A constitutional argument for Donald Trump
In an old Simpsons episode, Bart’s nerdy friend Millhouse exclaims “revolting, yet strangely appealing” upon seeing porn for the first time. That sort of captures my feeling when watching Donald Trump run for president. I bring out the popcorn and watch it all play out with a cheesy smile on my face.
You don’t like his rude, un-presidential style? You shiver at the thought of him becoming the next president of the United States? Well, whether you are Republican or Democrat, you pretty much have yourself to blame. Both parties have completely overrun the will of mainstream America for several decades, and now ordinary people are so angry that they will vote for any outsider that they believe will topple the establishment. That’s why all the top candidates on the Republican side have been a bunch of outsiders: Trump, Cruz, Carson and Rubio. That’s why socialist Sanders is doing so shockingly well on the Democratic side, despite very little press coverage compared to Clinton and despite the well-oiled party machinery in support of Hillary. People just hate the Washington establishment.
On the libertarian side, Donald Trump is by most considered a liberal in disguise. Basically a Hillary Clinton who doesn’t like mexicans. Some libertarians and classical liberals agree with Trump on certain issues, such as closing the borders on leftist welfare immigrants who will vote the country back to the stone age. Yet, a recurring theme among libertarians and classical liberals is that they are afraid of Trump’s complete disregard for the constitution. On several occasions he has made statements about policies he will “push through”, even though they are unconstitutional.
That does indeed sound scary, and it is very easy to lump Trump in with other anti-constitutionalists such as FDR, LBJ and Obama. However, in this article I am going to make an argument that Trump may be a constitutionalist after all, just not the kind you expect. To understand this argument I urge everyone who is interested in saving the American constitution to read Charles Murray’s latest book “By the people.”
Murray spends the first half of this book methodically documenting and arguing that the constitution and the American political system is broken beyond repair. America as a political project is dead. It is impossible to roll back the welfare state and save the constitution by lawful means. It’s too late for that, and Murray argues that in order to bring back America closer to its original ideal, Americans must turn to more anarchistic methods in the form of civil disobedience. He provides concrete methods by which concerned citizens can organize to sabotage the bureaucracy and establishment by mostly legal means. I am not going to expand on his solutions, and for those who are interested I recommend you read his book.
Now, if you accept Murray’s argument, then it follows that a president who promises to abide strictly by the constitution will in fact not be able do that. The anti-constitutionalists are able to make leaps towards totalitarianism by violating the constitution, but the law-abiding constitutionalists will only be able to reverse those changes very slowly by legal means. In sum a constitutionalist president will only slow the march towards tyranny. The political system is too broken to make the kinds of changes needed within the system.
So what I am going to suggest is that what is needed now is not a Barry Goldwater, but a George Washington. And I am not talking about Washington the president, but Washington the revolutionary. To the American people the Founding Fathers were constitutionalists, but to King George of England they were criminals who broke his law. Trump may not speak as eloquantly as some of the Founding Fathers, but he may share their basic political philosophy and their willingness to violate the existing political system in order to create liberty.
So when Trump makes statements to the effect that he will disregard the constitution to get his will, that may actually not be a bad thing. If you accept Murray’s argument about the death of America as a political project, it may in fact be the only thing that can save the American constitution and roll back all the previous unconstitutional coups.
So how could Trump achieve this? First you must recognize that the establishment has their goons in place in virtually every government agency. They will do pretty much everything they can in their power to sabotage any kind of rollback of their power. Thus, Trump needs to use goon tactics too. He has to infuse his people wherever he can to remove all the goons from power and shut down their agencies.
This should of course happen in what can be argued to be a thin veneer of legality. However, Trump can do things that no other liberty oriented president before him could (or would) to achieve that goal. Trump can use the tactics used by many socialists and communists before him, namely to organize big crowds of Trump supporters with the sole purpose of harassing the goons out of power.
Suppose there are some nasty fascists in some alphabet agency (they are not hard to find) and Trump wants to remove them. President Trump goes on national television to talk about how bureaucrat X in agency UVW has ruined the life of ordinary citizen Y, through the abuse of power. (Again, not very hard to find) Then a few hours later a few thousand Trump supporters show up outside the house of said bureaucrat with posters about what a fascist she is. They follow her husband to work to protest, they follow her kids to school and tell everyone what a fascist their mom is.
Behind the scenes President Trump communicates with bureaucrat X that the relentless public shaming and bullying will continue until she apologizes for her horrible actions and resigns. As incentive Trump promises her a golden parachute and the threat of leaking some very dirty stuff his people has managed to dig up on her and her family if she does not comply.
After a few cases like this, President Trump can go to all the goons and instruct them that they should resign, and that if they don’t what happened to X will happen to them too. After bullying and harassing the baddies out of power, President Trump is more free to put in his own people and downscale or even completely shut down the agencies after rushing through the appropriate laws in congress.
Only a guy like Trump could do something like this, and it is probably the only kind of action that can be taken to reverse the fascist welfare state. So can Trump be trusted? Will he actually use such goon tactics in a similar way as the Founding Father to topple King George? I don’t know. Trump is a slippery eel and it is impossible to know what his true convictions are, if he has any. As I see it, it is a gambit, a gamble.
As far as I can tell all other realistic candidates are just going to keep on slowly sliding America down into the rabbit hole of socialism. Trump is the only candidate which may generate a different outcome. As far as I can tell, there are only two possible outcomes of Trump as a president: either the same as every other alternative, or a new liberty revolution as outlined above. If he fails or turns out to be just another Hillary, then we can always fall back on Jeffrey Tucker’s plan, that Trump may be so bad that it will speed up the revolution. Either way, Trump strangely enough seems to be the only candidate who can make a difference for liberty.
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