Mises Wire

Justin Raimondo: What Trump Means

This article is adapted from this November 25 audio interview. 

Jeff Deist: Justin Raimondo recently wrote an article called “How We Will Win,” which was about the Trump Revolution and basically talking about the libertarian angles that you sometimes have to look hard for in that revolution.

Do you think that Trump and Brexit actually represent a real threat to this inevitability of globalism and Francis Fukuyama’s view of the world, or do you think this is a hiccup or road bump for progressives?

Justin Raimondo: Well, for every action, there’s a reaction. So, the media elites and the whole political class have been trying to impose this agenda of world government on us for a long time. So people are waking up and going, hey, you know what? We don’t want this. So whether there’s a counter-reaction to the reaction and what that will be, we don’t know yet. Of course, in England, there is a counter-reaction. You know, you had a mass mobilization of the political class and the elites, they actually had a march and they had an online petition, of course it was being signed by people in Tunisia! But so, you know, the battle is on. There is a battle and libertarians have a side. They ought to start recognizing what side they’re on.

JD: Yeah, it’s interesting to me, I remember talking to Lew Rockwell maybe a year ago about how neo-conservatives in the War Party wouldn’t let Trump win, so to speak. Now that he’s won, how do you think neo-conservatives in the War Party will try to control him?

JR: Right. That’s what we’re seeing with the appointments, you know, drama, especially over Secretary of State and all these National Security positions. But policy is personnel to a great degree, but then you have Trump! Here is somebody who said that the whole Iraq War was a total disaster. And, he said it at the South Carolina GOP Primary Debate and was booed. And of course, he, you know, his whole response was, go ahead and boo me. And he laughed at them. And then he said, we were lied into war. Now, that is a radical critique that I think that only a few people have made. And so that is, I mean, he is now the President of these United States. So what that means to the neo-cons is they’re in big, big trouble, and they know it.

JD: Well, let me read what I thought was a very profound sentence from the article I mentioned earlier that you wrote, and this is speaking to Libertarians. You say, what they fail to understand is that Trump’s proposed dismantling of the New World Order, America’s role as world policeman would, if put into effect, represent the biggest rollback of State power since the American Revolution. And I certainly think that this is where a lot of Libertarians fall down, that they fail to understand that this push back against elites is actually profoundly Libertarian opportunity.

JR: Right. You know, Murray emphasized this and people have sort of forgotten that. But war is the health of the state. I mean, the whole mechanism of statism, and it is the mechanism, will run backwards if we can just start dismantling the empire. And that’s our primary task. And the folks over at Reason magazine don’t understand that. You know, like they think, well, you know, if we have gay marriage and if people can smoke pot, then we’re going to start having more liberty. No! Wrong! You’re not. The key is let’s start thinking about America first and America First foreign policy, and then almost automatically, the state will be rolled back here at home. Look at all the money that is sent overseas. I mean, trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars spent, three trillion dollars spent on the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and that’s at a minimum. So we can’t really have a debate about whether we should we have a welfare state or not because all our money is tied up abroad. And so, we go into debt, and then the Fed keeps printing more money to prop the whole thing up. So that’s the mechanism right there. We can, as Murray said, we can roll back the 20th Century, in a famous speech to the John Randolph Club, but you know, we have to beat the Mensheviks, you know. We got the Bolsheviks, and now the Mensheviks. We’re living inside a Mensheviks fantasy. That’s what he said in his speech. And yeah, we are. And their vision is global. And so we’ve got to push back on that level.

JD: Well, you mentioned earlier that personnel or policy, that we’re seeing some neo-conservative favorites floated as possible Cabinet picks. Do you ever think that Trump is trolling us, to an extent? In other words, he lists or floats the idea of a controversial nominee for State Department like John Bolton, and then ultimately, his real nominee will be someone that is harder for the Senate to go after, because relative to John Bolton, they’re less controversial?

JR: Right, I mean, it’s useless to really speculate until he actually makes an announcement. You know, especially this Secretary of State thing, I mean, all kinds of people have been floated, even Dana Rohrbacher!

JD: Right.

JR: So we don’t really know what’s going on. You know, I think a lot of this is, you know, the people who want the job, like Romney, for example, are actually floating their own names. And Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, actually said that, not about Romney, but in general. So I would take it all with a pillar of salt.

JD: It’s interesting, everybody who wants a job is the kind of person we don’t want in the job, at least it seems to me.

JR: Well, yeah, you know, maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not. But I mean, if somebody is an actual non-interventionist, they would want a job there so that they could fulfill the promise of a Trump campaign. That’s kind of a Libertarian-type generalization, but it may not be actually empirically true.

JD: Let me ask you this, Cabinet aside, what do you think the best-case scenario and worst-case scenario for Libertarians, what does Trump’s first year potentially look like?

JR: Number one, I mean, here is the main threat to peace in the world today, and that is conflict with Russia. I mean, all this stuff about the Middle East and Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s over. So the next step, and of course, you could see this from the actual campaign that we just endured. We had Hilary Clinton actually calling Trump a “Russian puppet.” I mean, it’s just unbelievable! That hasn’t happened since the early days of our Republic, when you had the Federalists and the Jeffersonians going after each other. One said, you’re a French puppet, and then the other one said, you’re a British puppet. And of course, it was the Federalists who were the British puppets. 

As Gore Vidal pointed out, Hamilton was a British agent. So this is pretty extreme. And it’s clear that the Clintons have always been anti-Russia. I mean, that’s what the Kosovo War was about. I mean, ever since the Russians overthrew Communism, you’ll notice that the Left has been anti-Russian, and there’s a reason for that. The main threat now is conflict with Russia, like the revival of the Cold War, and this has been going on for quite awhile. Ever since Russia refused to endorse the invasion of Iraq, the neo-cons have been after them. And so, this is the new big issue. Are we going to have a new Cold War with Russia? Trump says no. And the Left says yes. So now, I mean, it’s very interesting, every say, 30, 40 years, there’s a switch in polarities, you know, as far as foreign policy is concerned. And at one point, the Right was anti-interventionist, back in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, and up until the mid-‘50’s, even. And then came the Cold War, and so the Left was anti-interventionist and the Right was, you know, let’s roll back Communism, let’s bomb the Russians. And now, it is switching again. And the old Right is rising again, and Trump’s victory is a great victory for us. I mean, I can’t even begin to even tell you. It’s a seismic event. It’s an earthquake. And it’s shaking the whole world.

JD: Well, it’s interesting when you mention this, because Trump, I think, divided libertarians as much as he divided anyone. Is your view that not only in foreign policy, but on all things, that the Left in this country has become just so bad that defeating Hilary was more important than libertarian purity?

JR: Look, the libertarian movement has always been divided since 1983. You know, you have the Kochtopus people and you have the Rothbardians, basically. And out of that split came, on the one hand, the Cato Institute types, and on the other hand, the Ron Paul Movement. So there was no libertarian leadership, and so Trump won because he saw what the real issue is, what the real issues are. You know, even his protectionist stuff, you know, you have to look at that and go, well, look, okay, he is criticizing the consequences of American Imperialism, because what’s the deal that we made with South Korea, okay? Here’s the deal. We will give you “free trade” but one-way free trade, if you will let us occupy your country. So you become part of the Empire, and we’ll have free trade. So what’s the result? Well, you know, the result is that we have the Rust Belt.

JD: And South Korea has the U.S. Military and its money behind it.

JR: Right. And so, the same is true in Japan and now they’re moving into Vietnam. They’re actually going to have a base in Vietnam, a military base. And we are giving them military aid, and it’s all to encircle China. That’s what this Asian pivot was all about under Obama.

JD: But beyond the foreign policy, don’t you feel like there is a globalist mindset among certain libertarians? Is libertarianism overly tied to universalism? In other words, do we need to convince the whole world that libertarianism is the way or should we just be worrying about ourselves? And I would argue the latter. You know, we saw this after some of the French terrorist attacks, you know, all these cries, well, they need our version of the Second Amendment. But that’s not really how Murray saw the world, I don’t think.

JR: Yes. In fact, I wrote a column on this whole question called Libertarianism in One Country. And if you look at what has been going on in the rest of the world, I mean, where has there been a Libertarian Revolution like the American Revolution? I mean, all the revolutions, in the old, classical, liberal sense, all those revolutions in the mid-1800’s, failed. They failed. And so, what you have is statism. America is surrounded by a sea of statism. We’re an island. And so, we have to have libertarianism in one country. Now, ideas travel internationally, and it’s possible that there could be a Libertarian Revolution in the intellectual and political sense abroad. But there’s no way to import that, certainly not by force of arms, and certainly not with U.S. government propaganda. I mean, it just doesn’t work that way. So for the foreseeable future, yes, if we’re going to have libertarianism, it’s going to be in a single country, and that’s that. And if somebody is living in, let’s say, Argentina, or something, and they want to have freedom, well, they should come to the United States. I mean, that’s my advice to them, if they can, of course, under Trump!

Image Source: "Bill B" www.flickr.com/photos/billy3001/
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