There are those who take Donald Trump literally and are terrified. I am not one of them. I am not sure where he might go but I am very glad that the Obama/Clinton, politically correct, platitudinous politics will not continue in the US. In my view Trump is the ultimate pragmatist. He is at heart a “deal-maker”. Everything he says is a negotiable position. Everything he does is part of a negotiation. My expectations are not sky-high, but I am pleased that he represents part of the pushback against the sanctimonious and misguided liberal/left thinking that has reached an extreme position after some five decades. It may have been needed after WW2 but it has gone too far. A globally uniform world consisting of uniformly cloned humans is a nonsense. The blind pursuit of a meaningless “equality” – irrespective of human variations and difference in behaviour – is a barrier rather than a help to fairness and justice.
The pendulum needs to swing back in many areas.
Universal human rights: The concept itself is heavily flawed. That the same “rights” can be enjoyed by and applied to every human, regardless of inherent differences of abilities and behaviour, is fundamentally unfair to good guys and protects the bad guys. The issue here becomes whether there is a difference between “good” and “bad”. The liberal/left position has become, effectively, a denial of the difference between good and bad behaviour. Movements for women’s rights, black rights, LGBT rights and minority rights have all forgotten that enforcing “equality” when natural (and desirable) differences exist, is only a recipe for unfairness. Denying gender difference or denying racial difference or denying behavioural difference is just wrong (and stupid). It is seeking fairness and justice – not equality – which is the goal. These “rights” movements have become vehicles, rather, for spreading injustice because they try to use a reverse discrimination to try and correct for some other perceived discrimination. Behaviour of an individual cannot be divorced from the rights of that individual.
Globalisation: The slogan used to be “think global, act local”. But that has degenerated over the years to ignore the local component. Global rules are now being used to coerce and suppress the local. The EU makes rules in Brussels and forces them, “equally”, down the throats of the labour intensive olive groves in Sicily and the highly automated Scandinavian dairy farms. Global corporations make decisions in their headquarters far away from the factories where their wealth and profits are produced. The UN has become representative of no one and no country. The balance between local and global, states versus central government, EU countries versus Brussels, bilateral deals versus global agreements has become badly skewed towards the global or centralised entities. It is a classic fight between centralised versus distributed. A balance is required and this balance is dynamic. This balance needs to shift back towards a distributed – rather than a centralised – world.
Wealth and wealth distribution: The poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The focus has shifted too much in favour of taking away from the wealth creators and giving to wealth consumers – regardless of what is deserved. This has been a disincentive for wealth creation to the detriment of all. The distinction between poverty and being poor is being forgotten. A fight against poverty is laudable and desirable. There are two ways of attacking poverty and both are needed. There is a compassionate element and there is a sustainable element. The two are well illustrated by the saying “give the hungry man a fish or teach him how to fish”. Any attempt, however, to eliminate the poor is futile and meaningless. There will always be a distribution (thank goodness) and the bottom end will always be called “the poor” even if everybody is well above the “poverty line”. The traditional liberal/left line is focused on redistribution (deserved or undeserved) while the traditional conservative view is to promote wealth creation (and which assumes a trickle down). Here too the balance has to shift back towards “to each as he deserves” rather than “to each as he needs”.
Taxation: Ultimately taxation is always the confiscation of private property for the good of the majority as determined by the majority. The confiscation is always accompanied by an implied coercive element. It is the society versus the individual. There is nothing inherently wrong with that since any society can determine its own rules for individuals to be members of that society. Here too there is a balance to be struck and a pushback is needed. The balance needs to shift back towards promoting wealth creation and taxing wealth consumption. Taxation needs to shift back closer to the point of sale and further away from the production of wealth. In simple terms, more as sales taxes and less as income tax, more tax on sales of services and less on production of goods.
It is wait and see with Donald Trump. However the world does need a shift back towards the local interest guiding the global engagement rather than global rules being imposed on a local environment. Sovereign interests have to gain a greater sway in global organisations (UN, EU, IMF, WB ….), local manufacturing has to have a greater sway within multinational corporations, states have to have greater sway within central governments and towns have to have a greater sway within their states. Effective bilateral deals are needed rather than grandiose, global, multi-lateral ones.
Maybe Trump can help with that.