I’m almost professionally required to say something nice about Donald Trump — because mainstream media feel professionally required to ridicule him. So here goes: he’s doing us a great service in his presidential run.
Trump’s sort of a bung puller; he’s unstopped the cork of polite political society, and shown the massive voter dissatisfaction by giving more realistic voice to just how stupid government is. “Really stupid!”
But, beyond that, where does he stand? On too many issues, that’s murky. For economist David Henderson, a friend of mine from way back, this shows promise.
Henderson is a free-market economist. He’s not into the whole warfare/big stick bullying that some conservatives channel from the first Progressive president, Teddy Roosevelt. Trump, writes Henderson, stands out, by not having “foreign policy advisers.” Which Henderson regards as “refreshing, given the hawkish views of the vast majority of his Republican competitors.”
Henderson also acknowledges Trump’s downsides, including “Trump’s claim, in 2011, that the U.S. government, having won the war in Iraq, should have taken their oil.” This nationalist plunder idea is evil on its face. And disturbingly retro, harkening back to the days of rapine and pillage.
Understandably, Americans fixate on the man’s “charisma.” Should that make us comfortable? Of Max Weber’s three types of authority (traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal), charismatic is the least predictable, least stable. People will follow too far those they love too much. Or find too entertaining?
Trump serves, for now, as a sort of Rorshach inkblot test. What you see depends on your hopes, fears, or the context of Trump’s candidacy, as you understand it.
For my part, I don’t see an accountable proponent of responsible, limited government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.