A #NeverTrump Libertarian Wakes Up

I was a “Never Trumper” libertarian almost from the beginning. (That’s actually a bit of a misnomer. I have hated to call myself a libertarian for years; “classical liberal” is a better fit.)

I declared in December 2015 that I would not support Donald Trump if he won the Republican nomination. I also wrote many articles criticizing Trump’s demeanor and his policy proposals. I even attacked Trump and accused him of attempting to set up a dictatorship.

The day before the November election, I predicted that Trump would be crushed by Hillary Clinton. Obviously, I was wrong—by a lot. That left me with two choices: I could be smug and indignant like the rest of the pundits and commentators who got it wrong, or I could take a good, long look at myself and try to figure out what I had missed. I decided on the latter course, first writing a “what I got wrong” piece followed by some serious self-examination.

Why did I get the election wrong? Because of my irrational Trump hatred. While I attended a couple of Trump rallies, I could never get behind the man. Despite knowing that many of the people there were looking for more economic security and a sense of purpose, I allowed myself to be convinced by many in the media that this was a racist movement first and foremost. In an attempt to be accepted by many who live in the East Coast media bubble, I bought their narrative on Trump.

One of the main reasons I opposed Trump was that I saw him as a threat to my principles. But it turns out that my own way of thinking about politics was a greater threat to those principles than anything else.

I failed to realize the importance of culture in maintaining liberty. Liberty has always meant both freedom and responsibility. Right now, we do not have a culture that is conducive to liberty in America. The Left has perpetuated a cult of victimhood that allows some people to avoid taking responsibility for their bad decisions.

If you’re a racial minority, it’s not your fault that you don’t succeed in life. It’s the fault of white privilege. If you’re a woman, you’re being held back by the patriarchy. These lies we tell ourselves are not only soul crushing for the individuals who believe them, they are liberty crushing for a nation that perpetuates them.

Meanwhile, the Left, which dominates the media and academia, has imposed a speech code on the country and declared certain topics off limits. We cannot have an honest discussion about the role of Islam behind terrorism or whether it needs reform. The Left (and many libertarians for that matter) also seem unable to distinguish between a legal and an illegal immigrant. Finally, the cosmopolitan elite have decided that Americans who don’t agree with their view of the world are racists and bumpkins whose views should be discarded.

Victor Davis Hanson recently defined Trumpism as a movement aspiring to:

…an America that emulates (even if hypocritically so) the lost culture of the 1950s; exploits fossil fuels; is run by deal makers who make money ostensibly to achieve a GDP that can fund the niceties of American civilization; opposes unfettered free trade and is united by race and class through shared material success; assesses winning as what’s workable rather than what’s politically correct or doctrinaire; makes ‘tremendous’ cars, air-conditioners, and planes; has the largest and most powerful and least-used military; and is loyal to our allies and considerably scary to our enemies. All that seems to be Trumpism (at least for now).”

Essentially, it’s a commitment to keeping America a safe, secure, and wealthy country that builds and exports things. Wealthy, secure nations are also freer nations than those that are poor and less secure. I’m sorry to disappoint many libertarians, but sometimes force is necessary to preserve freedom. Trump seems to understand this. Finally, it’s a sense of bringing the country back together again for a common purpose. It provides a chance for Americans to be greater than themselves.

Finally, Trump has done something vital. He has swept aside the failed ideologies of the Right. Neoconservatism and social conservatism are dead (or dying), the Beltway conservatives are largely on the run, and the libertarian fringe is discredited. This has allowed a much needed clearing of the deadwood and the rise of new and better ideas.

Does this mean I support all of Trump’s agenda? No. I’m still a committed free trader and am skeptical of large government programs. I still also have concerns about his stances on civil liberties. But I’m willing to give Trumpism a chance.

It’s not just America that is threatened, but all of Western Civilization that is under threat from the far-Left and radical Islam. It is my hope that Trumpism can lead to the fusion of conservatism, libertarianism, and nationalism that will be needed to save the West.

About Kevin Boyd

Kevin Boyd is a Louisiana-based freelance writer. He is a columnist at the New York Observer, an op-ed writer at Rare.us, blog editor at PracticalPoliticking.com, covers Louisiana politics at The Hayride, and contributes to several other publications. Follow him on Twitter @kevinboyd1984

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21 responses to “A #NeverTrump Libertarian Wakes Up”

  1. You should have been reading me at the True Dollar Journal, Kevin. I had it right from October, 2015. I revealed that national polls were unscientific and thus wrong. My own electoral college model predicted Trump way back in early 2016.

    Trump Coverage on the True Dollar Journal


    Free trade can happen only when the other side has the same per capita capital spend. Otherwise, there is incentive to move capital to the foreign land.


    Oh and American libertarians are dummies. They are libertines and not authentic libertarians.



  2. I’m still a committed free trader and am skeptical of large government programs.

    “Free trade”, as engaged in by governments, always means large government programs. See e.g. the 5000 pages of rules touching on nearly every area of the economy in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  3. I have been putting together what I have been
    reading the last couple of days with the people Trump has been hiring.
    If eliminating all of these Liberal arts and communication agencies and
    cutting these Cabinets as much as we hear is true, Trump is going to be
    the most conservative, Free Enterprise Prez we have had since before

    It looks like he will leave Social Security and Medicare
    and Medical alone, revamp Obamacare, pump money into the Military while
    cutting the hell out of everything else. He is combining things his voters want to get rid of
    with things they want to keep in a way never attempted before. Middle
    America will love it, Congress will go nuts, and our hard Leftists will
    really go crazy.

    Watching him get this though Congress is going to be a lot of fun.

      • I
        was laughing as I watched the opening of Morning Joe today. Talk about
        head’s exploding! They are astounded that Trump is doing what he said
        he was going to do. “Why can’t he be a good little RINO like he is supposed to be?”

  4. Welcome to the team. We are glad to have you! Now strap on your helmet, sinch up your jockstrap, get out on the field and KICK SOME ASS!

  5. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, immigration, foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families”

    Maybe not a complete philosophy of government, but a good start.

  6. Conservatism is the defense of liberty. To the extent that Trump is conservative, he will defend liberty. To the extent that he is not conservative, he won’t.
    The idea that Trump, and his movement, were somehow based on racism, was always false. Trump, however, campaigned like an idiot and there was never any good reason to support him. The best that could be said was that he was the lesser of two evils, and, given the other evil, that won my vote. Since the election, Trump has conducted himself sensibly, with dignity, and in accord with conservative principles. A remarkable about face. So long as he keeps on that course, he deserves our support, and will have mine.

    • “Liberty” is a nebulous concept.

      “The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints.”

      That’s the father conservatism, Edmund Burke.

      • I most heartily disagree with your last two sentences. Trump gave very little evidence of conservatism until after he had been elected. The two most conservative candidates running this year were Walker and Cruz.

      • You really don’t know what you are talking about. Trump ran on the most conservative platform we’ve seen from any politician since Coolidge. Trump’s words and actions since he was elected have been perfectly consistent with the things he said as he campaigned. That’s why Trump had the support of actual conservatives like Sessions and Schafly.

        Perhaps if you had lowered yourself to actually listen to his campaign speeches instead of reading unhinged diatribes about what Trump supposedly believed in the pages of National Review, you would not be shooting so embarrassingly wide of the mark.

      • No, there is nothing conservative about that. It is populist gobbledygook. It has nothing to do with respecting the constitution, restoring government to its proper limits, or enhancing the freedom, in this case the economic freedom, of the individual citizen.

      • You don’t have the foggiest understanding of what that word “conservative” means, or of what the Constitution says, or of the proper role of government. Nowhere in the Constitution is there any support, either stated or implied, for your silly libertarian dogma.

      • I’m not a libertarian, but the constitution puts *limits* on the power of the federal government, explicit, written, *limits*. We have been virtually ignoring those limits for far too long. Conservatism is about maximizing liberty under the law. If the twentieth century taught us anything, it is that it is impossible for the government to direct the course of the economy and pick which businesses and industries will prosper and which will not. Trump gave the impression, during the campaign, that he thought otherwise. Thus far, his actions suggest a higher wisdom. There is still a great deal of room for error. If he idiotically cuts off our foreign trade in the mistaken belief the American companies will magically begin producing products that can not be made profitably while paying $20 an hour, that will not be good for anybody.
        “America First” is not a program, it is not a policy. It is a slogan. Different people can, legitimately, have different ideas about what is best for The United States and her people. Which ideas really are best can only be determined by their application. I think conservative ones are, and I am happy to see Trump moving to implement such ideas.
        Trump did not campaign as a conservative. He did not offer a reasoned set of ideas, based on conservative principles, for achieving his goals. Instead, he mostly offered the kind of populist gobbledygook you quoted. The fact that you think that was conservative demonstrates your understanding of conservatism. He has, however, nominated and appointed cabinet officials who believe in reigning in their departments, actually reducing their number of employees and their total budgets. That, by golly, is conservatism and I will support it all the way.
        He has also, by his appointments and his statements, demonstrated that he understands the legislative process and how actually to get things done.. His campaign gave the impression that he believed all he had to do was stand on the White House lawn, insult people and do his Benito Mussolini impression, and things would just magically happen. Indeed, many of his supporters still seem to think that that is about all there is to it and that change will come through the mere force of his Nietzschean Will to Power. Well, it doesn’t work that way and he, fortunately, seems to understand that.

      • >”Conservatism is about maximizing liberty under the law.”
        As Trump would say, “WRONG!”
        You’re describing libertarians who want toddlers watching hardcore porno while injecting heroin because muh free market.
        Tbh, I hate the label “conservative” because it’s been ruined by cucks like Paul Ryan and the GOPe but someone with any familiarity of traditionally conservative thought would understand that liberty was far down on the list of concerns. And also that today’s understanding of liberty which is mostly associated with degeneracy (drugs, sexual perversion) would horrify the likes of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk.

      • Yes, it would horrify them. What do you not understand about ” Under the law?” Please stop pretending you know anything about my political thought. It sounds like we probably share some social conservative principles, which Donald Trump does not, to the same extent.

      • Don’t take it personal, brah. I thought you were a libertarian. This is Disqus etiquette.

        And as far as Trump’s concerned, I don’t care about his alleged socially conservative bonafides as long as he delivers on his campaign promises (defund Planned Parenthood, repeal the Johnson amendment, appoint socially conservative judges to the Court, etc.).

      • I wish people would stop equating libertarians with libertines including many who think they are libertarian when they are really the later. A real libertarian to my mind accepts the consequences of their decisions and actions but does not believe it is up to the state to protect us from those consequences by laws,rules and regulations. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! Along with Liberty comes responsibility, the hardest thing for us to face up to.In other words … “someone who want toddlers watching hardcore porno while injecting heroin because muh free market.”… IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN, they are “straw men” for the self-righteous.

      • So you support laws which prohibit the sale of heroin or pornography to minors?

  7. Welcome to the team! Unlike the Left, we’re glad to have new converts and won’t hold past statements against you.

    >”Neoconservatism and social conservatism are dead (or dying), the Beltway conservatives are largely on the run, and the libertarian fringe is discredited. This has allowed a much needed clearing of the deadwood and the rise of new and better ideas.”
    I take issue with lumping neocons in with social conservatives in the quoted sentence. While I do agree that social conservatives are experiencing a period of decline overall, Trump’s victory was a win for them since they supported him in large numbers and he has promised to deliver on key issues for them (Supreme Court appointments, defunding Planned Parenthood, repealing the Johnson amendment, etc.) whereas Trump’s election was a complete repudiation of neoconservatism and a total defeat for them politically.