Donald Trump’s fights with the establishment might just be getting started.
When the 45th president was still just a contender for the Oval Office, he took on a field of 16 other Republican hopefuls by staking out an extreme case against the country’s growing entanglements with international trade treaties.
Even though it clashed with traditional Republican ideas, it gave him the support in the primaries he needed to win the nomination over candidates like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
In the general election, it helped him win over crucial states in the Upper Midwest like Michigan and Wisconsin.
But when Trump announced this week that he plans to impose sweeping tariffs on imported steel on the grounds of national security, according to The New York Times, he set himself up against the man most conservatives view as guiding light for the movement over most of the last century – Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
A video posted to YouTube in November 2015 by the conservative website LibertyPen contrasts the approaches of Trump and Frieman to international trade, and should be a handy guide for the arguments that are going to be arising over Trump’s latest move — possibly for the remainder of his time in office.
At the time the video was posted, it was only a theoretical possibility Trump would be president, but it’s definitely worth revisiting now.
Check it out here:
Friedman, who died in 2006, was one of the top intellectuals of post-World War II America. His memory is as revered among conservatives as it’s reviled by liberals.
In fact, liberals probably despised Friedman in much the same way they hated Ronald Reagan in the 1980s or fear and loathe Trump today, and for the same reason: They’re afraid of a man who consistently proves them wrong.
Friedman did that over and over again. And the underlying rule in his worldview, summed up in the 1962 book aptly titled “Capitalism and Freedom,” is a satisfying answer to every Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and “social justice” grifter out there who wants to shake down American businesses for the so-called benefit of the “underprivileged,” when it’s actually those “activists” who benefit the most.
Friedman’s rule was simple, as he explained it in a 1970 essay for The New York Times:
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
For that to work on an international level, though, for there to truly be “open and free competition,” and every country should stay “within the rules of the game.”
Trump has made clear for a very long time that he doesn’t think other countries are playing fairly – most notably China – and he sees the imposition of tariffs like the ones he announced this week as a step toward making that happened.
Some leaders of the conservative movement will disagree — like the current editors and writers of the National Review (who made no secret of their opposition to Trump as a candidate, but seem to be grudgingly coming around).
So, in all probability, would the late Milton Friedman, a man who considered Reagan a personal hero.
Friedman was as anti-establishment as Trump, so it’s unfortunate the men are representing different sides in the GOP of the 21st century. But Trump’s fights with the establishment might only be getting started.
Please like and share this article on Facebook and Twitter if you appreciate President Trump sticking it to the establishment.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.