Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trump’s Antitrust, Tax Attack on Bezos Still Not Enough Reason to ‘Dump Trump’

Try as I might, given the alternative, it just is hard for this Independent to find reason to support Donald Trump. He’s as unabashedly anti-free speech as Hillary Clinton. He’s an anti-free trade nationalist, vowing to use tariffs and other trade barriers (or the threat thereof) to get new trade deals that "make America great again," as if free trade has nothing to do with the rights of private individuals freely trading with each other. He’s an instinctual authoritarian, as evidenced by his tirades against American companies Ford and Carrier, whom he singled out for special punishment should they not toe the line drawn by his angry whims.


Now comes another reason not to support Trump—his support for and apparent willingness to use the antitrust laws to go after dissenters. As Fox News reports, Trump is threatening Jeff Bezos (Amazon) with an antitrust prosecution and targeted tax hikes. (Antitrust is a set of statutes—you can’t call them laws—designed to give the government the arbitrary power to go after any business it deems unacceptable.) Bezos’s crime? Using the newspaper he owns (The Washington Post) “as a tool to influence corporate tax policy,” as if the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” doesn’t exist. Trump is a dangerous statist—a thug who will use the power of the state to go after anyone who criticizes him.


This election cycle is a nightmare for we freedom lovers—basically a choice between two unabashed statists, one a Democrat, the other a pseudo-Republican; i.e., a Democrat-in-all-but-name.


Still, I’m stopping short of saying unequivocally I won’t vote for Trump.


Would a Hillary presidency be worse? In one sense, no. Blame for the coming damage President Hillary will do to our economy and our liberty can at least be pinned where it belongs, on Democrat statism; on socialism; on egalitarianism; on the economic authoritarianism the Democrats stand for. A President Trump, on the other hand, being a Republican, will enable Democrats to blame free market capitalism and freedom for the statist damage he will do, because the GOP label in theory stands for free market capitalism and freedom. Remember a non-existent free market was blamed for the Great Recession, which occurred under the statist Republican President George W. Bush.


The one thing that scares me more about Hillary is her Supreme Court nominations. Under Clinton, we’ll almost certainly end up with a far Left Supreme Court that will always side with government coercion over individual liberty in regards to issues like the First and Second Amendments, property rights, the economy, and school choice, especially if the Senate goes Democrat. That will be the final nail in the coffin of the U.S. Constitution as an effective check on government power, at least for several decades. While Hillary is quite ideologically Leftist, Trump has no ideological principles. Trump is a total pragmatist, who will do whatever is expedient at any given time on almost any given issue. This is bad from the standpoint of winning the philosohpica/ideologioiical battle for capitalism, individual rights, and constitutional republicanism, especially since the Left is now openly promoting socialism and collectivism.


But Trump’s pragmatism may be our best hope of avoiding a far Left Supreme Court. Yes, he’s unpredictable and can’t be counted on to apply pro-individual rights, pro-constitution principles in picking a Supreme Court justice. But his rampant pragmatism at least leaves as much chance that he’ll stumble into good choices as bad choices.


Given the importance of today's Supreme Court for the future of America, Trump to me is clearly less bad than Clinton on this, one of the most important issues in the 2016 election. So, much as I can’t stand Trump, I’m not ready to endorse neutrality in this year’s presidential election.

Admittedly, the Supreme Court argument for Trump is a thin hope. As Damon Root observes for Reason.com, “Shoshana Weissmann in The Weekly Standard . . . correctly observes, 'The Supreme Court's duty is to overturn unconstitutional acts, including those of the president. President Trump would not likely nominate justices who would constrain his power to its constitutionally limited bounds.'"

Whichever way the election goes, it's going to be a long four years for liberty.


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1 comment:

Steve Jackson said...

I'm supporting Trump because of immigration.

When America becomes a majority minority country it will resemble California - a one party Democratic state.