Libertarians, and Trump
by Adam Alcorn
Libertarians have been cheating on their principles out of pure licentiousness and debauchery. It feels good to cheer for the orange maniac smashing through the barriers that have long held reasonable discourse at bay. There is however, a problem here. Donald Trump has broken these barriers and replaced them with what appears to be the perfect argument in favor of rebuilding them. I use the terms licentiousness and debauchery deliberately. There is no philosophical underpinning to a libertarian’s support of The Donald, but on a personal level it feels great. It is selfishly motivated self-satisfaction using Donald as an instrument of schadenfreude.
Despite the harshness of the reality of a libertarian Trump supporter, I must say I cannot completely defeat my own cravings to indulge in the debauchery that comes with supporting Trump. Supporting Trump gives one a kind of freedom that is rarely felt in the realm of politics. It provides an instrument that appears to be able to effect change like never before. Supporting Trump makes one feel powerful in a world that the two party monopoly and the corrupt media renders us powerless. This is something that libertarians have never felt.
Libertarians lose. We have been losing since we settled on a name for ourselves. Just look at the size of government and how much it has grown. This breeds a feeling of desperation and inevitability. We are going to get swallowed up and erased by Leviathan and no one will even hear us scream. Well… Donald Trump is screaming. Many see his campaign as a way to refuse to go quietly without a fight. We may not win, but dammit we will leave a mark. For these reasons I understand the libertarians that are supporting Trump. The problem is that it is Donald f’in Trump who has an attention span of a gnat and an ego larger than the country he thinks he can run “so good”. Donald Trump might just leave a mark that leaves you dead. Sure, Hillary Clinton may as well, but I won’t support her as a libertarian either and I don’t think anyone is. To the libertarian Trump supporters, I say go right ahead. Go ahead with your support of Trump, but understand, and make others understand that you do not support Trump as a libertarian, but for other, likely personal reasons. You can support Trump as a populist, a nationalist, an outsider, or even a fascist. Just leave the libertarianism out of it, because Trump certainly hasn’t brought any into consideration. Yes, there are a few Trump policies that line up with libertarian beliefs, but when policy positions are not based on principle, they will change. Not to mention the fact that Trump changes his opinions faster than Podesta loses his phones.
The consumer of entertainment in me wants a Trump presidency for the sheer spectacle of it. As that suggests however, the opinion of a spectator is not always what is best for a participant. Why couldn’t some other country nearby elect Trump as president? Or did they already do that with Duterte? If so, the dice rolled a loser. If you are a Trump supporter, you are advocating a poker game in which, in my opinion, the deck is stacked against you. If you succeed in getting Trump elected, you better hope he plays his cards right, and judging by the campaign I can’t imagine feeling very confident about that.
Is it possible that this is the libertarian Trump supporter’s first taste of “power”? Perhaps the libido dominandi that we as libertarians so often preach against, has sneaked its way in? The lust for power is real, and everyone is vulnerable to it. The Trump campaign has provided frustrated libertarians the opportunity to feel powerful in the political realm for the first time in their life.
It is a shame that people weren’t frustrated enough to “throw caution to the wind” in 2008 or 2012 and elect Ron Paul. That’s a roll of the dice I’d be comfortable with, and so would my principles.