Farm Progress

Trump election as president looks like a real opportunity cut socialistic programs and increase profit opportunities for everyone.

Alan Newport, Editor, Beef Producer

November 16, 2016

3 Min Read


The election of Donald Trump as president portends an opportunity to push very hard on our legislators to decrease the size and scope of government.

Trump claims to represent this ideal to some degree, and it's up to us to demand it of our legislators, if we are smart enough as a free and sovereign people to do that.

Now, I realize this goes against the long-standing habit of many in the agricultural community to push for ever more subsidies, ever more taxpayer-funded schemes to put money into our own pockets, but I must remind you that a study of realistic economics and sociology says this is counterproductive and leads straight to tyranny. As if the current state of affairs with our massive, overreaching federal government has not been enough to convince even the most casual observer, I'll remind you that the Austrian economist Freidrich Hayek wrote about how and why this happens more than 50 years ago in a book titled The Road to Serfdom. It can be had in a condensed version, and is available in an audio book on YouTube, as well.

Economist Walter Williams, in the forward to a recent version of this classic book, wrote: "The only way government can give one person money is to first take it from another person. Doing so represents the forcible using of one person, through the tax code, to serve the purposes of another. That is a form of immorality akin to slavery. After all, a working definition of slavery is precisely that: The forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

"Well-intentioned socialists, if they are honest people as Hayek contends, should be able to appreciate that reaching into one’s own pockets to assist one’s fellow man is laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pocket to do so is theft and by any standard of morality should be condemned."

Williams was driving at one of Hayek's key points about handing ever-greater coercive power to the state with utterly selfish motives.

Further, Hayek explained carefully that the people who rise to powerful state positions are always the worst kind of people, as they desire the power for themselves and commonly see themselves as more righteous, more informed, and smarter than those over whom they plan to rule. The power of the position corrupts them further.

Hayek himself wrote, "Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible. There is no justification for the widespread belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source of power which prevents it from being arbitrary; to be free from dictatorial qualities, the power must also be limited.

"A distinguished American economist, Professor Frank H. Knight, correctly notes that the authorities of a collectivist state 'would have to do these things whether they wanted to or not, and the probability of the people in power being individuals who would dislike the possession and exercise of power is on a level with the probability that an extremely tender-hearted person would get the job of whipping master in a slave plantation'."

My two bits on the current situation in this country is we need to return to constitutional limits on national government and return more power to the states, such as repealing the 17th Amendment, which foolishly stole state power to elect the members of the US Senate and gave it to the masses in a  "democratic" power play that has helped to make the executive branch and the supreme court the monsters they have become.

Rather than belaboring these points, I urge you to read the Federalist Papers, in which Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson explained to the public their reasoning for constructing the Constitution as they did. A really good and understandable study course is available from Hillsdale College.

Let's return to constitutional limits, build up our freedoms and create more opportunities for everyone. I believe it's now or never.

About the Author(s)

Alan Newport

Editor, Beef Producer

Alan Newport is editor of Beef Producer, a national magazine with editorial content specifically targeted at beef production for Farm Progress’s 17 state and regional farm publications. Beef Producer appears as an insert in these magazines for readers with 50 head or more of beef cattle. Newport lives in north-central Oklahoma and travels the U.S. to meet producers and to chase down the latest and best information about the beef industry.

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