I have something to say to all those who plan on voting for Trump this upcoming presidential election.
But first, story time.
Last weekend I got to spend a few days in the mountains. After my hikes I went back into the nearby town to hoist a few (or many) brews, enjoy good food, and chew the fat with the locals (most of whom recognize me now; guess I’m distinctive-looking).
At one restaurant, I was nursing my drink when an old man and younger man came to the bar where I was sitting. I moved to the next stool give them the ones in the corner so they could sit together. The old man thanked me with a thick German accent. Curious, I inquired where he was from, unsurprised when he told me he was from Germany. The Ruhr region, to be exact.
Somehow we got into the discussion of the migrant crisis. Not being an autistic libertarian, I politely explained my concerns that such a huge migration would come at the expense of the German people, and even if it should happen, assimilation wasn’t being emphasized when it should. He didn’t give an opinion, at that time at least, but said he didn’t know what to believe.
I kept insisting regardless it should not happen at the expense of German culture, language, traditions, and so such.
Then it got interesting.
The 80-year-old man revealed that during World War II he had been in the Hitler Youth. By the time he turned ten in 1945, mere boys were sent off to fight because all the older men had been killed. He was not spared from this. Given a rifle, he was told to shoot at American GIs approaching with the Third Army. Either he wasn’t a good shot, he didn’t see any troops to shoot at, or the GIs didn’t consider him a threat worthy of killing (ironically, I recently got the chance to talk to a GI who landed at Omaha and fought with Patton and was part of the German post-war occupation).
After the war, this former Hitler Youth found himself in East Germany, stuck behind the Iron Curtain until his family could arrange his transfer back to the West.
Two fascinating things struck me about the conversation.
One, when he offered me his hand I took it without hesitation. Years ago, I might not have as a political statement. Knowing what I know now of life, however, it seems rather absurd to hold his past against him. He was ten, and he didn’t have a choice about joining the Hitler Youth, and it wasn’t like his refusing to not fight meant the bombs would stop dropping on his country. What exactly what he was supposed to do? (I did tell him he should have shot in the other direction at the communists, though).
Two, he then said something very interesting about the migrant crisis. He said that the country needed them.
“You know, Germany is a dying civilization.” His exact words.
They aren’t having enough kids, he added.
I didn’t get a chance to offer my (still tactful) perspective as to how the state might have played a role in this before he left with the other man for his table, but what he said stuck with me the rest of my trip.
An Appeal to Trump Supporters
Now, what does this have to do with Trump?
Look, I get it. I really do. I know why you support Trump. I don’t blame you for enjoying what he’s done so far to the Establishment, that he’s willing to reach out to those Whom You Must Not Speak To and say Things You Must Not Say.
I appreciate the appeal of seeing him get into power and lay hurt on people who hate us and want to destroy our culture. I know you want America to be great again. I know how dire our situation is. I know that drastic times call for drastic measures.
Really, if I hadn’t swallowed the libertarian red pill I might be among you.
But I did. And the truth isn’t always pleasant. Or easy.
Consider that seventy years ago, this old man I spoke to was a young product of a movement that also sought to use the state to protect their culture. By the time he picked up that rifle, he had been thoroughly educated by the state, raised by the state, trained by the state, to think exactly as he was taught. I’m sure plenty of Germans supported the Nazis during their rise to power, despite some of their unsettling ideas, in the sincere belief that whatever their faults they would restore the German nation following the humiliation and starvation of the Great War. At the time, in that context, it makes sense for them to be tolerant of Nazi ideology when they were the only ones willing to stand up to the injustice inflicted on them through the Treaty of Versailles.
But do you think the situation in 1945, when this boy picked up that rifle, was what they had in mind when they elected the Nazis and then allowed Hitler to take over? Instead of preserving the culture he exploited it, along with their legitimate grievances, for his own ends, and to his fate. The country and culture were dealt an even worse blow. Millions more died and were murdered outright. Their cultural buildings and centers were destroyed by Allied bombings, and their culture itself was permanently scarred by an association with national socialism.
Rather than protect it, the state did the exact opposite. It destroyed it and left in the ashes survivors with no stomach to continue defending the culture, even when it should be.
Seventy years later, this man, a product of this movement, offered moral support for what will be the destruction of his country while I, someone who has never set foot in Germany and doesn’t speak the language, was standing up for the culture because I wasn’t a product of the same movement.
The irony is that the culture is dying precisely because too Germans are like him and don’t believe it is worth protecting. I can’t know his heart, but my guess is there was always a fear that defending what he believed would result in the same atrocities as before.
Do not turn to the state to solve problems the state created in the first place. Do not make this deal. Do not turn to these people to save us.
Whatever the hardship it requires, we must find a way to protect our way of life without the state and its adherents.
I’m all for cheering him when he (metaphorically) decapitates our enemies and thrusts their severed heads on pikes. But just because a wild animal devours your natural predator doesn’t mean he won’t devour you, too.
If we take this route you are embarking on, our culture will suffer a similar fate as that of the old German I spoke with. It won’t end the exact same way, of course, but our culture cannot survive in the long run if we entrust its preservation to the state.
No, I’m not equating Trump with Hitler or you reactionaries with brown shirts. I empathize with many of you and share your grievances. My enemies are your enemies. Your cause is my cause. I have suffered, too, and want justice. If I could look into a crystal ball and see that only our enemies suffered from such a presidency, I might be writing a different article right now. I have no concern for the guilty, for those who seek to do us harm.
I only care about the future of our culture, for libertarianism itself, and I do not trust this man, or any one man, to protect it through the state in such a centralized manner.
I’m not advocating we let the state continue to abuse us. I’m not advocating we let ourselves be politically cuckolded further. I’m not recommending we elect another milquetoast Republican. I’m not saying we should let things remain as they are, that we should stand idle while Rome burns. I’m not saying we should “man up” and adhere to the cultural Marxist version of marriage and let them indoctrinate our children in their reeducation camps.
And I’m not certainly not in disagreement with Rothbard when he wrote “the proper strategy of libertarians and paleos is a strategy of “right-wing populism.”
What I’m saying is that libertarianism is as concerned with the means as it is the ends, and as long as there is a better means to the same end we have to take it. We cannot expect someone, anyone, to wield the Ring of Power and use it for good. We have to destroy it, if for no other reason than to ensure that our enemies cannot use it against us.
Consider what Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, said in 1998.
The public is lied to every day by the president, by his spokespeople, by his officers. If you can’t handle the thought that the president lies to the public for all kinds of reasons, you couldn’t stay in the government at that level….
This is what we’re going to get no matter who is elected. George W. Bush declared in the 2000 election he was going to get us out of meddling in foreign countries and adopt a non-interventionist policy. Consider how (in)accurately that matched what he actually did once he was in office.
I’m not saying you’re going too far.
You’re not going far enough.
If we cannot find a better alternative to electing one more Caesar to rule over us in the hope that he, unlike all his predecessors, will keep his campaign promises and utilize the state against our enemies, then the situation is far more hopeless than I imagined. If we have reached that point, then there is still a better way, and frankly I’ll take my chances exercising that ultimate right, however grim the odds, before turning to the state to solve our problems. The state is the problem.
Make no mistake. We may ultimately have to resort to violence and deadly force, if need be, to protect our freedoms. I hope it doesn’t come to it, but I can’t ignore how quickly things are escalating, how quickly the remaining ramparts of social and cultural order are collapsing.
I’m preparing for the worst.
Better to drop out now, while we can.
Soon I’ll be posting an article on alternative route, the path less traveled by. It will make all the difference.