Friday, 29 April 2011

Donald Trump and the Faux Conservatives

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Jack KerwickMichele Malkin has just written a column in which she attempts to expose Donald Trump as a faux conservative. “The Donald,” Malkin writes, has long abused the law of “eminent domain” for his own material self-interests. She insists that in using government to confiscate the private holdings of others, Trump reveals an insufficient respect for private property rights and “Constitutional principles.”

With Malkin’s analysis, I have no quarrel. It is at once logically sound and substantively true. Trump is guilty of colluding with the government for the purposes that she specifies. And, yes, I do indeed believe that anyone who believes that it is permissible for a government to embark upon the enterprise of redistributing privately owned goods lacks either an understanding of or an appreciation for the civil association that was at one time the United States of America. 

But for all the talk of liberty that inexhaustibly springs from the lips of Democrats and Republicans alike, scarcely anyone affiliated with either party can be said to be a genuine lover of liberty. To put this point another way, while Trump most certainly is the faux conservative that Malkin describes, with very few exceptions, virtually every other self-professed “conservative” on the scene today fits this description as well.

For the most part, no Republican conservative objects to the graduated income tax with which we’ve lived for nearly a century. That this is the system of taxation without which no socialist community could exist is obvious when it is remembered that it is precisely a graduated income tax that Karl Marx called for in The Communist Manifesto. It is true that some Republicans have proposed a “flat tax,” but a flat tax is still a tax on income. Regardless of the rate at which it is set, it entails a diminution of private property rights insofar as its implementation demands that the government both access a person’s earnings before the person himself can, and avail itself of a portion of those earnings that he is now precluded from enjoying.

Marx’s Manifesto also identifies as indispensable to a communist society a system of public education. It is true that, to their credit, Republicans promote alternatives to public schooling, but, as far as I am aware, no Republican has demanded an end to it, much less voted to defund it. Furthermore, the Department of Education has not only held its own; it has grown exponentially under Republican administrations.

The historic Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s — with its criminalization of discrimination in the private sphere — constituted about as formidable an assault against private property rights as any that they have been dealt. Inasmuch as it allotted the federal government ever vaster power over the states, it facilitated as well an erosion of the federalism in which our freedom generally resides. 

Yet with the sole exception of Senator Rand Paul, no Republican has so much as hinted at an awareness of the threat to our liberties this Civil Rights legislation poses and the license for perpetual social engineering that it supplies. Moreover, to at least as great an extent as their political rivals, Republicans champion such legislation and regularly remind us that had it not been for Republican support, it never would have passed. 

Indeed, the case can be made that, remarkably enough, Republicans favor an even larger, more powerful government than Democrats, for it is the Republican Party that advocates the democratization of the Middle East, an enterprise that can only be executed by a government with an immense quantum of power at its disposal. Moreover, such an enterprise is the ultimate exercise in “social engineering,” yet because those to be manipulated like putty are the citizens of another society, this project presupposes an even greater faith in the competence of government than that possessed by leftists who look no further than the citizens of their own land on whom to impose their designs.  

In other words, the Big Government idealism of Republicans is actually more ambitious and utopian — and thus, more foolish and futile — than that of Democrats.

Those who are skeptical of this analysis need only ask themselves: Has the federal government decreased or increased in scope under Republican control? The answer is painfully obvious: Republicans have not only done nothing to divest the federal government of the powers that it has annexed, they have facilitated its growth.

With all of this in mind, it is worth asking another question: Why or how, from the Republican’s perspective, would Trump be a worse President than Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, and/or Michelle Bachman?

Trump, being neither a conservative nor libertarian, is far from my ideal presidential candidate. But, for this same reason, neither is any other Republican with the exception of Ron Paul.

To put this simply, again, from a Republican’s point of view, Trump is no worse than anyone else.  

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