I saw someone post that Trump is the most libertarian president and there was a long thread of people debating this. I think this idea is super wrong, and likely a hard stance to defend. I don’t think any of my friends would take the challenge to try to defend Trump as a libertarian president. That being said. I think I will make a post of why I believe Trump provides the presidency that libertarians should love the most since, at least Nixon, but probably since Grover Cleveland.
1. Trump is no worse than any other president.
Trump’s record is bad, but it is hard to point to a recent president that has a better record. While he is worse with tariffs, he is probably better with war. When you go through his record and compare it with other presidents, it is hard to find a president who did worse than Trump from a libertarian perspective. This is not because Trump is a libertarian or isn’t a giant pile of shit, but partially because of other factors I will expand on in #2.
2. Not much can be done under Trump since he is so Polarizing.
Anything backed by Trump can only go through Congress on a party line vote. The legislation that goes to congress has been relatively favorable to libertarian ideology. A lot of the legislation that he would love to pass that would be horrible doesn’t even go to congress because it doesn’t stand a chance.
3. Trump diminishes the presidency.
Trump is an asshat clown. He makes everything and everyone he touches look like clowns. He erodes faith in the presidency and government overall.
4. Trump makes the media look like fools.
In theory, libertarians should love the media since it is a private check on government power. However, in reality, the media has suffered under the inverse of regulatory capture … they have been captured by statism.
The media suffers from the bad incentives provided by desiring government access. They suffer from staffing government employees in order to boost ratings. They suffer from desiring and promoting bad news rather than no news. They suffer from the natural weeding out process of attracting people who “want to make a difference.” They suffer from group think. They suffer from being centered in areas with little ideological diversity. The modern media is a horrible institution that promotes statism, war, and government.
Trump makes everything he touches looks like shit. That is his magical power, and he makes the media look like partisan hacks. It is impossible to watch CNN, MSNBC, or any other “objective” news source and not see the partisan and personal hackery inspired through their hatred of Trump.
5. Trump reveals most every politician and political person as tribalistic hacks.
It is fun watching republicans defend ideas that they are supposed to oppose. It is fun to watch Democrats fight vigilantly against ideas that they are supposed to favor.
Trump shows these political actors to be rank hypocrites.
6. Gorsuch is great.
Trump has not intended to be good and he isn’t a libertarian president. However, I can’t imagine alternatives providing better Supreme Court nominations. Gorsuch is amazing, and Kavanaugh is tolerable. Yes, Kavanaugh sucks on 4th amendment issues and is crumby is some ways, but it is hard to imagine better candidates coming from the likes of Romney, McCain, Bush or Clinton.
7. Trump inspires division, tribalism and animosity.
This one will be split with libertarians. Some libertarians believe that the goal towards progress is to inspire good will in others and to change their minds towards liberty. Others, like me, think that the natural inclination of government is to always grow and that proper check on government is people opting out.
I don’t believe the way to get a more libertarian world is by convincing more people to be libertarians. People move for capitalism and vote for socialism. I don’t believe libertarian political movements are stronger than natural human incentives. I believe the way to get a libertarian world is by having successions, smaller governmental units and freedom of association. I believe the way we keep government small is by forcing governments to compete with other governments for citizens. In short, I want the US to split into smaller units. The way to do this is by inspiring division and animosity.
Conclusion. Trump isn’t playing 4D chess. Trump is a fool who would love to make the world worse. However, I believe his presidency is having a highly positive effect for libertarians.