17 plus year war in of all places, Afghanistan.

In your year of office so far, you have done wonderful things. Your appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is head and shoulders over and above what Barack Hussain Obama tried to do, and what Hillary, presumably, would have done, were she, perish the thought, in the Oval Office. Excellent marks to you for pulling out of the Paris environmental brou ha ha, and casting aspersions on global warming during the recent cold wave. Your continued trashing of political correctness has been nothing short of magnificent. Your moves in the direction of lower taxes, less regulation, appointing Betsy De Vos to the Education Department (next stop, end this bureaucracy) also warm the cockles of this libertarian’s heart.  Your attacks on the lying major media have been nothing short of superb. As they say in West Virginia, “Trump digs coal.” Bless you sir for all these initiatives, and much, much more.

I could go on and on complimenting you on your really wonderful achievements, but I am sure I have now established my “street cred” as a person hardly suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

It is time, now, for some constructive criticism. I hope and trust you will take it in the spirit I mean it: an attempt to improve your record; to help Make America Great Again; to establish you as one of the greatest presidents we have ever had, if not the absolute best.

I’m disappointed, mainly, in your foreign policy. It has belied your significantly less militaristic campaign promises. To wit:

. Your Middle Eastern bombing and arming actions. Why should we be involved in those far off places at all?

. You have actually increased our exposure in Afghanistan. How long must we bleed there?

. We still have some 1000 military bases in about 150 countries; bring the troops home! Your tax policy will bring billions of dollars back to our shores; let’s bring back, also, our military people

. The North Korean imbroglio. Lookit, Kim Jong-un is not a stupid man. He saw what happened to Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi of Libya and to Saddam Hussein of Iraq. They had no weapons of mass destruction, and were slaughtered. He adamantly rejects that path for himself. Read this essay of mine on what to do about this situation (pre-eminently, stop those “war games,” threats, actually, with the South Koreans near North Korean territory; and appoint Dennis Rodman Ambassador to North Korea). How would we like it if a foreign country flew military planes, and placed warships in the Gulf of Mexico?

Please reverse your course in all these matters

I cannot end this note without mentioning another critical comment about your policies. Protectionism is not the way to Make America Great Again. I try to drum into my freshman students the niceties of comparative advantage. It make no more sense for the U.S. to place barriers against the importation of washing machines and solar panels then it would for any U.S. state to do so. Donald, suppose you were demoted to being governor of New York State, and you wanted to make the Empire State “great again” (they sure need it). Would it make any sense at all to place import barriers against oranges from Florida, pineapples from Hawaii, wine and movies from California, jazz music from Louisiana, wheat from Kansas, corn from Iowa, oil from Texas? Of course not. This very idea is totally silly. Yes, new jobs in creating all these products would then arise in your home state, but vast inefficiency would be the result.  It would be cheaper for people in New York State to focus on what they are best in (The Stock Exchange, diamonds, finance, banking, Broadway, etc., and to trade these products for those created elsewhere, than to try to make them at home.) Donald, let us posit that you could more efficiently clean your house, wash your car, mow your lawn, cook your food, than the people you now employ to do these tasks. Would you be more prosperous if you did these things yourself? Of course not! The reason our country is relatively wealthy is that we have a full free trade area for our entire population. But this logic applies to the entire world as well. And, if it would pay for the US to cut off trade relations with other countries, it would be beneficial for any one state of the union, such as New York, to engage in this practice as well. To heck with NAFTA. Phooey on CAFTA. Let us give the back of our hand to the TPP. Let us have as much free trade with the rest of the world as any one state in our union has with all the others. Please consider a unilateral declaration of free trade with all nations on the planet. With the Martians too, when and if we run into them.

While you’re at it, please, please, please, fire Jeff Sessions for his attempts to undermine marijuana legalization, and his support of asset forfeiture.

Mr. Trump, I was recently in a debate with my good friend Bob Wenzel. I defended you against his unjustified attacks on your presidency. You might want to take a peek at it.