2016-11-09

Some Post-Election Thoughts

I had written emphatically that there was no real difference between Hillary Clinton's policies and Trump's rhetoric. In light of a Trump victory, it bears repeating myself somewhat by saying that I expect a Trump presidency to provide all of the pitfalls of a Clinton presidency. So while I am mildly encouraged that we avoided a Clinton presidency, I am disappointed that we have to endure a Trump presidency instead.

At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen provides a list of people he says "will" rise in status. Confusingly, he says that this is the list of who will, but of course he's making a prediction. So doesn't he really mean it's a list of who should?

Anyway, I thought I might provide a list of people who have elevated in status in my eyes as a result of this election:

And here's my list of people who have fallen in status in my eyes as a result of this election:

  • Silicon Valley libertarians
  • The media (hard to believe they could fall any further, I know)
  • Wishy-washy leftists who call themselves libertarians but work to undermine the cause of liberty. (Names redacted.)
  • Will Wilkinson
  • Anyone who ever said that a vote for Clinton was a vote for people who are happy with the status quo.
Having said all that, I want to discuss a few reasons to feel optimistic about the results of the election.

First of all, there is a good possibility that the leftists' defeat will leave them angry enough to want to thwart Trump at every turn. This is good! Perhaps they will start to become more skeptical of government in general and seek to limit its power and/or replace it with local alternatives. For example, California voted to legalize marijuana. That's not just a win for liberty, it proves to a very leftist state that they can get the kind of policies they want if they only choose to act locally, rather than hammering their views down on the rest of the country from top.

Second of all, the mere farce of having a reality TV star like Trump in the White House ought to be enough to encourage everyone, of all political stripes to become more uneasy with federal power and to become interested in limiting it. Obviously the Will Wilkinson angle loses out here. "What if we can't shrink government?" is a dumb question to ask at the moment Donald Trump ascends to the seat of the most powerful person in the world. Now is the exactly the right time to ignore people like Will Wilkinson. And it's obvious enough now that the argument simply speaks for itself.

Finally, this has been an enormous win for Wikileaks and the power of open-source journalism. Emboldened by their success, they might continue to up the ante, do even better work, and the public may finally come around the prospect that change is possible