Zerohedge just published a libertarian (Jeffery Tucker) accusing Trump of… “fascism”. Trump’s sin? He wants to pursue American interests. By that logic, anti-war Pat Buchanan is also a “fascist” – and much more so (Pat is better informed than Trump).
Tucker accuses those wanting to put America-first of falling for an ideology, but in truth particular attachment to one’s polity is not necessarily ideology.
Tucker uses a similar argument to the Wall Street Journal, that the US is too large to pursue its interests. So, the US must accept free trade. Tucker writes:
[Trump] speaks of the United States as if it were one thing, one single firm. A business. “We” are in competition with “them,” as if the U.S. were IBM competing against Samsung, Apple, or Dell. “We” are not 300 million people pursuing unique dreams and ideas, with special tastes or interests, cooperating with people around the world to build prosperity. “We” are doing one thing, and that is being part of one business.
In effect, he believes that he is running to be the CEO of the country — not just of the government (as Ross Perot once believed) but of the entire country. In this capacity, he believes that he will make deals with other countries that cause the U.S. to come out on top, whatever that could mean. He conjures up visions of himself or one of his associates sitting across the table from some Indian or Chinese leader and making wild demands that they will buy such and such amount of product else “we” won’t buy their product.
Yes, it’s bizarre. As Nick Gillespie said, he has a tenuous grasp on reality. Trade theory from hundreds of years plays no role in his thinking at all. To him, America is a homogenous unit, no different from his own business enterprise. With his run for president, he is really making a takeover bid, not just for another company to own but for an entire country to manage from the top down, under his proven and brilliant record of business negotiation, acquisition, and management.
You see why the whole speech came across as bizarre? It was. And yet, maybe it was not. In the 18th century, there is a trade theory called mercantilism that posited something similar: ship the goods out and keep the money in. It builds up industrial cartels that live at the expense of the consumer. In the 19th century, this penchant for industrial protectionism and mercantilism became guild socialism, which mutated later into fascism and then into Nazism. You can read Mises to find out more on how this works.
Put another way, Trump is dangerous, in Tucker’s eyes, for his potential to upset globalism. And it has ironically been big government that has resisted globalism in recent times, for example Chinese persecution of foreign businesses in China. So, sometimes opposing globalism requires opposing libertarians.
Now, Trump is less than ideal. I dislike his foreign policy especially (doesn’t serve US interests), and I don’t mind if China grows stronger than the US. But I like how Tucker shows his cards here. Tucker… is no conservative. Hopefully the Trump candidacy will help break the libertarian-conservative alliance and free conservatives to pursue their own interests more clearly, allying with any and all who offer temporary common interests.
Tucker loses it with his closing:
These people are all the same. They are populists. Oh how they love the people, and how they hate the establishment. They defy all civic conventions. Their ideology is somewhat organic to the nation, not a wacky import like socialism. They promise greatness. They have an obsession with the problem of trade and mercantilist belligerence as the only solution. They have zero conception of the social order as a complex and extended ordering of individual plans, one that functions through freedom and individual rights.