President Trump has said and done many things to appall the friends of freedom. From Trump’s pro-torture comments to his praise of police brutality to his cruise-missile barrage against Syria to his threat to annihilate North Korea, there are ample signs that he scorns a freedom-and-peace posture.
Unfortunately, many of Trump’s opponents are even more statist than the president. Marking the anniversary of Donald Trump’s election, the Washington Post Magazine presented “38 ideas for repairing our badly broken civic life.” Post Magazine editor Richard Just explained that “all of us … should be able to agree that some future-pondering about the state of our democracy is in order.” Many — if not most — of the Post’s recommendations from experts, artists, and writers were insipid or authoritarian. Some of the proposals provided chilling examples of liberal/leftist power-lust in the Trump era.
- Author Kristin Henderson proposed conscripting all young people for three years in military or government civilian work, such as AmeriCorps, the legendary make-work boondoggle begotten by the Clinton administration. Forcing adults to “spend time in compulsory service to our country” would be the same as going back to “kindergarten and relearn how to cooperate and share our toys.” But the Founding Fathers never intended to treat personal freedom as a political toy. Henderson asserted, “A democracy requires we the people to work together to solve our problems…. As our democratic skills improve, we can thank ourselves for our service.” If it is compulsory, it is servitude, not service. The most important lesson young people would learn is that politicians have the right to capriciously destroy their freedom and waste a swath of their lives in which they could have developed their minds and talents to make themselves self-sufficient citizens.
- The best fix for American democracy is to “outlaw private education” to banish inequity, according to novelist Ann Patchett. In the name of equality, parents must be prohibited any choice or effective role in their children’s schooling. Patchett also rhapsodized about confiscating Ivy League endowments to redistribute to state schools. Her scheme would result in “the best teachers and administrators available to raise the standards in classrooms.” Presumably teachers would lose their freedom (as parents and children did) as benevolent administrators dictated who would be sent to unsafe schools. Patchett, who has no children, gushed, “My dream for this country is opportunity and equality.” Texans in 1836 were inspired by the motto “Remember the Alamo!” Patchett would do well to “Remember Boston!” — a city whose families and schools were ravaged by an iron-fisted busing scheme imposed by a federal judge who, like her, had no skin in the game.
- Domingo Martinez, a Texas novelist, portrays “gun addiction” as a national “demon” and advocates forcing gun owners to buy insurance (presumably at prohibitive rates) to deter firearm ownership. If gun-insurance rates were based on homicide rates (the same way that auto insurance rates are based in part on local collision data) — residents of East St. Louis, Illinois, might be charged 70 times higher rates than New Hampshire residents. In Maryland, firearm-insurance rates could be more than five times higher in Baltimore than in Allegheny County in the western part of the state, because of the vast difference in homicide rates. Besides, what right do politicians have to tax gun ownership when the government in so many areas dismally fails to protect private citizens from violent predators?