When not assisting the continued politicization of America’s most powerful legislative branch, the media this week has relished in a variety of news items continuing to push the narrative that President Donald Trump is mentally unfit to hold office.
While it’s fair to question the fitness of anyone to hold the power given to the modern American president, the obsession with Trump’s mental stability is a wonderful example of the absurd lack of self-awareness enjoyed by the privileged residents of America’s capitol. After all, the city that finds Donald Trump so revolting is – as a recent study by Ryan Murphy has discovered – literally the psychopathic capitol of the United States.
As Doug French noted last July, this result would surprise no one familiar with F.A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. As Hayek wrote in his chapter dedicated to the question “Why the Worst Rise to the Top:”
Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things. The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule. There is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves ‘the good of the whole’, because that is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.This critique plays itself out when one looks at the most common objections to the Trump presidency from the traditional DC powers. For example, among the most prominent criticisms cited by the New York Times’ anonymous administration “senior official” was Trump’s handling of foreign policy:
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations. Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.In the views of the “stable state,” nothing better demonstrates Trump’s unfitness for office than his desire to de-escalate tensions with Russia by treating its government with respect and being willing to sit across from Kim Jong-un as equals.
In fact, the worst parts of the Trump Administration have been its commitment to the beltway status quo on a number of important issues. This includes his appointment of a variety of establishment-friendly Federal Reserve officials, his continuing the war on drugs, commitment to government-regulated immigration policy, support for absurd levels of military spending, and its general willingness to erode civil liberties. It’s also worth noting that while it’s great to see the establishment media on both the left and right condemn Trump’s fondness for tariffs, Washington’s hostility for actual free trade long pre-dates the Donald. Both the Bush and Obama administration imposed their own tariffs on good such as steel and solar panels.
Donald Trump is a man that is guilty of a great many sins, but at the end of the day he’s no worse than your average – overpaid – Federal senior staffer. The elites that make up the professional political class and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media have no moral high ground here. Their aim is not to restore “civility” or “decency” to American politics, after all their desire to expand the reach of government power is precisely what undermines such values. No, their goal is simply to reverse an election they didn’t expect to lose. It’s quite possible they may end up succeeding.
Hopefully the takeaway for those who relished the idea of “draining the swamp” is the realization that this can’t be accomplished by simply changing the name of the person who occupies the top office. The Federal government can’t be fixed; it must have its powers taken away.
Political decentralization is the only way to truly make America great again.
Reprinted with permission from Mises.org.