There is an ongoing narrative in the media and by Democrats that President Trump is a threat to everything American, that he is fascistic and that our most basic freedoms are under assault. Therefor, all must #resist!
But the opposite is true when set in juxtaposition to the Obama Administration.
The actual facts on the ground do not support what appears to be only a caricature created to scare the Democrat base and the American people in pursuit of the ongoing agenda to undermine the duly elected president.
When looking at Trump’s actions, compared to Obama’s actions, several things become clear. Not every individual action is pro-liberty, but in the aggregate, there is a substantial net lurch toward freedoms that moves the needle in the opposite direction from the Obama administration’s eight years of restraining American freedoms on several fronts.
The basics make the point.
Ironically, Trump’s expansion of freedoms holds true even for the media that despises Trump and disingenuously considers him fascistic or trending toward Nazism.
Under Obama, we had actual federal government surveillance of Associated Press reporters and an FBI investigations of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Those are the ones we know of. Further, Obama and the Eric Holder Department of Justice aggressively pursued government whistleblowers — the journalists’ sources.
According to the decidedly non-conservative Freedom of the Press Foundation, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder used the Espionage Act of 1917 to put a record number of reporters and sources in jail. The foundation said “Obama strongly supported Holder’s war against journalists’ sources, despite once promising to protect whistleblowers when in office…”
Yes, Obama persecuted more leakers and journalists than any president ever. Isn’t it interesting how the media had no heart for really covering these stories?
But under Trump so far, there is no known Obama-era surveillance of reporters, no investigations of reporters. In fact, Trump is perhaps the most accessible and open president in history.
Empirically, there can be no doubt that, so far, journalists are freer under President Trump than they were under President Obama.
The Obama Administration used federal funds to pay for abortions, meaning individual taxpayers were required to participate in an activity that many find abhorrent and in violation of religious beliefs.
Further, Obamacare (again) allowed Obama to require businesses to pay for abortion and birth control devices for their employees through the insurance they offered, violating the religious convictions of many business owners.
This policy was a major hit to First Amendment freedoms and landed companies such as Hobby Lobby in court, creating a religious freedom firestorm — for those who care about religious freedom.
But last October, the Trump administration changed the Obama policy to allow employers to claim a religious or moral objection to Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate, sweeping away the onerous, freedom-stealing policy. Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to block the Trump action, because the ACLU is very selective of which civil liberties they defend — and the obvious bedrock Jeffersonian principle of a right to condoms and abortion are clearly more important than religious freedom.
You can argue for or against the policy as right or wrong, but you cannot argue that the Obama policy was pro-religious freedom when it denied religious freedom to some for the convenience of others.
This alone is a major gain for religious freedom. But Trump has also appointed federal judges, up to and including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who are originalist and will almost assuredly protect religious liberty when it collides with modern conveniences.
President Obama’s signature action was Obamacare. And there can be no argument from any side that Affordable Care Act was a pro-freedom bill or expanded individual liberties.
The basic premise of Obamacare was to specifically limit individuals’ choices and freedoms by requiring all Americans to buy a product (health insurance) and penalizing them if they did not to create a large enough marketplace to cover the uninsured. This was the infamous individual mandate. You can argue for the cause of ACA, but you cannot argue it was pro-freedom. By definition and mandate, it was not.
Trump and Congressional Republicans essentially eliminated the individual mandate in the tax reform package that has been so successful on the economic front. That was a net step back from the government control of the previous administration and toward individual freedom.
The same can be said of the rest of the tax reform package. Any cut in personal income taxes is at least a tiny step toward more freedom as Americans are allowed to spend more of their money how they choose, not how some distant bureaucrat chooses.
And deregulation allows more freedom from businesses to homeowners, not only helping the economy and general quality of life, but expanding liberties for Americans by removing at least a small part of the yoke of government.
A couple of exceptions to watch
There are a couple of small exceptions to this general rule.
Trump’s proposal, at the urging of his daughter Ivanka Trump, for family and medical leave reduces individual freedoms by forcing companies to provide this — meaning the companies have less freedom as do the company employees who must pick up the slack while people are on lengthy leaves via government mandate.
Also, to a very tiny degree, Trump’s $1.5 trillion government infrastructure spending bill is the wrong direction because it ultimately requires taxes to pay for. More government spending equals less individual freedom. It’s just a basic equation.
But these two exceptions pale when compared to the broader expansions of liberties for all Americans.
Trump will get little to no credit for this expansion of liberties because the media’s shared ideology with Obama and Democrats means they either don’t value these freedoms or don’t even recognize their loss.
But there are still enough Americans that prize liberty to appreciate this new atmosphere.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.
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