In the Culture Wars, the Right struggles with a commitment to principles, decorum, and intellectual honesty. In every area of life, those qualities are virtues, but in the battle against the progressive Left, those virtues quickly become liabilities.
Nowhere is this handicapping more apparent than on the “Never Trump” Right. In some cases—think neocon loons Max Boot and Bill Kristol—these figures are not even properly part of the “Right.” In other cases, they’re effete elites—like George Will—who comprise the “loyal opposition” to the dominant Leftist paradigm.
In still others, the Never Trumpers are overly-literal ideologues who can’t accept anything but 100% ideological purity. These are the Libertarians or “libertarian Republicans” that love 99% of what Trump has accomplished as president, but can’t abide tariffs or border control. They point to Trump’s seemingly “authoritarian” rhetoric as evidence that the freedom-loving real estate mogul is not-so-secretly an American Mussolini.
Such is the case with Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, the self-styled “libertarian Republican,” who announced on Twitter that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses (without identifying what those offenses may be).
There are also rumors that Amash might run for president in 2020 as a Libertarian. Given his tenuous but significant popularity in Michigan, he could siphon away enough votes from President Trump to cost him a crucial State and its electoral votes.
And herein rests the problem with so-called “libertarians” like Amash: they’re willing to sacrifice the good—in Trump’s case, the overwhelmingly great—for the perfect. “I can’t have Milton Friedman for President, so I’ll make sure the depraved socialists take office.”
Further, Amash has spent his entire career in politics, with the exception of one year working for his father’s company. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely doesn’t fit with the Randian Übermensch ideal of spergy libertarianism. Libertarianism works great if you’re shielded completely from the vagaries of the real-world job market.
The most generous interpretation is that Amash sincerely believes that the president’s reactions to the Mueller probe constitute what he calls “impeachable conduct” (never mind that the Constitution doesn’t identify “conduct” as worthy of impeachment, just “high crimes and misdemeanors”). I can accept that Amash has applied his ideology so rigidly—and his distaste for real political brawlers so completely—that he believes the president should be impeached.
On the other hand, given his utter lack of real-world experience, it could be that Amash is attempting to make a name for himself after he leaves Congress (or gets voted out). There are a number of Never Trumpers who, I’m convinced, are biding their time. Should Trump lose in 2020—or when he leaves office in 2025—they look forward to resuming their place atop the political ruling class, getting back to their ineffectual, noodle-wristed “opposition” to official, state-sanctioned Leftism.
Regardless, the Right has no room in its ranks for such traitors (the Great One, Mark Levin, characterized Amash as a “Benedict Arnold against the Constitution“). Fortunately, Michigan State Representative Jim Lower has announced a primary challenge to Amash. Here’s hoping Lower lowers Amash a peg or two.