20 January 2017
By Jacob G. Hornberger
With today's inauguration, supporters of Donald Trump have high hopes that he
is going to ''make America great again,'' which was his signature slogan
during his presidential campaign.
Forgive me for raining on Trump's inaugural parade but it just ain't going to
happen. Trump is not going to make America great again. He's going to do the
There is a simple reason for this. Trump, like most other conservatives, is a
big-government man. Like his fellow conservatives, he firmly believes in both
the welfare state and the warfare state.
Like other conservatives, he wants to save Social Security. He wants to
preserve Medicare and Medicaid. He believes in farm subsidies, education
grants, public works projects, foreign aid, and other aspects of the welfare
By the same token, like most other conservatives he believes in a giant and
powerful military, the CIA, and the NSA. Oh sure, he might be disputing with
the CIA over whether to continue Cold War II with the Russians, but the fact
is that Trump has the decades-old, conservative Cold War mindset that a big
and powerful national-security state is the key to a nation's greatness.
This last point is reflected in Trump's plans to bring military parades to
America as a way to show how great the country is. He told the Washington Post
this week, ''We're going to show the people as we build up our military, we're
going to display our military. That military may come marching down
Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and
Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we're going to be showing our
Wow! National greatness through military exaltation and military parades. Just
like the Soviet Union. And Nazi Germany. Check this out. And this too. Or this
one-minute video, which is from Fascist Italy under Mussolini — check out the
military children marching and also those young Italian women marching as a
sign of how great Mussolini had made Italy. Or see this 10 1/2 minute video of
Hitler watching a grand and glorious military parade in Rome. It's all enough
to make any self-respecting conservative beam with pride.
There is just one big problem with Trump's plan to make America great again:
Big government, which is what brings countries down rather than lift them up.
The big spending, the constant wars, the socialism, the regulation, the
interventionism, the taxation, and the inflation ultimately cause a country to
implode. The whole scheme ultimately caves in on itself, pulling everyone down
into the vortex in the process.
That's because when a nation has a big and powerful government, it also has a
weak, submissive, compliant citizenry. Big government oppresses and suppresses
people. It's a gigantic tic sucking the lifeblood out of the private sector.
Big government equals little people.
Trump and his fellow conservatives have it all wrong. As America's Founding
Fathers understood so well, a great nation is one that that has a very small
and weak government with very limited powers. That necessarily means no
welfare state and no warfare state. No Social Security. No Medicare and
Medicaid. No foreign aid. No farm subsidies. No other welfare. No Pentagon. No
CIA. No NSA. No overseas empire. No foreign interventionism. No drug war. No
economic regulations. No income tax. No IRS. No Departments of Commerce,
Energy, and Education. No HUD, DEA, ICE, or SEC. No Postal Service.
Like I say, a very small, weak federal government, one that wields little
power and influence in both domestic and world affairs.
The result of that kind of system? A great nation! That's because when
government is small and weak, the citizenry are strong, independent,
self-reliant, energetic, prosperous, and enterprising. It's the private
sector, not the public sector, that makes a nation great.
Nations that choose the big-government route to greatness are doomed to
experience perpetual war, violence, conflict, discord, crises, and chaos, all
the things that Americans are experiencing today.
Nations that choose the weak-government route to greatness experience the
blessings of liberty, peace, harmony, and prosperity.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in
economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the
University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He
also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught
law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become
director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has
advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the
country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and
he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show
Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full