September 28, 2017

De-boogeymanning Trump

Trump is worse than Hitler we've been told. Can we please take a breath?

I did my thoughtful best to reply to a friend who is scared about a president who fires or threatens to fire people for not being patriotic. I think it is germane to repost it here too.

I agree that they have the freedom to kneel. I don't agree that it is a First Amendment issue, however. Those who frame it that way are relying on the assumption that the President (still not a supreme ruler despite some of the excesses we've witnessed from that office in recent decades) might use government force to have people fired, or worse. From a libertarian viewpoint, what I heard in his comment, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners ...say... he's fired" is a reminder that owners have rights, and so do fans, not just players. Freedom does not indemnify one against consequences. Or are you suggesting that, because a baker has to make and serve cakes at ceremonies he is personally opposed to, a team owner can't fire players for his own personal reasons? Where's the freedom in that?

Presidents have, in the past, actually fired government employees for protesting. President Reagan fired government air traffic controllers when they went on strike. The Republic survived. The current president isn't even doing that. Indeed, it has become much harder for presidents to fire people since then.

You mentioned earlier how our minds can be made to play tricks on us. President Trump has been called "worse than Hitler" but why? What is the argument for that? And did this horrific characterization precede the conclusions that his detractors are coming to in the wake of perfectly rational executive decisions or statements? Is it a factor in their assumption of the worst of intentions on his part?

I fully agree with you on your basic point: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to stand for the anthem nor to recite the pledge of allegiance." But the threats you fear are hollow in our free society, and disgrace exists only in one's heart.

I take it even further: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to do anything against his will." Unfortunately, we have crossed that line many times on many issues, and are much further down the slippery slope that frightens you on the issue at hand. I can't tell you how frightened I was during the previous eight years. Or, in retrospect, how much more frightened I should have been during the eight years prior to that.

What I see today is an electorate that has had enough of leaders who put "the world's" interests first. America is a nation that was founded on each individual's ability to put his own interests first. This is the complete opposite of "National Socialism" or any other form of socialism. It is individualism. President Trump was elected to return to that ideal. To "make America great again." Whether he succeeds or not, or takes the right decisions at this turn or that, is still to be seen. But I see it as an existential necessity for the Republic of the United States of America, and therefore for human freedom in the entire world - not just in our country. I'm willing to give him a pass for whipping up a patriotic frenzy amongst supporters who feel the same way.

Executive Power Politics Rant Sports Trump Agonistes Trump Revolution Posted by JohnGalt at September 28, 2017 3:33 PM

But I feel underrepresented in the "No Trump is not Hitler, but nor is he the reincarnation of James Madison" camp.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2017 4:20 PM

That's cool - as long as you aren't afraid of the boogeyman.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:33 PM | What do you think? [2]