If you were a subscriber to Reason‘s print or digital edition, you’d already have the entire December issue at your disposal. Right this minute, you could be reading Thomas Hazlett’s case for “throwing your vote away” by selecting a third-party candidate, learning about the long, sordid history of the D.C. jail, eavesdropping on an enlightening—if occasionally testy—exchange between two immigrants about immigration policy, and getting to know the new libertarian mayor of Johannesburg.
So go subscribe already!
Today, though, non-subscribers can take a gander at my latest editor’s note, in which I make a confession: Every time Donald Trump says something awful about Mexicans, Muslims, or women, it makes my little libertarian heart soar like a majestic bald eagle clutching the Gadsden flag in its talons. (Full disclosure: Those same statements also make me want to throw up a little in my mouth.)
Because here’s the thing about Trump’s relentless barrage of unsavory remarks: We’re not going to put the guy in jail for them. I’m proud of us, America. In this endless, demoralizing election year, we managed to do something difficult that is also good and right. The Donald enjoys a real, robust right to free speech. And that’s more than his counterparts in otherwise civilized countries such as Canada, France, or the Netherlands can say for themselves.
How do Trump’s comments about the need to temporarily halt all immigration from Muslim-dominated countries compare with the remarks of the Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who was busy in court at the end of September, asking that charges against him be dropped? In 2014, Wilders told supporters who were chanting for “fewer” Moroccan immigrants, “We’ll take care of it.” The case is ongoing. Before that, Wilders had been acquitted of insulting Islam in 2011.
There’s not much daylight between Trump’s remarks and those of his European and Canadian counterparts. The big difference is that in the United States, Trump has no fear of prosecution. And thank Cthulhu for that.