A thread for my fellow libertarians on the #HelsinkiSummit:
We say diplomacy and dialogue are good. Few Americans would disagree with that. Peace and prosperity can’t be secured without communication and engagement.
For my part, I have urged presidents to meet with the leaders of Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and other countries to build better relationships. These interactions make it possible to change behavior, to turn foes into friends.
I believe that this aspect of libertarianism—the desire to seek friendship and peace whenever possible—is among its most appealing qualities.
We must not, however, fall for the logical fallacy that because diplomacy and dialogue are good, @POTUS’s performance at the press conference was good.
Yet, that’s precisely the false conclusion some are making. I’ve heard it said that anyone who disapproves of what took place at the press conference is pro-war or anti-Trump. No, some of us are just concerned about the bizarre behavior of our president at a press conference.
I suspect that many of the people defending the press conference performance did not watch it in its entirety—or at all. If they had, they would know that it didn’t achieve the desired effect of bringing America and Russia closer; in fact, it did just the opposite.
The impression it left on me, a strong supporter of the meeting, is that “something is not right here.” The president went out of his way to appear subordinate. He spoke more like the head of a vassal state.
Perhaps it was just the president showing insecurity, once again, over the legitimacy of his election. Perhaps it was a sign of a more troubling entanglement with Putin. Whatever the case, the press conference was counterproductive to the goal of improving relations.
Even the president ultimately recognized that the press conference did not go well, as he tried to correct his remarks that exonerated Russia. Oddly, it took him more than a day to do so. One wonders why the White House didn’t act more quickly if it were simply a misstatement.
To suggest that anyone critical of the president’s conduct opposes diplomacy is to employ a strawman argument. It’s virtue signaling, not libertarianism.
The virtue being signaled is opposition to all things “neocon.” If someone doesn’t like how the meeting transpired, it must be because that person is a Deep State anti-Trump neocon warmonger, etc.
When a libertarian’s political prime directive becomes “owning the neocons” (or “owning the libs”) rather than advancing libertarian ideals, then that person undermines libertarianism as a philosophy.
The general public are not more likely to see themselves as libertarian when, for the sake of “owning the necons,” prominent figures associated with libertarianism conflate libertarian-style governance and Trump-style governance.
People then connect our principles to the president’s failings, which have nothing to do with libertarianism.
Nor are libertarian values advanced when the effect of the president’s press conference—set aside the intent—is to further isolate our country from Russia.
The widespread reaction on Capitol Hill, for example, has been to rally around the intelligence community. People are proposing resolutions of support for the FBI, despite its dubious track record and unconstitutional activities, particularly with respect to the #4thAmendment.
Worse yet, thanks to the press conference, we’re likely to see more ineffectual sanctions bills and resolutions of condemnation against Russia, which will serve primarily to stunt further efforts at diplomacy and dialogue.
We libertarians need to be smarter and more effective in our approach. Acting like partisans—pushing demagoguery and tribalism—is a self-defeating proposition. Stand strong on your principles; you’ll find most Americans standing with you.

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More from @justinamash

Aug 23, 2018
Many of the allegations against @POTUS are serious and should be taken seriously, especially by members of Congress.
We should allow Robert Mueller to complete his investigation and issue his report before taking any action potentially affecting the president’s tenure.
Based on the deliberations of the Framers of the Constitution and Federalist No. 69, I believe that a sitting president should not be criminally prosecuted. Before facing ordinary criminal liability, he first would have to be impeached, tried, convicted, and removed from office.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 9, 2018
“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.…
“This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind.…
“It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.…
Read 6 tweets
Jun 30, 2018
Since many people continue to unwittingly promote socialism with their misguided insistence that "every tax cut is good," I'm going to illustrate why a TARGETED (e.g., just for one entity) tax break is welfare, economically equivalent to a subsidy, and a cost to other taxpayers.
Imagine a state with only three people: Al, Bo, and Cy. Each person pays $4 in annual taxes, so the government collects $12 total. The government spends all that money providing services. It distributes services equally among its residents and is required to balance its budget.
Suppose the government wants to attract a new person, Di, to the state. The government is excited about all the business Di will bring, so it promises Di that her annual taxes will be only $1 if she makes the move. Di is thrilled and accepts the offer.
Read 20 tweets
Apr 10, 2018
You’re going to hear and read the false, tired assertion that the War Powers Resolution (or Act) allows the president to take offensive military action without congressional approval for 60-90 days. Here’s why that’s not true:
Read the War Powers Resolution:

§1541(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement…
…in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
Read 9 tweets
Mar 25, 2018
I keep seeing the same absurd claim going around on social media—that the omnibus is not so bad because it’s not a budget. This is totally backward. The omnibus is law; a budget is not. A bad budget is irresponsible but toothless. The omnibus (spending bill) does the real damage.
Another bogus claim is that this letter (whitehouse.gov/briefings-stat…) means president can repurpose approps as he likes. It means no such thing. Omnibus lets him designate some global health activity spending as emergency, so it won’t count toward spending cap. This letter does that.
The omnibus is one of the worst—and most costly—pieces of legislation ever to become law. Period. That's why I voted no.
Read 7 tweets
Mar 7, 2018
When you buy more from the grocery store than the grocery store buys from you, you have a trade deficit with the grocery store.
When any customer buys more from any business than the business buys from the customer, the customer has a trade deficit with the business.
Trade deficits do not mean that anyone is taking advantage of anyone else. The grocery store will have a trade deficit with a farmer or supplier, just as you have a trade deficit with the grocery store.
Read 5 tweets

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