Which One Is Less Evil?

Donald Trump seems to be a shady dealer, a blusterer, a prevaricator, an abuser of women — not my choice for president. Yet a case can be made for Trump as the slightly lesser of two evils.

Hillary Clinton could be called an abuser of women, children, and men – through war.

As first lady, she encouraged husband Bill to bomb Yugoslavia, without congressional authorization. As senator, she voted to let George W. Bush commit aggression against Iraq. As secretary of state she pushed presidential intervention in Libya and Syria. In the military actions to thwart the leaders of those four lands, a myriad of civilians have perished or suffered.

Lately she has advocated a no-fly zone in Syria, challenging its government and risking a clash with Russian war planes. President Obama and his senior military advisers oppose that.

Trump opposes it too. He talks of a new relationship with Putin. Russia and the U.S. have missiles on hair-trigger alert, armed with a total of nearly 15,000 nuclear warheads and ready to fire on each other. All life on earth is in peril. What is more urgent than preventing nuclear war?

In the third debate, Hillary appeared to accept the use of nuclear bombs. She said that when the president gives the order, it must be obeyed. NO – an illegal order must be DISobeyed.

The International Court of Justice found that use of a nuclear weapon would violate international law, because it would hit civilians and military targets alike (a 1996 opinion). For a president to initiate any warfare without the prior OK of Congress (as Truman did in Korea and subsequent presidents have done) violates the Constitution. Starting a nuclear war would be the highest of crimes.

Hillary made at least three other incorrect statements in that last debate:

1. That Bill "defended our country." Wrong. He committed acts of war against seven nations that had never threatened us. (Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia.)

2. That President Obama "kept the peace." Wrong. He has waged continuous war for two terms. (His overt battlegrounds: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen.)

3. That Osama bin Laden was "brought to justice." Wrong. He got no trial but was assassinated by presidential order. (Even the mass murderer Adolf Eichmann was treated better, given a trial by the Israelis.)

Can we survive four more years of those types of justice and defense under such a war-hungry hawk as Hillary?

Paul W. Lovinger [send him mail] is a San Francisco writer and editor.

46 thoughts on “Which One Is Less Evil?”

  1. While Hillary is explicitly scary in her pronouncements, I could never vote for Trump, a man who criticizes the Fourth Amendment. The thought of either of them being my country’s President is quite frightening. And we have gotten into this essentially single party dictatorship from 100 years of voting for the lesser of two evils. I live in the state of Montana. The only way that my state’s electoral votes would not go for Trump is if Hillary wins in a landslide, therefore I really have no means of affecting the outcome of this election. I could, however, cast my vote for Gary Johnson, and make a statement. While not perfect in respect to his regard for liberty, he at least explicitly morally equates the US bombing of civilians with the same activity done by a foreign power. I would be far more comfortable with him in the Oval Office.that either of the two major party jokes.

    1. It’s good to make a protest vote, but you might as well write in Rand Paul.

      Personally I like Trump. And he should know by now that he owes Assange. Additionally, Snowden tweeted once favourably about Trump, just before Trump condemned him in a primary debate…

      And Trump sees how corrupt this system is. The hope then is that he wakes up to how important the Bill of Rights is.

      If there’s a chance to “drain the swamp”, Trump is it. Our political system is set up such that a candidate needs to be either a multi-billionaire or a sell out. And Trump’s likely the best multi-billionaire we’re going to get. Ron Paul ran, didn’t win. Pat Buchanan ran, didn’t win. It takes money to win. “An oligarchy, if you can keep it.” – Benjamin Franklin

      Maybe with the Internet, things have changed? If not, then an election is something that is bought.

      1. “It’s good to make a protest vote, but you might as well write in Rand Paul.”

        If I want to vote for an authoritarian establishment hack, I’ve already got two to choose from on my ballot.

        1. Oh come on. Rand is better than Gary. Rand is condemned too harshly.

          You should run if you think you could do better. Our side’s (or sides’) standards are just too high. Mere humans, or at least mere humans in this society at this particular time, cannot live up to them.

          1. “Our side’s (or sides’) standards are just too high.”

            Liberty is too high a standard? There is no other standard I am shooting for, for a free society is the only thing worth shooting for. Perhaps you are a young man and think you have all the time in the world to ask for a 1% movement toward liberty every 4 or 8 years. I, however, don’t have a lot of years left on this Earth, and I wish my demands to be met now. Even that is not an applicable description of the issue here, as a vote for Trump is not a vote even in a libertarian direction, but one most decidedly in the opposite direction. If you want liberty, you should demand it in no uncertain terms.

          2. So, you believe voting for Gary Johnson will bring you liberty? How so?

            I don’t pretend to be a libertarian, though I am antiwar and anti-welfare state; but yea I think Trump will protect our liberties better than Hillary. Judges are a primary issue, as is avoiding WWIII. And personally, I think Trump’s opposition to things like TPP absolutely leads to liberty, even if libertarians find pro-TPP Gary more comfortable. Some libertarians like the idea of Orwell’s boot on their face post-TPP… I personally think I want more liberty than do most libertarians, but that’s another matter.

            Additionally, Trump’s right that the mass media is manipulative. I’m grateful for the Internet that allows a two-way communication of news, rather than the one-way from radio and tv. If not for the Internet, men like Rupert Murdoch and Jeff Bezos would have even more influence over this society. Freedom requires that a society be open to allow citizens to hear actual news. If information is controlled, then freedom is lost. Thanks to Trump, many Republicans will read sites like antiwar for the first time. Thanks to Trump, Fox has lost its control over viewers. More Republicans are now free to be brainwashed by someone new. Some might even stumble here to be properly educated on foreign affairs, though I hope none pick up the ideology here.

            The system we have today is a de facto two party system. If you want a better system, I recommend supporting Jill Stein’s move to a third party system. It would be difficult to bring about of course. I think it requires an Amendment to the Constitution, as would Trump’s call for term limits.

            Anyway, the system we have is two party. We battled over who won each party; Trump and Hillary won. Now, we have essentially a run off between them. You can support TPP Gary, Big government Stein, or Egghead McMuffin if you want to protest, but the choice is really between Hillary and Gary. Egghead might even win Utah; presumably they want to see Utah glow in the dark.

            Trump wants a less global order, and that truly favours freedom. We absolutely do not have free trade today, and Obama’s 3 “trade” deals reduce freedom dramatically. They empower corporations, supranational regulators, and generally reduce our sovereignty.

            You also have to step away from libertarian world for a moment and consider what impact TPP has on our society. It would lower our wages, yes? Well that encourages voters to think they need more government meddling to help them. So they’ll vote for free education, free healthcare, maybe reparations and affirmative action. Voters will be angry. They just won’t know whom to be angry at. Politicians create a problem, find a scapegoat, then offer a “solution”. An old Lew Rockwell argument in favour of bad trade deals is they’ll help bankrupt the warfare state. Well, it’ll give us Venezuelan socialism in the process.

            It would be easy to argue why Trump is best for you. I just don’t know what you personally value. You say “libertarian”, but there are many varieties. I will claim that no matter what you value or support, Trump is a better candidate for you than is Hillary. If I fully understood you, I fully believe I could make a convincing case for why you should support Trump.

          3. I do not support the TPP. I support absolute free trade, not the “Managed Trade” agreements such as NAFTA and TPP.. However, Trump opposes TPP because it is, in his mind, too “free trade”, and his natural proclivities are to call for higher import duties period. That is not pro-liberty, that is pro tyranny.

            Gary’s embrace of TPP (I have not heard that he endorses it, other than from you) is a small blemish compared to Trump’s warmongering and authoritarianism, and his calls for an extreme increase in the military budget. Gary has called for a 20% decrease in spending across the board, including the military. While I consider this only a good first step toward liberty, no other candidate has even called for this much. Make no mistake about it, if we take Trump at his word, we will get larger, more expensive government, a crackdown on civil liberties, and more warfare. If that is what you call “liberty”, go for it.

            You state that you wish more liberty than I do, yet you seem perfectly content with the status quo of 4 Trillion dollar federal budgets, while I support no government whatsoever. I am somewhere between an anarcho-capitalist and an anarcho-pacifist, sort of an anarcho-capitalist who believes that many times, even retaliatory violence is not called for.

            What do I want? I want to live well, and, if either Trump or Hillary are elected, I will live less well for the foreseeable future, probably for the rest of my life.

            Anyone who wishes to build a new Berlin Wall to keep out those “undesirable furiners”, in my opinion, doesn’t have a pro-liberty bone in their body, in spite of any other explicit policy statements, because they don’t have the kind of discerning mind to see what liberty is and isn’t. I was not completely comfortable with Ron Paul’s rhetoric about “controlling our borders,” but gave him a pass because I could see that he was taking this position from what he perceived as the fiscal issue, and not out of any antipathy toward immigrants. I cannot say the same about Trump, and frankly, I really don’t know about you.

            So, there we have it: I, who wish a society in which all consensual acts by adults are not legally prohibited, and you, supposedly more “pro-liberty” than I, who wishes 4 Trillion dollars a year worth of prohibiting consensual acts by adults.

          4. Thanks for the info, Thomas. This actually surprises me. I thought Gary was smart enough to see that “Managed Trade” is not Free Trade.

          5. Everybody knew that Rand Paul was not Ron Paul. But Rand went over to the dark side when he signed Tom Cotton’s letter supporting the Israeli Prime Minister’s authority to unilaterally commit US military forces to war and when Rand opposed the Iran deal while parroting the Zionist-Neocon warmongering line that Iran wants nuclear weapons.

          6. Yes, Rand has made mistakes. The assumption is he’s attempting to game the system, but perhaps in truth it appears that he was himself gamed.

            Gary has made far more mistakes. Gary just receives less attention for them. Rand > Gary.

            It’s tough for me to argue this since I’m clearly not a libertarian. However, I agree with y’all on practical policy in most areas, especially foreign policy.

      2. On the issue of war and peace, which, in my estimation is both a winning issue and the most important issue for liberty supporters, Gary is clearly superior to Rand. We would all like to have Ron Paul to vote for, but I would gladly take 3/4 of a Ron Paul over less than half of one.

    2. Supreme, you can effect the 2020 election and the future of the world by voting for Gary Johnson. If Johnson gets over 5% of the votes nationally the Libertarian party will qualify for $20 million in matching funds for the 2020 election. That seed money could give us a chance to have a 3 way race in 2020 that could challenge the two party duopoly that has ruled this country since the compromise of 1876. And aside from the matching funds, a large vote for the Libertarians and Greens in 2016 coupled with the disillusioned Bernie Sanders supporters, will build momentum for a 3 or 4 party race in 2020.

    3. The question should be “which one is evil?” Quite obvious to me! Has Trump pushed and/or orchestrated over mass murder yet? If people can’t see the pure evil of Hillary’s side and dismiss the obvious smear campaign against Trump by the corporate owned and controlled media,l they could be made to believe that Santa is evil! Let’s face it- millions of Americans are just plain clueless, but I think there’s definitely a critical mass now AGAINST the War Party agenda which Hillary epitomizes and represents. Also, Trump has shown a measure of real concern about the consequences of unbridled immigration on the American working and tax paying public while Hillary continues to act like Mother Savior in inviting immigration as if America is in a position to take care of all these people. That to me is someone unrealistically pushing HER policies forward while the negative results are actually in play! To me that IS pure evil. You politically correct know-it-alls had better start listening to the American people. We are awakening from a long sleep and many of us now see how people like the Clintons, the Bushes, Obama- basically the CIA selected and trained Liar-In-Chiefs now have this world on the brink of a totally manufactured nuclear confrontation!

      Trump’s main crime so far? Standing up to this insanity and being politically incorrect to challenge the powers-that-be. That’s certainly not evil to me you boneheads!

      1. Sorry, Tom, Trump is clearly anti-liberty and anti peace. If he were to be elected, the federal government budget would not be reduced by one penny (assuming we avoid nuclear war). Also, Hillary’s embrace of open borders (although done for cynical, self serving reasons) is the one explicit issue she has that I agree with her on. I am a an absolute, property rights, free market libertarian, and support for the free market implies support for open borders. Building a new Berlin Wall would be just as immoral as building the original one.

        Go ahead and vote for Trump, but you are voting for more war, more spending, less protection of civil liberties, and likely the end of human civilization.

        I would not vote for Stalin over Mao. And I will not vote for Trump over Hillary. I do not relish the though of either of them winning the White House. Since it is likely that one will be elected, we can only pray that somehow we get through the next four years alive.

  2. Clinton is an evil, lying warmongering Neocon. Trump is an evil, lying, warmongering psychopath. Clinton is controlled by the Neocon establishment that has decided to risk world war by confronting Russia with military threats and ultimatums. Trump is an infantile, delusional, belligerent, impetuous ignoramus who can’t be controlled because he surrounds himself with bootlickers and sycophants. The threat of nuclear war is slightly greater under Trump than Clinton because Clinton’s Neocon advisers understand that there is no profit in nuclear war. Trump
    .

    1. And it still comes back to the established will of the representatives of a now very reluctant people, and who that established representation will allow into the Outer Circle. Funded by taxes.

      My thought is that some very angry person is going to fire a shot truly heard around the world that will unleash… well. Everything.

      There’s a Pete Seeger song, “if a revolution comes to my country” that expresses it better than I can. In the Revelation the first horseman is War. And a quick or even long study of history shows that from war comes famine and pestilence. The infrastructure that allows us commerce and sanitation and clean water and adequate medical care depends on a close approximation of internal peace.

      I think we aren’t going to have that any more.

  3. The thing is though Bill Clinton from my understanding was reluctant to attack the Serbs. Obama has also been reluctant in comparison to Hillary who is gung-ho about using the military and pushed these men into more aggressive postures. Bush even pushed back against war with Iran after the intelligence agencies said they had no evidence of a current nuclear weapon program in Iran. Hillary at least in public says she is for the Iran deal. We can survive another 4 years of killing third worlders who cannot fight back but nuclear war with Russia and China is not something that we will walk away from. Bankruptcy can be survived.

    The problem with Trump is that we have two instances where he speaks to reason which is let the Russians deal with Al Qaeda/ISIS and he questions the value of providing security to countries who are rich enough to do it themselves. However when it comes to Ukraine, South China Sea, Iran he thinks the US is getting a poor deal and President Obama is being taken advantage of. We are looking at a very strong certainty of some type of conflict between Russia and Hillary and a wild card whose a chimera of paleocons and neocons. The former like Trump for his nationalism, immigration policy, and when he is right on foreign policy while the latter hate him for what the paleocons like about him but there are fellow travelers of the neocons who are with Trump. Trump has Rudy Giuliani, Pence, and Christie.

    If one was going to run for office for the Republican party and appeal to the Republican party as is you couldn’t do much better than Trump. There was a reason why Sarah Palin was picked by Bill Kristol for McCain’s Vice President. The rich don’t really like poor white Americans seeing them as something out of Deliverance and poor white Americans (Hillary’s deplorables and Bill Clinton’s rednecks) know they are getting the short end of the stick, but haven’t had a real vehicle to express their grievances as they see them until now. Trump understands they have been undercut by trade deals but he still feeds them the xenophobia against “the other” that has made poor white Americans so palatable for neocon propaganda. The ridiculous argument that Shariah law is a threat to the US and illegal immigration is a divide and conquer tactic to keep the population at each others throats, at the throats of foreigners, and away from the levers of power. The Democrats do the same thing but they wrap it up in nobility of the white man’s burden and kill people only out of the noblest intentions (its the same argument progressives give their movements previous horrific dalliances with eugenics). Trump is an embarrassing truth teller of the establishments dirty laundry but he shows no indication that he is going to be frank with his base on how they are being manipulated by people who hate them, wish they’d disappear, and just want to rob them.

    The question of the lesser evil is if you know nuclear war is likely under Clinton (unless Russia cowers) vs an easily agitated unknown. Do you take your chances with the unknown or do you brace yourself for the nuclear fire of fate? The foreign policy establishment is gitty for Clinton so that is an indication that they think she will be at least more hawkish than Trump. Because this shadow government exist, is completely insane, and will continue to exist probably means if we get Trump and he doesn’t start nuclear war just means we’ve kicked the can down the road, but only if he shows himself to be sensible with the full power of the imperial presidency while facing the immense pressure of conforming to the shadow government’s designs. He appeals to the Jacksonian tradition of the US so he may very well get the US into serious trouble. Remember he talked up listening to hyperinterventionist John Bolton. We have two presidential candidates who are eager to show the world how tough they are. The public is primed for a return to interventionism that never really went away. Trump’s rhetoric against Obama is proof of this brainwashing from the media and foreign/industrial owned think tanks. Trump took it up because it was effective to gain support. Obama has been very aggressive president but that is not how we are taught to view his record. To hear the foreign policy establishment Obama was an isolationist which couldn’t be further from the truth.

  4. I’ve put my leftist credentials on the line more than once to argue that Killary is more dangerous than Trump but that doesn’t make voting for Trump morally exceptable, especially when their are at least two other candidates on the ballot in most states that are far less repulsive, Jill Stein and to a lesser extent Gary Johnson. The lesser of two evils is still an evil and it is precisely this screwed up philosophy that has rewarded this nation with the two most repulsive major party candidates in human history.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same damn thing over and over again and expecting different results. Call this an intervention America. Your sick. You need help. Jill Stein is a doctor. Maybe she can hook you up with a prescription. Think about it. But don’t waste your vote on another partisan scumbag. Believe it or not, you can do better.

    1. While I am not on the left, I absolutely agree with you that a person of good will could not vote for either major party candidate. What people don’t seem to realize is that the current level of unacceptability of the major party candidates is the direct result of 100 years of voting for the lesser of two evils.

  5. “Trump’s nationalism is more conducive to liberty.”

    Nationalism is a disease, and is, at its core, anti-liberty. The one government which oppresses the American people the most is the federal government of the United States. That is the government which is the main enemy of American liberties. Your “pledge of allegiance” to the American nation-state precludes you from supporting liberty.

    1. Your system wouldn’t work. The US state is opposed to a more transnational state.

      The US provides things like the Bill of Rights. If the empire is reduced, if the wars are reduced (or ideally ended), then we should see a restoration of the 4th Amendment. Trump wants these things, even if he doesn’t defend the 4th.

      Marxism requires anarchists like you to break down opponents of Marxists while simultaneously using international socialists to expand the state. You remove the bulwarks, and the socialists complete the job. Small states provide the most freedom, not anarchy. Anarchy leads to empire.

      For example, in Europe, the best outcome is for the EU to break up into states, and perhaps for some states, like Spain, to further divide. The ideal is not for some sort of anarchy. An empire would fill the void of anarchy. It is the small states that resist empire.

      1. “The US provides things like the Bill of Rights”

        The Bill of Rights, supposedly provided by the government, is for protection of the people against depredation by that very government. It is as if we had the case of a quite moderate thief, who agreed to only steal the grand piano and couch, while leaving us the chair.

        I have not seen any evidence that you support a minimal state at all, as you seem quite comfortable with the hundreds of billions per year increase in the federal budget that Trump would bring. I would gladly support a candidate who offered a minimal state, as that is a step in the right direction. That has not been an option on the Presidential general election ballot since Harry Browne ran in 2000.

        1. “Minimal state”. I’m realistic. I vote the better candidate. Trump is significantly better than Hillary. Hillary’s foreign policy alone disqualifies her. I’m not sure what she truly believes on domestic policy since she isn’t honest.

          As for whether I want a “minimal state”, no. But I do reject the welfare state, which is a significant thing to reject. I do support subsidiarity.

          I also, however, tend to champion small business. I believe the big business empires which libertarians love (I remember Rockwell praising Wal Mart, for example), can at times abuse their power. And they ruin local character.

          True freedom comes from small businesses and from decentralisation. And it’s globalists today who tend to want wars, tend to want to meddle in others’ affairs, and seem to want big government. Those who oppose globalism, who instead support smaller states, support sovereignty, support decentralisation are the champions of peace.

          You can think what you like. I don’t believe your “minarchism” works. I think if you don’t resist bigness, including big business, and if you similarly don’t oppose globalism, then you’re essentially leading to big government and the loss of freedom. I would agree with you that government is frequently bad, but I would add that business too can be bad. Bigness, managed by distant elites, tends to be the culprit.

          I like Belloc and GK Chesterton, who were distributists. And I like a variety of non-libertarian conservatives. So, you’re welcome to think of ill of me, but think the correct ill thoughts if you please :p

          Thanks for talking with me.

          1. Would like to say also, “Thank you for talking to me.”

            “True freedom comes from small businesses and from decentralisation.”

            Exactly how do you get decentralized politico-economic power by giving the central government the power to favor or hinder any business, large or small? And isn’t it obvious that large corporations are a feature, not of a libertarian free market, but of the socialist/fascist corporate state? In a purely free market, without the State, there would be no corporations, as the idea of a different liability model for some organizations and not others, is quite the opposite of libertarian equality under the law.

            I am the ultimate decentralist, as I believe in decentralizing politico–economic power down to the level of the individual.

            By the way, although I am a fan of Lew Rockwell as far as his opposition to warfare goes, I do not personally think very highly of his racism and xenophobia. He once wrote an article in the Los Angeles defending the police beating of Rodney King. Here we had the case of a supposed anarchist defending State violence.

          2. “And isn’t it obvious that large corporations are a feature, not of a libertarian free market, but of the socialist/fascist corporate state?”

            This is an area I disagree with libertarians over. They seem to blame the state. I blame capitalism’s trend towards monopoly and expansion, hammering down barriers to expand and expand.

            We would have no corporations without the state, but there would still be bigness. And I expect a state, or states, would fill the void in an area lacking a state.

            We can at least agree that small businesses are wonderful. So, the goal is similar even if there’s disagreement over how such goal is reached.

            It’s like how Marx praised Switzerland highly. Well, hey, I like Switzerland! And I bet, you do as well. So, people tend to agree in their goals, in my experience.

            You likely value secularism and reason. I tend to value faith and tradition. So, there are key differences. If Bill Gates bought, say, the French Huguenot Church in Charleston, SC, tore it down to build a more profitable hotel in the same spot, I might cry. And I’d want the government, or any other power, to save the church. A libertarian though would defend Gates, justify the act. So, we have significant differences.

            I like James Burnham’s managerial elite theory, also his Machiavellians book. A racist by the name of Sam Francis (died in 2005) repopularised Burnham. He used to write for Chronicles, which is of course not racial. I subscribe off and on to the magazine. I found the Distributists and past non-libertarian American conservatives to have good arguments for how we can defeat bigness. Chronicles used to frequently champion, “Small is Beautiful”. And Raimondo still writes for Chronicles. (Raimondo hates Burnham, even calls Burnham a Neocon as I recall. I do not like Burnham’s foreign policy views, only his theoretical books. Burnham was an ex-Trotskyite, so he should raise a flag. He converted from Trotskyism to Catholicism, however.)

          3. “You likely value secularism and reason. I tend to value faith and tradition.”

            While I value reason where it is applicable, I have nothing against faith, or of useful (i.e. pro-human civilization) traditions. My faith actually informs my political views, and I believe it would be unlikely that I would be radicalized as much as I have been without my conversion to Christianity. I was originally an atheistic conservative. But when I came to realize that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, I had many long, deep, soul searching periods about my political beliefs. I concluded that

            1. God wishes us to exercise free will.
            2. The exercise of free will is impossible as long as the state exists.

            I am a radical libertarian mostly for moral reasons. I view even the smallest amount of church-state unity as a facet of anti-Christ. And I view the mere existence of the State as creating some degree of church-state unity.

            To take your example of the French Huguenot Church in Charleston, SC, who has the power to force them to sell to him, Bill Gates, or Donald Trump? Donald Trump has the power, through eminent domain (i.e. – the State), to confiscate this Church and turn it into a casino. Bill Gates does not have this legal authority. If you were to try to prevent Bill Gates from voluntarily buying it through State violence, you would be interfering with the decisions of the Church as well. You can’t call that religious freedom and keep a straight face.

            Think about it. How can one have religious freedom when the state has the power to interfere with your most private religious beliefs and institutions?

          4. Just a quick note: I vaguely remember, when I was much younger, receiving subscription solicitations from Chronicles (I believe back then it was called “Chronicles of Culture”), even before the first issue came out. I knew nothing of paleo-conservatism, in fact had never heard of it. I had simply assumed that the magazine was just another neocon rag, as that is what “conservatism” was all about, i.e. – warfare. I see now that many of those who supported Pat Buchanan were from the intellectual tradition surrounding this magazine. I am actually curious about them, and some of the authors you mentioned. I would be willing to read some things you recommend, provided they are not too extensive (I am getting a bit long in the tooth, and as well suffer from severe depression [the technical term for my mental illness is “schizo-affective disorder”], so don’t have the mental stamina to read as much as in the past). I really kind of have a passing interest in the history of political thought, particularly here in America.

          5. “We would have no corporations without the state, but there would still be bigness.”

            Yes, probably. But what we wouldn’t have are the artificial state-created incentives to growth.

            State-granted limited liability gives corporations as an organization form an advantage. The owners (stockholders) don’t have to be as careful about, or budget as much money to cover the costs of, externalities and other torts. That’s extra money that goes into growth which would otherwise not have happened.

            Ditto regulatory capture. When Company X has friends in government setting up hurdles to keep new competition out of the market on its behalf, it can grow much further and much faster than it would be able to in a free market.

            Some people treat “growth” as a value without context. But cancer is a form of “growth,” and economically the state is a carcinogen.

          6. I agree with what you say there. We also have a revolving door between public and private sector jobs. A bureaucrat can serve private interests, then hop to a nice private sector job after his time is up.

            And politicians are worse. Which raises a question: Why do libertarians want so much money in the election process? I assume it’s either ideology or a belief that there is no solution. I like Trump’s proposals for reducing corruption, though what I mostly like is that he’s talking about the problem. Step 1 is to get voters to wake up to how bad our government is.

            Just an addition: I’d say the market can also be a carcinogen. That’s what I meant to say with the church example before (that I’d want to preserve a church from the market, no need to look back if don’t remember.) And conservatives have long complained about Hollywood’s influence. I’m inclined towards pre-capitalist solutions there. Ideas like monasteries and hereditary positions, provided there is decentralisation (no meddling Pope).

            And charity seems to work well in the US South, partly because we haven’t received as many immigrants until recently; (We are diverse but more rooted). Also, this is partly because of our faith, partly because of other reasons I won’t discern or am temporarily overlooking. Perhaps we mistrust the federal government since we lost the war. Perhaps our agrarian past encouraged virtue that has endured.

            However in other parts of the US, you have a greater desire for government to handle charity, even in many rural parts of the US. Obama/Hillary’s call for a federal charity organisation is outrageous to me. I can look up the right term for her proposal if you don’t know what I mean.

            Aristotle said charity should be voluntary to improve virtue, but then he also praised a middle class. And he warned against city-states larger than probably Iceland (I forget whether he stated a number, but tiny Sparta was supposed to be a mere 10K people. So the Greek states were tiny.)

            So, I would say that in pursuit of an improved society, there are many aspects to consider. And what is best for one society might not be best for another society.

          7. “Why do libertarians want so much money in the election process?”

            Libertarians do not necessarily favor large sums of money in the electoral process. We are adamantly opposed, however, to legal campaign finance limits, as that would be an infringement on freedom of expression, and a violation of the First Amendment. Campaign finance laws tend to favor incumbents and hurt challengers, independents, and third political parties. They would always be biased against new entrants into the political process. The reason we have an enormous amount of money in the political process, is that there are so many goodies to give away, that the stakes are enormous. In a libertarian society, even one where a State existed, since there would be no favors to give out, there would be little incentive to try to influence elections because there would be no possible payoff. It really wouldn’t matter very much who was elected, because rewards and punishments to big business wouldn’t exist.

          8. We had a society somewhat like that. It didn’t endure.

            If Hillary wins, the only coalition that could challenge Democrat hegemony might look something like the American Solidarity Party, which among other things, calls for a welfare net.

            Most libertarians seem to be white. I realise Ron and Rand appeal to younger Americans, but the demographics are changing too quickly. And the new immigrants have their own political ideas. They don’t wish to simply melt in to become English.

            Also, whereas the Constitution Party praises the English Founders; the American Solidarity Party praises Catholics, who are not from such an “in-group”. I mean to say, many immigrants find it annoying to praise these few English Founders when most of us have little English blood. (I actually am English/Celtic and descend from colonists, but I’m a Southerner. That’s uncommon in America.)

            And Libertarians tend to also praise those same Founders somewhat, side stepping things like slavery and Amerindians.

            Furthermore, the, err, Solidarists focus on expanding the middle class. Many Americans have lost faith in “trickle down economics”. They’ve seen wasteful spending justified as “trickle-down”, when the only things being cut are programs which benefit citizens.

            Libertarians today do mention the middle class more, that I’ve seen. They, for example, highlight how monetary policy harms the middle class. And that is good to mention.

            If Hillary does indeed win, I’ll almost certainly join the American Solidarity Party. And I’d try to harmonise their current views with thinkers like David Stockman, who is worth reading. He’s a rare libertarian who works with libertarian ideas, applies them, doesn’t simply recite platitudes. That makes him worth reading.

            I think otherwise, if Hillary wins, we’ll have one party Democrat rule. So, a coalition that could break that would need to be found. I’m not a believer in utopia, so I’m just fine supporting the “lesser evil”.

            (In the past I didn’t vote for people like McCain, because I believed Obama was probably the lesser evil compared with a guy like him. I voted Constitution Party in 2008; but if there’s a significant improvement, I’ll vote for the main candidate.)

          9. “I realise Ron and Rand appeal to younger Americans, but the demographics are changing too quickly.”

            Immigrants are potentially an unlimited constituency for liberty, if liberty candidates would defend their rights as vociferously as they do pot smokers and raw-milk producers. Immigrants typically vote Democratic, not because they wish welfare goodies, but because Republicans (who are just as “generous” with welfare) have insulted them, shunned them, or ignored them, while Democrats have actively, explicitly made a point of welcoming them. The one way I think Libertarian Party candidates have often been superior even to Ron Paul, is that they have, for the most part, embraced immigrants and defended their rights. That’s what liberty lovers should do, we should defend the rights of all victims of the State, and immigrants are one group who are some of the most oppressed victims of the State.

            I fear my vision of a free society, which embraces freedom of travel and migration, may never come about because of the pigheadedness and xenophobia of “liberty” lovers who are not consistent about defending individual rights. Their conservative origins lead them to not apply their supposed principles consistently, because they retain a bit of the fear of people from other cultures, and that “Trumps” liberty in their mind.

          10. “If Hillary wins, the only coalition that could challenge Democrat hegemony…”

            Whichever party is in power during the next four years, they will be vilified and soundly repudiated. The reason is that no matter who wins, the economy is simply at the end of the line now, in an inflationary bubble that will soon break, almost certainly during the next Presidential term. It actually might be better for Hillary to win than Trump in this regard, as Hillary’s rhetoric is explicitly socialistic, while Trump’s rhetoric is perceived to be more limited government (even though, in actual fact he might increase government even more than Hillary could). When the dust settles, people will be asking “what happened?” It might be better if the crash is blamed on socialism, rather than the free market.

          11. Yes, we are on the verge of stagflation.

            Politicians will just use the excuse of a collapse to justify the policies they want. The immigrants we’ve taken in want big government spending. If Hillary wins, she’ll change the demographics further. And those demographics are likely to continue to change. So, it’s highly unlikely a libertarian society will arise here. It might arise somewhere like New Zealand or Australia, however.

            Voters aren’t rational. Some new coalition will be needed that can oppose the wars and oppose what else is possible to oppose. With luck, we can preserve some modicum of free speech, maybe the right to bear small arms, maybe even speed up the decline of the American empire.

            What’s great about Trump is he’s focusing on areas other than just federal domestic spending. He’s going after the things Republicans donors want. Evan McMullin is the Republican donor dream candidate: War, global trade, cheap labour, and I expect corporate welfare to boot. Trump is running against those things. He’s the anti-donor candidate.

            And Trump has also warned of the coming economic collapse, criticised the Federal Reserve. I actually very much like his message. I do not like social security, medicare, etc. But I also know that I prefer those over the war spending. When Trump promised not to cut ss, Obama offered to expand social security. Trump has the Dem scared.

            The Democrat strategy has been to paint Republicans as the bad guys. And eventually, as Republicans age and die off, we’re to be remembered as the party of war and big business. Whereas the Dems are to be remembered as the good guys. Trump has flipped the narrative entirely. It’s really a wonderful thing. Maybe it’s too little, too late; but Trump is much better than we’ll ever see again, much better than we deserve (since the Right hasn’t seemed to even attempt to compete politically).

          12. Some interesting points. I live in the south now (north central Florida), but came from the midwest and I do think you are right about the “greater desire for government to handle charity.” That may be an artifact of how the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl played out in that region. I know that my grandmother believed that FDR say at the left hand of God. And she may have even been a little jealous of Jesus having beat FDR to the right side.

  6. “As Friedrich List highlighted, free trade essentially requires a global state to ensure no one cheats, so I don’t pretend that’s possible. ”
    What is “cheating” and why does it have to be eliminated world-wide for trade to be free and for traders to gain from their freedom? If by “cheating” you’re referring to our trading partners’ border-adjusted VAT’s, then wouldn’t a simple remedy be tax-subsidizing American exports to offset what our partners’ are doing? That doesn’t seem to require a global state.

    Would free travel essentially require a global state to ensure that no one assaults travelers? I don’t think so at all. It would seem to me that as long as there are no legal constraints to my travelling to a place then I’m free to travel there, and globally free travel thus only requires that travelers be allowed to freely risk going into less-safe areas, and accept being assaulted should it occur. I don’t think we don’t need a global security state to make sure there are no less-safe areas.

    In the same way, if, say, Chinese manufacturers are known to “cheat” in some way, then individual traders who don’t like it would be free to demand a premium to compensate for what they consider “cheating” or refuse to continue trading with those manufacturers altogether. In this way we would have free trade, and individual traders could decide which people from which locations to trade with to their advantage entirely on their own. Why is a global state necessary?

    1. You write: “then wouldn’t a simple remedy be tax-subsidizing American exports to offset what our partners’ are doing? ”

      That’s fair trade. That’s essentially what Trump is running on. I don’t believe it could work, because it would get complicated adding up all of the advantages, monitoring trading partners.

      I prefer Ted Cruz’s trade policy of a similar flat border adjusted tax (BTT), which is trade protectionism. I am not refering to Cruz’s income tax. This BTT is a flat tax that taxes trading partners at a flat rate, no matter what they choose to do. There’s no need to make things perfectly equal. We simply need to make it beneficial for those selling to the US market to invest here. Cruz had the right solution.

      Cruz’s idea was not new btw. It’s been a favourite among trade protectionists for years. And libertarians for some reason I assume hate the idea.

      1. “‘wouldn’t a simple remedy be tax-subsidizing American exports to offset what our partners’ are doing?’ That’s fair trade. That’s essentially what Trump is running on.”
        In his stump speeches Trump regularly calls for something like 30% tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports, not refunding U.S. corporate/income taxes to U.S. exporters to compensate for other countries refunding their domestic VAT taxes to their exporters. If he has mentioned this as a possible remedy, consider me pleasantly surprised. I could see characterizing the latter as “fair trade,” but arbitrary, punitive tariffs?

        My original point in bringing this up, though, which you don’t seem to be disputing, is that rebating U.S. taxes to U.S. exporters does not call for a global super state nor does it give up on the premise of free trade by introducing further restraints. If the rebates are given in retaliation to already-existing, selective restraints of trade imposed by other governments, then all the rebates would do is reduce disparities caused by divergent government tax policies. Personally, I am not so sure that any of this is necessary or prudent, but if you are positive that other countries subsidizing your standard of living is “cheating,” then this would “level the playing field” as it were, by subsidizing foreigners’ standards of living in return, without forcing me to pay an additional tax to exercise my right to trade with foreigners that I could avoid by trading domestically.

        “I prefer Ted Cruz’s trade policy of a similar flat border adjusted tax (BTT), which is trade protectionism. ”
        And such is your prerogative, I only question whether it’s really because “free trade essentially requires a global state.” I think that is a decidedly false assertion.

        1. “And such is your prerogative, I only question whether it’s really because “free trade essentially requires a global state.” I think that is a decidedly false assertion.”

          No, it is not. Any state will pursue advantage if left to its own, well, except for the US which pursues the advantage of an elite. That is why there’s need for a global state for true free trade. Currently regulatory bodies are used to manage trade.

          Ron Paul would argue that states could still trade. Yes, they could. But the state that protects its markets will gain an advantage (in states where developing a particular industry is feasible).

          Regarding Trump, he speaks on a variety of situations which confuse voters. He wants fair trade, not tariffs.

          Even Obama has recently battled Chinese steel dumping. Tariffs are necessary at times. Trump was discussing different scenarios which confused voters. He continues to lose voters for talking on complicated controversial issues, especially trade. Voters prefer comfortable topics they’re familiar with like cutting taxes… But Trump’s best knowledge is trade.

          1. “Even Obama has recently battled Chinese steel dumping.”

            OK, so there’s an example of “fair trade.” Think about what it means.

            What it means is that Obama has recently said “Americans should have to pay more for steel so that my buddies in the US steel industry can make more money.”

          2. I favour a flat trade tariff or a flat border adjusted VAT/BTT.

            Such a tax couldn’t be corrupted. The problem with trade protections is a same problem with our “free trade deals” = government gives advantages to some rather than to an entire industry usually. Obama might have acted correctly by protecting the steel industry, but I’d just have a flat tax protecting everything, then reduce the overall tax load by the same amount.

            A libertarian should be fine with such trade protections. He just wants to reduce the overall tax load. And such is well within US history. A trade tariff or BTT/VAT would be better than the income tax.

            Sadly, most Americans, including libertarians, don’t seem aware of what the best trade protection policy would look like. They assume “trade protections” mean differing taxes with different trade partners. What it should mean is the removal of government entirely from trade, aside from a small tax applied to all things.

            And our trading partners already use trade protections. They all do. So, the “trade war” notion is completely false. Also, there’s never been a trade war in history that resulted from protections.

          3. “A libertarian should be fine with such trade protections. He just wants to reduce the overall tax load.”

            Um, no. A libertarian supports freedom in all cases, not just “reducing the overall tax load.”

  7. The ridiculousness is that for the past several months the country has argued over which is worse. What a waste of time.

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