Donald Trump vs. Woodrow Wilson?
By J.K. Baltzersen
I recall reading the Austrian classical liberal Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn some years ago and his warning against being ruled by merchants. Donald Trump is a real estate mogul, but in a broader sense of the word, also a merchant. But how about the other options? What are the Bushes? And what is the indirect rule of corporate America through lobbyism? If not rule by merchants?
At least now we have a candidate who is not beholden to the donors of corporate America and their special interests.
Donald Trump causes controversy also outside of those United States, such as in Europe. So also in Norway. May 17 is the Norwegian National Day; our Constitution Day. It is filled with speeches. The first speech I attended on Constitution Day this year had of course to touch on Trump. He supposedly threatens "our" values. As opposed to the Pentagon's aggression? As opposed to the military-industrial complex? As opposed to all those politicians?
That was not the only Trump reference I heard that day. An entertainer also had to pull out an anti-Trump line. Recently, I have also had an acquaintance telling me that Trump is a bully? Oh, really? And George W. Bush and Barrack Obama, who ordered the invasions of Iraq and Libya respectively, are not?!?
I suspect those Norwegians who have any opinion of Trump base their opinions on articles that are little more than poor Google translations of mainstream American media articles. This political environment almost makes me long for my school kid days, when I supported Ronald Reagan as the sitting POTUS, probably to a large extent because all the leftists hated him – although I did hold a positive opinion of Reagan at that time, much less so today. After all, the federal government did expand considerably under President Reagan.
One Norwegian pundit recently presented a case that what we had gotten with Trump was post-factual democracy. Someone had analyzed Trump's speeches and come to the conclusion that he lied a lot, hence the term post-factual democracy. We'll leave here the issue of whether Trump is a liar, but let's assume he is. We all know politicians lie a lot, and Rockwell's law tells us to always believe the opposite of what state officials tell us. The Bush administration lied America into the Iraq war. The NSA director lied to Congress about mass surveillance. Let me get this straight: The current regime is a factual democracy, where you are not entitled to your own facts, but when Trump lies, we have post-factual democracy?!?
We've heard how the Donald is the demagogue the Founding Fathers warned against. His language is at 4th - 5th grade level, we are told. He speaks to the working class and the guys at the pub. Now that may be a problem. Perhaps it even will turn out to be a serious problem. Do not think that things are so bad that they cannot get worse. But seriously? With all the neocon chief executives, the centralization of the Union with Abraham Lincoln, and the government expansions of Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, just to name some examples, it's Trump's demagoguery that's the problem? Everything else is just fine?!?
And yes, there are problems with Trump. He has a dubious history with the use of eminent domain. He is on record for at least hinting that Ed Snowden should be executed. Justin Raimondo says he cannot be trusted. Ron Paul suspects he will set a new record for use of executive orders. He is very inconsistent. He has no ideological schooling, which contributes to his inconsistency. Now, if he had had so-called ideological schooling, it would either have had to be some sort of autodidact schooling such as Ron Paul has (the establishment rejected that four years ago, now that rejection has come and hit the GOP establishment in the face like a boomerang, and it deserves it), or a schooling at the hands of the political establishment, and it's probably for the better that he doesn't have that. In any case, a businessman such as Donald Trump probably wouldn't find time for such ideological schooling at all.
The GOP establishment is getting a beating. And so it the political establishment in general. And it deserves it – for mismanaging the economy and policing the world. The GOP establishment deserves it perhaps even more than the political establishment on the whole, serving basically as the right wing of the Demopublican party, betraying its base, always emphasizing finding the electable candidate, not easily distinguishable from the left wing candidate.
The great service that Donald John Trump is doing to public discourse is through the fight against political correctness. And should it all end with a loss at the general election or no action coming out of all the talk when the Donald enters the Oval Office, a lot of damage to the political establishment has already been done. He has broken the liberal hegemony on mass immigration. He has broken the neocon hegemony on foreign policy. Good riddance!
A Trump presidency may come as a big disappointment, at least compared to what we can dream of accomplishing with the federal Leviathan. But we know almost for certain that no positive change will come from the election of any other candidate. And if close to 25 % of federal employees realize their threat of quitting their jobs if Trump is inaugurated, that alone will be worth it.
Business as usual in Washington, D.C. is not what America and the world needs. Establishment requirements for qualifications for the Office of the President hence basically become a list of disqualifications.
I had my hopes up high for a little verbal war over democracy worship. The hypocrisy was obvious with all those politicos and pundits advocating bringing democracy to other countries, and when a candidate emerged as the most popular in the primary electorate not to the establishment's liking, he was debunked. It was even suggested to revive the Electoral College in real terms, something I would love to see, by the way, in addition to repeal of the 17th Amendment.
I was hoping for a battle over the soul of American democracy – or over democracy worship, or democratism as Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn would call it. I was almost a bit disappointed at the suspension of the campaigns of Ted Cruz and John Kasich following the Indiana primary, as apparently there would be no brokered convention. Barring any successful behind the scenes attempt at unbinding the delegates and subsequently denying Trump the nomination, he will be the nominee.
We could have one good battle and a circus. It would probably destroy the GOP in the process (not a big loss). It is probably too optimistic that any such battle against democracy could be won at this point in time, but it would be fun.
We risk now a lot of Americans having their faith in democracy restored, as happened with the presidency of Ronald Reagan. That would be a disappointment for those of us who adhere to classical opposition to democracy as mob rule.
However, with the challenge to neocon foreign policy we stand possibly before one of the greatest – if not the greatest – setback against the Wilsonian world order, in which every country must be a democracy, since the creation of the United Nations.
Now, that is cause for celebration!
J.K. Baltzersen writes from Oslo, the capital of the Oil Kingdom of Norway. You are cordially invited to his blog Wilson Revolution Unplugged. He is the editor of an upcoming book on liberty and the Norwegian Constitution.