Right on schedule, Trump actually went.  I’m at least a little surprised.  So now that it’s actually over, let’s look back a bit at the Trump regime, and then take a look at what’s to come.

I will give credit where credit is due. Much as Obama had 3 1/2 good things in his 8 years (rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, having the DOJ prosecute corrupt cops, and being around when the Supreme Court handed down Obergfell), Trump had, by my reckoning, 1 and 2 small fractions good things. The tax code is slightly simpler for a lot of people. There was a bit of rapprochement with North Korea. And, though it probably pained him to tell the truth about something as much as it pains me to admit it, Trump was more or less right when he said he started no new wars. This makes him the first US president since Warren G. Harding not to do so-and before that it was Grover Cleveland.

And the fact that this is actually a major, not-in-a-century accomplishment says a lot about just how far we’ve fallen.

Now let’s look at the awful. While not a completely comprehensive list, some of the especially egregious lowlights include, in no particular order…

Worst president ever? Eh. As I’ve said before, we still have Wilson and Jackson in our history, so maybe not. But Donald J. Trump, you were still complete shit who did a lot of things that ranged from awful to outright evil. You will not be missed, please let the door hit you upside the head on your way out, and I hope against hope that you were the one that was finally egregious enough to convince a Senate or a jury to convict your sorry ass and set a precedent of accountability for all of your successors.
@#^! you, and good @#6!ing riddance.

So with Trump actually out of the way, how about the new boss?  I hope I’m wrong about Biden. I hope he decides not to be a warmongering jackass with a cop sidekick. I hope his immigration proposal goes through. I hope he backs off/forgets about/gives it up in exchange for money to prosecute corrupt cops/is defeated in court his gun control plan. I hope he ends the trade war. I hope he ends the drug war. I hope having a president that only votes for racist legislation and says racist things on occasion improves things over someone who signs racist legislation and says racist things every day. I hope he magically decides to tear down the insane system of subsidies, bailouts, and other corporate welfare that strangles our populace. I hope that talking to other countries in complete sentences again might increase the chance of peace in the world and reduce the US’s elected class’ appetite for war. I hope that maybe someone will be able to sneak pardons for the most important whistleblowers of our age past him. I hope that someone around him will say something to the effect of “Hey! 27 trillion in debt is kind of a bad idea!”.

I had similar hopes for Obama too. But much like Obama’s record made me very skeptical about the reality to come (and I was essentially 100% right), Biden’s record does not inspire.

Sure, @#^! Trump, I’m glad he’s gone, and I’m glad peaceful transfer of power is still a thing around here. But expecting much different from Biden where it counts? I’m not holding my breath.

Two days ago a bunch of pro-Trump people stormed the US capitol, thrashed some offices, and generally tried to disrupt the final certification of the electoral college vote and the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.  Since then social media has been abuzz with the talk about the details and the implications.  There’s been a combination of frustration, hand wringing, disgust, anger, confusion, and a lot of other things besides.

Suffice to say I have Some Thoughts on the matter.

First off, this was a disgusting action by a bunch of pro-tyranny, often horribly racist idiots pissed that their tyrant didn’t win. 

This was not any great day for freedom or righteous assault on a terrible place.  Had it escalated the worst possible outcome was a civil war with no good sides, rather than a good side and a bad side.

This was not the work of antifa or some false flag operation, and to say so is some of the most ignorant, delusional, and rank stupidity I have ever heard in over 20 years of being politically aware.

Spike Cohen’s call for understanding is admirable, but in one of the few times I disagree with him I think it’s wasted words on people full of hate, bile, and blind cult worship.

This is not a great opportunity for the libertarian movement either.  It’s probably the optimistic minarchist in me, but the combination of a return to more banal, functional evil and a LOT of newly energized people from the Jorgensen campaign ready to run for city council in 2021 is a powerful one.  Massive chaos at the top and an almost inevitable crackdown won’t help advance our cause.

The argument that if the protestors had been black or brown they would have gotten their asses kicked by police rather than allowed to waltz in almost entirely unopposed has a lot of merit.

The whataboutism being drawn by some people over the Black Lives Matter riots this summer is false equivalency.  Black Lives Matter had and has a completely legitimate and gigantic gripe, namely that the state really shouldn’t be murdering people, especially those that aren’t pale skinned.  While I do wish that more of the rage had been directed specifically at the state rather than everywhere, as much as I can I understand that level of frustration, anger, and desperation.  It’s palpable, and real, and justified.  How you can listen to this, for example, and not be moved to tears or blind fury (or both) is beyond me.  The Trumpians’ gripe, on the other hand, is complete bullshit.  Every allegation of fraud was either shut down, often by Republican election officials in states Trump lost, or defeated soundly in over 50 lawsuits, often in front of Republican appointed judges.  And as Legal Eagle pointed out, the gap between what Trump’s legal team said in public vs. what they actually said under oath was staggering.  Black Lives Matter went to war for an ugly truth.  Trump’s cult went to war for a lie.  And contra Slim Charles, fighting on a lie only destroys.  There are serious systemic problems with how we do presidential elections, including precinct consolidation, gerrymandering, the Commission On Presidential Debates, and stuff like I covered here.  But under the rules as they stand Biden won fair and square.  Trumpers need to suck it up and deal, and run a better candidate next time.

The LP’s public statement on the matter, contra the Mises Caucus, were right.  The why, the how, and the who matters.  There are scenarios I can envision where a group would have charged the seat of power like that and I’d cheer.  But again, a bunch of racist wackadoos whining about their cult leader not winning over the other cult leader?  Nothing righteous about it.  And unless you’re really prepared for civil war, with all of the blood and pain that would result AND the highly uncertain outcome, maybe it might be a good idea to let a combination of political reform, growing our movement, and building competing institutions like alternate currencies, direct primary care providers, private education do its thing.

My opinion of the federal government and most of its actions ranges somewhere between my opinion of syphilis and AIDS.  It remains a horrid, murderous, thieving monster that should be opposed whenever possible.  But one of the few things it does well is relatively fair and open elections, with plenty of systemic problems but almost no retail level fraud.  And yes, democracy has its own problems, but those elections still represent a real avenue for potential change and societal improvement.  They shouldn’t be left to the violent whims of easily deluded racists begging for a new king.

Wow.  It’s the end of my first calendar year writing here at Flawed Jewel.  Something I’ve been meaning to do for at least a decade has finally come to life.  In about 5 months of doing this I’ve written 17 full essays and a couple of minor posts, and gone from zero to over 1200 followers on twitter.  Rookie numbers, almost certainly, but not a terrible start for someone writing part time with no actual name recognition.

This year was, in many ways, a terrible one for liberty.  Police murdering people in very public ways all year.  Federal troops used against protestors.  Corporate welfare out the ass.  Continuation of awful wars, and footing the bill for other peoples’ awful wars.  98% of the country voting for one of two bastards rather than one of the good candidates on the ballot.  A virus that made people on both sides act like complete idiots, and where both the disease and the response caused vast amounts of destruction.  Ever escalating national debt.  Protectionism.  Rumblings about repealing important protections of free speech.   Racist bullshit.  Transphobic bullshit.  The usual assault on the right to keep and bear arms.  The drug war is still a thing.  A small but obnoxious contingent of former libertarian stalwarts decided to support Trump, for some reason.  Impeachment was tried for the weaker of possible reasons, and failed.

It’s easy to be depressed about all of that.  All of that is real, and depressing.  But there were bright spots too.  There was massive resistance to police murder.  There were people all over the country that finally fought back, and gods bless the commies with cardboard, umbrellas, and hockey sticks.  A DA was elected in LA on the explicit promise to, and I quote, “end the racist drug war”.  The Libertarian Party picked up 2 state representatives and a bunch of local offices, and ran its best presidential ticket in a decade and a half.  The drug war lost BIG at the state level across the country.  Economic liberty made real gains at the ballot in places like California (I know, right?).  3D printed guns made major advancements.  Bitcoin and other crypto currencies soared in value as more people finally put money in them.  The liberty movement itself, for all its infighting and crankiness, picked up a lot of new members, reinvigorated many of its old guard, and went to places that it had never existed before, let alone been received positively.  And maybe, just maybe, people are listening about making 2021 the year of libertarians rather than waiting for the next presidential cycle.

And for me personally I finally got back into things after a decade away, and a lot longer of planning on doing this but never actually doing anything about it.  The result has been that I met a lot of wonderful people, both online and in person, I’ve learned a lot more, I’ve examined my beliefs and tried to understand them and the beliefs of others better, and dare I say I’ve even had fun doing it.  For the tens of people that actually read this, thank you.  For the people that follow me on twitter, thank you.  For those of you that get up every day and try to make the world a better, freer place, thank you.  And for everyone who survived 2020, thank you.  You made it. 

The clock turning to January 1, 2021 is not a magic panacea.  There is still so much to be done, so much to rebuild and so much to build anew.  There are bastards to be fought at every turn.  But as Neil Gaiman says, the point of fairytales isn’t to show that dragons exist.  It’s to show that dragons can be beaten.

2021.  Let’s go slay some dragons.


In Liberty,