Only a week into Trump’s transition the process has already descended into dark comedy. Early reports indicate Trump is building a clown car cabinet while semi-credible campaign allies find themselves isolated from the process. As frightening as this disaster may be, it does offer a political opportunity. In a post at Forbes today I reach deep into a dwindling well of optimism to find a potential ray of hope:
What if conservatives were right about the threat to liberty posed by a massive, ever-expanding bureaucratic state? What if liberals were right about the vital importance of a social safety net, environmental protection, and cultural diversity? In a sense, Trump’s victory seems to have simultaneously vindicated both sides of the political spectrum.
If we have the audacity to reconsider our alignments, a new political coalition could emerge from this crisis. Market-oriented business interests may finally discover their common cause with the social justice activists, shedding the baggage of old policy assumptions. If the left could move beyond a neo-Marxist insistence on central control and the right could abandon their laissez faire economic fantasies, we might unlock a new toolbox. Perhaps solutions to our thorniest public problems have been hiding right under our noses.
To find this possibility, the post looks back to the last time western democracies faced an existential threat from Fascists. Friedrich Hayek described a whole template of policy alternatives that would allow us to solve major public policy problems with a smaller, lighter, less authoritarian government. The left loved big government when they felt like they could potentially control it. With the entire central government under the leadership of a radically dangerous figure, maybe we have an opening to consider alternatives.