The Trump Presidency Will Not Be a Disaster

The Trump Presidency Will Not Be a Disaster
Keir Martland
5th February 2017

Last night, I spoke at the Cambridge University Conservative Association’s staple event – Port & Policy – for a third time. The motion against which I spoke was that “This House Believes the Trump Presidency Will Be a Disaster.” The following was my argument, though not nearly so eloquently as written up here ex post facto:

It is an undeniable and perhaps regrettable fact that Presidents of the United States affect more people than just citizens of the United States. It therefore, sadly, matters to us which inadequate inhabits the White House far more than it matters who is currently President of Brazil. We are therefore required to pass judgement on US Presidents in a way in which we simply are not with regards to other world leaders.

When faced with the question of whether Mr Trump will be a disaster, I am reminded of a joke. Two economists in some faculty at some university are sat awkwardly making small-talk. Economist #1 asks, “How’s the wife?” Comes the reply from Economist #2, “Compared to what?” Mr Trump will be disastrous? Compared to whom – to James Buchanan, whose disastrous presidency led to the Civil War? Or to Warren Harding? Or to Ulysses S. Grant? Or, worse, to George W. Bush? Indeed, to the last three Presidents of the United States? Or more specifically to the last President?

Oh, but Mr Trump is imposing a ‘Muslim ban’! This surely means he is already “disastrous.” Well, no he isn’t doing any such thing, and the reality is rather more complex than this rather unhelpful term encapsulates. For the avoidance of doubt, many of my best friends are Muslims. One, indeed, I am particularly honoured to call my friend, a certain Dr Guelcin Imre, is the grand-daughter of an Ottoman Sheikh-ul-Islam no less! Those who know me will attest to the fact than I am no Islamophobe. But, I repeat, this is not a Muslim ban and for that reason I cannot summon up the same indignation as those who protested so recently were able to.

As much as it pains me to make such a comparison, I feel it must be made: the lot of Muslims in this country, while far from easy, is as nothing compared to that of Jews in Israel. Here we must again ask just what the motion about the Trump Presidency means. Disastrous compared to whom? And disastrous for whom? For Israeli Jews, and by implication the world over since brazen attacks on Israel give carte blanche to brazen anti-Semitism elsewhere, the Obama administration has been disastrous. Indeed, the Simon Wisenthal Center cited US abstention on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction, in contravention of a decades-long US policy of vetoing such resolutions, as 2016’s top anti-Semitic incident. Anti-Semitism has been on the increase of late, whether in the American Alt-Right yet also in the far-left, or in the British Labour Party and National Union of Students. Indeed, on Thursday, on my way to dinner, just outside Queen’s College I heard three female students talking about this issue in quite an alarming manner. “Oh, the Zionists just, like, went in, and conquered Palestine, and like, they’ve been killing brown people ever since,” went the potted history lesson. While I accept that there is a legitimate distinction to be made between criticism of Israel and a dislike of Jews, in practice this distinction is often blurred. What begins as “anti-Zionism” becomes anti-Semitism after a bottle of wine in most cases I have known. Now, is all of this Mr Obama’s fault? No. But is it at least partially enabled by the approach taken by the US towards Israel over the last 8 years? Oh, yes.

When I came out as a conservative back in 2009, I never in my wildest dreams thought that the US – and by extension the world – would once again have a President on the one hand firmly committed to a peace process and on the other hand to renewed and firm friendship with Israel.

Indeed, I never in my wildest dreams thought that there might one day be a President willing to appoint SCOTUS justices so apparently committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade, thereby putting the world one small step along the road towards ending the genocide of perhaps 50 million babies a year. I never in my wildest dreams thought that there might one day be a President who would pledge to cut regulation by as much as 75%, or a President who would talk frankly about immigration and, more importantly, aim to deliver on it, or a President actually willing to criticise – in the sharpest, most cutting, most unfiltered way imaginable – what, when pressed, even the most hardcore neocon will admit to have been US foreign policy failures.

To end where I began: A disaster? Compared to what? And in what sense? Donald Trump may indeed be politely described as a piece of shit, morally speaking. But then what politician isn’t? For democracy is a system which rewards the production of demagogues. As a conservative, of course I love the free market and its corollary, competition. But competition is only desirable in the production of ‘goods’, that is, things that people want – milk, bread, cheese, cars, and port for that matter. In these cases, free entry and free prices will tend to drive up quality and drive down prices. Competition is most certainly not desirable, however, for the production of ‘bads’, that is, non-goods, and in these the State has a veritable monopoly – taxation, regulation, enslavement, war, etc. Competition in the production of these things will tend to continually worsen society.

Moreover, what else can we expect other than megalomaniacs running the show? As J.R.R. Tolkien argued, no man, least of all he or she that seeks the opportunity, should have the job for which no one is fit: that of bossing others around. In such a system, the worst always rise to the top, that is, he or she who is the most effective demagogue or manipulator of the system. And as far as demagogues go, Mr Trump, with his distinctive bluntness of speech and his radical departure from the ways of his immediate predecessors, is a breath of fresh air. Mr Trump’s critics rarely if ever claim to dislike democracy, when in fact they are every bit as anti-democratic as I am. You might not like what he is doing, but you have to at least concede that he is doing it, and it is what he promised to 63 million Americans he would do, and what he earned the ‘right’ to do by winning 306 electoral college votes in November. Democrats: put up, or shut up!



  1. I must admit that President Trump is turning out, so far, to be much better than I expected. Better than what? Better than most of his predecessors for the past hundred years and more, in the sense that he appears to be committed to the founding values of ‘These United States’, as they used to be called before Lincoln stomped all over the rights of individuals and imposed centralised rule on what had become by then a single entity, rather than a union of sovereign States. Trump appears to want to strip power from the Federal bureaucracy and return it whence it came – to the common man, or ‘We the People’ as they say in the States. Much to my surprise, I am becoming an avid fan of President Trump.
    This admiration is tempered by the fact, or at least the notion, that I would have been an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler, at least up till 1938. Who wouldn’t? Hitler was a miracle-worker, but of course it all went wrong because of his own hubris. And Trump is not short of hubris. So I feel it is in everybody’s interests to keep an eye on him and stop him going off the rails, should he show any tendency to do so. Of course that may never happen, and he may go from strength to strength, but I believe a degree of vigilance is in order. In any case, it took ten years for the wheels to fall off Hitler’s wagon, and Trump only has eight at most.
    I feel you could draw a sharper distinction between criticism of Israel and ant-semitism. I don’t believe the two are even remotely related. There are a hundred and one reasons for criticizing Israel, at least some of which may be valid, and there are another hundred and one reasons for criticising Jews as a species, some of which, although subjective, are at least arguable. My late father-in-law, a former SS member, was wary of Jews. He claimed they always worked their way to the top and let other people do all the work. This is an arguable point, and does not constitute ant-semitism in my opinion, which is quite distinct from a mere dislike of Jews.
    A dislike of Jews may be illustrated as follows; You are my friend. One day I find out you are Jewish. My response is “I don’t normally like Jews, but you are different.” Anti-semitism runs as follows; You are my friend. One day I find out you are Jewish. My response is “You can no longer be my friend because you are a Jew”.
    Incidentally, since you mentioned Roe v. Wade, I don’t know if you saw Hillary on the campaign trail arguing that it was perfectly ok to abort a baby the day before it was due. Considering that any mother who kills her newborn will likely be looking at capital charges, I find Hillary’s logic very hard to comprehend. Impossible, in fact.

  2. Excellent argument! I think the greatest difference between Trump and his recent predecessors is that he does what he says he is going to do, whether good or bad — and if he changes his mind, he is open about that also. We in the united states have become accustomed to the rhetoric of professional politicians raised on the delivery of empty promises, nuance-laden opinions, and actions unrelated to words. I think Trump’s most virulent opponents are from the cadre that prefers their politics sugar-coated, that prefers form over substance, that prefers popular opinion over hard truths, and that prefers a ruler over self-reliance.

  3. “but you have to at least concede that he is doing it, and it is what he promised to 63 million Americans he would do”
    I think this is the bit that some are hyperventilating about. I imagine their last hope was that he’d be all fiery rhetoric on the stump and then completely ignore it all once voted in, like all politicians.

  4. Trump will be a failure.

    Not by comparison with his rotten predecessors, but judged by the (high) standards of his own pre-election claims.

    And does anyone seriously think that one of the US’s major problems is its low millitary budget?

    And will he replace inflationism by sound money?

    I know Hillary was quite ghastly and many of us were delighted that she lost, but it’s just wishful thinking to pretend that Trump is some kind of Ron Paul.

    He isn’t and he never will be.

  5. I think he will be both a success and a disaster, exactly at the same time.


    Well, I think for the establishment press and general liberalism, along with some degree of globalist entities and individuals, he will be a “disaster”. For those of us who sick of the liberal establishment strait jacket in its current format, he could be a great success.

    I think of it this way……. if your world is structured and organised around the established order (for example, the high profile tech companies whining about Trump’s immigration positions, factories who make profits from exporting jobs and importing cheap labour) then Trump is a frightening prospect.

    Indeed, seen on that level, he could be a wrecking ball. Jobs and factories could be lost. Companies may struggle to find native citizens who can meet their needs in skills and experience. If your business model is arranged on the back of “diversity” or “feminism” – it could spell the end for your funding, your ‘social’ programs, your propaganda.

    You cannot challenge the status quo without causing “chaos” and “disaster”. However, in the long term, if by some miracle he can get to do some of the things he wants to do (including ‘draining the swamp’ and taking on the media power which is in far too few a hands), it could create a very positive future free of the liberal chaos and rot which has dramatically changed society in the last several decades.

    I am sure Trump will not be all I want him to be. He still has one leg in the “mainstream” system of thought, attitude, advisers, agendas. He will be working with – and struggling against – an entire structure that is against him and his kind of politics.

    The media is a truly disgusting beast which is working night and day to do anything they can to scupper all of his plans and to try and break him down to the point where he has to be removed. With every story, they gleefully pump it up in an attempt for this or that comment, or “scandal” to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Last week, I believe he got something wrong about the crime statistics. The rise in the previous two ears had been reported as ‘the highest rate {of change} in 50 years’. Trump repeated this as crime being the “highest in 50 years” – when it actually wasn’t. An understandable mistake. It was an error, but the way they go to town on it is far out of proportion.

    But what strikes an ordinary person like me as being odd, too, is that hundreds of articles and hours of air time can be found to pump up such a story – pulling out various figures, stats, technicalities over categorisations of some crimes, etc – but in real terms, it doesn’t actually matter.

    His policies, I believe, are intended to reduce crime and help the police do their jobs. Whether it was 230 murders, or 250 murders, or 275 murders, what does that truly matter to the function of whatever it was Trump was talking about or proposing to be done? Nothing. Nothing as I see it, anyway.

    This is one of the reasons I loathe and mistrust the mainstream media. They have an agenda, without any doubt in my mind – and they are doggedly going to pursue it, not even caring about what might actually work, or self reflecting on the policy attitudes they have held and why they might not be working. They are more interested in manufacturing news to their own tune, to try and make “change” impossible.

    • What do you mean by ‘mainstream media’, and what do you believe their agenda might be? I would have thought ‘the media’ was actually quite diverse, and their agenda was mainly to sell newspapers or whatever?
      But I do get cross by the sloppy thinking both of the press and the people who devour its output; to this day they still mis-quote Powell as having referred to “rivers of blood”, and take Maggie’s “no such thing as society” completely out of context by leaving out the second half of her sentence.

      • By mainstream media, I mean the largest and most well known outlets that command the most influence and airtime.

        As far as I understand it, a great majority of this media, particularly in America (and in Sweden, and other nations) are owned and run by quite a small group of people and interests who do not share the principles of peoplehood, nationhood, or even any real remnant of traditional values.

        Their agenda, as I see it, is to help undermine these things and to act as an ever present noise that not only shapes events, key people, governments, but society itself. The power of the media cannot be over stated in my opinion, and they are not an innocent or impartial presence that merely reports on or ‘holds to account’ those in positions of power and influence.

        Over the years, I have tended to notice that when we get a new governance, it starts out by leading the charge……creating policies, making changes, to which the media reports on, to its own slants and tastes.

        Yet, before long, the tables turn…..and the media is suddenly leading the charge. It is they who are deciding the talking points, they who are pressing for policy changes/pressure, to which ministers feel compelled to react. They all seem to work in concert. There is a “topic of the day” which they all cover relentlessly.

        I think the diversity of the media is a bit of a myth and a construct that actually sets limits upon what the boundaries of positions, debates, opinions, discourses, policies, etc can be. In my opinion, I would consider it to fair to suggest that around 80% of the major American media organisations – both written and televisual – are hostile to Trump.

        Those who aren’t hostile, are often just neutral – or, like the National Review, still hostile, but from a different direction.

        In Britain, we have the likes of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express who are held up as being the opposite to the Guardian, and thus we are said to have ‘wide diversity’ from one extreme to the other. But I do not see them being such. When it comes to the fundamental crunch, they all have the same kinds of base points and talking points that frame events.

        Sure, all the media, like the Express and the Mail, are interested in selling papers and tapping into their follower’s fears and prejudices to make money and shape ideas. But they are often wildly hypocritical. Not only is it shown in things they do not cover, but often in how they tackle some things which are.

        The Mail and Express are running news items daily about immigration, Islam, crime, scandal……yet whenever anybody does something to stand up against all this stuff, they are often the first in the queue to write about “vile” people and “vile” organisations who are “stirring up hate” on the “far right”……and whether it was Nigel Farage, or Le Pen, or Geert Wilders, or Afd, they were all something a bit “frightening” and “fringe”.

        One minute they are railing against hijabs and immigrants, the next they are presenting Nadia Hussein from the “Bake Off” as the exemplar of being British and following the hype that they themselves have generated over it.

        Every day the Mail seems to have something in about Jews and the Holocaust, WW2 Germany, the evils of Nazism. Seriously, you are almost guaranteed to find one every day. It is supposed to be a “Conservative” newspaper, yet there are few, if any, exposes on the bloody history of Communists, gulags, etc.

        We are supposed to have BBC and Channel Four. Yet they are both state organisations and both are riddled with bias and an agenda. The examples are too numerous to list, but even on the basics they have little attempt at portraying the “other side” in a positive or understandable light.

        Before the American elections, the BBC and Ch4 had a spate of “documentaries” about Trump. One was by Jeremy Paxman and was supposed to be about both Clinton and Trump – yet it was 80% or more air time against Trump, often in a puerile and confrontational manner of ridicule and disbelief – and was much less hostile or investigative of Clinton and the fringes of her support base.

        Another program looked at the election from the perspective of the “fears” of minority groups. They might have covered it ‘normally’, (I doubt it), but I do not recall any documentaries being aired that were following the lives and fears of people who have had relatives killed by illegal immigrants, or due to drugs imported over the border, or people who lost their jobs due to exporting of their jobs and how they supported Trump.

        The slant is almost always one way. Hollywood films, panel discussions, comedy panel shows, musicians, pop figures……..

        They are out to get Trump. Their sole aim seems to be to bring him down. There have even been thinly veiled skirting around the edges of how assassination could be a “solution”, after driving the image of this man so far into being the “next Hitler” that they are actively encouraging the kind of fear and hysteria that would drive somebody to try it.

        • Yes, I cannot disagree with anything you say. I’m in Florida at the moment, and it is interesting to watch the BBC news channel here and contrast their sneering treatment of Trump with some of the local media outlets, some of whom are vocally supportive of his policies (a position which would be Verboten in England of course).

        • Best comment this year. Won’t be appreciated by the half-wits here, of course, most of whom will be too busy worrying about their silly ‘libertarianism’ to work out just how fast we’re descending into the pit of servitude and slavery. There will be no liberty when the aliens that are pouring in take over. Open borders, oh for gawd’s sake – ‘whom to the gods wish to destroy they first make made’!

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