Trump’s Libertarianism

Trump’s Libertarianism

US President Donald Trump contradicts himself all the time; all of the progressive promises he made during his campaign were dropped as soon as he won the White House, and only his conservative promises are being implemented under him, especially his promises against economic regulations and the regulatory agencies such as the EPA. Trump as the President can be understood truthfully only by what he does, not by what he says, since his words are self-contradictory. Judged in this way (by what he does), he is the most libertarian President ever to have occupied America’s highest office. He is determinedly destroying the regulatory agencies.

The core of libertarianism is its opposition to economic regulations — that is, to regulations of what corporations are legally allowed to do. Libertarianism opposes any such “tampering with market forces."

The financial donor network that is headed by the billionaire libertarian Koch brothers has been exultant over what Trump has done. Among their achievements as listed by a flyer at the Koch Seminar Network have been (just to name a few):

CFPB Arbitration Rule — Repealed by Congressional Review Act.

EPA Waters of the US Regulations — In Process of Being Formally Repealed

Keystone XL Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline — Permits Approved

BLM Stream Protection Rule — Overturned

EPA Clean Power Plan — In Process of Being Formally Repealed

Withdraw US from Paris Climate Agreement — Withdrawn

Treasury Department estate-tax rules — Eight Rules Repealed

The Koch brothers’ donor network is planning to donate $400 million to keep Republican control of Congress in 2018 — they want this intense libertarianism to continue ruling Washington.

The big policy-area where the Kochs and the Trump Administration differ is on immigration (and this includes the travel ban), because corporate America wants all the access to the cheapest labor that they can get. So, they don’t want any enforcement of immigration rules. They want their workers to be desperate, in order to drive wages down and profits up; and this means opening the foodgates to foreign workers. The more workers who are competing for the jobs, the lower the wages will be, and the higher their profits will be.

However, on all other aspects of foreign policies, the Kochs have been enormously successful with Trump.

The far-right National Review magazine said:

If you’re the Koch network, the world looks pretty good right now: Sweeping tax reform has been passed, Obamacare’s individual mandate is repealed, Republicans control the House and Senate, like-minded governors and state legislators control a majority of states, and after one year in office, President Trump has proven to be a more conventional free-market Republican than many expected — at least in the realm of policy.

“This network has accomplished more in the past five years than I have in the previous 50 I’ve been at this,” Charles Koch told an audience of more than 500 well-heeled donors to the Koch Seminar Network at a luxury resort outside Palm Springs.

On 25 October 2017, the Los Angeles Times headlined “Trump or Pence? Either way, the Koch brothers have won”. The Kochs had selected Pence to become his running-mate so that with this Republican ticket, they could score not only a Trump Presidency but then maybe subsequently a Pence Presidency.

Actually, while Pence had been a long-time favorite of the Kochs, Trump — with his many self-contradictory remarks and no public-policy track-record to go on — was just lots of question-marks, not the consistent exclamation-points of approval that Pence was, for them. The Kochs thus concentrated their political money instead, on winning Congress and state houses, during 2016.

And, then, lo and behold, once Trump actually came into office, he turned out to be nothing that he, as a candidate, had spoken out of the left side of his mouth, and he was everything that he had spoken from its right side: he was almost a perfect libertarian. Even his anti-immigrant focus needed to be accepted by the Kochs, because, without it, Trump couldn’t have won enough votes from American Whites so as to make winning the election even possible for him. After all, “Trump won the white vote by a record margin … 58 percent to 37 percent”; and, furthermore, “Trump won voters without a college degree by eight points.” Which Americans were the most hurt by desperate immigrants coming into this country? Those immigrants were competing for jobs that uneducated American Whites held. In retrospect, therefore, the Kochs knew that Trump had actually been their ideal Presidential candidate all along — the only candidate who not only was an extremist libertarian like themselves, but who possessed the capability actually to win the White House. He turned out to have been their dream-candidate.

But this isn’t all: Two of Trump’s top donors, who also turned out to provide to his campaign the necessary high-tech expertise so as to be able to outflank Hillary Clinton’s high-tech guru Google’s Eric Schmidt, were the high-tech billionaires — both members of the Kochs’ network, and extremist libertarians themselves — Peter Thiel and Robert Mercer, both of whom fed into Trump’s campaign their fellow leader of Cambridge Analytica (which was so core to Trump’s campaign), Stephen Bannon, who actually managed Trump’s wins in the three states that put him over the top: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And consider: Which part of the electorates in those three states caused Trump to win these crucial states? It was chiefly the uneducated white voters there. Mercer and Thiel weren’t born billionaires like the Kochs were, but they, like the Clinton campaign’s Eric Schmidt, were more in the ‘self-made man’ model, who each by his personal combination of technical brilliance and lack of moralistic qualms, worked his own respective individual way into America’s aristocracy — they didn’t inherit any of it, such as the Kochs and Trump did.

Trump is the type of libertarian who possessed all the means to win, for the Kochs and the rest of their network, everything that they care the most about, which is the destruction of regulations and laws that restrict or restrain what their corporations can legally do. Maybe Pence would be even better for them, but what would be more important, in their eyes, would be whether he’d hire the right people, like Trump did in order to win, so as to become enabled to advance effectively the anti-regulatory agenda, which is the core of libertarianism.

To a libertarian, the personal right to property is the core right, and every other right is meaningless without it. The government has no right at all, other than to protect citizens’ right to their property. What a corporation does with its property is no matter of the government’s concern, so long as that corporation’s transactions are entirely voluntary. This is what the Kochs and their network care about and protect — all private property-rights. This is what they seek to maximize. Trump is the best President they’ve ever had. And, come 2020, if Trump is still the President, they’ll be donating heavily to his re-election campaign. Whereas his voter-base will be, as it has been, uneducated Whites, his donor-base will be billionaires, especially the libertarian ones — which is most of the billionaires. Defeating such a candidate would be a formidable task, unless the economy will have tanked by then. Trump won office as the “change candidate”: “Asked which mattered most to their vote, almost 4 in 10 (39 percent) said a candidate who 'can bring needed change.’… Among those change voters, Trump took 83 percent of the vote to just 14 percent for Clinton.” If a Clinton-Obama-type pro-corporate Democrat will again be running against Trump, then there won’t be a “change candidate,” but Trump’s campaign war-chest will dwarf his opponent’s and Trump will likely win yet again. However, if a Bernie-Sanders populist will be the Democratic Party’s nominee, then no matter how big Trump’s war-chest would be, the “change candidate” could win; and, this time, that candidate wouldn’t be Trump.

Tags: Trump  Neoliberalism 

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