The emergence of Donald Trump as a serious candidate for President shows just how far off track conservatives — and Americans more generally — have become.
Trump represents the development of an attitude, an attitude that all that matters is “getting something done.” If this attitude could speak clearly it would say, “Donald Trump is a man who will get things done. He’s not going to allow China to get away with what it’s doing. And he’s not going to let the economy get more out of control. He’ll make everything OK. He got things done in his business, and he’s going to get things done for America.”
It’s too early to tell
whether Trump will successfully ride on this attitude. But the false beliefs that give rise to the attitude are dangerous, and people ought to correct them now.
One false belief is that the Presidency and the government should be some kind of business, run successfully by someone who knows something about business. While it’s true that Barack Obama knows and cares nothing about business, and indeed does everything he can to morally and economically undermine it at every turn, it doesn’t follow that he should be replaced by a businessman who will run the government like a business. Donald Trump’s career has been a series of rise and falls, profits and losses. This is the career of any successful, risk-taking businessman. While he had every right to take these risks with his own money, it doesn’t follow that he should or can take these risks with billions (excuse me, trillions) of dollars of other people’s money.
The crisis in today’s government is not that it’s unintelligent or incompetent. The problem is that the government is trying to do things it cannot do, should not do, and has no right to do. Donald Trump flirts with running as a Republican. But he has no recognizable sympathy for the ideas of a free market, capitalism, individual rights, or even garden-variety conservatism. The only reason he’s running as a Republican is because his only real challenger — Barack Obama — will be running as the Democrat. Conservatives who fall for Donald Trump as their new potential standard-bearer are displaying their usual foolish naivet and demonstrating again why Republicans always lose, even when they win.
Another false belief behind the rise of Donald Trump for President is the idea that one man (or woman) can save us. Americans have got to face the fact: Nobody can rescue you from the consequences of your own actions. For decades, Americans have voted into office both Republicans and Democrats who spend other people’s money to allegedly provide goodies for the masses. The money has long since run out, and all the “goodies” are now being financed by a combination of funny money paper currency (arbitrarily produced by unaccountable Federal Reserve politicians) and the future earnings of people yet to be born 50 or 100 years from now (it’s called the national debt). There’s nothing Donald Trump can do to alter the consequences of these and other painful facts that are the fault of Americans themselves for allowing Obama (and many before him) to systematically wreck our economy and in the process undermine our society.
Donald Trump, who skillfully made himself a celebrity through his hit show “The Apprentice,” is what Sigmund Freud would have called a wish fulfillment. “Oh, I’d rather not think about all the problems we have. I don’t want to assign blame. I just want them solved.” Consider China. Trump’s solution to China is to talk tough to them, and “stop letting them push us around.” But how in the world did a fascist dictatorship such as China become such an economic threat to the United States in the first place? If America had not spent itself into oblivion and debased its currency in the process, and run the national debt into numbers too high for even the most brilliant mathematicians to count, China would not hold the position of economic power over the United States it does. I don’t hear Donald Trump blaming Americans for anything. I don’t see any indication that Donald Trump has that much of a problem with Obama being such a socialist. For all we know, Trump might be a socialist himself — only a tougher one.
If you’re looking for a label to describe Trump, the one I’d pick is fascist. A fascist is essentially a socialist who wants to keep up the appearance of private markets while in fact running the whole show himself. Socialism would do away with the private economy altogether — even one run behind the scenes by government managers — and replace it with out in the open government control. As a businessman, Donald Trump can probably be counted on not to embrace socialism. But I’d bet money he’d be a fascist. And fascism will drop the free market of capitalism, as well. Things will now be run by … Donald Trump.
As the American economy continues not to grow or get any better, the appeal of a fascist-lite dictator such as Donald Trump will grow. This isn’t because there are no rational alternatives to dictatorship. It’s just that none are being offered. The Tea Party talks cutting spending, but offers no strength because it offers no ideology of any kind. As a result, it’s hardly cutting a penny from the budget (and in today’s terms, a penny is a billion). Quite naturally people are going to listen to Donald Trump, because they think he’s something different from Barack Obama. But Donald Trump is not the voice of reason, nor the voice of the personal responsibility Americans must take if we are to remain a free country (politically) and become a free country again (economically). Trump is the voice of wishful thinking — disguised by toughness.