Walter Block Announces Formation of “Libertarians for Trump”

File:Walter Block (7877545614).jpg

Walter Block (image by Gage Skidmore)

William Saturn, an ATPR and IPR contibutor, reported the following on March 16th:

Yesterday, libertarian theorist Walter Block announced the formation of Libertarians for Trump (LFT), a group supporting the election of businessman Donald Trump, the 2016 Republican Party presidential front-runner.

Block, an economics professor at Loyola University, writes at LewRockwell.com that he and retired cardiac surgeon Dr. Donald W. Miller Jr. created LFT to mobilize the “massive support for Donald Trump within the libertarian community.”

Although Block admits that Trump is not perfect on the issues and that whoever the Libertarian Party nominates will likely have views more aligned with his own, he consider Trump the closest to libertarianism among the candidates with a chance of winning the election.  He argues:

The Donald is the most congruent with our perspective. This is true, mainly because of foreign policy. And, of the three, foreign policy, economic policy and person liberties, the former is the most important. As Murray Rothbard and Bob Higgs have demonstrated over and over again, US foreign policy determines what occurs in economics and in the field of personal liberties. Foreign policy is the dog that wags the other two tails.

We readily concede Mr. Donald Trump is no Ron Paul on foreign policy or anything else for that matter. However, compared to his Republican alternatives, the Donald stands head and shoulders above them. He has said, time and time again, things like “Look at what we did in Iraq. It’s a mess. Look at what we did in Libya. It’s a mess there too. And we’re going to repeat our mistakes in Syria? Not on my watch.” Would Cruz or Rubio ever say anything like that? To ask this question is to answer it. And, very importantly, who is the one candidate who went out of his way so as to not antagonize Russia and Premier Putin? It is the Donald, that is who. Do we really want to fight World War III with Russia? With Mr. Trump at the helm, we minimize the chances of this catastrophe occurring. (See Donald Miller’s brilliant article on this issue).  Yes, future President Trump wants a strong military, but with only a few exceptions, fewer than the other Republican candidates, only to defend our country.

Block wants supporters of the group to contact him with their name, e-mail, and profession or city of residence.   He says he will publish a list of the first 100 participants.

As of 11:30 PM CST, 39 people commented on the article. Those comments below:

  1. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 20:22
    Yeah, I’m assuming that this is either a joke, or else Block seeing if he can get a list of “libertarian” Trump supporters to out as non-libertarian idiots.
  2. langaMarch 16, 2016 at 20:40
    Actually, Block has a history of making these sorts of endorsements of the lesser of two evils, and he seems to be at least semi-serious about them, although they are often based on strange reasoning. For example, in 2008, he initially supported Obama, but then switched his support to McCain, once McCain named Palin as his VP candidate. He apparently heard some vaguely libertarian statements that Palin had made, and on the basis of those, concluded that she was far more libertarian than anything in her record would indicate.
  3. Thane EichenauerMarch 16, 2016 at 20:55
    Or he is looking to increase sales of his book Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty as well as driving people to Dr. Miller’s article “Trump: Our Only Hope for Escaping World War III”.https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/03/donald-w-miller-jr-md/hope-escaping-nuclear-war/

    Orrrrrrr… he has been turned by the modern day version of Asimov’s Mule (e.g. Donald Trump).

    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Mule_(Foundation)
    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/141090636816/donald-trump-con-man

  4. Shivany LaneMarch 16, 2016 at 20:55
    If you are a Libertarian who wants Donald Trump to win, switch parties. It is that simple.Trump’s foreign policy? Which one? The one where he carpet bombs ISIS, thus committing a war crime,
    Or maybe the one where he thinks we should kill the entire family of any known terrorist, thus committing yet another war crime.
    al.
    I agree, it is too early for an April 1st joke. One of the reasons I do not like April Fools Day.

    If you want to support Trump, you are in the wron party and also confused, I would reccomend a psych ev

  5. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 20:55
    Video from Christopher Cantwell on why he is supporting Donald Trump.Radical Agenda EP094 – The Libertarian Case for Trump

  6. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 20:58
    Well, the difference between Walter Block and Christopher Cantwell is that Block is an eccentric libertarian while Cantwell pretended to be a libertarian for awhile until he realized there wasn’t a lot of money in it and then decided to try being a racist authoritarian instead. Maybe there’s more money for him there.
  7. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:00
    “Shivany Lane
    March 16, 2016 at 20:55
    If you are a Libertarian who wants Donald Trump to win, switch parties. It is that simple.Trump’s foreign policy? Which one? The one where he carpet bombs ISIS, thus committing a war crime,
    Or maybe the one where he thinks we should kill the entire family of any known terrorist, thus committing yet another war crime.”

    I am NOT on the Donald Trump bandwagon, and you are correct that he has made some remark like this, but on the flip side, he has also made remarks that were against foreign military interventionism, and he did in fact speak out against the war in Iraq years ago.

    “If you want to support Trump, you are in the wron party and also confused, I would reccomend a psych ev”

    The libertarians who I have heard say that they are supporting Donald Trump, at least from what I have heard from them so far, are not supporting him because they think he’s some great libertarian hero that has come to save us, but rather because they believe that he is less toxic than the other major party candidates who are in the race right now.

  8. ShaneMarch 16, 2016 at 21:03
    Shivany, most libertarians are not members of the Libertarian Party. The LP serves one function of the libertarian movement (and generally sucks at it).So to say people should leave the party if they support Trump . . . well, most were likely not part of it to begin with.

  9. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:07
    “Libertarians for Trump” makes even less sense than “Libertarians for Sanders.” And both of those make less sense than “Libertarians for Johnson,” which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
  10. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:07
    This is from the Cantwell article about why he is supporting Trump:“Sadly, democracy has not been abolished as of yet, and such a goal is terribly unlikely to be accomplished prior to the November 2106 election. Chances are, a president will be elected next year. Chances are, that president will initiate force. Chances are, that force will have catastrophic consequences.

    So one is left to choose between four basic options.

    1) Support a candidate who will do things which are unlibertarian, but is less harmful than the other candidates.

    2) Support a candidate who will do things which are so unlibertarian that society will be irreparably harmed and the government will collapse that we might rule the wasteland.

    3) Support a libertarian candidate who has absolutely no chance of winning

    4) Renounce elections as unprincipled, wield zero influence, and remain in a powerless echochamber of libertarian autism.

    I choose option number one, and I frankly think you’re a useless moron if you choose any of the other three. The notion that libertarians ought to remain completely uninfluential and powerless is a theory being floated by people who have no desire to see us succeed in anything.”

    I am torn between options 3 and 4 on Cantwell’s list of options for the election this year.

  11. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:09
    “Shane
    March 16, 2016 at 21:03
    Shivany, most libertarians are not members of the Libertarian Party. The LP serves one function of the libertarian movement (and generally sucks at it).So to say people should leave the party if they support Trump . . . well, most were likely not part of it to begin with.”

    This is true. There a lot more libertarians outside of the libertarian party than there are in the Libertarian Party. Some of these people already vote for whom they perceive to be the “lesser of two evils” while others don’t bother voting at all.

  12. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:10
    Rev. Clifton,I was the “national VP nominee” of the Boston Tea Party, but our bylaws provided for “favorite son or daughter” candidates in states where there were eligible and willing party members. I was on the ballot in Tennessee, John Wayne Smith in Florida, Dan Sallis, Jr. in Colorado. In states where we were registered write-in ticket, running mates included Barry Hess, Thomas J. Marino and, in several states, Marilyn Chambers (who was Charles’s girlfriend as well).

  13. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:12
    “Thomas L. Knapp
    March 16, 2016 at 21:07
    ‘Libertarians for Trump’ makes even less sense than ‘Libertarians for Sanders.’ And both of those make less sense than ‘Libertarians for Johnson,’ which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”I have not seen a “Libertarians for Sanders” group, but Libertarians Steve Kubby and IPR’s very own Warren Redlich have endorsed Bernie Sanders.

  14. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:15
    “Thomas L. Knapp
    March 16, 2016 at 21:12
    Rev. Clifton,I’m glad someone does. It’s always been my ambition to be a minor historical footnote ?”

    I actually have a Boston Tea Party Charles Jay / Thomas Knapp button. I wonder if this is a collectors item.

  15. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:16
    Andy,I’ve seen several articles about “a libertarian case for Bernie Sanders.” I don’t know if there’s a formal group.

    Sanders says a few things that some libertarians might support, if they believe him (marijuana decriminalization, maybe a less interventionist foreign policy; he used to be not too bad on guns but caved in as soon as Clinton pressured him to get with the victim disarmament program; etc.).

    Likewise, Trump says a few things that some libertarians might support, if they believe him, although I see little reason to since he usually says the exact opposite within 30 seconds or so, or it turns out that back when he made mixed statements as well.

    I can’t see myself voting for either of them, even if the LP screws up and nominates Johnson, Petersen or the 7th Cavalry uniform guy.

  16. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:22
    “Thomas L. Knapp
    March 16, 2016 at 21:16
    Andy,I’ve seen several articles about ‘a libertarian case for Bernie Sanders.’ I don’t know if there’s a formal group.

    Sanders says a few things that some libertarians might support, if they believe him (marijuana decriminalization, maybe a less interventionist foreign policy; he used to be not too bad on guns but caved in as soon as Clinton pressured him to get with the victim disarmament program; etc.).”

    Yeah, Sanders is good or OK on a few issues, but he is still a net negative, and I would not vote for him.

    “Likewise, Trump says a few things that some libertarians might support, if they believe him, although I see little reason to since he usually says the exact opposite within 30 seconds or so, or it turns out that back when he made mixed statements as well.”

    This is one of the reasons why I have not jumped on board the Donald Trump bandwagon.

    Trump appears that he may be a true maverick who is opposed by the political establishment, which is probably a good thing, at least for the most part, but on the flip side, he’s got zero background of being any kind of libertarian or constitutionalist, so even if though the political establishment appears to oppose him, this does not automatically make him a great guy.

  17. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:23
    Andy,It may be! I have a small “BTP ’08” button — I had a bunch made at CafePress and sold at cost back in 2008 (bought a bunch myself and gave all but one or two away).

    The BTP was an interesting experiment. Of course, I got more than twice as many votes as a Libertarian for Congress as the BTP ticket got nationwide for its presidential slate, but it’s not like we were expecting to set the nation on fire or anything.

  18. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:24
    “Thomas L. Knapp
    March 16, 2016 at 21:23
    Andy,It may be! I have a small “BTP ’08” button — I had a bunch made at CafePress and sold at cost back in 2008 (bought a bunch myself and gave all but one or two away).

    The BTP was an interesting experiment”

    Whatever happened to Charles Jay? He seemed like he could have been a good candidate for the Libertarian Party.

  19. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:26
    Charles is still around — I heard from him a couple of weeks ago. Not sure what all he’s up to, but I haven’t heard any rumblings of intent to seek office again. If he does, I would certainly support him.
  20. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:28
    “Thomas L. Knapp
    March 16, 2016 at 21:26
    Charles is still around — I heard from him a couple of weeks ago. Not sure what all he’s up to, but I haven’t heard any rumblings of intent to seek office again. If he does, I would certainly support him.”Is he a member of the Libertarian Party? Has he ever been a member of the Libertarian Party?

    I seem to recall hearing that he had run for President in 2004 as the candidate for the Personal Choice Party, which was a small “l” libertarian party which I believe was only on the ballot in Utah.

  21. AndyMarch 16, 2016 at 21:34
    “so even if though the political establishment”Should read, “so even if the political establishment…”

  22. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:34
    Andy,My recollection is that Charles was a member of the LP at one point and even a national convention delegate IIRC, although I don’t remember which years. I don’t know if he is still a member, or if so whether it’s a “sustaining member,” or just a pledge signer, or what.

  23. langaMarch 16, 2016 at 21:50
    You seem to be misremembering. In 2008, Walter Block endorsed Charles Jay for president and me for vice president.http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block106.html

    The next to last paragraph seems to me to be a pretty clear endorsement of McCain-Palin. In the same paragraph, he does mention the BTP, but seems to dismiss it as unworthy of consideration.

  24. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:54
    langa,Hmm. Never noticed that one. I was going by his earlier endorsement (the original page returns a 404 now) where he wrote:

    “So, who do I favor over all? The candidates of the Boston Tea Party. They at least are as pure as can be reasonably expected of a true libertarian party. It is my hope that Barr and Root receive fewer votes than previous LP candidates, so that the Boston Tea party, those elements of the Constitution party who favor liberty, and the libertarians in the Libertarian Party can, at the next convention, retake our grand old LP party from those who have highjacked it to their own evil ends.”

  25. Thomas L. KnappMarch 16, 2016 at 21:59
    The actual contours of Block’s 2008 thoughts are interesting and, in my opinion, applicable:

    I apply very different criteria to Barr-Root than to McCain-Palin. I ask of the former, a very simple question: are they promoting liberty on net balance? (The question I ask of McCain-Palin, in contrast is, are they more compatible with liberty than Obama-Biden?) And, sadly, I answer in the negative. On U.S. imperialism, on the drug war, on other issues important to Ron Paul, do Barr-Root sound a clear clarion call? They do not. It does not harm our beloved philosophy one iota that Palin is not a libertarian. It is devastating to our cause that Barr and Root are not.

    I expect THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY’S candidates to actually be libertarians. If they aren’t, why bother?

    On the other hand, when the LP can’t be bothered to run a libertarian, I have no problem with voting for a non-libertarian, the best one I can find, on another party’s ticket, if I choose to vote at all. They don’t even have to be “as libertarian” as the Libertarian Party candidate, because they aren’t CLAIMING to be libertarians and they aren’t tarnishing the word with their candidacies.

  26. Anastasia BeaverhausenMarch 16, 2016 at 22:26
    “I expect THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY’S candidates to actually be libertarians”Why do you expect that, when the majority of the time the LP nominated Presidential candidates who were less than thoroughgoing Libertarians? The only one in my lifetime I could vote for without holding my nose was Michael Badnarik.

  27. langaMarch 16, 2016 at 22:28
    I have a pretty simple litmus test that applies to any candidate, regardless of party. If that candidate were to be elected, and accomplish everything on their agenda, at the end of their term, would their actions, on balance, have made the world a more or less libertarian place? if it’s the former, then I will at least consider voting for them (although I still may vote for someone else, if that other person also passes my litmus test).However, if it’s the latter, and they would make the world less libertarian, I won’t even consider voting for them, no matter how bad the other options happen to be. If none of the candidates pass my litmus test, I simply don’t vote. That, by the way, is why I disagree with Block about Trump. In the article, Block says, while addressing Trump’s many non-libertarian positions, that we shouldn’t make “the perfect the enemy of the good.” I agree, except I don’t think Trump is “the good.” He is, at best, “the less bad” (if that), which is a far different matter.

    Ironically, the motto of the Mises Institute is, “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.” (Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.) You would think that would rule out the whole “lesser of evils” mentality.

  28. DaveMarch 16, 2016 at 22:35
    I can see an argument for it, not out of genuine support but because a Trump nomination has a very high chance of severely hurting the Republican “brand.” And either way I think the LP gains something. They gain less if there’s an actual Republican establishment third party ticket, but I imagine they’d still pick up a few votes they’d not if Republicans who dislike Trump know the election is already lost to Hillary with a split in their party.The better scenario would be no significant third party organizes against Trump. I think you’d see a lot of voters end up voting largely LP. Not the 25% or so of Republicans who say they would now, but more would defect than would in a typical year. The question becomes how many of these voters Libertarians could retain going forward, and find a way to avoid having them just be a protest vote.

    I can’t see any real reason for a Libertarian to support Trump. If I stretch, maybe a socially liberal libertarian who is only in the LP because they feel the GOP is too religious, and who hopes a Trump nomination would reduce the importance social issues have in the GOP. Or someone amused by the freaking out amongst the neoconservatives to Trump ( which I’ll grant is amusing.)

 

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