Monday, November 26, 2018

An Up Side to Trumpism?

Continuing from ...

I will admit that my timeline for re-categorizing people, on an individual basis, from "libertarian in error" to "knows better and doesn't care" is getting shorter and shorter.

The Trump era is certainly proving consequential within the libertarian movement.

His presidential campaign and the 2016 election moved some fairly recent "authoritarian, but 'libertarian' sounds really cool, sooo ..." arrivals to the movement to out themselves, either by admitting they weren't really on board with libertarianism and departing, or engaging in pathetic attempts to Trumpalize the movement.

His focus on immigration is also bringing the "libertarians in error" versus "knows better but doesn't care" distinction on that subject to a head.

For many years, I was fairly comfortable with treating the former as the (rebuttable) presumption and the latter as requiring a high burden of proof. But now that immigration's finally a major marquee issue again, and now that some people to whom I previously gave that benefit of doubt are e.g. moving from "the problem with DACA is that it's not within Obama's legit executive power" to "Trump should have a free hand because people crossing gang turf lines without my permission to get jobs is an invaaaaaaaaaasion," presumptions of any kind make less and less sense. They seem to be saying what they really mean to say, so it would be arrogant to presume that they don't really believe it.

I was somewhat unsettled a couple of years ago when Vin Suprynowicz banned me from his site for pointing out that his position on immigration is authoritarian, not libertarian. He kept treating that (indisputably correct) claim as a claim that he is an authoritarian, not a libertarian, and therefore indescribably rude and an unacceptable repudiation of years of friendship.

I was honestly flustered that he didn't seem to understand the distinction between "libertarian mistakenly taking an authoritarian position" and "not a libertarian," and yeah, it hurt to be disassociated from over such a misunderstanding.

But given Vin's full-on public conversion to Trumpism since then, it's become quite clear that either his dedication to that one authoritarian position trumps (ahem) all other principles and has dragged him away from libertarianism entirely -- a manifestation of one form of Trump Derangement Syndrome, perhaps? -- or that the libertarian guff was all an act in the first place. I'd like to think the former. So much of his stuff was so damn good for so many years that it's hard to believe it was all an act. So I won't.

I'm still going to hang with the "libertarian in error" presumption where I can, but that presumption is just a lot less tenable lately. Immigration specifically and Trumpism generally are visibly separating the authoritarian sheep(le) from the libertarian goats.

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