In the week’s Economist, the Lexington article (see A Republican senator revolts) praises senator Jeff Flake for a book, written in secret, that laments the decline and failing of conservatism. and the mistakes made by siding with, and electing, Donald Trump. On first blush the well-written article leads me to conclude I want to read the book. But the author lets slip their own political views and so I’ll now give Mr. Flake’s book a pass.
What is conservatism? It seems, if you read the article, that a ‘put your country second’ perspective is equitable to free trade. Why is a, ‘put America first’ not consistent with fair trade? Really, if you ever look at global trade and international supply chains, every organization, every country, looks out for their own benefit first. They may not always say this – as it is all part of the negotiation. But no one actually puts their own interests on hold for the other guy. Only when satisfied or when satisfaction is in reach do sides negotiate closely and come to a ‘free trade’ agreement. And note, there is virtually never ‘free’ trade. There is almost always some cost, tax, cover charge, buy-back, duty etc.
Mr Trump’s ‘put America first’ is not a call for nationalist policies; it is not a call for tariffs and duties. It is a call to those that negotiate for their country that the US will now negotiate more fairly and not keep helping others out. If you put a tariff on imports from the US, so the US will put tariffs on imports into the US. That is fair trade – it is not protectionism. When will the media, even the fair media, get this right? Mr. Trump is making a political statement that says the obvious: this country needs to fair, as every other country is fair, in trade deals. Trump does not disbelieve the benefits global trade; all smart business leaders grasp the principles and see the benefits. Mr Trump believes in trade- period!
So we are left with asking why is his rhetoric picked on? We can only assume that such complaints and criticisms pander to a political sore that came about from losing the election; an institution and establishment that wanted to feed its own bloated cause: more government begets more government. Left and right have played this tune for years. Trump just happened to take the Republicans with him but in truth he needs his own part: New Deal Republicans.
I get the feeling that Mr Trump is more conservative than many give him credit: freedom of the individual; responsibility of the individual over government; the expectation that the individual is not owed anything; that hard work and merit will be rewarded. And yes, that a safety net will be provided for those that need it. However we live in s society today that assumes other owe them a living; that it is their right to sit on that backsides and be given everything the need and want. We have become a A Nation of Takers.