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Clinton and Trump Offer Only Statism, and America’s Decline

By: Javier Garay - @Crittiko - Mar 8, 2016, 10:56 am
In the United States, Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same coin: They believe in the State per se.
Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same coin: They believe in the State per se. (The Gateway Pundit)

EspañolUS voters showed their preferences in the “Super Tuesday” election on March 1. The results seem to confirm that the Democratic party’s Candidate is Hillary Clinton and that, on the Republican side, it will be Donald Trump. In any case, expectations are not very positive.

Beyond the final result (both about who the candidates will be and who will be the next President of the United States), what the world might be witnessing is how a society is, progressive and rapidly, ruining the conditions that allowed its citizens to become part of one of the richest societies in the world, both now and in historical terms.

I’m not referring to power. The relevance of the United States is not that it is a powerful country. At the end of the day there is not a more statist, more dangerous concept than power. In fact, one could argue that, with the rise of the US as a global superpower since the end of World War II, multiple processes were triggered, both domestic and international, which allowed growth without limits to the Federal Government. Currently, the US government directly and seriously threatens the freedoms and institutions that allowed the creation of wealth in that country in the first place.

If the United States maintained a limited government with specific functions as the Founding Fathers intended, it wouldn’t matter who gets elected every four years. Federalism, the system of checks and balances and the preservation of individual liberties, would would make the President’s position  almost innocuous.

But no. As things stand, the next president’s name is becoming increasingly important. Of course, these elections are not the beginning of the process I describe. George W. Bush and Barack Obama are the result (and also the architects) of the destruction of limits to the Federal Government. To be precise, it could be said that the process began, timidly and gradually, even from the Civil War, through progressive governments, to the New Deal and until today.

But the federal government’s excesses have worsened and have accelerated in recent years. And citizens are increasingly in favor of removing the chains that had previously limited the government.

Hence the importance of future candidates. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and the self-styled socialist Bernie Sanders are, without doubt, two inflamed statists. Both speak of the founding values but despise them; they consider the state as an end in itself and find the individual and freedom as obstacles in front of their social objectives. They are interventionists.

[adrotate group=”7″]Things aren’t any better on the Republican side. Donald Trump is not only statist and improvised. For him, the state is also an end in itself: that’s why he talks about America’s greatness. His obsession is power. In addition, Trump is the best example of why many who are successful in the economic sphere are neither capitalists nor liberals. They cannot be good politicians either.

Trump is not only an improviser and a populist. He also believes that, because he is rich, he can “manage” the country as he manages his business, and that his economic success makes him a sort of superior being. There is nothing more dangerous than placing a person of this sort in a position whose limits are dwindling.

Statism and more statism seem to be the only options in this US presidential election. But government spending never comes for free. As economist Friedrich von Hayek explained, politicians usually cannot innovate with their ideas; in order to be elected, they have to reflect what the majority wants.

So what we are witnessing in these elections is just what the majority wants in America. Majorities increasingly demand state action. They not only tolerate it; they want it. Some call for state intervention because they cannot stand inequality. Others believe in the desirability of living in a powerful country, which is a mere illusion. Others simply want to live at others’ expense.

A majority is supporting outsiders against the establishment candidates because it created, by its own desires and past elections, a corrupt political monster, which creates inequality since it is captured by private interests. But the solution is not more government. Too bad that they do not realize it. They blame freedom and its economic expression, capitalism, for a phenomena that can only be explained by state action.

The American experiment of a society built under the supremacy of freedom is being lost due to the folly of its own members. Who knows how long the world will have to wait to enjoy another such feat.

Translated by Leonor Ball de Silva.

Javier Garay Javier Garay

Javier Garay is a professor at the Externado University of Colombia. He has written two books on international issues, such as development, after his doctoral dissertation focused on the same topic. Follow him on Twitter @crittiko and through his personal blog, Crittiko.