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Trump’s Unwitting Devotion to Socialism


Donald Trump and, unfortunately, many of his conservative followers, are absolutely clueless when it comes to socialism. You couldn’t find a better example of this phenomenon than a Trump op-ed that was published in USA Today yesterday. In fact, Trump’s op-ed is a perfect demonstration of the life of the lie that has come to afflict the entire conservative movement.

In his op-ed, Trump takes Democrats to task for supporting “Medicare for All,” which would essentially be a full-fledged socialist healthcare system. He says that this shows that Democrats are committed to turning the United States into another Venezuela, a country in chaos, crisis, poverty, and violence owing to its socialist economic system.

Okay, so far Trump is on the right track, just as conservatives often are in the general critiques of socialism in other countries.

But then he completely goes off the rails, as conservatives inevitably do, by inadvertently revealing that he and his fellow conservatives are as devoted to socialism as Democrats and liberals are. Here is what Trump writes:

I also made a solemn promise to our great seniors to protect Medicare. That is why I am fighting so hard against the Democrats’ plan that would eviscerate Medicare.

I am committed to resolutely defending Medicare and Social Security from the radical socialist plans of the Democrats.

Can you see how confused this man’s mind is? Can you see how confused the mind of every conservative is?

Social Security and Medicare are themselves socialist programs. In fact, they are the crown jewels of America’s welfare-state way of life, a type of socialist system that both Democrats and Republicans have foisted onto the American people. What Trump and other conservatives simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge is that the welfare-state economic system to which they are so devoted is based on the Marxian principle of using the state to take from those who have the money and giving it to those who ostensibly need the money more.

To get around this problem, what conservatives starting doing long ago was convince themselves that Social Security and Medicare aren’t socialist programs at all. Instead, they’ve convinced themselves that they are “free enterprise” programs. After all, conservatives maintain, didn’t President Franklin Roosevelt, the Democrat president they now extol, “save” free enterprise with his socialist (and fascist) New Deal program?

Social Security and Medicare did not originate with America’s Founding Fathers or the Framers. That’s why there is no authorization for either program in the U.S. Constitution. That’s also why Americans lived without these two socialist programs for more than a century. Our American ancestors wanted nothing to do with socialist schemes such as these. That’s also why there was no income taxation and IRS for more than 100 years after the nation got established.

The idea for Social Security and Medicare originated among German socialists at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the early 1900s. Social Security was adopted in the 1930s by the Franklin Roosevelt regime as part of his “New Deal” program. Medicare was adopted in the 1960s by regime of Democrat Lyndon Johnson as part of his “Great Society” program. Both FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society entailed socialist programs similar to the ones in Venezuela.

It wasn’t long before Republicans and conservatives began enthusiastically embracing and promoting both programs under the rubric of defending “free enterprise.” A classic example of the life of the lie.

In his op-ed, Trump also went off his standard tirade against immigrants. What he obviously fails to recognize is that his system of immigration controls is also just another variation of socialism, no different in principle from his two favorite socialist programs, Social Security and Medicare. Under a system of immigration controls, the government plans, in a top-down, command-and-control manner, the complex movements of millions of people. In socialist parlance, that’s called “central planning.”

It is the ultimate in irony that while Trump is easily able to recognize the ongoing chaos and crisis that socialism has produced in Venezuela, he cannot recognize that the reason for the ongoing immigration chaos and crisis here at home is his (and Democrats’) system of immigration socialism.

Another irony of Trump’s devotion to immigration socialism is his inability to recognize the immigration police state that he and other conservatives love and embrace. Highway checkpoints far away from the border. Roving Border Patrol highway checkpoints. Warrantless entry by federal officials onto private farms and ranches, oftentimes many miles away from the border. Violent raids on private businesses. A Berlin Fence. A Berlin Wall. Eminent domain that steals people’s property along the border.

All just like in Venezuela, Cuba, East Germany, and North Korea. Thus, you have the spectacle of Trump and his fellow conservatives ostensibly defending “free enterprise” while, at the same time, defending socialism and a police state. As Ayn Rand would say, when you find yourself embracing contradictions, check your premises.

Contrary to what Trump and his fellow conservatives claim, the solution to socialism is not socialism. The solution to socialism is freedom and free markets, which means the dismantling of socialism. That necessarily entails the repeal, not reform, of Social Security, Medicare, immigration controls, and every other socialist program. It also entails a steadfast refusal to live the life of the lie for which conservatives have become famous.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.