Clearly both major party candidates were unpalatable; a diplomatic way of saying they were both corrupt pathological liars making it hard to find even a modicum of principles on which to agree. As the election drew closer I wrestled with the decision of how to vote for the President. Do I simply leave it blank, do I find one of the numerous small party or write-in candidates with whom I most closely align, or do I vote tactically. Now, generally I abhor tactical voting on general principle and the practical reality of getting yourself into a Princess Bride style dizzying back and forth logical conundrum. Unfortunately, this election represented an intellectual and rhetorical dumpster fire with no good choices.
Thus, in the week before the election, I decided to vote tactically. The bizarre Comey announcement of on-again, off-again, on-again, then back off-again investigation of Hillary Clinton made me genuinely concerned Trump would actually win. As I’ve said before, while Hillary is clearly the worse person with the worst ideas, she only represented a temporary danger while Trump maintained the specter of long term disaster with the destruction of the Conservative movement and its effective opposition against the ever expanding state. Sadly, this appears proven true and rapidly so as President-elect Trump’s policy proposals lead even Rush Limbaugh to completely abandon Conservative principles for the allure of Republican winning. After Romney’s defeat in 2012, Rush caught heat from the Left for declaring, “It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.”
With that possibility in mind, I concluded Conservatives might need a safe haven from which to mount an opposition to a big government President since the supposed party of small government will have been completely co-opted by a third party progressive running in its midst. Even with an impending economic collapse and the certainty Trump would be President Hoover instead of President Coolidge, the GOP’s behavior during the campaign left no doubt there would be no primary challenge to a sitting President Trump. So with great reluctance, I voted for the pothead. Clearly not because I agree with him on much–my mind is still boggled on how the Libertarian Party could nominate such un-Libertarian candidates–but to raise the Libertarian Party’s national vote count in order to make it a more serious national contender during the next election cycle. I planned on tuning in to the Party politics and becoming more involved in its next nominating process in the hopes while this might be 1856 the next election would be 1860 with the rise and victory of a new party.
Unfortunately, Austin Peterson‘s bizarre Twitter tirade praising open borders leads me to believe the LPN still has no interest in being a serious national party. On a practical level, Trump’s victory provides practical proof of the sentiment of Americans reflected in polling on illegal immigration. Given that, it defies belief that any pundit or politician attempting to advance their cause would make esoteric open borders arguments. With a never-ending avalanche of examples of big government run amok and ruining the lives of everyday Americans, why turn to an argument sure to turn off vast swaths of those people rather than who how government is, indeed, not the solution to their problems but the very cause of their grief?
On a theoretical level, the open borders argument is riddled with non sequiturs propped up by men of straw. A nation state has not only the right but the duty to protect the integrity of its borders; whether or the border is being threatened by an actual army or simply a mob of trespassers is irrelevant. Likewise, one of the core tenants of Libertarianism is supposed to be third party harm; that is, a governments most legitimate place for interference in human interaction is where an nonparticipating third party could be harmed. The easiest example is auto liability insurance which is intended to protect not you if you do something reckless but rather the poor bloke who was simply minding his own business when you plowed through his living room. Regarding immigration, the government must screen immigrants if for no other reason than to weed out dangerous persons erring on the side of protecting its citizens in instances where effective vetting cannot be accomplished. Furthermore, this isn’t all just theoretical and we don’t live in a vacuum. Milton Friedman himself said repeatedly that while free trade of labor might be as ideal as free trade of goods, in a nation with a vast welfare state it is suicide. Thus, if you want to make the case for open borders, why aren’t you first focusing all your efforts on elimination of the welfare state since its a prerequisite?
More infuriating, why are you belittling the social aspect of immigration? The cultural assimilation of immigrants is absolutely a valid concern. Take a quick look around the world and you see the US is the exception not the rule when it comes to the, at least theoretical, role of the state and its power in the lives of ordinary people. Violence so frequently erupts after elections in the third world because political power is the power of life and death. That mentality is anti-American and poses a danger to what has made the US exceptional. A culture can only absorb so much without being overwhelmed. Time is required to ensure new immigrants become American, not people who just happen to live in America.
Though I began this piece with the depressing sight of Rush Limbaugh abandoning Conservatism for populism, there have been others who surprised me with their criticism of Trump during this transition. It leaves me cautiously optimistic there can be an effective opposition to his progressive policies both in the Conservative movement and the Republican Party. I certainly hope so, because the Libertarian Party certainly doesn’t want the job.