Many people at recent events have asked us what libertarians feel about Donald Trump. Today, Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, issued the following statement on Donald Trump, comparing his statements (even the contradictory ones) against libertarian ideology. We thought we would share it with you here.
Libertarianism is the idea that you have the right to pursue happiness in any way you wish as long as it doesn’t hurt people or take their stuff. We support the fundamental rights of all people, all of the time. We do not denigrate or disparage any group. We respect the humanity of all people.
Unfortunately, the only policy position addressed on Mr. Trump’s official campaign webpage is immigration. Thus, we are limited to piecing together Mr. Trump’s positions on policy issues based on recent quotes in the news media.
Let’s compare and contrast Donald Trump’s views with those of the Libertarian Party:
Mr. Trump likes tough talk and seems to think that wars are an effective solution to many of our problems. Libertarians think that wars often create more problems than they solve, are bankrupting our nation, and that violence is only justified when used for defense.
Mr. Trump advocates more sanctions on Iran, more support for Israel, and being tough all around. Libertarians think the United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.
Mr. Trump thinks that foreign countries are getting the better end of trade deals and says that he would negotiate more favorable deals. Libertarians support free trade and think that U.S. citizens and businesses should be allowed to negotiate the deals that they find favorable without the interference of the U.S. government and government officials.
Fifteen years ago Mr. Trump claimed he was for a government run single-payer Canadian-style healthcare system. Mr. Trump now says Obamacare is ineffective and should be repealed and replaced, but he’s not specific. Libertarians have always opposed government run healthcare, and support a free market.
Mr. Trump advocates building a wall along our Southern border and has said disparaging things about immigrants. Libertarians believe that people should be able to travel peacefully across borders to work, trade, or live.
Mr. Trump has taken advantage of eminent domain laws to build his real-estate empire. Libertarians think that eminent domain is often exploited by the wealthy at the cost of average Americans and is a violation of our most basic rights.
War on Drugs
Mr. Trump has, in the past, advocated ending the “war on drugs” because it is ineffective and wasteful. Lately, he seems to be adjusting his stance and claiming that it’s an issue for states to decide. Libertarians also think that the “war on drugs” is ineffective and wasteful. In addition, we think the “war on drugs” is one of the biggest violations of Americans’ civil liberties as it has been used to put hundreds of thousands on non-violent people in prison.
Mr. Trump also has said that he thinks that gay marriage is an issue for the states. Libertarians think that the government has no business regulating anyone’s marriage.
Mr. Trump says he would be tough on crime via anti-crime policies. Libertarians also want to decrease crime but likely disagree with Mr. Trump on the nature of “crime.” Libertarians are careful to differentiate between violent crimes and non-violent crimes, and also between crimes which involve a victim and those that do not. Currently, a huge percentage of our prison population is imprisoned for non-violent, victimless crimes such as marijuana use. Libertarians think that this is unjust to everyone: the taxpayer, the incarcerated, and society more broadly. Prison should be reserved for violent criminals.
Mr. Trump has stated that he is against Common Core and supports school-choice. Most Libertarians would agree. Libertarians think that the federal government should not have the authority to dictate to Americans how we should educate our children.
Mr. Trump has said that he is against limits on Americans’ 2nd Amendment Rights, but has supported the ban on so-called assault weapons and longer waiting periods to buy guns. Libertarians oppose all laws at any level of government that attempt to restrict, register, or monitor the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
In the first debate, Trump said, “Our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid.” Libertarians think big government policies are the problem, and smarter politicians with the same policies won’t help. America needs new policies and a new perspective focusing on smaller government, more liberty, and peace.