Support for my Trump Agenda Thesis

This Mises.org article is making the same point I recently made in my article below “Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie.” I even specifically referenced the Whigs. I’m not a dogmatic free-trader to say the least, but otherwise I’m not in general a supporter of Whiggism. My point was that people who don’t recognize Trump’s basic policy framework are suffering from historical myopia.

Donald Trump’s Whig is Showing

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Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie

This recent article at The American Conservative is worth commenting on. It compares Donald Trump to Teddy Roosevelt, and suggests that Roosevelt is the President to whom Trump is best likened. Both Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt are complicated and nuanced figures, even by presidential standards, and that makes direct comparisons between the two difficult, but at a broad level at least, the comparison is apt. Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt have a similar core issue cluster, not necessarily because of any peculiarities of Roosevelt’s agenda, but because Roosevelt represents typical early 20th century Republicanism.

The author of the article, Stephen Beale, makes the following point:

“It is tempting to see Trump’s nationalism as a foreign import that is of a recent vintage, but the reality is that his ideology—good, bad, ugly, or some combination of all three—is more deeply rooted in the American experience than many would care to admit.”

Mr. Beale is correct. The above point is one I, as a conservative who boarded the Trump Train early, have been making all along. There is nothing foreign or particularly novel about Trump’s basic agenda cluster. Candidate Trump expressed positions that would have been broadly held by Republicans prior to World War II.

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Non-Intervention Plank 2: Withdraw From all Entangling Alliances

George Washington, in his Farewell Address, advised the nascent nation to avoid “permanent alliances.”*

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world

In his First Inaugural Address, Thomas Jefferson similarly warned against “entangling alliances.”

Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.

While we should be careful about basing arguments too heavily on isolated quotes from the Framers, these two quotes have, in my experiences in the trenches of the intra-conservative foreign policy debate, proven quite useful for the non-interventionist side and quite embarrassing for the interventionist side.

Since the intra-conservative debate often comes back to an argument about the nature of America, (Are we a universal “experiment” or “project” or are we a particular nation like others?) two on point quotes from two people as undeniably significant in the genesis of our nation as Washington and Jefferson must be grappled with by those supporting just such permanent and entangling alliances. Both sides want to claim the mantle of the Framers on the foreign policy issue, and since conservatives are ostensibly supposed to be about conserving things, the claim to be carrying on the legacy of the Framers is a powerful one.

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Steak and Ketchup: Trump is Keepin’ it Real

This article was originally published 2 Mar 17 at Lew Rockwell.

It must have been a slow news weekend for the liberal media, and President Trump didn’t give them enough to get hysterical about, so they decide in mass to feign outrage about how he eats his steaks. Apparently, Trump likes his steaks well-done and eats them with ketchup. Look, I’m not a fan of well-done steaks and the idea of putting ketchup on a fine steak horrifies me. If I had to guess, my hunch is that Trump’s penchant for well-done steaks is likely related to his well-documented fear of germs and his desire to not see any blood, rather than his palate. The ketchup thing I can’t speak to. Maybe it’s to flavor up a burnt steak.

That said, the level of vitriol and posturing associated with this revelation about Trump’s eating habits lacks all sense of proportion. It’s alright to feign outrage in an obviously humorous way about such matters. A social media friend, for example, exclaimed that real men don’t eat their steaks well-done, a sentiment I generally concur with, but a lot of the reaction has not been intended as humorous. Check out these bitter invective-filled rants from A.V. Club and Jezebel for example.

See more at Lew Rockwell

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Donald Trump and the Flouting of the Goldwater Rule

This article was originally published 8 Mar 17 at The American Thinker.

In 1964, Fact Magazine produced a special issue entitled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater,” specifically addressing the mental health of then-Republican presidential candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater.  As would be expected, the magazine did not pronounce Goldwater with a clean bill of mental health.  Rather, it essentially pronounced him unfit for office and speculated into the inner workings of his mind.  Goldwater sued the editor of the magazine for libel and was awarded $75,000.

In response to this incident, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) produced a code of ethics specifically applicable to psychiatrists that contained a provision that is now widely known as the Goldwater Rule.  This rule states that it is unethical for a psychiatrist to speculate about the mental health of a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the public figure personally and has permission from the public figure to share his opinions.

Read more at The American Thinker

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Middlebury College Thought Police Shout Down Charles Murray

In what is an increasingly common scenario, PC hysterics at Middlebury College recently managed to shout down a conservative speaker who had been duly invited to speak on campus. This time it wasn’t even the deliberately provocative Milo Yiannopoulos whose presence recently incited a riot at Berkeley. It was the staid and gentlemanly Charles Murray, whose major thoughtcrime seems to have been writing a book that contained wrongthink twenty years ago. Murray is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and was invited to Middlebury to address a student group affiliated with AEI.

Besides affirming the absurdity of what passes for the left these days on many college campuses, there is an important object lesson to be learned here. Charles Murray was very outspoken in his opposition to Donald Trump during the campaign, a fact which caused a great deal of consternation among many of Murray’s usual fans who expected more sympathy for Trump from him. They saw Murray as someone who should personally understand the irrational and dangerous nature of the rightthink enforcers and felt Murray’s opposition to Trump, which was more about demeanor and decorum than policy, was amplifying the narrative of the enemy.

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Conservatism Has a Globalism Problem

Donald Trump’s success in the GOP primary and general election has highlighted an emerging political dynamic that has long been bubbling under the surface but lacked the prominent spokesman necessary to fundamentally change the conversation. This emerging dynamic is nationalism vs. globalism, and it is not just a phenomenon confined to Trump’s America. It is reflected in the Brexit vote and the resonance of nationalist politicians in Europe like France’s Marine Le Pen. Trump’s success is part of a broader uprising in the Western World against our global elite masters.

This emerging dynamic clearly caught the defenders of the reigning paradigm, both left and right, off guard, and they have struggled with how to respond. I recently asked whether CPAC (which is currently underway in the nation’s capital), as a representative of orthodox movement conservatism, was prepared to grapple with this new reality. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who picked up on this tension. David Cowen discusses it here in an article at The American Conservative. Even Ryan Lizza of the liberal Ney Yorker picked up on the conflict, which is saying a lot since liberals notoriously lack nuance when it comes to understanding distinctions on the right.

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