Thursday, April 7, 2011

Donald Trump and The Road to Serfdom

Anyone who has read Friedrick Hayek's The Road to Serfdom should be able to understand the new popularity of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. When Hayek writes that the average person is attracted to the "can do" leader, it is not hard to believe that Trump fits within the broad definition of what Hayek had in mind.

It is the belief that what the country needs is a leader who can fix things. As far as Trump on the issues, it appears his view is exactly this view that what is needed is a qualified leader and that he is such a leader and President Obama is not.

With this as his sole guiding light, Trump can come down anywhere on any issue. He does not appear to have any deeply formed views about free markets, foreign affairs or anything else. He has a very gut instinct view, which attracts the average man in the street.

The masses can also sense that Trump is not beholden to the usual special interest groups. He does not appear to couch his words for the benefit of protecting any particular group. This also makes Trump attractive to the masses. But deep down, what Trump would be as a candidate is the anti-Ron Paul. Where Dr. Paul is humble, Trump is boastful. But more important, where Dr. Paul has a studied and deep appreciation of liberty and the intricacies of what liberty means in different situations, Trump has an off the cuff, ad hoc manner of looking at issues.

During a recent interview on the Today Show, Trump said that he wished that President Obama was the "greatest President since Abraham Lincoln", which shows that Trump has no deep understanding about Lincoln and simply has the pedestrian view, fed to us by mainstream media and the government controlled education system.

He also said during the interview that the only reason that he would be interested in interfering in Libya is if  "we can get the oil". If nothing else, this is certainly an open and blunt statement about the fact that the United States is an international bully, and that he wants to maintain that policy, at least as far as Libya goes.

Trump can read a financial statement so he knows the current budget posturing between Democrats and Republicans over a tiny portion of a huge out of control budget is a joke. During the interview he called the cuts, "peanuts".

Some time back, I heard Trump criticize Fed Chairman Bernanke for not pushing interest rates down fast enough, so this means Trump either doesn't understand the destruction that Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates causes or he doesn't care as long as it helps the sector where he makes a good chunk of his money, the real estate sector.

Outside of the few positions reflected in these Trump comments, it is hard to know how Trump will land on any issue. He certainly has no principled stand against government intervention in the economy or the world and most likely no principled stand against government intervention when it comes to personal freedom.

Since it is clear he has no understanding of Hayek's warning about the "can do" leader, one can certainly surmise he has no understanding of Hayek's further warning of how the "can do" leader is also the leader that leads a country down the road to serfdom. And it is because of this, that a President Trump may be a very dangerous thing.

Further, a Trump candidacy should also not be taken lightly. I have always been fascinated how Trump as a developer has had no problems with the notoriously difficult to deal with NYC construction unions. Trump seems to be able to work with them. During the general election, this could be a vulnerable spot for President Obama in a Trump-Obama race. Unions are the base of Obama's support, I think Trump can nip away at that.

It's still early in the race to the 2012 election and Trump says he won't announce a decision on running until June, after the current season of his television show, The Apprentice, is over, since if he officially announced he is running before that, according to election laws, he would not be able to appear on the show. So we won't know how serious Trump is about running until then. Perhaps, he is just feeding into the buzz to boost ratings for his show and sales of his book. If, on the other hand, Trump announces in June that he is serious and will become a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, it is going to be time for all of us to re-read The Road to Serfdom and pay close attention to what Hayek says about "can do" leaders.


  1. I'm elated to see that someone else realizes that Lincoln was a miserable President and the one that created the beltway behemoth of a federal gov't we see today. The fact that he is lauded as a hero, a patriot, and a guardian of freedom and liberty is disgusting.

  2. Nice analysis, Bob. I share your views of Trump. Here's my question: Assuming Ron Paul won't get the nomination (among other reasons he simply won't attract the big rent-seeking donors), is Trump the lesser of all evils?

    A couple of years ago, I might have been inclined to believe that he is, but having experienced the most statist of all presidential candidates in 2008 as president, I know how it has awakened me regarding government. This, of course is the throwing the frog in the hot water theory.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    By the way, Anonymous, if you want some support for the position on Lincoln, you MUST read Tom DiLorenzo's books Lincoln Unmasked and The Real Lincoln.

  3. Whew, I thought Obama was bad. I hoped the latest political circus was the Donald simply going for more facetime. However, if this turns into a serious presidential bid, the country is in deeper trouble than a Fukushima sand lance. Has our society sunk so low that the best of the best is a shallow real estate con man?


  4. Mr. Wenzel does a fantastic job and seems to be on the right side of everything. It sickens me to see all my conservative friends worship Lincoln, but It's amazing how blind you become when the government schools complete your big government janissary training which they euphemize as an education.

  5. This was a really good article, I hope some liberty minded people read this. I know some Ron Paul supporters who have become attracted to Donald Trump due to his questioning of Obama's citizenship.

  6. Anonymous#2 - I read them both. What's amazing was to see the debate between DiLorenzo and the myriad of Lincoln apologists out there. I love to hear leftists support Lincoln and his suspension of habeus corpus and the false imprisonment of CITIZENS while simultaneously "supporting" the Constitution. Their hypocrisy is laughable.

  7. Anyone who thinks of Donald Trump as "can do" is 20 years out of date. The man is a joke. A cliché. He's merely the mainstream media's latest Republican bogeyman, the new Sarah Palin, which is a joke in itself.

  8. Why vote for any "Lesser of Two Evils"? Your vote is never wasted when voting your convictions. The Constitution Party has had candidates for President and 2012 will be no exception. Links to each state party can be found here:

  9. The republicans had better come up with someone else, who speaks powerful and will protect AMERICA only, or you will have Trump and Obama - the american people are so sick of nothing but lies and no leadership.

  10. Let's start with no more Clintons and no more Bushes. And no more Kennedy's. Then we have a clean slate.

    Look, it doesn't really matter. Divide and conquer and the American have been conquered. Whether Republican or Democrat, in a PLUTOCRACY the country belongs to the financial elites.

    In the USA it belongs to the money cartel(Fed Reserve and affiliated banksters) and the engrained federal government that gorges on fiat money created my the money cartel.

    Government by the government for the government.

    Roll over Lincoln, you knew it was true. I agree, Abe was a poor president and what is published in the school books is hogwash.

    What this Union needs it to get split up. Let the Federal Reserve and the IRS be contained in Washington DC, and the rest of the States decide what they want after they shake the Fed money fiat cartel that is ruining our economy.

    reminder - April 15th is just around the corner. Don't you just love it.

  11. Who in hell is Robert Wenzel?

  12. Well, Trump may be a con man, but Obama is a communist, I'm not sure who would be worse.

  13. Trump is a liberal who has appeared on Oprah's TV show many times and supported her views. I can't help but believe his presidetial bid is sabbotage.

  14. Obama is not only a Communist but a closet Muslim.
    What liberal views did Trump agree with on the Oprah show? I know he took that fat ass Rosie O'Donnel to task whom I equate to a fat white Oprah

  15. Give me the names of somebody who would be worse than Obama!!??!!

  16. I cannot believe Donald Trump is taken seriously by anyone in this country. The man's lack of ability to plan for the future can be elucidated by his twice filing for bankruptcy. He continues to use government funds for his business programs (Mr. Anti Our Present Government), as far back as Swifton Village - a 1200-unit apartment - in Cincinnati during his college years. How can you trust a man with an entire country who used his shareholder's money to pay off a $26 million to pay off a personal loan (from Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette)?

    It is interesting - and an indicator of America' collective racism - that suddenly we are talking about our President as a communist and socialist, when we've been headed in that direction for quite some time: George W., Clinton. George H. W. all have steered us toward, at least socialism, as mandated by David Rockefeller.

    Before you want to invest your future in a huckster/con man, who has proven he would sell his soul for a dollar and personal fame, consider this quote from David Rockefeller:

    "We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries."
    --David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991.

  17. Trump is only after the free publicity. He will not run because it will cost him some money. Con man? You can call him worse.

  18. Trump is cutting through the POLITICAL CORRECTNESS that is like a cancer in American politics. People are responding positively to that. It's doubtful the Republicans will warm up to Trump, but he will shake things up in 2012 and Thank God for that!

  19. Lincoln was a huge statist. The Southern states tried to peacefully secede and he used military aggression against them. He didn't give a shit about slaves.

    Trumps comments show he has no understanding of economics. I don't care who runs. I'm writing in Ron Paul if he's not on the ballot.