Trump and Winning as a Political Philosophy

There have been countless articles, columns, and quips about what drives Donald Trump.  Undoubtedly, countless more will appear before the end of his presidency.

One prevailing certainty is this: President Donald Trump has expressed a dedication to "winning."  He said during his campaign that the U.S. does not win anymore and, by implication, he was the man who could reverse this iniquity upon our America.  In fact, he said, he'll cause so much winning that we'll get tired of it.  He wants the American people to win, and in his appeal, winning will make America "great again."

Will winning put America back on the ascent again and, more importantly, back on track to its foundational principles?  We shall see.  It depends on what President Trump perceives winning to be – which issues are to be taken on, how the winning takes place, and what is the measure of success.

The context and the philosophy behind each circumstance of a "win" are vitally important.  The schoolyard bully "wins" when he takes lunch money from a weaker kid.  The progressives and President Obama claimed a "win" with the passage of Obamacare.  Both of these actions, however, are vile to individual liberty, one of America's most important core principles or philosophies.

Therefore, it must not be assumed that winning is necessarily constructive or moral, nor is it, in and of itself, a political philosophy to be blindly followed.  By itself, the act of winning says nothing about the underlying methods used or the attributes, principles, or ethics of the actors involved regarding any particular issue.  A CEO may be dedicated to winning for his company (winning in this case defined, say, as simply making more money), but the means of winning could fall anywhere on the spectrum from honesty to deceit and corruption.

Winning at any cost by utilizing deceit and corruption would not advance American culture – the culture upon which we were founded.

Does Trump as president want to win at any cost?  To discern that question at this point is pure conjecture.  He stresses winning but provides little in the way of underlying philosophy as to what means are to be employed in order to win or why a win is just and necessary or how the outcome is to be measured as a win.

President Trump articulates that he wants wins through more employment, better deals with companies and foreign countries, greater health care, stronger borders, lower taxes, updated infrastructure, stronger military, the elimination of regulations, reining in political correctness, and so on.  "Wins" in those areas could truly be great for America if they are framed around the core of moral ethics and individual liberty and not around what advances the progressive, welfare, socialist, or collectivist nation-state.

Care is required here.  For example, a "revised" health care system still based on myriad and compulsive dictates of the state, even if it lowers costs, does not advance individual liberty and, in fact, advances progressive statism.  Equally, a revised health care system whereby free-market capitalism is shackled or results in highly subsidized or "free" insurance for some also fails to advance individual liberty, but instead advances collectivism and the welfare state.  The left declares Obamacare a win simply because more people have insurance (though by coercion and hefty subsidies) – which came at the cost of the enslavement of everyone: those who must pay for the subsidies and the receivers of the subsidies through sustained dependency.

The philosophy underlying the founding of this country – moral ethics and individual liberty being two of the predominant features – established the citizens as the sovereign and the government the servant.  Servant in this case does not mean slave, nor does it mean that the people are the masters who get whatever they want.  The servant in this case is delegated defined functions that "serve" the interests of the naturally endowed free individual as citizen.  The government as servant provides certain protections to the citizens: against physical and legal harm by the armed forces and courts of law and against its own encroachment by leaving the citizens alone in their liberty (inalienable rights).

Laudably, President Trump has started down a path of winning in key areas in order to reverse what has been set upon the American individual at the caustic hands of politicians under the banners of progressivism and statism.  However, his winning as a political philosophy must include the basis of moral ethics and individual liberty, or we will be left with only a short-term postponement of further destructive advances and attacks by the progressives and statists.

Gary Hancock is a retired corporate director of contracts for the defense industry and is now a commentator and author.  His first book is Sustaining Liberty: And Reclaiming Limited Government in America.

There have been countless articles, columns, and quips about what drives Donald Trump.  Undoubtedly, countless more will appear before the end of his presidency.

One prevailing certainty is this: President Donald Trump has expressed a dedication to "winning."  He said during his campaign that the U.S. does not win anymore and, by implication, he was the man who could reverse this iniquity upon our America.  In fact, he said, he'll cause so much winning that we'll get tired of it.  He wants the American people to win, and in his appeal, winning will make America "great again."

Will winning put America back on the ascent again and, more importantly, back on track to its foundational principles?  We shall see.  It depends on what President Trump perceives winning to be – which issues are to be taken on, how the winning takes place, and what is the measure of success.

The context and the philosophy behind each circumstance of a "win" are vitally important.  The schoolyard bully "wins" when he takes lunch money from a weaker kid.  The progressives and President Obama claimed a "win" with the passage of Obamacare.  Both of these actions, however, are vile to individual liberty, one of America's most important core principles or philosophies.

Therefore, it must not be assumed that winning is necessarily constructive or moral, nor is it, in and of itself, a political philosophy to be blindly followed.  By itself, the act of winning says nothing about the underlying methods used or the attributes, principles, or ethics of the actors involved regarding any particular issue.  A CEO may be dedicated to winning for his company (winning in this case defined, say, as simply making more money), but the means of winning could fall anywhere on the spectrum from honesty to deceit and corruption.

Winning at any cost by utilizing deceit and corruption would not advance American culture – the culture upon which we were founded.

Does Trump as president want to win at any cost?  To discern that question at this point is pure conjecture.  He stresses winning but provides little in the way of underlying philosophy as to what means are to be employed in order to win or why a win is just and necessary or how the outcome is to be measured as a win.

President Trump articulates that he wants wins through more employment, better deals with companies and foreign countries, greater health care, stronger borders, lower taxes, updated infrastructure, stronger military, the elimination of regulations, reining in political correctness, and so on.  "Wins" in those areas could truly be great for America if they are framed around the core of moral ethics and individual liberty and not around what advances the progressive, welfare, socialist, or collectivist nation-state.

Care is required here.  For example, a "revised" health care system still based on myriad and compulsive dictates of the state, even if it lowers costs, does not advance individual liberty and, in fact, advances progressive statism.  Equally, a revised health care system whereby free-market capitalism is shackled or results in highly subsidized or "free" insurance for some also fails to advance individual liberty, but instead advances collectivism and the welfare state.  The left declares Obamacare a win simply because more people have insurance (though by coercion and hefty subsidies) – which came at the cost of the enslavement of everyone: those who must pay for the subsidies and the receivers of the subsidies through sustained dependency.

The philosophy underlying the founding of this country – moral ethics and individual liberty being two of the predominant features – established the citizens as the sovereign and the government the servant.  Servant in this case does not mean slave, nor does it mean that the people are the masters who get whatever they want.  The servant in this case is delegated defined functions that "serve" the interests of the naturally endowed free individual as citizen.  The government as servant provides certain protections to the citizens: against physical and legal harm by the armed forces and courts of law and against its own encroachment by leaving the citizens alone in their liberty (inalienable rights).

Laudably, President Trump has started down a path of winning in key areas in order to reverse what has been set upon the American individual at the caustic hands of politicians under the banners of progressivism and statism.  However, his winning as a political philosophy must include the basis of moral ethics and individual liberty, or we will be left with only a short-term postponement of further destructive advances and attacks by the progressives and statists.

Gary Hancock is a retired corporate director of contracts for the defense industry and is now a commentator and author.  His first book is Sustaining Liberty: And Reclaiming Limited Government in America.