This Tuesday, we’ll be having the GOP primary in my state, and I’ll be casting my vote for Donald Trump. This post is my rationale for doing so.
To most people, I definitely don’t seem like someone who’d be voting for Trump. I’m from a well-off coastal Republican enclave within a liberal state. However, I’m firmly in the highly educated, right-wing iconoclast group, which tends severely towards Trump.
My support for Trump boils down to the fact that the two political power centers in America have lost, to use the Chinese term, “The Mandate of Heaven”.
The issues that generally constitute the subject of news broadcasts and opinion pieces in elections are generally unrelated to the fundamental issues that that a government is responsible for. What the government is responsible for is of course a wide-ranging topic of debate. So I’m going to look at the very first responsibilities underlying governments.
That of course raises more philosophical questions. I’m going to cut through the Gordian knot here and contemplate how I interpret the feelings of three different groups, progressives, conservatives, and what I’m just going to call: “Trump”, with the tenets in the preamble to the Constitution. If you’re an an-cap you likely think this is too much government responsibility, for the rest of you it will seem like too little.
While most Americans believe the role of government extends farther than the principles set out in the Preamble. I don’t think its a bad argument that those are the things the government ought to get right before it takes up any other issue. Failure at these principles will prevent the government from governing well. Therefore, I am going examine how I feel about each political group relative to those principles.
These are my own interpretations, and they aren’t meant to be directly comparative to each other. However, I believe the exercise reveals the reasons why progressives and conservatives are failing America, and why Trump might act as a force to bring government back it its intended purpose. I encourage you to do it for yourself and see how you feel about the candidates.
|Establish Justice||Force people to act against their conscious & promote hate crime and rape hoaxes||Strict obedience to the Constitution and established law, provided it is socially acceptable||Personal sense of right and wrong comes first|
|Ensure Domestic Tranquility||Limit the scope of public discourse and acceptable viewpoints||Be respectable and reasonable. Adapt views as this changes||Create space for large variety of acceptable opinions|
|Provide for the Common Defense||Excuse rioters and willingly import dangerous people||Strong commitment to universal right to bear arms||Focus on perpetrators|
|Promote the General Welfare||Increase the size and scope of entitlements||Maximize national GDP||Aim to increase standard of living for median wage earner|
|Secure the Blessings of Liberty||Force people to maximize scope of possible actions for others||Effectively manage existing system||Change culture to a more effective one|
|To Ourselves and Our Posterity||“Our” means anyone, anywhere||“Our” means anyone who won’t be a burden||“Our” means Americans|
Now that’s a huge amount of assertion and description in one table, but it forms the frame of what I’ll be discussing next.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen the progressive movement promote hoax after hoax after hoax that benefits their narrative without concern for the people who get rolled over in the process. From Clock Kid to UVA, there is no due diligence done when the story supports the narrative. These are people, from students all the way up to the president, are happy to smear someone’s name and cast accusations if it helps their political position.
You also see progressive politicians and bureaucrats use the justice system to dictate the actions of individuals and businesses. Not for committing fraud, breaking a contract, or being negligent; simply for not having the right set of morals and principles. That is a totalitarian instinct that cannot be allowed to have power.
Conversely, you have the members of the conservative movement and the GOP. They are strictly committed to the rule of law, no matter what should befall them. Civil disobedience is always out of the question, no matter how long the “train of abuses and usurpations” becomes. There’s a certain comedy to seeing conservatives bluster over the latest usurpation of government power, only to grow and accept it as “settled” after they lose.
Of course their commitment to the rule of law and the constitution falls by the wayside when it is socially unacceptable to do so. The classic example is the Civil Rights Act and various similar pieces of legislation. Until these laws passed and were upheld under flimsy pretexts, there was no precedent for the sweeping changes with the relationship between the government, the states, and businesses. Looking back through old articles, it is clear that conservatives favored and pushed this point of view until it became socially unacceptable. It is a simple case of pragmatism winning out over principles. We’re of course seeing the exact same behavior on gay marriage, where a moral or principled crusade is jettisoned despite no change in the underlying morals or principles.
Pragmatism of course has its place. Any thinking person changes their views with time, and political apparatus should take overwhelming public opinion into account. However, there’s no believing that there is some rigid set of principles that always guides conservatives.
Now, Trump takes a different, and refreshing approach on these sorts of problems. To Trump, the system is only as good as the outcomes it produces. If the law produces unjust results, there’s a problem with the law. If a process doesn’t function as intended, its not a good system. This is an attitude America desperately needs. Systems that don’t work need to be changed, no matter their pedigree.
Ensure Domestic Tranquility
This is one subject in which progressives have utterly failed. Between painting half the country as bigoted Jesus-freaks who sleep with their guns and their sisters, celebrating and promoting the ostracism of public figures who don’t toe the line, and openly stoking racial animus and sowing social discord, they have actively courted domestic strife.
Conservatives go along to get along. They constantly seek deescalation by appearing respectable by meeting progressives halfway. Continually meeting progressives halfway leads to the political version of Zeno’s Paradox. As a result, we live in a world where Bill Clinton from 1992 would likely win the GOP nomination, provided he loosen his stance on gay marriage, and JFK would seem like a far-right loon. Their quest to maintain respectability has narrowed the range of acceptable opinions to hold in America, and it is our nation’s loss for it.
Trump, on the other hand, has made it acceptable to hold a wider array of opinions. This has ultimately been a good thing for the country, whether he wins or not. Making people feel comfortable expressing their true opinions is vital in a nation which, at least theoretically, functions on the basis of the expressed opinions of the population having input. It also forces people to be tolerant with differing political views, which in my opinion, would be a great boon for the nation.
Provide for the Common Defense
Progressives, of course, fail at this at the most basic level. In addition to making excuses for violent riots and protests which block roads, they have no interest in taking even the most basic of efforts to prevent violent foreigners from entering or staying in the country.
One thing that conservatives have done well with in recent years is taking a hard line on gun rights. After a membership coup of the NRA, they have stood unyielding to protect citizen’s rights from any encroachment, no matter the scare tactics involved. They’ve taken an absolutist approach and have succeeded. Instead of seeing a slow erosion of rights due to accepting “reasonable restrictions” again and again and again, any encroachment has been vocally swatted away. This plainly sticks out as the only issue conservatives are comfortable treating this way.
Trump focuses on perpetrators before anything else. He looks at who’s done wrong and starts from the simplest, sweeping solution and adapts it from there. This isn’t necessarily a great approach when we worry about the government trampling over due process rights, but it is one that marks his mindset. Safety and focusing on the perpetrators comes first.
Promote the General Welfare
This is one category where the three groups are more directly comparable.
In optimization theory, there are many different criteria one can use to measure just how optimal some solution is. Each of the three viewpoints I’ve been discussing have a different measure for determining how they decide which kind of economic improvements are the most useful.
To the progressive, they function under a sort of minimax criteria. They value the increase at the bottom of the economic ladder above increases anywhere else. They’d see two poor individuals getting enough money to move closer to their job as better than a middle class family getting enough money to support a large family on one income. This creates problems because it leads to a pool of people at or near the bottom dependent on welfare.
The conservative views the economy as a whole. Any person who makes an extra $10,000 a year is as good as any other. To people who think like this, you are a single economic cell in the body of the administrative district known as the United States. This sort of thinking tends to ignore non-obvious costs. Very good things like maintaining low-crime neighborhoods, intact families, and the positive feelings of being self-supporting don’t figure into these cold calculations.
Trump has clearly focused on promoting the interests of the American middle. His concern is on lifting then up. If that leads to a wider gap between the middle and the low, or if rich people get richer along the way, so be it. Raising the standard of living for a typical American is his concern. When this is accomplished, it will lead to improvements in the non-economic factors I’ve mentioned before that derive from higher self-made wealth amongst the population.
Securing the Blessings of Liberty
When progressives think about liberty, they think about an individual’s freedom of choice in any given situation. If you’re acting in a way that will allow your fellow citizens more choices, you’re doing good. If not, you’re bad. This leads to laws governing the individual choices of citizens, to redistribution of wealth.
Conservatives seek to secure the world we live in for the future by managing it as effectively as possible and passing it on. Overhauling fundamental systems just aren’t things they’d do.
Trump wants to improve American culture. He recognizes that how well society functions is dependent on the personal qualities of the people within it. In his speeches, Trump promotes a vision of an American culture, different from the one we have now, but one that is better suited for having a successful country.
To Ourselves and Our Posterity
Progressives take such an expansive view of the word “our” that is loses all meaning. To the Progressive, America exists to benefit anyone who happens to find themselves here, regardless of circumstance. There’s no limit to who or under what circumstances they’d allow people to enter and stay in the country. To them, me and my posterity are not worth considering any more than any one else in the whole world.
Conservatives perpetuate the notion that if you embrace “American ideals”, you’re entitled to become an American citizen. They never, however, follow through to the obvious conclusion that people who just happen to be born in the United States aren’t necessarily Americans unless they embrace those same “American ideals”. If that seems ridiculous to you, we’re in agreement. The “propositional nation”, properly followed through leads to absurdity.
Trump takes on a very radical notion: that the American citizenry should be the first priority of the American government. This is a completely radical departure from the mainstream of American politics. And people are responding.
Trump distinguishes himself from the two parties by being the only person remaining in the running for the presidency who puts the interests of Americans first. He’s the only candidate who would be willing to turn away an immigrant because their presence wouldn’t benefit the Americans. Progressives don’t seem to have any standards for whom they’d turn away, and Conservatives, at best, would only turn back likely welfare cases.
I hope this helps explain why I’ve decided to cast my support to Donald Trump. He brings a simple focus onto the basic functions of government that both progressives and conservatives fail at. Failing at the basic functions of government means you are unfit to rule over it, and something radically different is needed to shake the rust off of the machinery of good government.