That’s Not What Libertarian Means – 2017

Over at the Washington Post, one reads that In West Virginia coal country, voters are ‘thrilled’ about Donald Trump.  The mayor of Buckhannon (a Republican who voted for Clinton) describes Trump’s appeal:

Trump’s appeal here is stylistic as well as policy-driven, said David McCauley, the mayor of Buckhannon, the county seat, a pretty and bustling town of 5,700. It’s about coal, but also about being ornery and oppositional.

“Trump was just what people here have always been — skeptical of government, almost libertarian,” McCauley said. “He’s a West Virginia pipe dream: He’s going to undo the damage to the coal industry and bring back the jobs, and all of our kids down there in North Carolina are going to come home.”

McCauley is also a professor at a nearby university, and he doubtless knows that Trump’s not ‘almost libertarian’ – McCauley’s describing how people in that town see Trump.

I don’t doubt that there are people, ill-informed or desperate (or both) who think that Trump’s skeptical of government, but such people are as far off the mark as they could be.  Trump’s disposition and political views are closer to authoritarian than libertarian.

It’s a compliment that people see libertarianism as a good, hopeful politics, because of course it is. But it’s a good, hopeful politics not for its stylistic elements but for its fundamental principles:


A state-loving, market-meddling, press-hating, expression-restricting, minority-demonizing, foreign autocrat-loving mendacious mediocrity isn’t a libertarian, an almost-libertarian, or anyone libertarians would ever support.

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