The Free Market is the Unsung Hero of North Korea

As you may know already, North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un has expressed interest in meeting with President Trump, and has already met with South Korean president Moon Jae-In to begin brokering a peace deal to formally end the Korean War, eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile, and attempt to unite the peninsula as one Korea. The two Korean leaders met at the DMZ line and engaged in a symbolic sequence of gestures to signify the progress being made to the entire world. Un also met with newly-confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a few weeks earlier.

If everything works out (and that is a gargantuan if), we could be looking at the most important world peace event since the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Threats of nuclear apocalypse could subside for the foreseeable future, and an ensuing economic boom in North Korea could have wonderful effects for the North Korean people and markets throughout the world. Of course, a step towards freedom and prosperity for the prisoners of the North Korean concentration camp (i.e. everyone who lives there) would be the greatest victory of all.

This brings me to a point that I have not seen raised much yet: while it can be argued that President Trump deserves heaps of credit and maybe even a share of the Nobel Peace Prize should real advancement towards peace be achieved, the real reason North Korea is ready to open up to the world is the free market itself.

Before I make the case for crediting Capitalism, I’ll share my thoughts on Trump’s role in getting the wheels rolling in Korea.

I think Trump’s brash and unorthodox tone prevalent at his rallies and on his Twitter feed is extremely effective in creating international peace. Comedian and impressionist Dana Carvey burlesqued President Obama and President Trump in order to show why Trump’s method might be working where Obama’s failed:

Regardless of whether or not Trump’s technique is calculated cunning or accidental impulsivity, I think there is logic behind the notion that speaking loudly and carrying a big stick is effective diplomacy when dealing with dictators like Kim Jung-Un.

Years ago, I heard a clip of Adam Carolla ranting about the right way to deal with dictators and terrorist groups in the Middle East. While some may dismiss Carolla as a simple layman who’s grown a bit too big for his britches, I think he has wisdom and common sense on his side. Carolla believes that playing nice is the wrong way to go. Instead of being patient and measured a la Obama, Carolla says letting the US’s enemies (particularly those who are more bullying than reasonable) know that we are capable of military destruction unlike any nation in world history is the best way to great through to them.

Carolla recently had General Michael Hayden as a guest on his podcast and asked for his opinion on the current situation in Korea. While Carolla reiterated his own view, Hayden, predictably, renounced Trump’s tweets and rhetoric, but credited the administration’s military demonstrations and sanctions for producing hopeful results.

On Twitter, Ian Bremmer, president of political consulting firm Eurasia Group, and possibly the most perfect caricature of a globalist in a derogatory, populist-envisioned sense, echoed Hayden’s analysis by noting that the Trump team persuaded China to actually enforce sanctions against North Korea:

My problem with Hayden and Bremmer’s takes is that sanctions generally do not accomplish their goals. To exemplify this, sanctions have not done much to make progress in Cuba, Russia, Iran, or North Korea up until now. How could it make sense that a new set of sanctions is suddenly succeeding after decades of sanctions have failed? As Oxford research fellow and international relations expert Professor Adam Roberts says, “There are very few cases where you can definitely identify sanctions as having had a success, except sometimes in combination with other factors.” In other words, even on the rare occasions where sanctions appear to lead to change, correlation does not equal causation.

The last thing I’ll say before making my case for the free market is that Barack Obama should not be blamed entirely for missing out on an opportunity to make progress with Kim Jung-Un if it existed while he was in office. Unlike the Republican congress under Trump’s thumb, GOP lawmakers would have pitched a hissy fit of epic proportions had Obama acted as Trump is acting now. They would have accused Obama of cozying up to dictators and obstructed any positive steps his administration may have liked to take. Now neutered by Trump, the GOP congress has shed their phony principles and does as their master commands.

I think talking to dictators is smart and ethical, whether via tweets or backchannels. The world is a complicated place, and government is inherently violent. If we kill all the sinners, we’ll all wind up dead, so making the best of a bad situation is the right way to go. It’s better to see oppressed people freed than oppressors hanged. This manner of foreign policy should be accepted across party lines.

There is also a case to be made that Trump’s apparent role in negotiations with North Korea are, like most economic sanctions, purely coincidental. Behind the optical illusions of rhetoric and diplomacy, the gears of innovation and production continue to turn. How one deals with a tribe that has invented the spear matters less than the fact the spear is now in play. Tariffs on raw materials do not matter if the raw materials aren’t there. Individuals and industries make the world more inhabitable for mankind, and governments must adapt or be left behind.

Several quasi-free-market factors could be the real hero on the Korean Peninsula. The first is that the isolated, centrally-planned economic model of North Korea is unsustainable. In fact, it’s miraculous that misery and starvation levels in the country aren’t higher. In the market of economic systems, the best options are in the laissez-faire-leaning aisle. Kim Jung-Un might be making a choice to eschew some of his responsibilities and at the same time bring greater prosperity to North Korea and an easier life for himself. With international investors like McDonald’s and 711 on the menu, Un would probably regret resisting the temptation of effortless access forever.

If North Korea opens up, an economic boom like no other will almost certainly take place. As the image below demonstrates, North Korea has immense potential for economic development:

Korea Map

The GDP numbers Un could tout to the world and his people would make him look like an enormous success. Juxtapose being remembered as the man who liberated North Korea with being written into the history books as an evil tyrant who starved his people, and then think about which role you’d rather play.

The World Wide Web is another free market wonder that may be forcing Kim Jung Un’s hand. At the moment, press and internet freedom in North Korea is abysmal. It’s hard to imagine living in a world with such limited flow of information.

But the internet has proven to be something of a tyranny deterrent. My guess is that the Kim Jung Un regime will have a difficult time suppressing the information superhighway for much longer. Whether accomplished internally or via interventions from the outside, more and more North Koreans will wind up online. This is largely due to the forces of the free market, which have decided that the internet shall be the economic foundation of nearly all things.

The more access North Koreans have to the internet, the harder it will be for Un to keep his propaganda intact. Instead of waiting for things to boil over, easing into less-restrictive access to information is probably the better option.

Obviously, I do not know what is going to happen in Korea, nor do I know if or why anything is taking place right now. These are theories based on very limited knowledge of the world.

My advice to all is to remain skeptical of everything you hear and to hope for the best. North Korea may not open up to the rest of the world in any of our lifetimes. But if it does, it could be the event that restores optimism to the world.

***

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The Free Market is the Unsung Hero of North Korea

Reflections on Japan: A Libertarian Perspective

I recently had the pleasure of spending six days in Tokyo, Japan. My wife, who works for a Japanese company in Bangkok, Thailand, was summoned for a business trip, and, being a teacher on summer break, I decided to tag along. It was an unexpected adventure and a worthwhile experience.

Although I have lived abroad in Thailand for the past seven years and essentially lived abroad in Hawaii the two years prior, I am not much of a world traveler. I have seen sights far beyond the beaten path throughout Thailand, but, through my years here, I have only ventured outside The Land of Smiles once: a 2-night guided tour to neighboring Cambodia. Other than that, my international travel experience is limited to a few family trips to the Caribbean when I was a kid.

To me, being a tourist is often more hassle than pleasure. I find the language barrier, the awkwardness of attempting to do as the Romans do, and the patronizing, inauthentic nature of tourist attractions to be a bit of a turn off. By the time you start to get into the swing of things, it’s already time to go home.

The worldliness I seek is gained from settling down in a new location for a lengthy stay and being subjected to cultural immersion. Immersion in Thailand has made me feel like a local. As odd as it may sound, I often feel more out of place when I come home to the US than I do in Thailand.

It must be made clear that my understanding of Japan, unlike my understanding of Thailand, is largely superficial. The account I am going to provide is one of first impressions, and first impressions are often misguided. Please take my observations with a grain of salt.

My overall impression of Japan is that it is more of a Conservative paradise than a Libertarian one, and most Libertarian aspects of Japan would also be present under Conservative guidance.

***

Before visiting, I had heard the phrase Ethno-Nationalism used to describe the structure of Japan. I find this to be accurate.

98.5% of Japan’s population is ethnically Japanese, and it shows. Tourists aside, I encountered only a handful of individuals who appeared to be descendants of other nations or regions, nearly all of whom were selling kebabs (literally). To put the monoethnicity of Japan in perspective, China, Italy, and Colombia’s ethnic majorities account for 94%, 92%, and 84% of their populations respectively. Japan is extreme in its lack of ethnic diversity.

In Thailand, construction workers, maids, and other low-income laborers often hail from poorer neighboring countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. This runs parallel to migrant workers from Latin America present throughout the US. There are many jobs that Americans and Thais won’t or can’t do, so immigrants are welcomed to fill the void.

The Tokyo workforce, on the other hand, from hotel housekeepers to gardeners to line cooks, is as close as can be to entirely Japanese. Migrant labor was nowhere to be found.

Something else that stood out to me about the Japanese workforce, and also confirmed some prior knowledge, was its age. In Thailand and the US, airport staffs are often younger. I specifically remember college students ushering my wife and I into the appropriate queues before boarding our flight from Bangkok to Tokyo (it’s easy to tell in Thailand because student workers wear their school uniforms on the job). In Tokyo, I was amazed by the advanced age of many of the workers doing menial labor. Old folks helped to direct pedestrian traffic around job sites, worked behind registers at grocery and convenience stores, and drove taxis. The exceptions were baristas, waitresses, and many subway station attendants, who were generally more youthful. Skilled workers were also often elderly, especially construction workers.

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I do not know the pretext of all of this. Does Japanese culture shun retirement? Do they tend to stick to a single occupation for life? Are competent younger workers in scarce supply?

Japan has the second oldest median age (47.3) of all the countries in the world, so that makes some sense of it. An older population will have an older workforce.

My wife suggested that Japanese culture requires many long years of preparation before an occupation can be obtained. If this is true, there may be younger workers waiting in the wings who are methodically learning the tricks of the trade. She also believes Japanese people change jobs infrequently.

On our Saturday afternoon in Tokyo, one of my wife’s colleagues, a Korean national married to a Japanese man, invited us to her home and to go out for lunch. Her husband owns several 711 convenience stores, and mentioned that he works long hours due to the challenge of finding and hanging on to reliable help. Perhaps a willing and able younger workforce simply does not exist.

Several of my days in Japan were weekdays, so my wife was in the office. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a big fan of tourist attractions, so I spent much of my time wandering aimlessly through Tokyo’s streets and parks during the day (both of which were gorgeous and clean [and April is a lovely time of year to be outside in Japan]). Elderly Tokyo residents were often strolling around too. I was stunned by their fitness. Limber and lean, these senior citizens appeared to be anywhere from 60 to 110 years old, but I could never tell. Their faces were ancient as were the disciplined lifestyles they exhibited, most likely the source of their sprightly animation.

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My wife’s colleague, while giving us a tour of her suburban community, informed us that several of the buildings we passed were reserved for the elderly. The sidewalks were crowded with these elders walking slowly and steadily, sometimes hand-in-hand with their significant others, sometimes alone. I do not know if these homes are funded through government welfare, private organizations, or the residents themselves and their families. Japan’s national spending is as exorbitant as America’s, so I would guess this is a product of the welfare state. Whatever the source of the funds, maybe older Japanese workers are fending off this fate by remaining useful.

The living quarters for these senior citizens appeared to be quite small, but this is no cause for concern. Japanese people seem to live happily in small spaces.

***

Space is a valuable commodity in Tokyo. Tables and countertops in Japanese cafes and restaurants are narrow and packed densely together. Bathrooms and toilets do not provide accommodation for heftier humans like me. Buildings are constructed in proximity of a few inches of each other. And roads leave little room for error. Every inch of Tokyo is utilized. The engineering and architectural efficiency is something to behold.

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Is this a result of tight regulations and central planning? Or does Japanese culture, with its artistic prowess, taste for minimalism, and frugality, determine this result? I do not know.

If the latter is the case, it’s remarkable. If the former is the case, the cultural element certainly remains too impactful for analogies between central planning in Japan and America to be useful.

Americans, by and large (no pun intended), would not tolerate the spatiality of Tokyo. It is simply too tight. If applied to a place like New York, Japanese organization would be far less efficient because of how much extra space would be needed per individual for both physiological and cultural reasons.

The efficiency of Tokyo above ground is mirrored in the subways below: the trains in Tokyo run on time. The subway stations, like much of Tokyo in general, resemble those of New York, just ten times cleaner and smoother in every way. Thailand’s MRT is more modern, but it’s only a few years old and covers a small fraction of the city. The Tokyo subway map is not particularly tourist friendly (my wife and I threw away some time and money via erroneous ticket purchases), but it appears to be a spectacular success once you get the gist of it. Few systems are so efficient and so expansive at the same time.

Tokyo’s streets are largely vacant. Being used to Bangkok traffic, which is arguably the worst in the world, my perception probably exaggerates this, but they were largely vacant nonetheless. Tokyo residents commute with their feet and bicycles or in a subterranean landscape, so automotive traffic is not an issue.

Tokyo taxis were another wonder. I used taxis only twice during my stay. Both trips were impressive. The cabs were so smooth and quiet that they seemed to be switched off at red lights and on tracks when in motion. The drivers were terribly polite and considerate and did their jobs spectacularly well.

***

Unlike New York and Bangkok, there was a tremendous level of professionalism exhibited by taxi drivers and everyone else I encountered. Everyone was in uniform and acted in accordance with their corresponding professional stereotype. Taxi drivers acted like world-class chauffeurs, subway attendants were robotic in their customer service, businessmen/salary men never deviated from black suits and ties and black briefcases, and shopkeepers were clad in aprons and relentlessly tending to their merchandise when no customers were in need of assistance. Even the punks and goths I saw were such perfectly-kempt, cookie-cutter examples of their roles that they could be considered more conformist than rebellious. Being in Japan was a bit like stepping into a cartoon reality. Everyone knew their role and played it perfectly.

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Perhaps more than anything else, this illustrated the Conservative (not Libertarian) way of life in Japan (and that is neither a compliment nor a critique, just an observation). While everyone appears to have equal rights and equal opportunities, social pressures and taboos keep everyone in line. There is a level of independence and individuality in the sense that one is free to choose his or her fate and how high to rise. But the structure in which one can move through is rigid.

Heritage ranks Japan 12 places behind the US on their Economic Freedom Index. In “Rule of Law” and “Regulatory Efficiency,” Japan and the US are similarly satisfactory. In “Government Size,” the two are similarly out of shape. The US’s advantage in the index comes from its “Open Markets.” Japan is far behind the US in “Investment Freedom” and “Financial Freedom” and a bit worse in “Trade Freedom.” This echoes President Trump’s complaints about both China and Japan’s undermining of foreign investment, and is probably why foreign influence in Japan is relatively weak (although his grievances about the difficulty of selling American cars in Japan makes little sense as there is not much of a market for cars in general, and Hondas and Toyotas are perfect for commuters anyway). The liberated individual mindsets prevalent in the US and the rest of the West do not exist in Japan as a result.

A closed and homogenous culture like Japan’s often leads to a high trust society, which Japan is. I had read about the incredibly low crime rates in Japan some time ago, and my expectations were manifested through my experience. I saw only five or six police officers the entire time I was in Tokyo, and they didn’t appear to be doing anything particularly serious. Even security guards were a rare sight.

And the four or five homeless people I walked past looked cleaner and had better-organized roadside sleeping-quarters than many ordinary Americans and Thais. One homeless gentleman’s cardboard mattress was spotless and cut in a perfect square, and his handful of belongings were stored and stacked neatly in boxes.

I am not sure that I have ever been anywhere that seemed safer and with people less concerned about being hurt or otherwise wronged than Tokyo. The shifty eyes and defensive postures cities usually bring about were nowhere to be seen. It was, counter-intuitively, a bit creepy.

While on a walk one day, I stopped to take a break and check my phone (okay, I was doing a “raid battle” in Pokémon Go… don’t judge me). When I stopped, I was unaware that the building beside me was a school. While I was loitering, a child no older than eight or nine exited the building. There were no guards or locked doors between the school’s exit and the side street, and no one accompanied the child. Presumably headed towards home, the child bounced happily down the road without a care in the world, and none of the pedestrians in the area paid any mind. I noticed unaccompanied children, usually in school uniform and carrying books and musical instruments, walking the streets and riding the subways in great frequency throughout my stay.

The laissez-faire lifestyles of these children made me envious on behalf of kids in Thailand and the US. Thai children are brought up to be scared of their own shadows, and going anywhere alone is treated as a plague, even for adults. In the US, Utah has recently enacted free-range parenting legislation, which shows that the US is not much better when it comes to comfort with children leaving the house unsupervised.

***

I have heard that when a diverse group of people are given a project, they tend to be better at solving problems and coming up with bright ideas than a homogenous group. But, to many liberals’ dismay, this is not because they hold hands and sing kumbaya. Conversely, it is a lack of trust that produces greater results. When there is less of a chance to join a tribe and become hampered with groupthink, creativity blossoms. When viewpoint diversity does not exist and everyone is on the same page, new ideas are harder to come by.

Japan appears to reap the rewards of a homogenous society without suffering its drawbacks. One of the most innovative and technologically advanced places in the world cannot be accused of a lack of creativity or problem solving. And the high-trust nature of Japan is easily observed.

Japan’s cultural conservatism, however, may lead to its demise sooner or later. This would take place in the form of economic calamity due to a shortage of human resources. To make a long story short, economic freedom has brought great wealth and a high standard of living to Japan. Paired with cultural conservatism, well-to-do families are everywhere, and they do not have to worry much about being the victims of crime, drug addiction, or medical injuries and ailments. Hard-working, unified, disciplined families incur greater wealth and avoid superfluous costs.

But greater economic status (often a result of investing time into one’s education and career) is highly correlated with having children at a later age and having fewer children overall. As a result, the population does not replenish itself, and the economy cannot be maintained.

Japan’s population has decreased by 2 million people since peaking in 2010. I do not know if this has already had serious adverse effects, more adverse effects than positive effects, or what it will lead to. But if population decline is generally a net negative, Japan might be in for some trouble.

Many wealthy nations, particularly in Europe, are also experiencing low birth rates. In recent years, they have supplemented their populations via increased immigration, typically from poorer nations experiencing population booms.

As you are probably aware, mass immigration in the West has led to a great deal of controversy. Political paradigms have shifted from Leftism vs. Conservatism to Globalism vs. Nationalism. Some credit immigration for economic gains and cultural enrichment, others say immigration is straining public services and causing crime rates to rise. Both may be true.

The fact of the matter is that Japan is not going the same route as Europe as of now. Becoming a Japanese citizen is not easy, and Japan has, notoriously, contributed next to nothing in terms of providing refuge for displaced Syrians and other peoples facing crises at home (again, I say this objectively, not to praise or criticize).

Based on my observations, the current status quo in Japan is one of small and tightly wound nuclear families. Everywhere I went on weekends and after school hours, was filled with parents (who generally appeared to be in their 30s and 40s) exploring the sights of Tokyo with one or two young children. These small families paid a tremendous deal of attention to their kids, investing in them a surplus of love and care.

During school hours on weekdays, I witnessed many grandparents walking around or playing with young children, and saw what appeared to be nursery school teachers pushing shopping cart/crib hybrids full of toddlers (one of the more adorable things I’ve ever seen) to parks and playgrounds. Financially, educationally, and socially, this was further evidence of the heavy investment Japanese parents make in their kids, which is typical in both humans and other animals that have fewer offspring.

***

Speaking of reproduction, something else that stood out to me in Japan, and drew sharp contrast to Thailand, was the regularity of public displays of affection. In Thailand, couples are almost never romantic in public. Even coming across significant others holding hands is a rarity. In Japan, couples of all ages were comfortable displaying their relationship status. I saw teens, twenty-somethings, working professionals, and charming older couples walking hand-in-hand everywhere I went. Kissing, hugging, and playful flirting were common too. This may seem unremarkable to someone from the West, but it stands out to residents of Thailand like me.

Also on public display were advertisements for adult entertainment. One of the first things I saw after getting out of my initial taxi ride was a poster showing a chesty and scantily clad young woman. The poster was in Japanese, so I cannot be sure what it said. All I could make out were the numbers 30 and 60 with corresponding prices. The area my wife and I stayed in was called Shinjuku, which, I would learn, is home to a red light district. There were establishments called “Men’s Clubs” all over and advertisements for massages, along with more posters like the first one I encountered. There were also hotels that had separate prices for “stay” and “rest.” I figured that those who pay the “rest” rate are not there to do a whole lot of resting.

One evening, my wife was feeling under the weather and did not want to leave the hotel room. I went for a stroll and a bite to eat by myself. Having no idea where I was going, I wandered into an area that resembled a cleaner and more pedestrian-friendly Times Square. My stomach was grumbling, so my eyes were mostly on the restaurants.

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An older Japanese gentlemen wearing a suit, I would guess between 60-70 years old, accosted me, asked how my night is going, gestured towards the building he approached from, and proceeded to bluntly explain that this is a sex hotel where I can sleep with a woman or get a blowjob (his word, not mine). I thanked him for the offer, noted that I’m visiting with my wife, and went on my way.

I then met another of the small handful of foreigners working in Japan, a sharply-dressed man of African descent holding a clip board who shook my hand and asked if I would be doing any partying tonight. I told him that I’m a boring married man out for a bite to eat, and he let me know that I was walking through a red light district. This became more evident when I took another look around.

I exited the area, found a noodle shop, and Googled “prostitution in Japan.” As a Libertarian, I am a strong supporter of sex worker rights, and see no reason why adults should be prohibited from making a voluntary exchange that involves physical activity. If my brief bit of research was accurate, prostitution is absolutely illegal in Japan. However, you can get around the regulations by calling the service massage therapy or something else less explicit. In other words, prostitution is technically illegal yet effectively legal in Japan, in concurrence with most of the rest of the world.

This is a great demonstration of how laws fail to dictate reality and how legislation does not control human behavior.

***

Overall, Japan is not an especially Libertarian nation, not that I expected it to be. From a legal standpoint, it is roughly as free as any other country of first-world status. Freedom of speech and the press exist, and Japan’s social Conservatism and exceptional safety appear to be more of a result of its culture and values than its laws and law enforcement (in my opinion, social Conservatism, when established via societal pressures rather than governmental regulations, is in no way at odds with Libertarianism, though it may be more inhibiting). Japan’s economic structure is generally free-market Capitalism, but protectionism and nationalism prevent globalization from having a meaningful influence on the population and their way of life (which is good for societal cohesion in the short term, but may lead to economic collapse down the road).

As a foreign observer, I am wiser and more fulfilled having visited Japan. Spending most of my life in international and multi-cultural hubs makes experiencing a monoculture a cherished novelty that future generations may miss out on. I’m happy I got to see Japan as it exists today.

And did I mention that the sushi is like a dream? I may never be able to enjoy sushi again.

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As a free-thinking and non-conforming individual, Japan is not the kind of place I’d like to settle down in. If my individuality is innate and not a result of my upbringing, I imagine that growing up in Japan would have been a nightmare, so I feel some concern for Japanese people who can’t find a role to play. But for those who are happy to follow routine as a cog in the machine, Tokyo is a utopia unlike any I could have ever imagined.

***

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Reflections on Japan: A Libertarian Perspective

Kevin Williamson and the Perils of Brute Reason

Bait Ball

I am the kind of person who is willing to discuss and debate anything, regardless of what norms and sacred cows the conversation winds up defying. I’ve been this way my entire life. I used to think it was badass to challenge religious institutions and traditional ways of living. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to find those sorts of contrarian thoughts to be more cowardly and corny than rebellious. It’s easy to make fun of Christians and the nuclear family. How often do the people who find those critiques offensive come after your livelihood or your head?

Standing up to the real sacred cows of today takes guts:

Is homosexuality a choice? Has suffrage been a net negative for women? Was 9/11 an inside job? Has the Holocaust been exaggerated? Can we cut $1.00 from the Social Security budget?

Just asking these questions and having these discussions is enough to make many people tune out or condemn you of thought crime. I would not be surprised if much of my (admittedly small) readership has x’d out of this window already.

Part of me wants to blame those who are too squeamish to question their firmly held beliefs. Why are they so close-minded?

But it’s more likely that I’m the weird one. I am able to discuss and ponder about the most sensitive subjects while simultaneously keeping it together. Like Christopher Boone, the autistic narrator and protagonist in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, I am able to detach my mind from emotion and bias in order to solve problems and root out illogic (though I’m obviously not perfect at this and the shrewdness of my logic is up for debate).

I remember being in a staff meeting at my second school as a teacher. A coworker, who thought himself the department head, had questioned one of my teaching methods, and asked me to make an adjustment. The actual department head agreed. I responded by saying that I disagreed with their assessment, but I will make the adjustment anyway.

My willingness to voice my dissent enraged my coworker. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, he was stood screaming at me from across the table in front of the entire staff. He admonished me for daring to express my disagreement and, I felt, wanted me to say something along the lines of you’re right; I’m sorry. If this is what he wanted, he never got it. I held my ground and stuck to my guns.

Later that day, I ran into another coworker who had been at the meeting. He shook his head and put his hand on my shoulder before conveying how amazed he was by my calm in the face of someone so unhinged. He said that he would have leaned across the table and punched our coworker had he been in my position.

At this moment, I should have realized how different I am from the average Joe. I am afflicted with the capacity for brute reason.

Kevin Williamson, who was recently fired after writing only one column (and a great column at that) for The Atlantic, has the curse of brute reason too, and it would ultimately be his undoing.

I originally intended to name the most frightening components of the Williamson saga 1) the left-wing mob that regularly sabotages Conservatives and Libertarians who are given mainstream platforms and 2) the gatekeepers of intellectual thought (in this case, Jeffery Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief) who placate said left-wing mob.

But what can be done about these antagonists of antagonism? Is the left-wing mob suddenly going to calm down and listen to the other side if we keep insisting to each other that they do? Will our ridicule slowly chip away at their sensitivity until they are hardened objectivists? Are the gatekeepers going to choose to offend the bulk of their audience for the benefit of a handful of free thinkers? All of this appears to be a fruitless endeavor.

What I now believe to be the most frightening component of the Williamson saga is playing the character capable of brute reason. Like Pandora’s Box, my open mind cannot be closed. And those who do not want to trudge through the darker alleyways of reality have agency, both ethically and factually, to cover their ears, close their eyes, and sprint the other way, leaving me and those with similar abilities alone with each other in the shadows.

There are only two things I’m sure brute reasoners can do about our isolated state. The first is to try our darndest to persuade the masses even though our success rate will be minimal. This is and will continue to be a major hurdle because good marketing often requires piles of bullshit, and bullshit is like kryptonite to a brute reasoner. We aren’t appealing to the masses, and one of few things that we find too repulsive to bear is misrepresentation. Like sardines in a shoal, encircled by predators, whose survival instinct to follow the darting of our neighbors is now leading to our doom, the bait ball our nature and circumstances have got us in is going to be difficult to escape from.

The second thing we can do is to stay inspired by admiring the beauty of the products of brute reason. Kevin Williamson’s thought experiment conclusion about hanging women who have had abortions is a great example of this.

***

Williamson’s conclusion rests upon several premises:

  1. Abortion is akin to murder
  2. Mothers are complicit in elective abortions; it’s not only the abortionist who is responsible
  3. The death penalty is a reasonable way to punish murderers
  4. The violence of the state should not be sugar-coated

Regardless of your or my or Kevin’s sincere agreement with any of these premises, let’s try to detach our minds and see if we can rationalize them.

Abortion as Murder

It is common knowledge that Conservatives (and many others) believe abortion is murder. They believe that life begins at conception, so terminating a pregnancy is terminating an innocent human life without its consent (which, like a child or unconscious adult, it does not have the ability to grant anyway).

Unless you do not value human life at all, it is probably the case that you would consider the killing of a mother’s developing child against her will to be akin to murder. If that is the case, the only way you would be unable to at least consider the possibility of abortion being akin to murder is to believe the value of a child’s life is determined solely the mother’s discretion. And even if you believe it is the mother’s choice exclusively, are you not somewhat persuaded by the reasoning of those who disagree?

Mothers are Responsible

Conservative thought-leaders rebuked then-candidate Trump when he suggested that women who have abortions should receive some form of punishment for their transgressions. It is the belief among the Conservative mainstream that abortionists, not mothers who have abortions, are the true guilty party.

But doesn’t that discount the mother’s agency? Isn’t she the one giving the okay and funding the operation? In what other circumstance does an adult approve and fund an action involving her or her child’s body and then assume zero culpability when they agreed upon action is carried out as planned? The case can certainly be made that mothers are partially, mostly, or completely responsible for the abortions they have.

The Death Penalty is Fair

The death penalty is a dangerous power to give to the state, and due to the possibility of wrongful conviction, can and does result in killings of those who did not deserve it. But let’s assume for a moment that we are privy to a case in which there is absolutely zero doubt that an individual accused of first-degree murder or another heinous crime is guilty. Under these conditions, is death a reasonable penalty?

You (and Kevin and I) may say it is not. Perhaps the potential to rehabilitate a criminal outweighs the need to inflict punishment. Perhaps a people who use violence to punish violence are becoming the thing that they claim to fight. But ruling that killing those who kill, as a means of justice, crime prevention, or something else, is not beyond the realms of sane policy. Can you at least see where they are coming from?

Exposing the Nature of the State

As Kevin Williamson has said, if you don’t pay your taxes, the government will sue you when they find out. If you fail to appear in court, they will get a warrant for your arrest. If you resist arrest, they will apprehend you and throw you in a cage or kill you if you put up a good enough fight. In other words, you will be killed or locked in a cage if you do not give the government the money it demands. This is the nature of government whether you like it or not.

If the government is essentially a monopoly on violence, why should we not be kept aware of this in our daily lives? Calls for transparency and authenticity are pervasive for all other things. Why should government be any different? If we are going to use state-sanctioned violence to punish those who break the law, why not make it as obvious as possible? Graphic hangings of murderers, as opposed to bloodless lethal injections, are honest and straightforward. If you do not support the death penalty without sugar-coating, you do not support the death penalty.

The Sublimity of a Gruesome Conclusion

Now that each of Kevin’s four premises is rationalized, let’s create a few syllogisms:

Syllogism A

  • Premise IA: Abortion is murder
  • Premise IIA: Mothers are responsible for their abortions
  • Conclusion A: Mothers who have abortions are murderers

Syllogism B

  • Premise IB: The death penalty is a just form of punishment for murderers
  • Premise IIB: The state should make its violent nature explicit
  • Conclusion B: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for murderers

Syllogism C

  • Premise IC: Mothers who have abortions are murderers
  • Premise IIC: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for murderers
  • Conclusion C: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for mothers who have abortions

This conclusion is beautiful for many reasons. The most obvious is that it follows a clean line of reasoning. If one accepts all of Kevin’s premises, none of which are completely unreasonable, it is hard to avoid his conclusion.

The more discrete reason Kevin’s conclusion is beautiful is that it is more challenging to those who tend to accept Kevin’s premises than to those who do not.

Conservatives who deny the mother’s culpability in her abortion are denying her agency, which is great cannon fodder for Liberals who accuse Conservatives of misogyny.

Liberals can force Conservatives into one of three uncomfortable corners:

  1. Admit that they are misogynists
  2. Admit that mothers who have abortions should be treated like murderers (and a supermajority of Conservatives support the death penalty for murderers)
  3. Admit that abortion is not akin to murder

Williamson also confronts Conservatives, who provide constant reminders of the forceful and violent nature of government, by calling them liars for trying to cover up the fate they advocate for murderers.

Ironically, Williamson’s thorn in the Conservative side has wound up puncturing Liberal sensibilities far more than the Conservatives it should be bleeding.

If you are a brute reasoner like me, and you can see the beauty in all of this, it should inspire you to trudge on. We are fighting for something special.

***

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Kevin Williamson and the Perils of Brute Reason

The Top 5 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria

I found Trump Version 20.17 to be a pleasant surprise. He stuck to many of the promises I had hoped he would keep (like nominating textualist justices, taking a hatchet to the administrative state, and cutting the corporate tax rate) while not doing anything too drastic regarding the promises I hoped he wouldn’t keep (like going over the top on immigration or starting trade wars).

Trump Version 20.18, however, is turning out to be an absolute disaster. This is largely due to his signing of an obscene omnibus spending bill, starting a trade war with China, and beginning to fill the foreign policy wing of the executive branch with neocons.

Just as John Bolton, who is essentially a caricature of a belligerent American war hawk, enters his role as Trump’s national security advisor, reports of a chemical attack in Syria have surfaced. The attack is being blamed on President Bashar al Assad, and Trump has tweeted a warning to the Syrian dictator, Vladimir Putin, and Iran.

It seems as though the US is on the verge of yet another attempt at regime change in the Middle East. The mainstream media and establishment wings of each major party are fanning the flames of war, and I would wager that our presence and involvement in Syria is fit to escalate soon.

I do not think the United States should get any more involved in the Syrian conflict than it already has and, in an ideal world, would like all US forces in Syria to return home immediately.

Here are five of the main reasons I believe we should stay out of the Syrian conflict:

  1. It’s complicated

The Syrian Civil War is complex and impossible to fully understand. There are many factors that make this so. The simplest is that this is not a battle between two opposing factions, but a proxy war with at least four direct participants.

Bashar al Assad, protected by the Syrian Armed Forces, is trying to maintain control over the nation. “The rebels” are his primary opposition, and they would like to see Assad removed from power altogether.

To me, this is already reason enough for the US to stay out. While I believe in the right of a people to secede from a government they find intolerable and would not be so squeamish about the US assisting a population in declaring their independence, I generally do not support revolutions that disenfranchise those who are loyal to an established government, and certainly do not believe the US has any business getting involved in conflicts of this nature, especially when they are contained within a single country.

Other opponents of Assad include ISIS and more undoubtedly terroristic organizations. Since fighting against Assad, as bad as he may be, is effectively fighting alongside ISIS, it seems like the best bet is to let the monsters settle their own scores.

The fourth major faction in the Syrian conflict is the Kurds. This ethnically-bound group occupies portions of both Syria and Iraq and have their sights set on founding a nation of their own. The Kurds are generally too busy fighting ISIS and other enemies to be in armed conflict with Assad.

Several months ago, when it felt like the Syrian Civil War was finally beginning to wind down, certain pro-government social media outlets I had been following were settling into victory. To my surprise, they quickly began espousing hostile rhetoric about the Kurds. To me, this suggested that Assad and his backers had no interest in allowing the Kurds their independence, which further illustrated how complex the situation is.

Keep in mind that what I have attempted to explain thus far is only the direct participation in the war. The proxy-component takes the situation to a new level. Assad is backed by Iran and Russia among other nations, the rebels are backed by most of the west, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, ISIS is backed by terrorist outfits across the Middle East (and indirectly backed by supporters of the rebels), and the Kurds are supported by the US (though the feds did not back their independence referendum), but brutally opposed by Turkey, Iraq, and Assad.

And that’s not all. We must also be aware (or aware that we are not aware) of the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and cultural divides across the diverse population of Syria. There are at least 16 ethnoreligious groups residing in Syria, and no one is capable of possessing the knowledge required to accommodate even a fraction of them. This challenge is Syria’s, not America’s.

  1. The evidence leaves much to be desired

The most recent “gas attack” continues the cliché of incidents that are blamed on Assad without verification. Aid groups on the ground tend to be the primary sources for the UN and the US federal government, and videos documenting the aftermath always accompany the reports.

The problem with all of this is that hard evidence is never presented to the public. Perhaps the government has evidence that it refuses to release, but as far as anyone can tell, hard evidence does not exist.

Just two months ago, Defense Secretary James Mattis publicly stated that the US is still looking for proof that Assad is the culprit in previous gas attack allegations. Per ZeroHedge:

“I don’t have the evidence,” Mattis said. “What I am saying is that other groups on the ground – NGOs, fighters on the ground – have said that sarin has been used, so we are looking for evidence.”

While it is silly to use President Trump’s Twitter handle as a source of factual information, the president seems to have admitted that he has no evidence the latest gas attack is Assad’s doing either:

If the area in question is “inaccessible to the outside world,” and it needs to be opened up for “verification,” it is obviously not confirmed that Assad launched the chemical attack.

As I outlined in my latest blog post, applying Occam’s razor to the situation makes it hard to imagine that Assad is the culprit. Why would Assad, on the verge of victory and fully aware that the bulk of the Western world is seething for a reason to remove him from power, commit a strategically and economically idiotic war crime that makes it impossible for the US to exit? Why would he do this on the heels of Trump saying that the US would be exiting Syria very soon? Could any remotely rational human being be so evil that he puts everything he has spent most of the past decade fighting for on the line just to murder a few civilians?

It is true that logic may not be the best means of understanding Middle Eastern conflicts. But I still find the possibility that Assad was framed by his enemies to be far more persuasive than Assad effectively committing suicide.

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  1. Regime change does not work

Let’s give two huge benefits of the doubt and assume that 1) we know who the good guys are in Syria and 2) we can verify that Assad is intentionally engaging in something akin to genocide.

Even under these circumstances, contemporary history teaches us that toppling dictators and installing democracies is a futile effort. Iraq and Libya remain failed states years and year after their autocrats fell. There are probably many reasons for this, but I will extrapolate on two.

First, I believe, as Andrew Breitbart famously stated, politics is downstream from culture. Unlike many radical leftists, I generally do not believe in social constructionism in which oppressive systems are put in place and dictate the way society turns out. Instead, I believe people get the governments they deserve. In other words, Saddam Hussein was a result of Iraqi history, values, and living conditions, not the other way around. If I am right, removing the system will not lead to sustained improvements in the way a people do politics. They will resort to their old ways quickly, and the effort will be all for naught. The people must change before the way they are governed can.

Secondly, Jeffersonian Democracy is not for everyone. While I am only in favor of government if its purpose is to protect natural, individual human rights, other people may have other preferences. You cannot force a form of government on people who do not understand it and do not want it.

  1. Trump is president

Here’s a brief list of accusations that have been hurled at Trump over the past few years:

  • Idiot
  • Liar
  • Conman
  • Racist
  • White Supremacist
  • Nazi
  • Fascist
  • Homophobe
  • Xenophobe
  • Misogynist
  • Rapist
  • Thief
  • Russian agent
  • Corrupt
  • Lunatic
  • Mentally ill
  • Reckless
  • Immature
  • Ignorant
  • Illiterate
  • Vengeful
  • Narcissistic

I’m not going to say which ones I think are accurate and which ones I think are off base. But if a handful of these are true, anyone that would follow Trump into war is a complete and utter dotard. Since there is a common hawkishness among many of Trump’s most fervent critics, they must not believe what they say about Trump or are miles past sensibility in their stubborn desire for war.

  1. We are $21 trillion in debt

Last but not least, war has costs. The most horrific tragedies of war are the lives lost, both military and civilian. Injuries are suffered, homes and livelihoods are destroyed, and relationships are torn to shreds in all armed conflicts.

With that being said, I understand that war is sometimes the best option, and that the costs of not going to war can vastly outweigh the costs of participating.

But based on the complexity of the situation in Syria, the unproven nature of the claims that would justify intervention, America’s recent history of failure in armed conflict, and the lack of competence in the White House, this is not one of those times.

Since intervention remains unwarranted, exhausting more US resources as a trillion-dollar surplus looms would be beyond the pale. As Pre-President Trump tweeted way back in 2013:

Let’s hope the new Trump channels the old Trump before we get ourselves in another mess.

***

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The Top 5 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria

Assad’s Razor

Here are the conditions that would have to apply for Assad to be the perpetrator of the latest “gas attack” in Syria:

  1. Assad is evil beyond imagination.
  2. Just as Trump announces he wants to pull the US out of Syria, ceding control over the region to Assad and his allies, Assad decides to commit a war crime he knows will prevent the US military from being able to leave.
  3. Assad’s unimaginable evil is so overwhelming that he cannot keep it together for a few months to give the US the impression that it can exit the region in good conscious.
  4. In the midst of a seemingly endless war, Assad thinks killing civilians with WMDs, despite no strategic benefit, is a wise use of time and resources.
  5. Previous reports about Assad turning over his chemical weapons to the US and Russia are completely false.

Here are the conditions that would have to apply for “the rebels” to be the perpetrators of the latest “gas attack” in Syria:

  1. “The rebels”, ISIS, or another organization friendly to their cause staged the attack in one way or another to frame Assad in order to prevent the US from leaving Syria, which Trump recently announced he wanted to do, and which would be devastating to their war efforts.

Occam’s Razor is the theory that the simplest explanation is more likely to be the correct explanation. Guess who I think is responsible for the “gas attacks”?

***

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Assad’s Razor

Stop Following Children

“You’ve got to be oriented towards something. Otherwise, you’re disoriented. You just spin around in circles. And then you suffer, and so do people around you. It’s not a good solution. Orient yourself towards something. You have to figure out what it is. What will work for you? What goal would justify the suffering of your life? Start trying to piece that together, and you’re going to get better at it. But it’s a personal process. And you should use your education to inform that. You need a personal place to stand because otherwise you’re going to be handed a place to stand on a plate. And maybe one that makes you a puppet of someone else’s goals. So, what are the processes? Well, what I’ve recommended to people is clean up your room. That’s a good start. Organize your local landscape. Schedule your time. Start taking control of yourself. Stop seeing if you can say things you know to be lies. That’s not the same as telling the truth. You don’t get to do that to begin with because you’re not good enough at it to even attempt it in some sense. But everyone can stop saying things they know to be falsehoods.”-Dr. Jordan B Peterson

For the past two or three years, I have become one of millions of individuals to spend hours of my life watching Dr. Jordan B Peterson lectures, interviews, debates, and videos of his own making. Some say that Peterson is turning into a bit of a cult leader. Others refer to him as a prophet. To me, he’s just a well-informed and well-intentioned guy with a lot of important stuff to say.

Beginner Peterson followers often parrot what has become one of his most popular catch phrases: clean up your room. While it sounds simple (and may have been the case for most pre-millennial generations), what Peterson means when he recommends cleaning one’s room is that getting yourself oriented towards a meaningful goal is a slow, personal process. As beginning the journey towards individuality and a meaningful life is likely the hardest part, focusing on a simple task like keeping one’s room tidy is a great way to get started.

I admire Peterson not only because his advice and knowledge are useful and entertaining, but because we have a common craft as educators. While my ESL teaching in Thailand is not nearly as prestigious as being a tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, I, like Peterson, am tasked with the responsibility of transferring knowledge to students and, more importantly, providing them with the intellectual tools they will need to survive and thrive in the world.

Living abroad and observing the progress and events taking place in the USA has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of the ability to analyze situations proficiently. On the one hand, I am not in the United States, and I view my home country through a mass media filter. Mainstream media, alternative media, and social media provide a tremendous amount of information, but all skew reality in various directions. This makes my interpretation of what is going on skewed as well (though each of our interpretations of the world is skewed irrespective of media to begin with).

On the other hand, observing my nation of birth from the outside gives me a unique perspective and removes certain biases. As events and happenings in the US have a limited effect on my life in Thailand, I am able to analyze with less prejudice than someone directly affected by them. For example, if a new law or regulation winds up providing an American with greater job security, he will probably have a harder time judging the ethics and overall impact of the new rule. If it makes his life better, his confirmation bias will highlight the personal benefits and blur the negative effects the rule may have on others. Since I am outside many of the effects of US policy, I may be better able to analyze them dispassionately.

Based on my exo-observations, I am alarmed at the state of discourse in America, particularly in education and academia. Curricula that view government with rose-colored goggles, policies that value group identity over individuality, and rising intolerance of views that counter leftist dogma have given me cause for concern for several years. But nothing has sent a chill up my spine like the current media obsession with the Parkland massacre student survivors.

While I have no issue with allowing these students to share their experience and even express their views on gun policy, a feeling of nausea comes over me when I see how many people are following them on Twitter, bringing them on to major news networks to comment on all sorts of issues, and marching behind them at political protests.

The media, namely the increasingly pathetic CNN, is certainly favoring the views of the students pushing for gun control over the voices of those who support the Second Amendment. But the Conservative following of the anti-gun control students is equally appalling. I will not publish the names of any of these young people or link to media that features them because I do not wish to promote it.

By all means, we, as adults, should be encouraging kids to engage in political, social, philosophical, and all other forms of discourse and debate. It is vital that young people expound their views and have them scrutinized. However, we should advise against their undying commitment to agendas and principles, especially in the form of public advocacy, until they have had the time to think them through and defend them from sincere contrarian challenges.

Far more despicable than failing to advise students against premature advocacy is exploiting their passion and marketability in pursuit of one’s own objectives. This is one of the most sinister potentialities of the human condition.

Here’s a picture of Khmer Rouge teenagers rounding up guns in Cambodia.

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Image Source

Like just about every other government atrocity of the 20th Century, which combined to murder over 100 million people, the heart of the Khmer Rouge movement was Cambodia’s impressionable youths.

Pol Pot along with Stalin, Hitler, and Mao were keenly aware of the deadly combination of idealism and ignorance that is most prevalent among the young, who also happen to be the most physically fit and have the least to lose in a radical upheaval of cultural, societal, economic, and political norms. Taking power the way they did would have been impossible without children to prey upon and carry out their misdoings.

These murderers were also aware of how persuasive the illusion of protecting the lives and safety of children can be to the general public. As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

History and common sense teach us that we should provide young people with loving humility and liberal education, not emotional coddling and political clout. They are in search of guidance, but lack the judgment to know which guides are leading them in the right direction.

Seven years of teaching middle school and high school have taught me how easy it is to persuade and stimulate teenagers. I remember walking out of an 8th grade class after a grammar lesson several years ago. After exiting the building, I realized I had made a mistake about something and misinformed the entire class. The embarrassment of my error quickly subsided after I became aware of how easily I could stand in front of my students and fill their heads with anything I wanted to. I immediately felt sick.

Part of my code of conduct as a teacher has always been to do my best to keep my opinions out of the classroom. Being that my students generally trust me and see me as a good man, it would be unethical for me to use my position of authority to promote my views as it would serve as a form of indoctrination, not education. Instead, I teach them to analyze rhetoric, apply logic, and think critically. With these tools at their disposal, they come closer to having what it takes to fend off opportunistic users and abusers, and make good decisions on their own.

I hope more adults, especially teachers, will follow my and Dr. Jordan Peterson’s lead instead of putting ignorant children on the front lines.

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Stop Following Children

Trump’s Epically Anti-Libertarian Moment

Note: I had previously adopted a ‘no profanity’ rule on HowToCureYourLiberalism.com. It is no longer in effect.

President Trump’s trade war is officially under way. After stupidly placing tariffs on steel, aluminum, and a laundry list of Chinese imports, the PRC has announced plans to return the favor with tariffs on hundreds of American exports. While this may be helpful to a handful of workers in domestic and Chinese industries, it will be a headache for far more workers and nearly all consumers in both countries. Presidents Trump and Xi, however, live on the taxpayer’s dole, so will probably not be subjected to any of the negative consequences their stupid tariffs bring about.

While it has been clear all along that Trump is in no way a free trader, the most recent advisor he has appointed is a dramatic departure from his anti-interventionist palaver. John Bolton is Trump’s new national security advisor. John Bolton. The big mustache guy who’s never met a war he didn’t like. That guy. Is now. Trump’s. National. Security. Advisor.

While I hate to be cynical (although I am enjoying it right now), I really wish Trump had “colluded” with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. If he had and was now remaining loyal to Putin, there is no way Trump would consider regime change and Iraq-esque permanent occupation in Syria. But since it is becoming increasingly clear that Trump did not collude with Russia and as more and more neo-cons swamp the White House, war with Russia and/or Iran seems likelier by the day.

This is all very frustrating and un-libertarian. But what Trump tweeted out yesterday might possibly be the worst 47 words I or any Libertarian has ever come across. Take a look:

Everything in this tweet is bad. Let’s take it from the top:

Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border,

We don’t need a wall on the southern border. The southern border is very big. A massive chunk of illegal immigration is a result of visa overstays, not just border crossings. And Illegal immigration isn’t that big of a problem to begin with.

$1.6 billion is a lot of money. But it’s not nearly enough to build a wall to separate Mexico and the United States, which share the 10th longest international land border in the entire world.

Immigration is supposed to be a state issue, not a federal issue anyway.

rest will be forthcoming.

If he were talking about taking a rest from doing things, that would be great. Tragically, he’s referring to the other $16-17 billion needed to build the wall (which is not needed or legal and will never be built).

Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military,

Our military is already built. It’s the most powerful and most expensive in the world. Since it’s already built, rebuilding it is not important, let alone most important. $700 billion is too much money for the military. In fact, it’s too much money for anything. Any time you pay $700 billion for something, you are getting ripped off.

$716 Billion next year…

Shit!

most ever.

SHIT!

Had to waste money

No! You didn’t have to waste money. You are supposed to veto things that waste money or are otherwise bad. What the heck did you waste it on?

Dem giveaways

SHIT!!! WTF?!?! WHY?!?!

in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.

I’m not saying whether or not I support a military pay increase or “new equipment”. Maybe it’s appropriate. I don’t know.

But you know what would have been a better way of accomplishing both of these goals, Mr. President?

Come a little closer so I can whisper it in your ear. Ready? Here goes:

BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME AND PUTTING AN END TO OUR PSYCHOTIC FOREIGN POLICY, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!! DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH THAT SHIT COSTS?!?! YOU MUST REALIZE BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN RANTING AND RAVING ABOUT IT FOR 30 FUCKING YEARS!!!

You used to talk about America First. I kind of liked that. The wild idea that a nation’s government would put its nation’s interests above, say, Israel’s or a bunch of politically well-connected cronies’ is a really swell idea. Even though I disagreed with many of your domestic ideas, I actually considered voting for you and wrote why Hillary was a worse choice for president simply because you said you wanted to concern yourself with issues at home exclusively.

But it looks like either that was all talk or you have become a full-fledged neocon cuck.

It’s silly for me to be angry at President Trump. He never claimed to be a Libertarian, Constitutionalist, or Budget Hawk. And he always lies and contradicts himself, so there’s that too.

There is a bright side in all of this, though, if you look hard enough.

Let me know if you find it.

***

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Trump’s Epically Anti-Libertarian Moment