Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Ideas Versus The Man

Some ideas are good in themselves, and others are bad in themselves. Most ideas though are neither good nor bad in themselves, but rather a means to an end. The end can be either good or bad. This class of ideas are rather like tools. Tools are morally neutral. They may be wielded for good purposes or for evil ones. In either case the outcome is not due to the tool, but rather to the person who uses the tool. The tool is not responsible for how it is used, but rather the man should be responsible for how he uses it.

Donald Trump is now the President-elect of the United States. I will pray for him, as I prayed for Barack Obama, though I voted for neither man (why do Americans continue to vote for candidates from the two DC-run, globally funded parties which have done so much to bankrupt the nation both morally and fiscally?).

Though he changes his story so often that it is hard to say exactly what his real policies will actually be, during the campaign he suggested many ideas which a localist should support. He expressed a desire to leave or re-negotiate trade deals which undermined our national sovereignty. He supported de-escalation of tensions with Russia which have come about by the actions of prior administrations acting as self-appointed "world police." He wants secure national borders. He has suggested that tariffs are a viable option for cheating trade "partners". He expressed support for the idea that even our political elites should be prosecuted if they have committed crimes- instead of our current situation where we have a ruling class which is effectively above the law. He said he was opposed to Common Core. He grumbled (vaguely) about the Federal Reserve system. He has declared that many controversial issues should be left to the states.

It really is an agenda that a localist could get behind even though the media has not called it by that name. They are stuck on calling him a "nationalist" even though some of his positions- like leaving many issues to the states and fuming about the federal reserve, actually indicate a man who wants much of government pushed below the national level. A nationalist is the second worst type of political outlook to have - next to a globalist. But Trump is not even pure nationalist. There is some bit of decentralization in his campaign rhetoric. Nationalism is better than globalism. True federalism is better than nationalism, and localism is best of all. At least this side of heaven where government is necessary.

In spite of this I did not support him. This is because I looked beyond the tools the man was proposing to use and firstly considered the character of the man who would be using them. Donald Trump is not a just man. He has never made justice a goal of his walk in life and it is highly unlikely that he will start now. Because the man is not virtuous, his use of the tools that I agree should be used will not be virtuous either. If he follows through on his campaign promises at all, which is very much an open question with him, I fear he will put the proper tools to an improper use. I fear he will give the tools themselves a bad name by his poor use of them. If so, for decades hence the thoughtless masses will not give a fair hearing to the idea that those tools should be used, but used properly. Instead of a real argument, the detractors will say "that sounds like Trump" and sound proposals will be unsoundly dismissed.

For example, tariffs are properly used as a firewall between an unjust economy and your own. It is just and like paying insurance premiums to protect your own economy from going down when the unjust one inevitably collapses. If an economy has a captive labor force for example, a tariff could  make the cost of doing business with them more like a true free market transaction if they actually had a free economy. That is a proper use of tariffs. Another just use of tariffs is when substituted for an even worse tax- like individual income taxes. This is with the understanding that government has to be funded somehow and tariffs are bad but not so bad as what they would replace.

I don't think that is how President Trump would use tariffs. I think he would protect specific industries, not specific just values. I think whoever was good to him would get a break and whoever was not would not. Tariffs are a policy tool, There is just and an unjust way to use them. He is not the man to lean on for a just use of tariffs, or anything else. His complaints about the federal reserve for example, could be turned into a demand for more reckless spending without financial consequences (until the imbalances caused by that become so great that even the fed loses control and the dollar crashes). Every idea he has that I like can be used in a way that I don't like.

I want the tools which he was proposing in his campaign. I probably favor them more than he does. We will see how many of them he was just saying to get elected (which shows how popular these anti-globalist tools are) and how many he is really committed to. But because I do favor these tools, I don't want to see their use discredited. The tools are not to blame for the use which they are put to by the unjust. Rather, the workman who used them poorly is to blame- him and the ones who handed him those tools to being with.

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