There do not seem to be any principled or libertarian candidates for President in 2016. Even the Libertarian Party has been disappointing.
But I just can't understand the "Libertarians for Trump" movement now. I am thoroughly perplexed, and even somewhat distressed by it.
Some of the libertarian Trump supporters have stated that Trump is "anti-Establishment." However, when he puts his money where his loud mouth is, Trump has donated thousands and thousands of dollars to Democrat and Republican politicians, but nothing to Ron Paul or other possibly libertarian-leaning Democrats or Republicans. They're all statists, and hacks.
Do actions speak louder than words?
The Libertarians for Trumpers apparently believe that Trump will "shake things up" in Washington, and believe Trump's rhetoric of "free-market principles," even though Trump seems to follow George W. Bush in "abandoning free-market principles to save the free-market system."
They seem to believe Trump's rhetoric criticizing the Bush-Obama wars and NATO. And Walter Block believes that Trump is less likely than Hillary to start World War III. However, Trump's main foreign policy advisors include the warmonger Sen. Jeff Sessions. And Trump's latest heartthrob is the ultra-bloodthirsty warmonger and police-statist Sen. Tom Cotton. (Not a good sign.)
So here I express my bewilderment at libertarians who are supporting a long-time Establishment-backer who believes in government scheming and conniving to pick winners and losers, as though Trump is actually anti-Establishment, and will "rock the boat" if he becomes President.
Sorry. Trump is not a boat-rocker. He is a deal-maker. A cahooter.
Trump believes strongly in making deals, which is fine in the private sector. But government deals are political deals. If conservatives and libertarians think that Trump will not sign bills with more anti-discrimination amendments, tax-raising amendments and on and on, they are kidding themselves.
Yuri Maltsev, an economist under Mikhail Gorbachev's regime and author of the books Requiem for Marx and The Tea Party Explained: From Crisis to Crusade, has written terrific articles on Soviet healthcare and on the real Gorbachev.
However, Dr. Maltsev has joined other libertarians in attempting to differentiate between Trump and Hillary Clinton as a capitalist vs. a socialist, a "choice between freedom and socialist slavery."
Nope. Donald Trump is just another socialist, whether he proclaims that or not.
So the truth is that Trump has exactly the kind of anti-capitalistic mentality as many of Trump's leftist critics. Trump is against the free market when it comes to healthcare, trade, immigration, labor and employment, and other issues.
And here are some examples:
On healthcare Trump states on his official campaign website that the government must "make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it."
As Trump made clear in his interview last September with Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes, Trump is "going to take care of everybody," and that "the government's gonna pay for it." And he promised to fund all that by raising taxes on the wealthy. In his Februaryappearance on a CNN Town Hall with Anderson Cooper, Trump stated that while he wants to repeal ObamaCare he nevertheless likes the mandate because he doesn't want "people dying on the streets." In reference to his Medicaid expansion proposal (which he referred to as "Medicare" in the CNN interview), Trump stated, "That's not single payer, by the way. That's called heart. We gotta take care of people that can't take care of themselves."
And by "we" he doesn't mean private charities or businesses, which is the free-market way, but government, which is the failed socialist way.
I suppose we can call a socialist a "capitalist" as long as Trump or his campaign website mentions "free-market principles." But it appears that he hasn't even considered free-market principles here.
With socialist healthcare schemes, such as in the old Soviet Union, in England, Canada, or Venezuela, you will find more people, not fewer, "dying on the streets" than in capitalist societies.
And regarding Trump's other policy proposals, on trade we know that Trump opposes free trade and favors a government-controlled, government-managed mercantilist trade, as Robert Wenzel pointed out.
Trump believes in "fair trade." President Trump will decide what's fair, not the market. There's nothing capitalistic about that.
In contrast, a free-market capitalist trade policy is when consumers have the freedom to trade with others anywhere in the world, and producers have the freedom to sell what they make to any willing buyer. The contracts are between them. Bureaucrats will not intrude.
And socialist programs in the U.S. such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security arecollapsing. But Donald Trump won't touch Social Security, and, according to his official campaign website, won't cut anyone's entitlements.
You see, one thing that the progressives have accomplished is convincing conservatives that socialist government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid involve "free markets" and can be "reformed." But the truth is, those programs involve the government using its coercive powers to take wealth from the workers and producers and redistributing it to others.
Should libertarians sugar-coat FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society in support of Donald Trump?
Trump not only says nothing about making cuts in the federal budget, he wants to expandthe size and powers of the federal government, its usurpations and take-overs.
A real free-market capitalist who wants to take part in government would argue for massive cuts in the budget and spending, eliminating whole government bureaucracies and departments and dismantling Leviathan.
The whole point of "free markets" is that markets are free of governmental intrusions, controls, and thefts by the bureaucrats.
And like other politicians, Donald Trump wants to reform the tax code. But like other politicians, he doesn't seem to question the morality or legitimacy of the income tax, or of involuntary taxation in general.
Morally, if transactions and contracts are involuntary, with one party of the contract coercing or compelling another to participate, we would call that scheme a criminal racket, extortion, or robbery.
What we can't call that is being part of a "free market" or free-market capitalism, in which all parties to all contracts participate voluntarily, under the rule of law which forbids theft, fraud, trespassing, coercion and force.
Another disturbing aspect of Trump mania is this collectivist promotion of government bureaucrats maintaining control over immigration, labor and employment.
I thought that libertarians were individualists who believed in private property rights and the idea of self-ownership. Not some kind of collectivist control over markets and people.
The real libertarian advocacy of human freedom includes free people selling their labor to willing and able buyers, and the contracts are between them. Socialist bureaucracy which interferes with that freedom is an interference with the free market. And when the government builds an actual physical wall, that is a further obstruction to markets. As Jacob Hornberger has pointed out, government immigration controls are socialist policies. They in no way resemble free markets or free-market capitalism.
Trump's own history as a "crony capitalist," and his running to the government courts to use "wonderful" eminent domain to steal private property from its rightful owners, show that he has no understanding of, let alone respect for, the moral and economic principles of liberty promoted by libertarians, free-market capitalists, or anarcho-capitalists.
In the old days, Americans had the freedom to associate with whomever they wanted, and to not associate with whomever they didn't want to associate.
Americans had the freedom to keep everything they earned and honestly acquired, to do with their own wealth and income whatever they wanted, to save it, invest, start and grow businesses, give to charity or buy merchandise or property. There were few if any regulations on their economic activities.
And they could come and go as they pleased. No "Your papers, please." And foreigners could come to live, work, start a business, or spend their money, with very few bureaucratic impositions getting in their way.
In the old days, this freedom of the people is what led to the biggest boom in economic prosperity and is what raised the standard of living of just about everyone in the country.
In contrast, it was and is socialism that takes wealth from the people, that subjugates the people, and reduces prosperity and lowers the people's standard of living.
So what we really need is someone who proposes to liberate the people and dismantle all the criminal bureaus and commissions in Washington. Donald Trump is not that person.
Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and commentator. Please visit his blog.