Trump vs The Utopians

By Curtis Ellis

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Judge me by the enemies I have made.”

The enemies of President Trump and his immigration, trade, and economic policies are numerous and vocal. But whether they come from San Francisco or Wall Street, whether they call themselves progressives or libertarians or just plain old Democrats, peel off the label and you’ll see what they really are: Utopians.

Take immigration for example, please.

President Trump makes the sensible case that we must control who can come into our country and live here, and that those who are not here legally should face consequences, including removal. This is a prerogative all nations have exercised since time immemorial.

Furthermore, the president says we should revise the criteria for granting citizenship. We should prioritize those with skills rather than those with distant family connections, as our system currently does.  Considering we have record high numbers of low-skill immigrants at the same time more and more low-skill jobs are being replaced by automation, the president’s proposal is not an unreasonable one.

Reasonable people could disagree. One could make the case that our immigration policy shouldn’t be driven solely by utilitarian standards to maximize economic efficiency. But that’s not the argument opponents of President Trump’s immigration policies make.

Rather, they seem to advocate the borderless utopia John Lennon dreamed of when he implored us to “Imagine there’s no countries.”

This utopian vision is implicit in Democrats’ calls to abolish ICE along with virtually all forms of immigration enforcement, and to provide taxpayer-funded health care and social welfare benefits to all comers regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. Some progressives go even further, explicitly declaring citizenship in and of itself is exclusionary and racist. Such views are not confined to the lunatic fringe.

A utopian belief in a borderless world explains Congress’s failure to address the crisis at our southern border, where 1 million migrants from Central America are expected to show up this year alone.

Aside from his immigration policy, nothing has drawn as much opposition as the president’s trade policy. Investigations found China is stealing American intellectual property, illegally subsidizing products and dumping them in the U.S. at below fair-market value. In response, President Trump slapped tariffs on Chinese imports, as he may under existing law.

The president’s opponents objected on the grounds that these policies pose a threat to global free trade, a utopian ideology from 19th century Great Britain. Its acolytes embrace free trade like a religion, unshakeable in the belief it will make nations and armies obsolete and bring about universal peace and world government.  

There’s not a scintilla of evidence to be found anywhere in history to support this dream, but belief in a free trade utopia led American politicians to open our markets to China even as China kept its market closed to us, and to this day that belief animates critics of President Trump’s America First trade policies.

The president’s policy of tax cuts, regulatory cuts, trade reform and energy reform has sparked an economic boom that defied all expectations.

Critics could argue that his policies should be adjusted one way or another to better raise incomes and reduce unemployment even further. Instead, they declare those policies Armageddon and push utopian dreams of a Green New Deal and socialism.

While President Trump advocates environmentally safe production of America’s energy resources, his opponents push pipe dreams of “renewable energy” technologies that don’t even exist. Rather than enhanced government funding for basic research, they want jobs programs for those “unwilling to work,” truly an oxymoron.

While the president is using the American system of private enterprise to deliver higher wages right now, his opponents propose socialist plans for the government to decide who gets a job and what they’re paid, or provide everyone with a welfare check to guarantee a (barely) subsistence existence.

President Trump believes in unleashing the unlimited potential of free individuals and free thought. His opponents don’t see individuals at all, but social units defined by race and gender. This is the ultimate utopian delusion. Dystopian, actually. Anyone who disagrees and deviates from the dogma will be silenced, deplatformed, banished.

It reminds us that utopian fervor inevitably leads to ruin. And that the contest before us is not Trump vs. the Democrats.

It’s Trump vs. the Utopians.

Curtis Ellis is senior policy adviser with America First Policies. He was a senior policy adviser with the Donald Trump campaign.

Copyright © 2019 Curtis Ellis, All rights reserved.