August 29, 2016

Dallas Police Chief, Diamond Reynolds and Yale Go Libertarian After Shootings

Black_Lives_Matter_protestAfter the spate of shootings involving police (as both alleged perpetrators and victims) last summer, I suggested limiting the role of the police to responding to emergency calls and serving warrants. A year later, the article is being widely circulated again following a tragically similar series of events.

If the comments or e-mail responses are any indication, this seems to horrify most conservatives in the so-called “land of the free,” even though limiting the government to reactive (rather than proactive) power is the whole idea behind the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments.

But while the White House regurgitates its gun control talking points and conservatives predictably line up with the police, hardcore libertarian ideas are coming from some unlikely sources.

Diamond Reynolds, the grieving partner of Philando Castile, who died after being shot during a routine traffic stop, didn’t demand a government solution for blacks being disproportionately stopped and/or shot by police. She said “the powers of those whose job it is to protect the people need to be curtailed.”

At least one prominent member of the police forces agrees. In the aftermath of the Dallas tragedy, in which five cops and two civilians were killed, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said cops are trying to do too much.

“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Brown said at a briefing Monday. “We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”

Just a few weeks back, The Atlantic ran a story in which Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter acknowledged a reality libertarians are often ridiculed for pointing out:

“Every law is violent. We try not to think about this, but we should. On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the breacher will not pay damages, the sheriff will sequester his house and goods; and if he resists the forced sale of his property, the sheriff might have to shoot him.”

But the most strikingly libertarian view came from none other than Black Lives Matter activist Jessica Drisu:

“Here are the solutions. We need to abolish the police, period. Demilitarize the police, disarm the police, and we need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice,” said Jessica Disu, drawing some shocked reactions.”

Murray Rothbard smiled in his grave.

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly displayed typical establishment tone deafness in response, asking, “How do we protect the community if we abolish the police?”

Disu had just told her how she proposed to protect the community. But Kelly, though highly intelligent and trained in the law, just couldn’t muster enough imagination to even consider that perhaps securing life and property could be handled privately.

For all of the twentieth century, Americans led by establishment media turned to the government during times of crisis. But after several generations of government failure in the wars on drugs, poverty and terrorism, better informed Americans seem to be thinking out of the box. And libertarian ideas are beginning to blossom in the most unlikely places.

It’s no accident that a libertarian presidential candidate is polling in double digits for the first time in the party’s 40-year history. Imagine what would happen if he were allowed into the presidential debates.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Tom Mullen on WBFO 88.7 FM Buffalo, NY – Libertarian Party, Johnson/Weld

libertarian_conventionI sat down with Jay Moran of WBFO 88.7 FM here in Buffalo, NY to discuss the Libertarian Party and the Johnson/Weld ticket. The short version that aired is at the top of the page; the full conversation can be found at the bottom. Listen here.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Brexit Leave voters: Don’t give in to Establishment pressure

brexit flagsU.S. markets continued to sell off Monday, with the Dow falling over 300 points and the S&P down over 2%. Global elites are blaming Brexit, the referendum last week in which United Kingdom citizens voted to leave the European Union. Opponents of the “Leave” movement predicted a market crash and are now wagging their fingers, saying “I told you so.”

They’re also accusing the Leave campaign of going back on its pre-referendum promises, reporting that over one million Leave voters now want to change their vote to remain, and continuing the narrative that Brexit was nothing more than a racist, xenophobic reaction against immigration.

Leave voters should expect their convictions to be tested nonstop until the break with the EU is official.

As I wrote just after the vote, some of the same scare tactics were used against the American people in the wake of the infamous TARP bill failing to pass on its first vote. American voters had deluged their representatives with angry phone calls, emails and letters warning against a vote in favor of the $700 billion bank bailout. On September 24, 2008, George W. Bush made an impassioned plea to the American public to support it.

If TARP didn’t pass, warned Bush, the markets would crash and Americans would lose a large portion of their retirement savings.

Pressure from voters relented and TARP passed on the second vote. But equities markets continued to crash, losing an additional 20% of their value after the bill passed. A prolonged recession followed, from which we arguably have never recovered.

That’s what comes of believing politicians when they claim that only giving them your money can save you. Let it be a lesson those under pressure to change their minds on Leave.

There isn’t much doubt a referendum of this magnitude would cause some uncertainty in financial markets. Uncertainty usually results in selling. But any attempt to blame a prolonged crash or recession on Brexit should be seen for the scapegoating it is. If this a major correction, it’s the result of a bubble that’s been looking for a pin for years, blown up by unprecedented inflationary policies by central banks all over the world.

On this side of the pond, the federal funds rate target for the Federal Reserve remains at .038%, following seven years targeting zero percent interest rates. This is the stuff the 2007 bubble was made of. Brexit now provides an excuse for the Fed to continue to inflate, something it was going to do regardless.

240 years ago, Thomas Paine wrote the following to Americans wavering in their support of our own secession from Great Britain:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Americans maintained their resolve in the face of a mighty empire waging war against them on their own soil. In 2008, faced only with the scare tactics of an unpopular president spouting economic gibberish, we folded our tents and gave in to the crony capitalist establishment. We’re still paying for it.

Stand firm in your resolve, Leave voters. What you’ve done is hated by all the right people, who don’t have your best interests at heart. Proponents of freedom the world over are looking to you for inspiration. Don’t let them down as we did.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Brexit: Hated by All the Right People

1200px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgAs global equities markets tumble and gold soars, the world outside the United Kingdom tries to make sense of just what our British cousins did last night. There are many narratives. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is calling it “our independence day.” U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump says it’s a precursor to his own election in November. Many opponents are dismissing it as a racist backlash against immigrants and refugees.

Maybe it is a little bit of all those things. Maybe it is something else completely. Whatever else it may represent, one thing is undeniable for opponents of central economic planning, giant international bureaucracies and global crony capitalism: Brexit is hated by all the right people.

One doesn’t have to be an expert on European politics to instinctively understand that if the governments, the central banks and all their connected crony capitalists are howling there will be Armageddon if you do X, it is virtually always in your best interest to do X.

And howl is just what they have been doing, with a nonstop campaign to scare the daylights out of British voters should they consider withdrawing their consent to Brussels. As MEP Daniel Hannan pointed out, they haven’t been unwilling to just make things up in their desperation to intimidate the people into a Remain vote.

As an American, I can’t help thinking about George W. Bush’s scare-tactic speech to convince Americans to support TARP back in 2008. Public outrage had sufficiently worried Congress to vote against the bill the first time around. Bush’s speech, littered with many of the same pseudo-economic canards thrown at British voters today, convinced enough Americans to relent that Congress eventually felt safe ramming it through.

This time, it didn’t work.

For those dismissing the vote as the kind of “nativist” bigotry they say inspires the Trump movement in America, there is that inconvenient other little fact that the UK is the second largest net payer in the EU, next to Germany. Critics of the EU predicted, long before the rise of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen, that the EU would fail when the net payers grew tired of subsidizing the net payees. British citizens just confirmed their prescience.

Ironically, the “nationalist” movements sweeping across the West are the precise opposite of nationalist movements in the 20th century. Then, nationalism was a centralizing force, antagonistic towards local government. Now, it’s a decentralizing force, taking economic and political power away from larger political units and returning it to relatively more local ones.

What it is not is necessarily a conservative, liberal or libertarian movement. Individual nations and even the local cultures within them have myriad visions for what they believe society should look like. The Trump movement longs for traditional conservatism, with its protectionist tariffs, government-funded infrastructure and restrictive borders. The secessionists movements in Vermont and Quebec, Canada sought to create socialist societies. And the “Texit” movement, well, they just want to be Texans.

Neither will Brexit be a panacea for all British ills. It is likely they will make mistakes in the short term, like most secessionist movements have in the past, including the Americans in 1783. But it will be Britons making their own mistakes and living with the consequences, something they have now demanded their right to do.

Whatever Brexit ends up looking like in the short and long terms, one can’t help remembering a night 27 years ago, when the people in a city in Germany decided they’d obey their masters no longer and knocked over a wall. Oh brave new world, that has such people in’t!

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

What Gary Johnson Should Have Said About Legalizing Heroin

maureen-morella-cnnIn one of the more predictable moments from last night’s CNN Libertarian Town Hall, Gary Johnson was confronted by the mother of a young man who ingested a single line of heroin and was disabled for life. Jacob Sullum has already weighed in on what Johnson should have said from a libertarian perspective, but his thoughtful and informed piece is still too verbose for a political campaign.

Libertarians like to make fun of “sound bites” and slogans, but if they ever want to win an election for dog catcher, much less President of the United States, they need to face the reality that people stop listening and stop reading when the answer is long and developed. Here is how Gary Johnson should have answered:

“Ms. Morella, I am very sorry to hear about what happened to your son. It’s a tragedy. But I have to tell you the truth, even though it’s not what you came here to hear. What happened to your son may not have happened if heroin were legal. Here’s why:

When drugs are illegal, they’re sold by criminals who have no business address. You can’t sue them if they’re negligent or prosecute them when they willfully defraud you.

Reactions like your son’s usually occur with what’s called a “hot load,” meaning there was another substance mixed with the heroin. If the heroin he ingested were sold by a legitimate business in the light of day, there would be an immediate investigation. If the product had dangerous ingredients in it or otherwise wasn’t what the package said it was, the owner would be sued. If it were discovered he did it intentionally, he’d be prosecuted.

Ms. Morella, no one in America is concerned that when they buy a bottle of gin, there is going to be foreign substances in it that are going to kill them. But they used to be. Know when that was? When alcohol was prohibited. They called it “bath tub gin” and tragedies like your son’s occurred all the time when only criminals could sell alcohol.

There is absolutely no difference between alcohol prohibition then and drug prohibition today. Your son’s tragedy is the 2016 equivalent of what happened to people drinking bath tub gin.

Prohibiting alcohol also led to the rise of heavily armed, violent gangs like Al Capone’s. You don’t see sellers of alcohol today behaving like Capone. Do you know why? Because that’s not how business is conducted in the absence of prohibition.

You said, “Can you people in positions of power please get rid of the drugs?” I’m the only politician who is going to tell you the truth. No. We’ve had a war on drugs for decades and there are more drugs now than ever. It’s a little like the government war on terrorism. Is there less terrorism today than fifteen years ago or more?

What we can do is stop subsidizing criminal drug dealers by taking away their legitimate competition. If you want someone to tell you what you want to hear about drugs, I’m sure Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be happy to do so. Their parties have told you they’ll get rid of drugs for fifty years. If you want the truth, the only way to make America safer is to end prohibition and allow all drugs to be sold like alcohol.”

The answer above is chock full of sound bites. Sound bites become headlines. That’s how you get your message out to 315 million people.

It also answers the woman’s question, something Johnson’s rambling answer failed to do.

This is the way Gary Johnson has to start answering questions if he’s going to take any advantage of the opportunity the Libertarian Party is being presented with during this election. Hopefully, his debate coach is listening.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump confirms he’s a Hamiltonian; invokes Lincoln’s protectionist fallacies

GOP-2016-Trump_sham1-725x483Is Donald Trump reading this blog? If so, he’s not grasping that Trump Isn’t Hitler; He’s Hamilton and Reality Check: Trump’s Platform is Identical to Lincoln’s weren’t meant to be supportive of his mercantilist economic ideas. Maybe that’s on me, the writer.

Regardless, Trump invoked both Hamilton and Lincoln, starting at about the 10:30 mark, during a speech yesterday. He quotes Lincoln saying, “The abandonment of the protective policy by the American government will produce want and ruin among our people.”

Like all protectionists, Trump seems to have no idea about the concept of opportunity cost. He posits that tariffs on foreign imports will bring back manufacturing jobs, which he says “the nation” desperately needs. But it never occurs to him that when millions of Americans buy sneakers made in China for $100 instead of sneakers made in America for $200.00, they create other jobs with the $100 they save.

Trump’s speech confirms several of the arguments I make in my latest book. One can draw a virtually straight line from the Federalists, through the Whigs, to the Republicans. Obviously, there are nuances over such a long period, but the core tenets of protectionism, crony capitalism and central banking never cease to be the foundation this house is built on.

More importantly, these are the core tenets of true conservatism in the British-American tradition, since  before the dawn of the industrial revolution. You can call Trump a lot of things, but “not a real conservative” just doesn’t hold water. Free markets, individual liberty and limited government are classical liberal ideas that have only resided within the conservative movement recently and have never been very welcome. That’s because they are all anathema to the conservative worldview that any change, from within or without, threatens to break the barriers between society and man’s dark nature.

The creative destruction of the market, the free movement of labor, capital and goods, and Jefferson’s libertarian principle that the government should be limited to “restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement” is the opposite of conservatism. That’s why Hamilton feared and loathed Jefferson; that’s why Trump fears and loathes the free market. He’s a true conservative, like Hamilton, Lincoln, Coolidge, Hoover and the rest.

 

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Tom Mullen, Jeff Deist, Jason Rink and Mary Ruwart on the Tom Woods Show

Tom Woods hosted a roundtable discussion on the Libertarian Party in 2016 and the pros/cons of Johnson/Weld. Listen here!


TOm woods

 

 

 

The only effective active shooter plan: Shoot back

gun free zonesWednesday’s  Buffalo News print edition features a front page piece by News Staff Reporter Gene Warner entitled, “Everyone should have a personal plan to survive in case of ‘active shooter.” As one might expect from this far left wing, Hillary Clinton mouthpiece, the ‘personal plan’ recommended by Warner’s full-page word blizzard leaves out the most effective, proven plan for dealing with an active shooter: shoot back.

Warner’s advice isn’t necessarily bad, but it only applies in a specific environment: the so-called “gun free zones” where all mass shootings in recent history have taken place. Orlando was no exception. Florida law prohibits firearms to be carried in any establishment serving alcohol.

The News writer trips over himself to avoid dealing with the obvious: active shooters aren’t able to commit mass shootings in places where the right to bear arms is respected because they get shot themselves.

That somewhat invalidates Warner’s assertion that workplaces face “the dilemma” of balancing an open environment with more stringent security measures. It’s only a dilemma when one assumes there is not a third alternative – to allow employees and/or visitors to carry personal firearms if they choose to.

To deny that this would have saved lives in Orlando last weekend is to sever all connection with reality. Certainly, the perpetrator would have killed someone, probably multiple people, even if some of the patrons were armed. One cannot expect even trained professionals to react before a single victim is shot.

But this man shot over 100 people, killing 49. If even 5% of the several hundred people in that nightclub were armed and reasonably proficient civilians, they would have put him down before he reached anywhere near that number.

No argument against this scenario holds water. Would the environment have been more dangerous with 8 or 10 people returning fire in a crowded club? No. Certainly, they may have hit innocent bystanders while shooting at the perp. But we’re talking about a body count of 49 with an unarmed clientele. Do the math.

The politicians and media currently demanding the government “do something” about Orlando would like to make the entire nation, including your home and all public spaces, “gun free zones.” In other words, they want to create the same conditions everywhere that allowed a single shooter to open fire on hundreds of people with no expectation of resistance.

The right to bear arms is not just some academic principle to be debated in an auditorium by professors. The right to bear arms is inextricably tied to the right to life itself, which is not the right not to die under any circumstances, but specifically the right not to be killed by another person. The only way to exercise the right to life here in the real world is by defending yourself against someone trying to kill you.

Denying individuals the right to bear arms eliminates their ability to exercise their right to life in a world where bad people are going to get guns, even when the law prohibits them from doing so.

In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, we’ll hear much about a “national conversation” that “we” have to have about “sensible gun control.”

Allow this writer to translate that sentence. “We” means politicians and their media mouthpieces. “National conversation” means a nonstop, multi-media attack on the right to bear arms. “Sensible gun control” is about increasing the restrictions on gun ownership as part of the long, incremental march towards banning them entirely.

The Buffalo News is just the local affiliate of this massive political force which wants to control all aspects of your life, from the way you educate your children to the way your run your business to the people you choose to associate with to the amount of water in your toilet. Since many Buffalonians innocently rely on this left wing propagandist for all of their news, let me pose a few questions it’s safe to assume the Buffalo Pravda won’t:

  1. How many lives would have been saved if guns weren’t banned in Florida bars and at least a dozen or so (possibly more) patrons of Pulse were armed?
  2. How do the actions of less than a dozen “active shooters” justify infringing the rights of 315 million other people who haven’t shot anyone?
  3. If an individual is legally denied the right to own a gun and is subsequently killed by a home invader or even a criminal in a public space, do those who prohibited his or her gun ownership have some responsibility in the wrongful death?
  4. Why don’t the lives saved in Philadelphia, Plymouth, Spartanburg and Atlanta by civilians carrying guns matter? Why are “we” willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of “gun control?”
  5. Why are all of these shootings occurring in “gun free zones?”

The writers at The Buffalo News don’t have to agree with gun proponents, but the failure to even acknowledge the existence of another point of view is further proof that what this publication is selling isn’t news; it’s propaganda. Maybe it’s time they had some healthy competition. Take the survey the below to let us know what you think.

 

Does Buffalo need another voice on politics besides the Buffalo News?

Yes
No
I don’t know

Survey Maker

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Buffalo News Political Coverage Belongs in the Fiction Section

clinton valentineToday’s Buffalo News print edition features five articles on the Hillary Clinton campaign, including a front page, feel-good piece about how Clinton’s (almost) nomination has inspired other women. The News also chose to run a Politifact piece that endorses Clinton’s criticism of Trump’s trade policies, a criticism this writer happens to agree with.

The other three pieces could at best be described as neutral/supportive, although one questions whether the media has been too quick to pronounce Clinton the nominee. Nothing in these or any other recent articles the News has run on Clinton, outside of reader letters, can be described as remotely critical. This despite a large constituency within her own party that views Clinton as wholly-owned by Wall Street and a war hawk.

There are also five articles on Trump, including the Politifact article. Four of the five are negative. One is neutral, a reprint from Bloomberg News which reported Trump “distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion.”

Even this article could be construed as an attempt to cast a negative light on what Trump’s supporters consider a positive – that he’s not bought off by powerful special interests, as many on both the right and the left believe of Mrs. Clinton.

There is nothing in the Buffalo News that remotely suggests Trump might be better on foreign policy than Clinton, who has a lot to answer for regarding her role in the chaos raging throughout the Middle East and now spilling into Europe. Neither would readers of solely this paper know Trump set a record for votes in the California primary on Tuesday.

This is what passes for reporting on the 2016 presidential election in Buffalo’s only newspaper.

Make no mistake, this writer has no problem with a newspaper being biased. All media are biased and always have been. But there is a difference between bias and severing all connection with reality. Anyone relying on the News for their understanding of national politics might as well go to the fiction section of the nearest public library.

Full disclosure, I won’t be voting for Trump or Clinton in the November elections. I plan on voting for Gary Johnson.

Buffalonians reading this just started making owl noises, because in the fictional Buffalo News universe, neither Johnson nor the Libertarian Party exists. A search on the paper’s website yielded no headlines – ever – mentioning the candidate’s name, despite Johnson polling in double figures in three polls before his nomination and 16% in the latest poll in Utah. Even the left-leaning Washington Post describes the Libertarian Party as “so hot right now.”

Now, I’m just spit-balling here, but in a year where the candidates in both major parties have record-high negative ratings, wouldn’t a presidential ticket featuring two former two-term governors (of New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively), nominated by the only third party with ballot access in all fifty states, be at least newsworthy enough for its existence to be acknowledged?

Not to the Buffalo News.

That’s not bias. That’s misleading the public. And it’s a disservice to the good people of Buffalo, who may not be receptive to the messages of campaigns other than Hillary Clinton’s, but certainly have an expectation that their only newspaper will acknowledge they exist.

Unlike Mr. Trump, I would never support any legal action against the News, no matter how poorly they serve the public. As a libertarian, I truly believe in free speech. I don’t even support libel laws if a newspaper outright lies (which I’m not suggesting is going on here). I believe the market can sort this out, when it’s allowed to work.

So, maybe it’s time the Buffalo News had some competition. What do you think? Let us know in the online poll below. Who knows? Perhaps an alternative is waiting in the wings (wink).

Does Buffalo need another voice on politics besides the Buffalo News?

Yes
No
I don’t know

Survey Maker

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Reality Check: Trump’s Platform is Identical to Lincoln’s

Publication1Donald Trump’s criticism of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel is only the latest of his positions decried by the Republican Party establishment. They’ve opposed him throughout his campaign for his protectionist stance on trade, his immigration policies and his hostility towards the First Amendment, among other things.

All of this has been decried as “not conservative” and contrary to the party’s principles. Ironically, the so-called “Party of Lincoln” doesn’t recognize in Trump’s platform all the basic elements of Lincoln’s.

American’s tend to see history as a struggle between heroes and villains. Lincoln has been placed firmly in the hero category because of his widely misunderstood Emancipation Proclamation and for winning the Civil War. But when you get past the slavery issue, what’s left of Lincoln’s politics sounds a lot like Trump’s. They didn’t change significantly from the time of Lincoln’s first political speech:

“Fellow-Citizens: I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I shall be thankful; if not it will be all the same.”

Lincoln was then a member of the Whig Party and it was a coalition of former Whigs and abolitionists that formed the Republican Party in 1854. And while there is no reason to doubt Lincoln’s personal opposition to slavery, it was Henry Clay’s “American System,” a repackaging of Alexander Hamilton’s platform, that defined Lincoln’s politics for most of his life.

Politically, the alliance with abolitionists allowed proponents of protectionism, internal improvements and a national bank to achieve the electoral success that had eluded them since 1800, when Jefferson’s victory rang the death knell of the Federalist Party.

“Internal improvements” was the language of the time for what we now call “infrastructure.” Prior to Lincoln’s administration, most roads and other infrastructure were privately funded and built. Both the Federalists and the Whigs had lost elections for sixty years largely for promoting government infrastructure and high tariffs. With Lincoln’s victory and the subsequent fifty-year dominance of the Republican Party, that trend completely reversed.

Lincoln ran on and executed his plans to subsidize railroads and other infrastructure. Trump wants to do likewise. Lincoln ran on and executed his plans to raise tariffs significantly in order to protect domestic manufacturers from foreign competition. Trump also wants to do likewise.

Trump has been criticized as dangerous to the First Amendment because of his continual attack on the press and threats to “open up our libel laws” as president and sue reporters who criticize him. Lincoln had him beat; he threw reporters in jail, just as the Federalists did under the Sedition Act during the 1790s.

While the issue of a central bank has been settled since 1913, it is noteworthy that Trump has lined up with libertarians in supporting an audit of the Federal Reserve. But he has given no indication he opposes its existence.

But what of Trump’s most controversial position, to deport 11 million illegal aliens? Certainly, Lincoln never supported anything like that, right?

Wrong. Until the day he died, Lincoln supported and actively sought to execute a rather bizarre plan by today’s standards, but widely supported at the time, called “colonization.” Promoted since the early 18th century, the idea was to free the slaves and then subsidize their emigration to Liberia (created for expressly that purpose), the West Indies or South America. Colonization was yet another Whig plank Lincoln inherited from his political idol, Henry Clay. In Lincoln’s own words,

”I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace unless we get rid of the Negroes. Certainly they cannot, if we don’t get rid of the Negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us, to the amount, I believe, of some 150,000 men. I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves.”

In fairness, Lincoln was a supporter of foreign immigrants, opposing the anti-immigrant Know Nothings. But on the charge of racism, Lincoln has far more to answer for than Trump. Trump has repeatedly separated his professed admiration for people of other races with his staunch opposition to illegal immigration. Lincoln made no bones about his view that black people were inferior.

The media and Republican Party leadership has characterized Trump’s campaign as a departure from both the Republican Party’s principles and conservatism itself. In reality, it’s exactly the opposite. Trump’s platform not only represents a return to the founding principles of the Republican Party, but to the long held positions of conservatives in the British-American tradition.

Laissez faire markets and open borders have always been positions traditional conservatives staunchly opposed as a threat to the order and stability their entire philosophy is centered around. The Republican Party was born advocating tariffs and higher government spending. It has never changed those policies in practice, despite free market rhetoric in recent decades.

Trump’s success should come as no surprise. His economic ideas have had the support of truly conservative voters since the days of Alexander Hamilton. That’s why it is a somewhat futile exercise to look for a “true Republican” or a “true conservative” who departs significantly from Trump and can win. Voters seeking free markets, small government and individual liberty should look to Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party instead.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.