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Opposition to Progressivism Isn’t the Equivalent of Trumpism

Here’s a letter to a new correspondent:

Ms. __:

You ask  if I will “protest the policies of [Argentina’s president-elect] Javier Milei as dogmatically” as I protested “all the policies of Pres. Trump.”

I expect not to. First, I’m an American living in America. I’m more knowledgeable about the details of America’s economy and polices than about those of Argentina, and so I naturally care more about the former than I do the latter.

Second, I did not protest all of Trump’s policies (and I do not believe that what I did protest was protested dogmatically). For example, I applauded (and still do) his tax cuts, judicial appointments, and pressing the brakes on a number of government regulations – although on these fronts almost any Republican president would have done what Trump did.

Third and most importantly, you should ignore the media’s shallow and tendentious reporting. Milei, if he is to be judged by what he says, isn’t remotely akin to Trump. The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board is correct to note that “the comparisons to Mr. Trump are especially inapt. Mr. Milei is a free trader and believes in sound money. Mr. Trump is a protectionist who wants higher border taxes and demanded low interest rates as President.” See also National Review’s Dominic Pino who correctly writes that “if every right-wing outsider anywhere in the world is ‘Donald Trump,’ that only shows our media’s myopic obsession with the man and fails to present Americans with an accurate depiction of politics in other countries.”

Opposition to modern progressivism and large, intrusive governments hardly makes someone a Trumpist – especially given that Trump himself supports no small portion of the destructive progressive agenda, such as easy money, refusing to reform entitlements, and protectionism.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030