Trump: Friend or Foe to Libertarians?

All the world, it seems, is abuzz with political ideas and energy this winter, most of this stemming from a recent presidential inauguration. I’d like to keep my website out of the cheap day-to-day political fights that rage across the media, social and otherwise, but it’s probably the right time to make some kind of statement on our new Commander-in-Chief. And, as a Libertarian, I think this is important because few of us are Libertarians after all and those of us who are need to speak up as often as possible concerning our under-represented world view. It’s a world view that extends from the natural world to the workings of Washington D.C. and beyond.

To put any of my thoughts on Trump in context, maybe I should start by talking a little about what Libertarianism really is, what we believe, though, as a disclaimer, I haven’t been certified by the Libertarian Party to speak for all of us, so this is mainly the perspective of Cedric C. Keith. First, Libertarians are optimists, people who see great good arising spontaneously in the world, whether in the realm of nature or that of men. Our most defining characteristic is our promotion of greater liberty in place of more centralized control (government). We think that individuals know what’s best for themselves and their families in a way that government agencies couldn’t possibly and we think that government intervention in people’s lives holds people back from reaching their full potentials, from finding their own paths that bureaucracy could have never envisioned for them. We think that government solutions spin off innumerable unforeseeable consequences that are too often addressed with further mandated solutions, creating the legislative chasing-of-our-own-tails that we find ourselves caught up in today. How much better to simply not believe that government should solve all our problems in the first place? We respect the United States of America as a great last bastion of these ideas (of Classical Liberalism) and we fight always in the realm of ideas to keep it so.

We don’t think that it takes a village but rather that good villages spring from voluntary association and trade between free people pursuing their own interests and not infringing on the rights of others to do the same. Overall, I know Libertarians to be unusually open-minded dynamic thinkers who resist pre-packaged lives or sets of ideas.

So, back to Donald J. Trump. The Libertarian perspective on our new president could probably be characterized as dichotomous, or simply mixed, among Libertarians (and we’re not known for being well unified on much of anything). He wouldn’t have been our first pick for president and, in fact, I left the Republican Party and officially became a Libertarian when he was chosen as the nominee of my old party. I just didn’t trust him and didn’t feel he was nearly intelligent enough to lead the nation. He seemed untethered to any particular ideology and was prone to childish ad hominem confrontations. He lacked character then and still does today.

Yet, I voted for him in early November as did a lot of other principled people who couldn’t stomach the apparent alternative. Libertarians at large though split their votes between Trump, Clinton or third party candidates such as our own Gary Johnson. I can keep my rationalization simple and say that I voted against a despicable candidate (and you’ve got to be pretty bad when Trump makes you look unsavory) and all the ideas she stood for, including the expanding role of government in the lives of all Americans. Currently, it’s fashionable in Libertarian circles to bash Trump for cronyism, executive over-reach and war-mongering. But there’s also much good being done now by his administration, if only accidentally. I thought that he might do some good in the realm of political appointments and I’ve been at least partially vindicated in this. We can all be thankful he’s surrounded himself with smarter people. This good is mostly coming in the form of dismantling bureaucracy, an insidious nuisance that’s been growing slowly like a sediment or oxidative build-up in the “pipes” of the American economy for far too long. The EPA is an outstanding example, it’s unending mandate to fix all that’s in some way “wrong” in the nebulous realm of the environment having allowed it to trample on property rights for at least a generation now. So many federal agencies, such as the Department of Education, are redundant, their missions already fulfilled by the states. Those whispering in Trump’s ears realize this – at least he’s receptive to good advice.

Cautious optimism seems a good policy for now. But, then too, his early moves are politically motivated, meant to stir his base to cheers of affirmation. We’ll get to know the real Trump in the years ahead, for better or worse. And, before I’m done with Trump, I’d like to write something soon about Trump and the environment specifically, the topic I’m perhaps most qualified to address. Then too, I’m eager to leave all the politicking behind and tell you about my explorations of the little stream that flows behind my house and the mink who’s taken up residence here, deep in the hollows of the

Pittsburgh suburbs. Sorry I have no Trump / Washington D.C. photos to share.

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