Blogger’s note: No, I haven’t given up the blog; I’ve just been off for some paternity leave. Blog posts should now be resuming with whatever passed for “regularity” in the past.
It will come as a surprise to no one that I’ve never been a fan of the Republican party. But for as long as I’ve been voting, there has been one argument on which Republicans have heavily leaned convince me to finally cast a ballot in favor of their candidate: you need to vote for the lesser of the two evils. Given the caliber of the candidates they regularly put forward, this plea and it’s variations (“otherwise the Democrats might win,” “a vote for a third party is a vote for the Democrats,” etc) are unsurprisingly the only electoral leg they have left to stand on.
Nevertheless, every four years this cry is raised far and wide, and the conservative faithful have dutifully lined up to hold their noses as they try to punish leftist Democrats by rewarding leftist Republicans. On the surface, pragmatism of this sort makes a kind of practical sense. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade; and when life gives the American right the quadrennial choice between a punch in the face and a kick in the butt, the least painful choice is to turn the other cheek.
But when we speak of “life” giving us things, we’re speaking in terms of fate or providence—something over which we have neither control nor responsibility. There is no fighting against it; the wise man simply accepts reality, adapts accordingly, and makes the best of it. This is the wisdom the lesser-of-two-evils crowd tries to root itself in, but is this really the sense given to us by American democracy?
When a servant receives commands from his master, he is (apart from open rebellion) bound by something over which he has neither control nor responsibility. It therefore makes sense for him to make the best of whatever he receives from his master—good or bad. It’s simply his lot in life. American citizens, however, are not servants of our government—or at least, we are servants only inasmuch as we choose to behave like servants. Our Constitution makes voters the rulers rather than the ruled. We are ultimately the ones in charge of our nation and ought to act accordingly.
This means that we are not speaking in terms of fate when it comes to voting. Americans have a measure of both control and responsibility. While a single vote is insignificant, the entire conversation of “who should you vote for” assumes some measure of control, or it wouldn’t matter who anyone votes for. And it is right to assume control, for single votes are never alone—they join together with others, even if they aren’t part of the majority. Inasmuch as they are rulers, voters have a responsibility to wield their power wisely and make good decisions. Again, even those who speak in terms of the lesser of two evils recognize this, for when they see conservatives refrain from voting for the latest Keynesian statist offered by the GOP, they treat it as a dereliction of duty.
But if this is the case, then we are the masters and the dominant political parties are our servants. When the Democrats and Republicans consistently give us candidates who blatantly take sides against liberty in many and various ways, our job as their masters is to discipline them where we can and find new servants when discipline fails. We do not simply accept what we’re given and make the best of it. If we are rulers rather than the ruled, then the pertinent question this election is not how quickly a servant should fall in line with his masters’ selected candidates, but how a wise ruler ought to choose. (And if we are instead the ruled, then voting is a meaningless ceremony anyway.)
What then of Trump? In one sense, he’s business as usual: yet another self-interested, corrupt liberal with a few token conservative positions masquerading as the conservative candidate. In the midst of it, however, there is a key difference. He really is an outsider to the two-headed globalist monster that is the sum of our two major parties. The Democrats and Republicans alike have aligned themselves against America and the liberty of her peoples. They are both our enemies. What about Trump? I certainly don’t believe Trump to be a friend to liberty or to America, but neither has he taken sides against us (yet). He is, by all appearances, on no one’s side but his own. That’s by no means the makings of a good candidate, and it certainly qualifies as damning with faint praise. However, it is a tangible difference between Trump and his predecessors in the GOP.
I still don’t support Trump and do not currently plan on voting for him come November. But neither am I #NeverTrump, and here is why:
Our political elites—both Democrats and Republicans—are actively fighting against conservatives and conservative interests. That’s not news to many of us, but if this election cycle has done nothing else, it has carved that on tablets of stone. But it’s not just the elites—it’s also our fellow citizens. Much has changed with the advent of Social Justice Warriors who do not merely disagree and fight for their beliefs in the public square but declare that there is “no place” for anyone with a contrary opinion and therefore work hard to actively take away their opponents’ jobs, homes, and livelihoods simply for being their opponents. That has shifted a long-running political conflict into open social warfare. In the past, conservatives could work together with liberals to govern our shared nation. Our respective principles might have differed, but there was relevant overlap, and both sides still analyzed the world in terms of facts to which those principles are applied. Today’s progressives, however, no longer think in terms of fact and principle at all, but rather fact and narrative—and the narrative doesn’t simply analyze the facts but has begun to devour them. The upshot is that we can no longer reason with the left—we can only defeat them.
The question of voting for Trump is then a battlefield question, and that puts certain character issues into perspective. Is Trump a boorish man who says mean things and exploits people? Certainly, but as uncomfortable as it makes me, its not really a big concern of mine. The battlefield is no place for manners. If (figuratively) killing your foes is your goal, then the guys who are best at it are the ones out there collecting ears. The real problem is this: While (unlike most Republicans) Trump is a fighter, he fights for himself and not for us. If we continue with the warfare motif, then making Trump president is the equivalent of releasing a rabid beast onto the battlefield and hoping that it kills more on the other side than on ours.
Like it or not, there’s a time when one needs to make that kind of choice. But when I consider Trump’s priorities, his multiplicity of positions on the issues, and the way he rides the mob rather than directing it, I am not convinced that the casualties would really be in our favor. Frankly, I’m not even convinced he’ll maintain his one true distinction—opposition to our globalist elites. There is no reason to assume he won’t pursue their interests if they make it worth his while to do so. And given how many of their endorsements he’s collected, one cannot help but wonder whether that’s already the case.
So if you want to be a free American this November, don’t vote for the lesser evil. Don’t meekly accept your lot in life. Don’t worry about which liberal is going to win just so you can throw in with them to make your vote “count.” If you would be a serf, then there’s no point in going to the polls anyway. But if you would be a ruler, then be a good one and make your own judgment.