You’ve seen the word “globalist” popping up around Trump fan sites all over the internet. It seems like some sort of slur, but you’re not sure what it means. Good news: you’re not the only one. Many of the people using the word “globalist” seem to be under the misimpression that opposing “globalism” involves reviving American authority, rejecting international institutions that remove American sovereignty.
That’s not what Trump fans mean by “globalism.”
They mean something else: empowering the American government to infringe on your freedom to participate in free economic exchange.
Take, for example, Matt Drudge’s top headline today: “GLOBALIST PANIC: OBAMA WARNS DUMP TRUMP.” President Obama, like the non-self-aware tool that he is, explained to an audience that Trump was unfit for office. What did that have to do with globalism per se? According to the RealClearPolitics.com story linked, nothing of importance. “Globalist” was merely a slur.
But Drudge’s use of “globalist” gives us a hint. Here are a few of his other headlines using that word: “Speaker is Globalist ‘Grown in Petri Dish in DC,” “OBAMA FINAL GLOBALIST PUSH,” “Trump Takes Aim At Globalist Hillary,” “MAG: Why Dems Becoming Party of 1%...Only place for globalist-minded elites,” “FALSE SONG OF GLOBALISM,” “Trump targets ‘globalism’ as job-killer.”
What would supposedly put President Obama and Paul Ryan and Democrats all in the category of “globalists”? Only two elements: free trade and immigration.
Let’s begin with free trade.
It is an absolute misnomer, as I’ve written at National Review, to call free trade “globalism.” It’s the equivalent of calling you buying some paper plates from Ralph’s “globalism.” Free trade is merely the absence of governmental restrictions on free exchange of goods and services. Globalism would require international rules to govern how we do business here at home. No true free trader supports that. And Trump’s anti-globalist alternative, tariffs, is far more controlling than any international free trade agreement. Trump would jack up indirect taxation on American consumers to massive levels and then call it freedom from “globalism.” It’s actually just tyranny by way of the American government.
It's worth noting here that Obama's brand of free trade could be globalist if he insists on cramming down regulations from abroad. That's why many free traders opposed giving Obama trade promotion authority.
How about immigration?
Here we run into a sticky wicket for conservatives. Anti-free traders like Donald Trump oppose immigration not first and foremost thanks to failures of cultural assimilation. They oppose immigration on the grounds that new immigrants “take” American jobs. In other words, a perfectly capable immigrant who comes to the United States to work a job would be welcomed by most conservatives; Trump says, however, that to allow that person in would be “globalism,” undermining the American worker.
Again, this is economic idiocy. Hampering the free exchange of goods and services in order to indirectly tax companies for the benefit of people born in America raises the cost of doing business and harms the consumer. Of course. What Trump decries as “globalism” is actually freedom in the national interest.
Now, again, Obama stands in favor of illegal immigration and doesn't care whether those entering the country have jobs at all. But that doesn't mean that pro-legal immigration conservatives are "globalists."
In truth, “globalism” has been emptied of most meaning since Trump began using it. Trump laments globalism, but says that Russia should take care of the situation in Syria; Trump laments globalism, but has outsourced much of his business for the length of his career. “Globalism” has become just a slur for Trump’s opponents, just as “neocon” was disconnected by the left from its roots in the left-to-right transitional figures like Irving Kristol and used as a club against anyone who supported the Iraq war (somehow George W. Bush, a lifelong Republican, became a “neo” – new – conservative). If you oppose Trump's agenda, you must disagree with his premise that America's interests come first -- you must be part of some sort of global conspiracy to overthrow American power.
These slurs do nobody any good. They’re not only inexact, they’re meant to quash debate. But that’s what the most ardent Trumpkins are all about these days: shouting “cuck” and “globalist” at anybody who dares disagree with the Great Leader.