Article by veteran libertarian Jerome Tuccille.
But Trump for President?
Let’s get real. This is not the first time Donald Trump has announced his intentions to run for the highest political office on Planet Earth. A few years back he all but shanghaied the Reform Party before party notables recognized his ploy as a publicity stunt, booted him out, and settled instead for Ross Perot. It was a great headline-grabber then, and it is now. What is most surprising is how short the media’s attention span is. Once again they are showering the Donald with all the headlines he covets as though he is serious about actually getting his hands dirty in a real campaign and exposing the more private corners of his life to intense public scrutiny. Astoundingly, Trump is tracking second in the Republican sweepstakes as I am writing this, which tells you more about the quality of his competition than you need to know.
It’s during the political silly season such as the one that’s just getting under way that I miss my old friend Murray Rothbard the most. Murray and I had our differences along the way, but no one had a better sense of the absurd in politics than Murray did. My fondest memories of the old days are sitting around with Murray and a few others, quoting Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken, chuckling (no one could chuckle louder than Murray with his bowtie wagging under his chin) about the lunacies of the moment. There were always plenty to go around.
And there is no shortage of them at the moment. One of the biggest lunacies in recent weeks was the notion that either major party would let the government shut down for anything longer than a microsecond. The last thing the entrenched political establishment wants to advertise is that the absence of most government services, and the corresponding layoff of some 800,000 federal employees, would be a nonevent for the body politic. Business would go on as usual, investors would continue to trade shares and commodities in the marketplace, and all the other essentials of modern civilization would be provided by one entity or another. People would soon learn that it would be a better bargain for them if most of the government did, in fact, go on an extended vacation along with its revenue-collecting agencies. Can’t pay the troops overseas? Bring them home. Can’t conduct the war on drugs? End it now. Can’t stop citizens from cohabitating with whomever they prefer? Decriminalize their lifestyle arrangements. The only groups with a vested interest in prolonging the status quo are those receiving subsidies in one form or another: large corporations, rich farmers, special interest and advocacy groups. They were the ones screaming loudest about the threat of even minor cuts in government spending.