Thursday, 5 May 2016

So it’s Trump v Clinton

 

Trump1

So it’s Trump and Clinton – an ideological blank slate offering trade wars and closed borders, and a corrupt collectivist with a Messiah complex. Two varieties of cronyists offering two different flavours of socialism: national socialism or international socialism1, xenophobic protectionism or identity policitics and class hatred.

Berzelius Windrip versus the Wicked Witch of the North-East.

Not much of a choice.

Today is Trump’s day. The Day of Drumpf. He’s earned it. His country has earned it. His supporters have given it to him, just as he will give it everyone – good and hard – if he becomes Leader of What Was Once the Free World. Says Victor David Hanson,

His supporters want a reckoning with a system that has not so much failed as infuriated them. What drives their loyalty to Trump — if not the person, at least the idea of Trump — is a sort of nihilism. As a close friend put it to me this week, “I don’t care whether Trump wins or not, I just want him to f— things up as long as he can.”
    [For these people] Trump is their megaphone, not their solution. The Trump supporters have seen plenty of politicians with important agendas, but few with the zeal to push them through; at this late date, they would apparently prefer zeal without agendas to agendas without zeal.

Not entirely without an agenda. The promise to build walls, start trade wars (or worse) and order manufacturing back to the fatherland2 are clear enough signs that if Trump hasn’t learned from reading about Mussolini it’s only because he doesn’t actually read. Not even enough to discover how the trade wars of the 1930s became the real wars of the 1940s—beggar-thy-neighbour policies that quickly became hate-thy-neighbour and then bomb-thy-neighbour.

Free trade on the other hand encourages true friendships. And despite what the xenophobes think about the low wages they allege are due to freer trade, it’s actually free trade that’s making all their wages go further—by connecting them peacefully with the wider world. Philosopher Stephen Hicks explains:

Earlier today I put on my made-in-Argentina jacket and my new made-in-India shoes and got into my made-in-Japan truck. I stopped for gas at a British Petroleum station and chatted with its franchise owner, a guy from Mexico. To help pay for it all, I taught my first class of the day — on a French philosopher, using a text translated into English by a Polish-American and printed in Canada — to a group of students, one-third of whom are from foreign countries.
    Then it was mid-morning and I needed a coffee break. Italian roast with Arabica beans from Rwanda, thank you very much.
    When economists talk of the benefits of trade they speak of division of labor and comparative advantage. Long ago
Adam Smith used the example of a pin factory to show that dividing a complex task into parts is much more efficient than doing everything oneself. David Ricardo used the example of Portuguese wine and English cloth. Because of climate and differences in their workforces’ skills, both nations would be better off if Portugal specialized in making wine and England specialized in making cloth and they then traded wine for cloth.
    Contrast this contemporary example — the guy who made a sandwich for himself from scratch — after spending
$1,500 and six months’ effort. My sandwich at lunch will cost me $5 and a five-minute wait.
    Trade enables us to be more efficient, and the more extensive our trading networks the more people’s talents we can each enjoy, and the more people we can reach with our own talents.
    Those economic consequences of trade are important.

But they’re possibly not even the biggest consequence of the free trade the xenophobes would ban.

Think of all the things that set people at each other’s throats — religious and political zealotry, tribalism, sexism, ethnocentrism, and the pig-headedness that humans are capable of for any number of reasons.

In other words, all the stuff you’ve already seen promised this American election season.

Those committed to the ethic of trade are committed to evaluating others in terms of their productive ability — not their skin color or political party. They are committed to respecting others as self-responsible agents — not to seeing them as the weaker sex or idolaters. They are committed to offering their personal best to the world and seeking the best that others have to offer — not to stubbornly ignoring or downplaying the achievements of individuals from other cultures.
    Trade is not a cure-all. But it does motivate civilised behavior, and it gives us all an incentive to overlook or unlearn any irrational prejudices we may have.

You begin to see why the supporters of tRump are so violently against it.

* * * *

1. I’m indebted to Keith Weiner for the indentification.
2. Trump: "We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries."


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                                                 Trends
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2 comments:

  1. Brilliant libertarian googling graph with no X-axis. Maybe is should be plotted against searches for home made plum sauce recipes or Nicki Manaj's camel toe for perspective. While some may hope......I'm not sure an increase from FA to a few more signals the start of something big, particularly when the uptick lasted less than 6 hours and probably shows a PolSci 101 essay topic set yesterday

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous above. Yes, the graph you refer to comes from the aptly names blog site " Hit and Run" which is part of a group operating at reason.com. They seem to reason that since Garth Vader has arrived Conservatives will now turn liberal. Some of these so called Cuckservatives over there are so suicidal they propose to vote Clinton.

    ReplyDelete

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