A Philosopher's Blog

I’m not moving to Canada even if Trump is elected

Posted in Uncategorized by Michael LaBossiere on March 16, 2016

Americans have a habit of threatening to move to Canada if a presidential election does not go their way; however, few actually follow up on this threat. While I am worried that Trump might be elected President, I have not made this threat and have no intention of leaving should the Trumpocracy come to pass. While some of my reasons are purely practical, I also have philosophical reasons. Getting to these will, however, require a short trip through some other issues.

When I was much younger, I was into politics and dreamed of holding political office. This dream gave way to cynicism about American politics and the embracing of anarchism and then apathy. I got better, though.

When I was an anarchist, I decided not to vote. This was based on the anarchist principle that voting is both ineffective and entails acknowledging the legitimacy of the oppressive system. When I became apathetic, I did not vote on the basis of an analogy to picking a movie. As I saw it, picking between candidates was like picking between bad movies. The rational choice, it would seem, would be not to pick any: vote none of the above. I accepted this until I had a revelation while watching a movie I did not like while on a date. Elections, it turns out, are like being on a movie date when only bad movies are playing. Since you are stuck going to a movie, you need to pick among the bad choices. The goal is not to pick what you like—since all choices are bad. The goal is to pick the least bad option. In the case of elections, you are stuck with the results if you vote or do not vote. If all the options are bad, you can still try to avoid the worst option by voting for the least bad. If all options are identical in badness, then you could avoid voting at all or use an alternative method. In my case, I often vote for the one that most resembles an animal I like or vote against the one that most resembles a creature I dislike.

There is, however, a downside to voting when you regard all the options as bad: you have become part of the process and are a party to the crimes of the person you voted for—should that person win. On the plus side, if you helped the lesser evil win, then you deserve kudos for preventing a greater evil.

One problem with becoming part of the voting process is that this would seem to acknowledge the legitimacy of the process (assuming one is not compelled to vote). This would seem to commit the voter to accepting the results of a fair election. Since it looks like it will be Trump vs. Hillary, when I vote for Hillary it would seem that I am accepting the voting process. This would seem to entail that when Trump wins, I have to accept that he is my president. This is required by consistency: if Hillary wins, I would expect those who voted for Trump to accept this result. This, of course, assumes that the election was fair—if it was rigged, then that is another matter.

Locke addressed this matter—he was well aware that the losing side in a vote might be tempted to refuse to go along. Locke’s response to the problem was to point out that doing this would tear apart the system and send us back to the state of nature. As such, he reasoned, we should follow the majority in regards to voting. This, of course, leads to the problem of the tyranny of the majority, something that could be used to argue that one should not accept the election of a person who will engage in such tyrannical behavior. My own view is that the election should be accepted on the basis of majority rule. However, the tyrannical, immoral, or illegal actions of an elected official should not be accepted. So, if Trump wins the 2016 election fair and square, then he would be my president. If he started implementing his various absurd, immoral, illegal and perhaps even unconstitutional harebrained schemes, then I would certainly not accept these schemes. This opposition would be based in part on Locke’s view of tyranny and in part on John Stuart Mill’s discussion of the tyranny of the majority. The gist of both is that a ruler acts wrongly if he uses the power of office in a way that is not for the good of the people or imposes on the liberty of others without the justification that it prevents harm to others.

So, if Trump gets elected, he will be my president. I will stay here—and will certainly do what I can to oppose his likely attempts to do awful, immoral, and illegal things. Oddly, I think that the Republican controlled congress will be on my side in most of these matters.


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32 Responses

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  1. WTP said, on March 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm


  2. Magus said, on March 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    “In the short time since Trump declared his candidacy, he has performed a public service by exposing, however crudely and at times inadvertently, the posturings of both the Republicans and the Democrats and the foolishness and obsolescence of much of the political culture they share. He is, as many say, making a mockery of the entire political process with his bull-in-a-china-shop antics. But the mockery in this case may be overdue, highly warranted, and ultimately a spur to reform rather than the crime against civic order that has scandalized those who see him, in the words of the former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, as “dangerous to democracy.”


  3. nailheadtom said, on March 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    “The gist of both is that a ruler acts wrongly if he uses the power of office in a way that is not for the good of the people or imposes on the liberty of others without the justification that it prevents harm to others.”

    Why does it take a meaningless popular vote and a subsequent electoral college ballot to achieve this? Rule by aristocrats and monarchs can be just as beneficial and they’re aware that their continuance in power depends on the satisfaction of most of their subjects. The democracy/republic sham is simply a subterfuge that attempts to make people think that collectively they have some control over their destiny. They don’t.

  4. TJB said, on March 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Mike, years ago you asked us to predict what terrible things would happen if Obama were elected. I predicted that Israel might not survive an Obama presidency. Israel is still here, so thankfully it is looking like I was wrong.

    What terrible things do you think will happen if Trump is elected?

    • Magus said, on March 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Exactly the question I’ve posed to the rabid anti Trump crowd. I usually get crickets.

      • WTP said, on March 17, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        I usually get crickets

        Welcome to the fight…

    • Glen Wallace said, on March 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      I think the worst thing if Trump were elected, would be his deportation plan, if it were implemented would be a humanitarian nightmare. In order to handle the volume of detainees to be processed and moved, we would be looking at huge detention camps and the use of rail freight cars to transport to move them. An irony there is that one of Trumps biggest supporters, Alex Jones, has been warning us for decades that detention camps and mass rail transport of political prisoners in this country is just around the corner — and none of those terrible scenarios Jones has been warning us about has come to pass. The closest we have come to concentration camps in recent history has been ICE detention centers. How, under Trump’s plan would we be able to provide any judicial due process for the detainees in anything resembling a speedy trial? Unjustly detained full US citizens could be in those ICE detention camps for years before they have a chance to plead there case. Of course, I’m sure our private prisons will see Trumps plan as a windfall and they will do everything the can to draw out the detentions in order to pad their bottom line regardless of an injustice that results. And given Trump’s thin skin, I wouldn’t put it past him to find a way to get his critics to be ‘accidentally’ swept up in all the deportations and be sent to one of those Stalinist American Gulag immigration detention centers.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      He doesn’t actually have any policies, so I would have to make guesses based on his assertions about walls, winning, and whites.

      • TJB said, on March 18, 2016 at 11:15 pm

        Guess away!

      • Magus said, on March 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        What were Obama’s policies before he was elected? BTW, Trump was the first to show a complete tax plan. He has far more experience than the other candidates in dealing with real issues. The others have whimsically made decisions in areas that barely effected them, if at all. If Trump fails, I’ll vote for someone else next time. This country is in trouble. A wall is not something so radical it renders comparisons to Hitler valid. Mexico has a wall. Many countries throughout history have walls.

        Trump has expressed many more ideas on policy than any other candidate. Same things he’s been saying for decades, too.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          Trump says many things, but things like “win” and “we’ll make Mexico pay” are not policies. This is not a criticism from the dew eyed moonbats, but from conservative thinkers.

  5. TJB said, on March 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I can’t imagine Romney making an ad like this, even after the Dems accused him of murder. This is why Trump may win.

  6. WTP said, on March 17, 2016 at 11:17 am

    And our intellectual betters are aghast at why people are voting for Trump. Of course, this is neither here nor there. Can’t do anything about this as POTUS. It’s a local issue. It has nothing to do with political correctness. It’s all very complicated. You little people just don’t understand these grown-up things. There are no slippery slopes. And Trump’s ideas have little or no philosophical merit.

    “What’s wrong with her,” asked Johnson’s sister Nisha Johnson. “She did not have to shoot him.”
    “It’s no reason she should have waited until I think he walked out the yard to try to shoot him,” said Harris. “If she called the police already why would she shoot him?”
    Relatives said they don’t believe Johnson stole anything from the home but detectives would not confirm that.
    “You have to look at it from every child’s point of view that was raised in the hood,” said Harris. “You have to understand… how he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school? You have to look at it from his point-of-view.”


  7. Magus said, on March 17, 2016 at 11:41 am

    1) better trade deals with China and Japan. Calling out China on its currency manipulation.

    2) enforcing our immigration laws. Calling out the Mexican government, which has a wall between Guatemala and mexicos southern border, for releasing thousands of criminals and pointing them north.

    3) calling out business for employing leaving and employing cheap labor in Taiwan, saying he’ll put a stop to it.

    4) saying that the 2nd amendment has been eaten away, and he’ll stop the erosion.

    5) saying that law enforcement deserves respects and has been unjustly portrayed in the media

    6) stating that our military is being gotten and that America’s military should always be strong.

    WTF is wrong or extreme about these things ?

    • Magus said, on March 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

      * military is being weakened*

  8. Glen Wallace said, on March 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    How much of what Trump supporters believe about Trump is reality and how much is a combination of him saying what he thinks people want to hear that will help him reach the presidency and also what his supporters have attached their own beliefs to him? Keep in mind, Trump has never held political office nor, as far as I know, written anything resembling a philosophical treatise on social political matters. I think Trump is largely a blank slate that a lot of his supporters write there own hopes and dreams on.

    • Magus said, on March 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      There is no way to know what someone will do when they become president. I took Obama at his word when I did not vote for him. He didn’t disappoint.

    • WTP said, on March 18, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Dude, you have stated that you usually vote for the Socialist Workers’ Party candidate. To dismiss Trump supporters as being deluded is a bit delusional.

  9. muzzybarker said, on March 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Don’t forget the Netflix option, ie Jill Stein.

  10. Magus said, on March 21, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Quote from a friend of mine:

    “I paid $20k in total taxes last year & still owe $2k more. Bernie Sanders can eat a whole bag of dicks.”

    Gee, why would we want to want to push back on the incremental destruction of individual agency by the socialists and crypto-Communists? Why would I vote for Trump, who’s proposed tax plan caps taxation for all income levels at 25%.

    Destroy socialism and communism wherever you see it.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      But how much did he make? Is $22K too much and unfair or not? Also, there is the question of where the tax money is going now and where it would go under Sanders.

      • WTP said, on March 23, 2016 at 9:42 pm

        How much did you pony up yourself? Taxes paid to the Feds are more than just income taxes, which are only a little more than a third of revenues. Taxes on imports, fees on businesses, ad valorem, estate, social security, etc. are also passed on to the people who actually produce the wealth.

        The total tax burden for this country, what the Feds collect each year, is 3.3 trillion dollars. The local and state combined add up to a matching 3.3 trillion. On a population of 300 million, this works out to $11,000 for every man, woman, and child for just the federal side. Another $11K for local and state. Of course, not all those people pay income tax.

        In addition to the taxes paid, the share of the national debt for every man, woman, and child is well over a quarter million dollars.

        As for where Sanders would spend, Health and Human Services is already the biggest pig at the federal trough. Enough already.

      • Magus said, on March 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        Sanders says he’ll increase taxes.

  11. Magus said, on March 21, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    He’s looking more conservative all the time. How do you feel about non-interventionist foreign policy, Mike? I personally love the idea.

    “Trump questions need for NATO, outlines noninterventionist foreign policy”


    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Leaving NATO as Russia rises would be a very bad idea.

      • Magus said, on March 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        Have you seen what other countries give to NATO as their contribution? They don’t even meet the chartered agreement.

      • Magus said, on March 23, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        And the other Armies in NATO are flaccid. Impotent. And they’re impotent exactly BECAUSE America is in NATO–they can afford to be impotent. All NATO does is require America to act in situations that may not truly be in its best interest. We can always choose to act if we need to, we don’t need NATO for that.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 30, 2016 at 6:22 pm

          We do benefit from having bases around the world. Also, it is better to have countries in NATO rather than heading to ally with Russia.

      • Magus said, on March 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

        ‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.
        George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

  12. WTP said, on March 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Well at least we all know the form by now. This morning Islamist suicide-bombers struck one of the few European capitals they haven’t previously hit in a mass-casualty terrorist attack.

    The standard response now goes as follows. First the body parts of innocent people are flung across airport check-ins or underground trains. Briefly there is some shock. On social media the sentimentalists await the arrival of this atrocity’s cutesy hashtag or motif and hope it will tide them over until the piano man arrives at the scene of the attack to sing ‘Imagine there’s no countries’. Meantime someone will hopefully have said something which a lot of people can condemn as ‘inappropriate’. I see that the Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson was this morning’s Twitter miscreant, foolish enough to say in the wake of the Brussels attack that the EU might not make us very safe. One may agree or disagree with this sentiment, but Ms Pearson should have known that the only acceptable thing to do after a suicide bomber detonates beside the European Commission is to acclaim the Commission as one of the few entities able to keep us safe.

    We will shortly move to the next phase, which is to find a good news story amid the rubble. Anything will do, but best of all is a Muslim good news story. After Paris it was swiftly reported that one of the suicide bombers at Stade de France had been turned away by a brave Muslim security guard. The story whizzed around the world before anyone could check whether it was true. It wasn’t. But people needed it to be. Not because Muslims don’t do good deeds, but because in the wake of any Islamist terrorist attack people need people opposed to the bombers to be Muslim and the bombers themselves not to be Muslim. Then the good Muslim can represent Islam while the bad Muslims can be said to have nothing to do with it.


    There’s more…oh, so much more. But you know the story, right Dawg?

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