Libertarian David Henderson on Trump
Yesterday, David Henderson, a libertarian economist associated with Hoover and econlib, had a post at econlib suggesting that Trump has been unfairly accused of fomenting violence. I was going to stick a link to Henderson’s piece in the comments to my earlier post on the libertarian reaction to storming of the Capitol. But when I looked this morning, the post was gone. I believe this has happened before with Henderson (I am almost certain this has happened at econlib, I am not sure the author was Henderson, but I believe it was him).
In any event, the now missing post was captured by my blog reader, and I thought I’d share Henderson’s disingenuous, obtuse, narrow, decontextualized, and legalistic defense of Donald Trump here for the record. Libertarianism is not an abstract set of ideas that exists outside of partisan politics; libertarians are the intellectual front for the plutocratic wing of the Republican party, and they know who their coalition partners are. They don’t care.
“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Mattis wrote. “His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”
This is from Lara Seligman, “Mattis blames Trump for inciting ‘mob rule’“, Politico, January 6, 2020.
I was playing pickleball Wednesday morning Pacific time and so I didn’t see Trump’s speech. I think I had my priorities right.
As a result, I made a mistake I make too often: I took people’s word for what Trump said.
I wonder if my Hoover colleague Jim Mattis did too.
What I’ve always liked about Ann Althouse, an emerita professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, is that she’s independent: she thinks for herself.
Professor Althouse read the whole transcript, looking for where Trump incited the crowd. She listed the 7 most violence-inciting statements in Trump’s speech. Check the list of 7 and see if you can see “incitement” or “fomenting.” Or possibly she missed something. So go to the transcript and see if you can see something important she missed.
Ann Althouse and this clown are playing the old canard they played during the impeachment debate. Certain exact words were not in that transcript so all is good. Come on. I guess neither one of these apologists caught what Trump told these terrorists later – “I love you”.
Trump went back to the safety of the White House and watched this attack on the Capitol and did nothing except block any use of the National Guard.
We know what he meant by his actions. His apologists are pathetic.
Boston College’s Prof. Cox has new letters out which you may enjoy also. January 8th:
I think one commenter on her page summed it up well—”when you are a dog, you hear the dog whistle”.
‘A White House adviser told New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi that Trump was watching television coverage of the siege and was enthusiastic, although he didn’t like that the rioters looked “low class.”’
I guess Trump expected his terrorists to wear Brooks Brother suits!
Before making a snarky comment about libertarians I decided to see what they said about universal basic income. I found both support and opposition. Both cases were founded on the idea of trusting the people’s self interest. Recipients would know best how to spend their $1000, so UBI is better than welfare with its strings. But UBI is forced charity and people know best how to spend their charity dollars.
Now the snark. If you assume Donald’s supporters are good libertarians, then nothing he says could induce them to act against their own interests.
Let me know if your comment(s) disappears
I wish he had taken that post down before I had seen it.
David Henderson was very careful there not to take any position himself on what happened and what Trump said- although he did seem to praise the author of that stupidity. I’m afraid I wasted my time reading the first 30 minutes or so of the transcript and it is true that Trump never directly says “go to the Capitol and break down the doors and prevent Congress from counting the electoral votes”. But it is also very clear what Trump was trying to do.
I had left a comment there saying how disappointed I was with that post. I am glad he reconsidered and removed it.
I was prepared to believe it was operator error. Still, let me ask, if my posts are disappearing, how do I let you know?
send me an email at hotmail. you know the rest already. I retrieved a few of others from trash also. something with the system which Dan needs to have corrected
Well that post is back up again at Econlog with a few changes and comments deleted. Just in case you wanted to link to it.
I actually like David Henderson even though I often disagree with him. He is very ‘libertarian’ and I guess I am not so much. But I enjoy reading different viewpoints usually and find it helpful in trying to understand people who have a different opinion of things than I do. But I don’t understand this one at all.
Anarchists can change their mind any time, in fact, they change their mind more often than needed, just to add chaos.
did you ever notice how photographs of Ted Bundy look so much like President Bush and also just a bit like Johnny Carson? What this teaches us is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. about 110 years ago a war was started over whether we should subscribe to that concept of judging by the cover. Judging from this week’s photos it seems that the war was not entirely won, but that the conflict and War goes on. the Civil War was not won by bravery and it was not won by acres and square miles of real estate. it was won by production, manufacturing and the jobs which manufacturing provides, the North did not win because it had more real estate, but because it had more wealth generated by the workers in the manufacturing, and transport sectors of the economy. do you see what this means going forward? it means that we should not be taxing production. when our government taxes real estate we still have the same amount of real estate the same number of square miles in this country but when they tax production it slows down production; corporations have to lay off one shift; some corporations go out of business; some workers take a tax cut; others take unemployment. Do you see the difference? we have to learn something from what happened this week.
Your analysis assumes that the “correct” amount of added government for each unit of added production is zero.
110 years ago? I’m baffled.
Are we talking about the Mexican revolution?
Thanks to Jerry Brown for pointing out that Henderson’s post is up again. Link here. Not much different from what I posted above, but the comment thread is worth looking at.
True . . .
Why would anyone pay attention to a libertarian? Libertarianism isn’t a political philosophy, it is reverse engineered solipsism.
your basic fallacy is this: “when they tax production it slows down production; corporations have to lay off one shift; some corporations go out of business; some workers take a tax cut; others take unemployment”
this is nonsense.
and what do you think “acres” are? (try to “produce” food without them.)
taxes are the price we pay for all the ways in which government helps the general welfare. whether that’s buying the production of factories to win wars or prevent them, or helping the workforce survive the inevitable recessions that come with “free” enterprise.
you are a victim of the propaganda of very rich people who want a free ride from the people who make their wealth possible.