Whenever anyone asked my views during the US election campaign, I made plain my support for the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. He shares my distaste for big and intrusive governments.
I am no cheerleader for the policies of President Trump. In particular, I am disappointed that he has withdrawn the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership. This has serious consequences for Australia.
Open markets ultimately benefit everybody, but they are especially important to a nation like ours which produces a lot of primary products but lacks people to sell them to. Abandoning the TPP means universities, farmers and miners will miss out on greater access to overseas markets, sugar growers will lose a chance to triple their exports, and consumers everywhere will miss out on more affordable goods and services.
That said, I respect the fact that he was democratically elected and take comfort in the fact that if he turns out to be a terrible President, each of the states of the US, the US judiciary and its Congress will hold him back. And the people of the United States will correct the situation in four years’ time.
But the truth is, nobody gives a rats about what I think of Trump. And neither should they. Which brings me to the message I want to deliver to Australians who call themselves progressives – I have searched far and wide to find people who care what you think about Donald Trump and came up with nothing. The simple fact is, nobody cares what you think about President Trump.
To begin with, you need to know that President Trump can’t hear you. You are in Australia, not the US. Secondly, if he could hear you, he wouldn’t care. In fact, if it was possible for everybody in the world to be ranked according to how little they care what Australian progressives think about President Trump, I suspect the person who would care least would be President Trump himself.
I get why the Left hate him so much. He is a capitalist from Central Casting – one of those appalling people who creates wealth and does not share their values. But the anti-Trump obsession in Australia makes little sense. There are few if any American voters living here, and those who do live here have every right to be annoyed by arrogant foreigners trying to tell them what to think.
The sheer shrillness of the anti-Trump mob gives an insight into why Americans elected him in the first place. Even though I have plenty of reasons to disagree with him, I know instinctively that I am not on the side of those who use Groupthink as their guiding philosophy.
So who are the anti-Trump brigades trying to impress? The answer, clearly, is each other. What they are doing is engaging in that great modern affliction known as virtue-signalling, defined as conspicuous expression of moral values to enhance a person’s standing within a social group.
In other words, people who don’t have any original ideas of their own have discovered that an anti-Trump tweet or Facebook post will make them feel like they are part of a gang. It’s a way of feeling relevant.
This is of limited consequence when it is confined to social media and shared between networks, but it takes on much more significance when journalists inflict it on the rest of us, presumably to impress their progressive friends.
The media’s unwavering criticism of President Trump not only erodes their credibility, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish his genuine missteps from their manufactured outrage.
Those who criticise Trump for his perceived lack of tolerance are the same people who direct streams of personal vitriol at him and his supporters, and would gladly have him banned from entering a country to speak. They are hypocrites of the first order.
Trump’s presidency might be only a few months old, but the hysteria is already very old. It is time for all those creatures who chirp, croak and belch from every undrained swamp in this part of the world to give it a rest.
If there is one thing the anti-Trump brigade in Australia can be rest assured about, it is that if President Trump knew who you were, he wouldn’t like you either.
David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats