By Jacob G. Hornberger
Dear President Trump:
You have a choice: to become an ordinary president, just like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, or one who goes down in history has having left an extraordinary legacy for freedom in America and the world.
Why do the ordinary? Why follow the path of Bush and Obama? Why not an extraordinarily different and positive direction—one that points toward liberty, prosperity, and peace?
Here are the three ways you could achieve such a legacy:
1. Declare that the United States is unilaterally going to adopt a policy of free trade with every other nation in the world. No negotiations with other countries. No trade agreements. No NAFTA or TPP. No sanctions or embargoes. No protective tariffs. Just unilateral free trade. If the rest of the world follows, great. If not, so be it. Lead by example.
In other words, free the American private sector — including businessmen like yourself — to freely travel and trade anywhere in the world without any type of restriction, regulation, or tax by the U.S. government.
The model for this is the domestic United States, which the Framers, through the Constitution, made the biggest free-trade zone in history. Americans are free to travel from state to state and trade with whomever they want without any governmental restrictions.
That’s what you could accomplish for Americans on an international basis — the same freedom to travel and trade with the people of the world that Americans have to travel and trade with others within the several states.
Think of the economic prosperity that a system of total free trade would produce. In every economic exchange, both sides benefit. Therefore, people can raise their standard of living through the simple act of trade. That means that when people are free to trade with anyone and everyone, the potential for raising their standard of living increases as well. By the same token, to the extent that government rules and regulations interfere with people’s ability to trade, to that extent people’s standard of living is lowered.
Of course, there is also the moral argument for free trade — that is, the fact that people have the fundamental, God-given right to pursue happiness in their own way by engaging in economic exchanges with others. That’s one of the points that Jefferson made in the Declaration of Independence.
If you instead accept the current system of managed trade, negotiated trade agreements, economic protectionism, embargoes, sanctions, trade wars, and the like, as Bush and Obama did, you will end up with just an ordinary presidency, just like they did. You are in a position to do something extraordinary as president. A system of unilateral free trade would accomplish that.
2. End the drug war. This federal program has been going on for decades. At the risk of stating the obvious, it has failed to achieve its objectives. But it’s done more than just fail. It has also produced an array of horrific consequences: ruination of lives, governmental corruption, drug gangs and drug cartels, violence, robberies, thefts, burglaries, muggings, asset-forfeiture laws, mandatory-minimum laws, assaults on the Constitution, invasions of privacy, deaths, racism, disrespect for law and law enforcement, and ruination of lives.
All for what? To provide employment for an army of judges, prosecutors, court clerks, and law-enforcement personnel, not to mention the drug gangs and drug cartels that the drug war has brought into existence and nurtures through its very existence? That’s not a good enough reason to maintain this horrific government program.
As in trade, we also have the moral argument to contend with: What business is it of the federal government what people decide to ingest? No matter how dangerous and destructive drugs might be, it’s no business of the federal government to be people’s nanny or daddy. Adults have the fundamental right to be adults, and that necessarily means the right to engage in self-destructive behavior.
If you want another ordinary presidency, just like that of Bush and Obama, then just keep on keeping on with the drug war. But if you want an extraordinary presidency, then lead America out of this drug-war morass by insisting that Congress repeal all drug laws.
3. End foreign interventionism on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, including a withdrawal from the old Cold War era NATO. End all foreign aid. Bring all the troops home from everywhere – -Europe, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the rest. Discharge them. They’re not needed. The United States is in no danger of a foreign invasion. All those foreign military bases, foreign aid, and foreign interventionism have brought America and the world nothing but death, maiming, corruption, and destruction.
Just think: No more anti-American terrorist blowback, “war on terrorism, USA Patriot Act, Homeland Security, assassination program, torture program, perpetual foreign policy emergencies and crises, renditions, and all the rest of the adverse consequences that come with foreign interventionism.
Given that you’re clearly not part of the political establishment, you, President-Elect Trump, don’t have to be like them or follow the well-worn immoral and destructive path that they have made for America. You have the opportunity to lead our country and the world in an entirely new direction, a positive direction, one that heads toward liberty, free markets, and a limited-government republic.
Just ask yourself: Four years from now, are you going to be satisfied with just another ordinary presidency, like Bush’s and Obama’s? Or would you prefer that your presidency go down in history as one of the most extraordinary in U.S. history?
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.