… is from page 5 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague James M. Buchanan‘s 2005 book, Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative: The Normative Vision of Classical Liberalism:
As politically organized, the classical liberal and the conservative forces seem to share basic values when, in fact, their positions rest on very different foundational attitudes.
DBx: Jim wrote these words in 2005. Were he still alive, he would not be surprised to see the truth of his observation revealed in the conduct and outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and election. Love Trump or despise Trump, there is absolutely nothing about Trump that is classically liberal. He struts and barks like any one of the countless strongmen throughout history who have grabbed power in the name of ‘the People’ only to abuse that power for personal gain and idiotic glory.
Given American culture and what remains (let’s hope) of the constitutional separation of powers and checks-and-balances, Pres. Trump is highly unlikely to be even half as calamitous as a Castro or a Chavez. Be that as it may, it’s impossible for me to understand how anyone who admires, or who admired, the (however impure) version of classical liberalism that we now associate with Ronald Reagan – or who holds in high regard the works of Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman – can suppose that Trump is anything but a dangerous thug-wanna-be.