October 12, 2016

The Never Trump Crowd Prefers Statism with Pleasantries

By In Articles, Politics

While I never have, and certainly never will, get on board the “Trump Train,” I am perhaps more annoyed by the certain type of Republican and evangelical “conservative” who opposes Trump specifically for reasons such as his vulgarity, his alleged racism, his rudeness and crudeness, his un-Christlikeness, his narcissism, and so on. The Donald is notoriously– and purposefully (he’s a reality TV sensation after all)– provocative in the way he treats his political opponents and those by whom he feels threatened. Obviously, all these things are worthy of criticism.

However, what is completely shocking to me, though perhaps it shouldn’t be, is that these same “Never Trump” hashtag users literally would have been just dandy with Mitt Romney, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, and so on. In other words, what matters to them is not the fact that the GOP’s leaders and champions are Big Government, pro-welfare state, pro-warfare state, pro Federal economic regulation/intervention, pro- Taxes, pro spending, pro-nationalization of commerce and industry; no, what matters most to them is that the politician is “nice.”

I have heard countless ballyhooing about the fact that Trump is the next Hitler due to his vocal denouncement of free trade, his immigration preferences, his appeal to the “nativists” in America, and so on. Hogwash! Trump is a demagogue to the very same extent, though not necessarily to the same constituency, as all other politicians! Every single politician, by nature of his dirty rotten job, is a demagogue, one who appeals to emotion and sentiment. We live in a time when the Democratic and Republican parties have pushed for deficit after deficit, every debt ceiling addition, every war, every welfare program, the annual and constant funding of hundreds of Federal departments and agencies, law upon law, regulation upon regulation, bailout for the rich, bailout for the poor, bailout for some foreign government, bailout for some radical group who opposes some foreign government– and yet Donald is the bad guy, because he is profane and insensitive.

The single most oppressive and divisive institution in human history is the state, and we’ve got all candidates of all parties, including the so-called “libertarian” one, supporting either the status quo, or advocating for more intervention from Washington DC; whether it is intervention into the affairs of other nations, the domestic economy, the decisions of privately owned businesses, and so on. And the Never Trump folks prefer all these things, they prefer statism in our time, so long as the “Leader” of the statism is a genuinely nice guy. They want a guy who knows how to cite Bible verses and refer to pop-religion and has Christianized catch phrases up his sleeve, despite the fact that he is an advocate of Central Control in Washington DC. They want a guy who knows how to put on the veneer of Christianity–which Donald Trump certainly does not– despite the fact that a true Christian view of politics would never endorse 95% of what Washington does today. The Never Trump folks look for the polished, the well-spoken, the sophisticated who is outwardly a lamb but inside is a ravenous wolf.

Opposing Trump is too obvious, too easy. Who cares? A toddler would know Trump is up to no good! What we need to work overtime to protect our children from is not the Trumps of the world, but those who pretend to be on the same side of the future of liberty, of humanity, of the church. It takes half an iota of moral judgement to oppose someone like Trump, but it takes true discernment to expose the sheep-clothed wolf. But where is the discerner of our age?

The conservative and (nominally) Christian pundit– I’m speaking specifically here of the contributors to National Review’s anti-Trump Symposium (notice they never had a symposium against Bush, McCain, Romney, Rubio, Kasich etc.) — is willing to call Trump out for all kinds of things relating to his personal ethical deficiencies but stay completely silent on the sheer statism (in the purest and most accusatory sense of the word), and socialism of the Republican Party. They don’t mind the GOP’s practice of utilizing the state to solve society’s problems –when the true conservative and capitalist position is to let the market and voluntary action solve problems– because, at root, they too are statists and socialists. They too, see the intervention into free society by the state as the means toward a better world. They just want a statist with manners to run the ship. They are the antitype of the radicalism and decentralism of the classical liberals and the Old American Right. They have no fundamental complaint with Trump’s absurd assumption that he can make the economy better for the very reason that for decades they have endorsed the view that a good President should know how to made the economy better. They think they can control things, make the world a better place by way of legislation. They believe this because they are statists, not advocates for individual liberty and a market-driven spontaneous order.

The modern, Neoconservative and anti-libertarian coalition is chock full of columnists and opinionators that suffer from a massive case of “splinter in my brother’s eye.” And I don’t mean that in the sense that their personal lives are messes– in fact, many of them run personal and family lives that are models in our day and age, and I appreciate that. Rather, what I am speaking about is a hypocrisy of the sort that accuses Trump of all kinds of terrible things while ignoring the plain vanilla nature of the GOP as a statist, anti-liberty, anti-property rights, warmongering, socially destructive party (and as Tom Woods likes to say, the reason I am lambasting the GOP and not the Democratic Party is because this what we expect out the Democratic Party–they embrace socialism in name). The GOP is socialist in the second sense, they are part of this nation’s inner rot, and they score zero points for the future in maintaining their statism and Big Government tendencies while “virtue signaling” their opposition to Donald Trump’s outrageous character and personality.

The namby-pamby conservatives of today are not like the brave, anti-statist, antiwar conservatives of yesterday. They love statism and big government, they just want the leader of said government to be a Professional of Pleasantries and Pious Niceties. They are as Politically Correct as their Democratic cohorts. And they fear Trump, not because he is somehow “bigger government” than they, but rather because his vision for running things is different than their own.

But liberty denies to government bodies the legitimacy of the role of running things according to centralized “visions” and plans. And only in opposing the very existence of the Washington machine can their opposition to Trump have real meaning. They are as lost as he is in terms of economic ability and moral justifiability of “leading” a country via political means.

We need liberty, not better government or nicer politicians. What a ridiculous proposition to think otherwise.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com
  • Jim Hale

    This is so good. National Review still arrives at my house, and the latest issue is yet another laundry list of his bad behavior. It all comes off as such self-righteous moralism, and the issue includes a hopeful piece on Ted Cruz making a comeback in 2020. Neo-Conservatism can’t die quickly enough.