Trump's Appeal: A New Beginning, or the Last Gasp of America?
Our economy is failing, and politics is in complete gridlock. Democrats can't articulate the difference between Democrats and Socialists. Republicans have no idea how to defend capitalism or even if they should. We have reached what Ayn Rand predicted 50 years ago in "The Obliteration of Capitalism": "It is true we are not a capitalist system any longer: we are a mixed economy, i.e., a mixture of capitalism and statism, of freedom and controls. A mixed economy is a country in the process of disintegration, a civil war of pressure-groups looting and devouring one another."
We are reaching the end of the mixed economy's utility and support. The poor no longer see further gains in benefits, as entitlements are going bankrupt. The middle class have been looted and have not seen wage increases in years. The rich face the highest tax rates of the world. Cronyism has evolved from simple pork-barrel spending to buy votes to complex structures like the Clinton Foundation. With $18 trillion in debt, $100-plus trillion in unfunded liability, and the end of quantitative easing, cronyism is now fighting over a shrinking pie. The intensity of the fight is creating even more gridlock.
Offered for the 2016 election are three conventional options of Bernie Sanders's Socialism, Hillary Clinton's mixed economy with more statism, and a Republican mixed economy status quo. Also emerging are two alternatives. One option comes from the altruistic moral justification for "social justice," supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. The thinking is that if redistribution of wealth is moral, why wait for government to spread the wealth? This is taking the form of rising crime rates, looting, riots, and vilifying the police. Under certain circumstances, this could evolve into widespread anarchy.
The other option, distinct from all the rest, is the campaign of Donald Trump and the return to capitalism. Most Republicans are turned into babbling idiots as they attempt to reject Democrats' arguments for social justice, fair share, redistribution of wealth, and environmental justice. Donald Trump's appeal is that he is advocating for capitalism not only because it works, but because it is moral. His statements that he is proud to be successful and that he is proud to be rich (and in fact, very rich) and his campaign tagline of "Make America Great Again!" are all moral statements. He is an advocate for egoism, the interests of hardworking Americans, and the self-interest of the United States of America. These are moral statements implicitly rejecting the code of altruism asserting that self-sacrifice of individuals and the country is a moral duty.
The media is full of speculation that the appeal of Trump, Carson, Cruz, and Fiorina comes from their status as Washington, D.C. outsiders. I think that Trump's appeal is that he connects to the sense of life of America. Ayn Rand said that if America is to be saved from destruction from the statists, she will be saved by her sense of life. The Trump campaign may be the beginning of what that process looks like.
Trump appeals to the America I knew growing up. Americans are optimists. They take initiative, they have a can-do attitude, they can solve and create anything, and they admire achievement. Americans are independent, proud, and generally happy. America is the home of the self-made man, where money is made, not looted or obtained through political favor and plunder. Americans are not blindly obedient, and they are defiant and will not be pushed around. That is the attitude that Donald Trump has captured.
What America needs is not conservatives, as there is nothing left to conserve. America needs radicals for capitalism who have a conviction that not only does capitalism work, but it is moral. We also need to return to a constitutional republic as originally intended by our Founders.
I want to vote for a presidential candidate who can make with conviction this statement from Ayn Rand: "[T]he United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world." Donald Trump is showing the way and stimulating the real debate for the survival of America. If others follow his lead, it could be a new beginning for America. If not, it could be our last gasp before we sink to a full totalitarian state with only an illusion of freedom.
Craig Schwartz is a retired business director of a Fortune 100 company, is active in the Tea Party, and has been involved in the study of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism for over 30 years.