Posted on August 28, 2019
The Red And The Orange
Commies have got Trump's number
President Trump will be the first to tell you that socialism is bad, and that the Democratic Party is wrong to embrace it, but does he have any idea why? Is he able to define socialism, and explain what's so wrong about it, or has he simply observed that condemning it is a reliable applause line?
Before you answer, remember that in 1999, Trump himself proposed a "wealth tax" of 14.25 percent on all individuals with more than $10 million. In 2015, he described his health care plan by telling 60 Minutes, "I'm going to take care of everybody," later clarifying that this meant, "The government is going to pay for it." During the next year's primaries, he accused opponents of government-run medicine of wanting to let people "die in the streets." In each of the past two years, he has used taxpayers' money to subsidize farmers in an attempt to mitigate the damage inflicted by the "easy to win" trade war.
Trump has never adhered to a consistent political philosophy, and has never spelled out any guiding principle beyond the slogan on the red hat. The impression this leaves is that he's never really thought about it. He's never bothered to understand how an economic philosophy that vilifies the human individual consistently leads to the creation of prison-states that murder huge numbers of their own citizens, while subjecting those who remain to lives of oppression, deprivation, dispiritedness and squalor.
How else can someone be so oblivious as to praise China for the atrocity it committed at Tiananmen Square, as Trump did in a 1990 Playboy interview? "That shows you the power of strength," he said. "Our country is right now perceived as weak." Really? A free country whose citizens have rights to freely assemble and petition their government is weak, but a totalitarian state that is too insecure to tolerate dissent is strong? He can only have arrived at that conclusion by viewing the conflict as a simple physical competition, with the government as a monster truck, and the dissenters as broken-down station wagons used as fodder.
It is with this same blindness toward the immorality of socialism, and the brutality that is required of Communist states to enforce it, that Trump praised North Korean goon Kim Jong-un as somebody who only wants the best for his people. "I may be wrong," he tweeted, "but I believe that Chairman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as president, can make that vision come true." No need to keep him in suspense. He's wrong.
A Communist dictator has a "beautiful vision for his country?" He sounds like one of those people who calls John Lennon's ghastly rant Imagine a beautiful song, without bothering to notice what the words actually mean. What's the beautiful thing about Kim's vision that American socialists like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are lacking? An even more disturbing question is what Trump intends to do to help Kim realize this vision.
It should go without saying that there are consequences to having a president who fails to grasp the nature of Communism. The trade war with China is but one example. Trump assumes he has the upperhand because the standoff is harming the Chinese people worse than the American people. In reality, there's no reason for China to give in until the Chinese government is being harmed worse than the American people. If Trump is gullible enough to believe a Communist government will be moved by concerns for the well-being of its people, we ought to be very worried about every negotiation he enters on our behalf.
He's only being consistent, though. The Norks sent American hostage Otto Warmbier home to die of having been tortured, and Trump could not conceive that Kim's government was responsible. Vladimir Putin is openly nostalgic for the USSR, and Trump joked with him about tampering with American elections. When Jimmy Carter, as ex-president, became this pliant toward Communist thugs, conservatives were rightly and profusely outraged. When sitting president Donald Trump does it, we're just supposed to assume he has his reasons.
The Trumpies will never concede that he is doing anything other than executing a brilliant, if counterintuitive, strategy. To them, he'll always be General Patton, Pop Warner and Deep Blue all rolled into one. The very tiniest concession to reality they should be willing to make, however, is to at least have the decency to stop likening their man to Ronald Reagan.
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