Rule Five Populism Friday

A few years back, Murray Rothbard produced a manifesto of sorts for a kinda-libertarian populist political platform.  I suspect President Trump read it at some point.  The entire article is worth consideration, but here are the primary points, with my comments:


A right-wing populist program, then, must concentrate on dismantling the crucial existing areas of State and elite rule, and on liberating the average American from the most flagrant and oppressive features of that rule. In short:

l. Slash Taxes. All taxes, sales, business, property, etc., but especially the most oppressive politically and personally: the income tax. We must work toward repeal of the income tax and abolition of the IRS.

Hell yes.  Starve the beast.  The only way we may (peacefully) get overbearing government under control is to starve it out.

2. Slash Welfare. Get rid of underclass rule by abolishing the welfare system, or, short of abolition, severely cutting and restricting it.

Again, hell yes.  Welfare should be restricted to those few who, through no fault of their own, are actually physically and/or mentally incapable of supporting themselves, or as a strictly time-limited hand-up, not a hand-out, for people going through a temporary bad time.

3. Abolish Racial or Group Privileges. Abolish affirmative action, set aside racial quotas, etc., and point out that the root of such quotas is the entire “civil rights” structure, which tramples on the property rights of every American.

Racism is racism, no matter which direction it takes.

4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.

While I agree with the “take back the streets,” I’m not really down with empowering cops to “administer instant punishment.”  Granted this list is thin on details, but what form would this punishment take?  In what circumstances?  Crime is, yes, becoming a problem in our major cities, but are we willing to abandon the Constitution to get it in hand?  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.

As above, but this may actually be easier; prohibit camping in public places, and get these people into a treatment program – even if it’s an involuntary one.  There is a due process for committal of the mentally ill, and plenty of street people fit that category.  But we shouldn’t be dealing with the outbreaks of crime, filth and disease that the bums are causing in too many of our major cities.

6. Abolish the Fed; Attack the Banksters. Money and banking are recondite issues. But the realities can be made vivid: the Fed is an organized cartel of banksters, who are creating inflation, ripping off the public, destroying the savings of the average American. The hundreds of billions of taxpayer handouts to S&L banksters will be chicken-feed compared to the coming collapse of the commercial banks.

Get rid of the Fed?  Yes.  As for the rest – I’d like to see a little more detail before we get out the torches and pitchforks.

7. America First. A key point, and not meant to be seventh in priority. The American economy is not only in recession; it is stagnating. The average family is worse off now than it was two decades ago. Come home America. Stop supporting bums abroad. Stop all foreign aid, which is aid to banksters and their bonds and their export industries. Stop gloabaloney, and let’s solve our problems at home.

This was the main point of President Trump’s campaign and administration, and it sure seemed to be working – until the ‘rona.

8. Defend Family Values. Which means, get the State out of the family, and replace State control with parental control. In the long run, this means ending public schools, and replacing them with private schools. But we must realize that voucher and even tax credit schemes are not, despite Milton Friedman, transitional demands on the path to privatized education; instead, they will make matters worse by fastening government control more totally upon the private schools. Within the sound alternative is decentralization, and back to local, community neighborhood control of the schools.

Or better still, get government out of the business of education altogether.  At all levels.  But, I suppose, if there must be government involved, keep it at local school boards – and get rid of the teacher’s unions, and indeed all public sector unions.  As I’ve been saying for years, there is a deep and fundamental conflict of interest in public sector unions; they negotiate contracts with the very pols whose campaigns they support, and in many of our blue cities, you can see the results in their pension funds.

So go, then, and read all of Rothbard’s piece.  Compare and contrast it with the policies pushed by pols today, especially (but not exclusively!) the Democrats.  I think you’ll find it a fascinating exercise.