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Which is more dangerous to liberty?

This question arose after discussion with a long-time reader. I think he and I will end up agreeing to disagree.

What do you think? I hope you’ll also elaborate on your reasons in the comment section.

UPDATE: I have simplified the language of the first two questions. One person said the original wording* was biased and editorializing. I suspect another might say the same, but in the opposite direction. So I stripped the wording down to bare essentials. If anyone wants to change their original answer because they believe my original wording nudged them in one direction or another, I’ll see if that can be done.

Which is more dangerous to liberty

Donald Trump
Social-justice “progressives”
Both are equally dangerous
Neither is any more dangerous than policies or ideas we’ve seen in the past
Please Specify:
Created with SurveyMaker


* Original wording of the first two questions, for reference: 1) Donald Trump with his protectionist, anti-immigrant, war-making, and general anti-freedom policies; 2) Social-justice “progressives” with their influence on academia, media, business, and culture


  1. Bear
    Bear June 25, 2018 1:06 pm

    The “Social Justice” types are, to my thinking, more dangerous because they are embedding their ideas (genetics doesn’t matter, freedom is believing only as we do, helplessness is strength…) in the minds of new generations. Trump is more of what we’ve seen before, and like them, can be voted out eventually. But if the SJs succeed, what he’ll be replaced with is those embedded ideas.

    Trump is relatively short term damage. SJ is long term catastrophic failure. Both are bad, but depending on the time scale with which one is most concerned, I can understand why someone might see Trump as worse, or the two about the same.

  2. Joel
    Joel June 25, 2018 1:23 pm

    Bear said exactly what I think – the social justice types are far more dangerous. They own the schools and the newsies, so they’re embedding their poison in the country’s DNA. They are absolutists, currently going so far as to condone or even prescribe violence against people with the wrong attitude.

    Trump and friends only represent the sort of jingoism already long traditional in one school of American thought. It comes and goes, but it and the damage it does is self-limiting. SJWs attack the nation’s core, and genuinely behave as if they think 1984 was an instruction manual. Trump will pass, win or lose. But the damage being done to the upcoming generation scares me.

  3. lairdminor
    lairdminor June 25, 2018 1:29 pm

    I agree with Bear and Joel. SJWs represent an Orwellian muzzle on competing ideas, and especially the fundamental principles upon which the nation (and western civilization generally) was founded. You may disagree with specific Trumpian actions, but neither he nor his supporters/defenders is trying to stifle debate about them.

  4. Ken Hagler
    Ken Hagler June 25, 2018 1:42 pm

    I voted “neither.” Bush Junior seized the power to arbitrarily imprison and torture people on a whim, and Obama added the power to arbitrarily murder them as well. Once the President gained those powers, the US lost any pretense of being anything but a dictatorship, with the only restraint on the government being the whims of the President. Nothing Trump and the SJWs are doing is on par with that–they’re just quibbling over who they want to ethnically cleans.

  5. William Conrad
    William Conrad June 25, 2018 1:48 pm

    I fail to see what “long-term” negative-viewed actions Trump will cause. The Social Justice types are teaching/pushing/embedding what can only be harmful for decades to come. Their method tends to be the “frog in the pot”, by the time people wake up and realize what has happened our future generations will be scr#wed.

  6. free.and.true
    free.and.true June 25, 2018 1:53 pm

    Your very phrasing of the options reflects editorializing. You don’t judge or even mention the specific influence of SJWs, but you call Trump’s policies by several unsubstantiated epithets.

    I’ve seen nothing in the past three years, for instance, to support characterizing Trump as “anti-immigrant.” He has stated ad nauseam that he believes in immigration — for which we have laws already in place. What he’s against is border-jumpers.

    And “war-making?” When he’s done the near-impossible by getting North Korea smilingly to the bargaining table for peace to conclude a war which started in 1950? When his people gave notice to their bombing targets to clear the premises before the attacks came?

    “Generally anti-freedom?” Yes, in some cases, though you mention none to back up your judgment. And you don’t address what his administration is doing to cut government waste — see for instance last week’s plans to merge the departments of Labor and Education to eliminate overlap, and to streamline regulatory overlap (Mulvaney’s parable of the cheese and pepperoni pizzas). Just to name a few.

    “Protectionist,” I’ll grant you. Why not? Shouldn’t the president elected by Americans (I’d also add paid by them, except that Trump is doing this for free) place their interests above those of other nations?

    No one’s perfect — Trump or any other, and no, he’s not a pure libertarian or free-marketeer or whatever your preference. But let’s be fair. Your wording reflects the narratives of highly biased “fake news.” Sorry, but as it stands, I don’t find your poll objective — or inclusive — enough to participate in.

  7. Claire
    Claire June 25, 2018 2:00 pm

    “Your very phrasing of the options reflects editorializing. You don’t judge or even mention the specific influence of SJWs”

    I didn’t mean to do that, free.and.true. I tried to balance those first two choices, and I believe the reader whose views gave me the idea for the poll might say I weighted thing too heavily in the opposite direction — by talking about what I believe to be the long-term influence of the SJWs without talking about long-term harm Trump might do.

    If somebody would like to suggest more neutral wording for those first two poll choices, I can change the questions and re-start the poll.

  8. stencil
    stencil June 25, 2018 3:14 pm

    The analogy with the turmoil of the Weimar period is very tempting.: Arguably, the Communists created the Nazis: had the Reds not been so impressive in their vehemence the reaction might have been less extreme.
    As Congressthing Waters recently sort of said, “Look what you made us do.”

  9. deLaune
    deLaune June 25, 2018 3:56 pm

    I voted “other,” of course: “Average Americans, apathetic toward morality.”

    I’ve thought about this for many years, and came to this conclusion at least a decade ago. America’s turning point may have been “The War between the States.” Before that, only a minority cared much about politics beyond the local level. “What’s Topeka got to do with me?”

    Life was lived locally, and everyone could point to a neighbor who demonstrated that one man (or woman) could make a difference. Everyone was aware that their actions counted for something.

    “The unpleasantness” proved that political power could touch any family. “Kill this one, enslave that one, burn these towns.” Many began to believe in salvation through political action. Hadn’t the feds “proved” that “might makes right?” The American spirit was crushed, and many began to lose sight of the idea that legal and moral are two different things. It’s been downhill ever since.

    Those who know me will guess what my answer is: we need another great awakening. It’s either that or the SHTF and we find out, from the inside, what the Cambodian genocide was like. Either way, the next few decades will tell.

  10. david
    david June 25, 2018 6:47 pm

    History demonstrates to any of its students that progressives’ ideas are so lousy that they need to seize political power in order to implement them. Worse, their ideas are so not compelling that the only compelling is the progressives trying to decide how to compel the rest of us to go along with those shitty ideas. Normally, they have chosen prison or insane asylums as the penalty for questioning, and execution or a labor camp death as the penalty for disobedience. Liberty cannot exist under such circumstances.

  11. free.and.true
    free.and.true June 25, 2018 7:33 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, Claire. Though I’m not seeing what you meant by talking about long-term SJW influence. Perhaps I missed something.

    Anyway, I really like what deLaune says… and I suppose we will suffer a SHTF situation in times to come.

    But I v*ted with Bear, Joel, Laird, and William. Trump’s administration seems to be trying, at least, to maintain and/or rebuild some of what America was supposed to stand for — rule of law rather than of men; peace and trade with all nations, but entangling [or imbalanced] alliances with none, etc. The SJWs have long opposed and subverted all that, and now more blatantly and militantly than ever.

  12. Mike
    Mike June 25, 2018 7:48 pm

    What a great quiz. For me with the huge amounts of propaganda the two sides are polluting the various media with, I’m honestly not sure. I know that Mr. Trump is a short term problem, but there is a lot of damage he can do to not only the United States, but the entire world in that short time. As for the other side of the coin, the progressives are like a creeping cancer slowly eating at the very heart of our society. Looking at the situation not only in the United States but up here in Canada, I can’t help but wonder if what I’m feeling is what the citizens of Rome felt upon learning the Visigoths were on the way.

  13. Chinga LaMigra
    Chinga LaMigra June 25, 2018 8:53 pm

    I guess I’ve been underestimating the power of the SJW set. I feel like I’ve locked horns with them all of my life, living in a place where a lot of them live. But at the worst I’ve found them frustrating and silly and thoughtless; at best they have their hearts in the right place and sometimes even push in the right direction.

    But unbeknownst to me, all this time they’ve been a threat to freedom worse than even the federal government. Hard to believe.

    All this time I thought that about the most power that hapless bunch has been able to wield is to get Brendan Eich kicked off a software project and to hold utter political dominance over the infighting in several state college liberal arts departments.

    But now I know they’re even more of a long term threat to freedom than a president who appointed Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General and thought it was a great idea to pardon Sheriff Joe… who wants to build a wall on the border as if America were a goddamned gated members only country club community (optimistically; assuming the wall will ultimately be used to keep them out, instead of us in)… who expresses admiration not for the protesters but for the government response that crushed the Tienanmien Square protests, and praises tyrants like Erdogan, Duterte, Kim, and Putin (a third of Republicans polled now believe “A system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way to govern our country.”)… calls the news media the enemy of the people (45% of Republicans polled now say the government should be able to shut down “inaccurate” news media)…

    I guess I just haven’t been paying attention.

  14. Cat Chow
    Cat Chow June 25, 2018 10:22 pm

    This all made more sense when I compared it to how “freedomistas” had responded in past Living Freedom polls on the same topic.

    2%: The rebellious Continental Congress
    5%: Perfidious King George
    93%: Papists!

    3%: Rotten slave-holders, traitorous confederates
    11%: Lincoln, tyrannical Republicans
    86%: Mormons!

    1%: Richard Nixon, unreformed McCarthyites
    7%: President Johnson and his Great Society lunatics
    92%: Hippies!

  15. fred
    fred June 26, 2018 1:03 am

    The dems are pushing for Civil War and we the people will all get caught up in Martial Law.The future is not looking bright.

    This isnt happening in a vacuum,and what we see is not what the goal is.Agenda 21 is the goal,Martial Law is the key.

  16. Mark
    Mark June 26, 2018 1:36 am

    I have to agree with you fred. I feel as if the whole thing is being orchestrated (Problem, Reaction, Solution) by other powerful hands. SJW’s are being lead and controlled, but they’ve had a longtime to program them in our schools and institutions, and Fake Media. Our Freedom stands in the way of the Global one world government plan. If we can’t stop satanic plan, far better to go to Gloryland on our feet than our knees.

  17. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson June 26, 2018 3:37 am

    I don’t think the SJW’s are, by themselves, dangerous. We’ve seen this kind of movement before, primarily in the 1960’s. Their program is silly and stupid, typical of what you’d expect from a bunch of youngsters who have yet to experience life on their own. The dangerous element, however, is the mainstream press and the political establishment who have been using SJW ideas to brow beat everyone for their own political purposes. The media and the politicians don’t believe a word of the SJW mantras, but they know how to jump on-board a narrative that can scare or shame people (while they themselves are shameless).

    If an SJW screams alone in the woods, does she make a sound? Yes! How do we know? Because CBSNBCABCFOXMSNBCCNN will be there to record and broadcast every second of it.

    Trump is no more dangerous than the 5 presidents before him, and in some ways he may be more benign because his buffoonish character has allowed people to not take him as seriously. “Leaders” only exist because of their followers. It is the Followers who can be dangerous, and I just don’t see most Trump’s supporters being blind followers, at least not the way the Obama supporters were (are).

  18. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas June 26, 2018 5:39 am

    I’m tending towards the Bear/Joel outlook while sincerely agreeing with deLaune about the damage done when “‘the unpleasantness’ proved that political power could touch any family.” But for poling purposes I’m plunking for -neither is any more dangerous.- This, because what is fundamentally wrong with Trump and with progressives is that they are acting politically and utilizing guv. And, like most of the rest of the world, they lack the philosophical grounding to grasp their error in such doing. Aside from lucky chance, nearly everyone’s actions these days are heading us in the wrong direction.

  19. Owl
    Owl June 26, 2018 5:40 am

    Both are equally dangerous.

    Left wing, right wing, same bird.

  20. Joel
    Joel June 26, 2018 6:06 am

    One thing that has made the unfolding “justice” department scandal more alarming than amusing to me is that I wasn’t previously aware of the extent to which progressives own the bureaucracy. A commenter above mocked those of us who view SJWs with alarm because they don’t have a lot of political power – Okay, maybe progressives are momentarily in the political minority, not that it seems to matter in terms of how congress behaves, but the bureaucracy is forever and the progressives appear to have permeated it at every level.

  21. Mark Call
    Mark Call June 26, 2018 7:06 am

    I, too, agree with the first several comments: “I agree with Bear and Joel. SJWs represent an Orwellian muzzle on competing ideas, and especially the fundamental principles upon which the nation (and western civilization generally) was founded. ”

    This has been a long stealth battle against the explicit principles of the Declaration, and the fact that Rights don’t come from some god in Washington, or even bigger wannabe international Big Brothers.

    But when it comes to SJWs, Cicero had it right.

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

  22. Comrade X
    Comrade X June 26, 2018 8:01 am

    I must be Bi because I said both.

    As Owl said but that bird also should be called big government.

    But it is only natural just as it is natural for all things to come to an end.

    “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” TJ

  23. DistOne
    DistOne June 26, 2018 8:32 am

    The SJWs are the vocal, activist, intellectual wing of the statist authoritarian movement calling themselves Progressives. Because they bring cover, if not legitimacy to the bastards that would conquer the world, micromanage our lives, and “equalize” us all in poverty, they are far more dangerous than Trump. Those same bastards have been nibbling away at freedom in America for over 100 years, grinding the 3rd world to dust with endless wars and came within a hair of cementing control in the West. There is a vast difference between an organized, disciplined movement promoting enslavement and one goofy guy in the White House.

  24. Bibamufu
    Bibamufu June 26, 2018 11:00 am

    This was easy, Progressives support gun control/confiscation…Trump doesn’t.

  25. Bear
    Bear June 26, 2018 11:41 am

    Bibamufu, I beg to differ. “Conservatives” favor victim disarmament as much as do the “progressives” (with differing excuses). Trump is the latest example of that.

  26. Paul Joat
    Paul Joat June 26, 2018 2:15 pm

    I am one of the others in the vote, second would have to go to the Social-justice “progressives”, because if nothing else their actions are likely to ensure that Trump will be elected to a second term.

  27. progunfred
    progunfred June 26, 2018 5:19 pm


    Do you mean Donald “take the guns first” Trump. The one supporting all of the Red Flag laws? That Trump?

    “They [police] should have taken them [guns] aways whether they had the right or not.” – DJT

    And Bear above has got your Bump Stock analysis. This ban is a brand new extra constitutional law making procedure that WILL now be used to ban whatever any other president in perpetuity would like to ban.

  28. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry June 27, 2018 4:30 am

    I think the Pecksniffs are lrobably the most dangerous, but not for the reason one might think, especially given my previous statements.

    The SJ-Left as we know them are well-entrenched within certain sectors of american society, but their actual power is very limited in actual fact. All it really takes to get rid of them in most cases is a simple “No. I don’t care. Go away.” See the University Of Chicago J-school a few months back. The only reason they’ve been able to wreak the havoc they have is because they haven’t yet been seriously opposed (with a few exceptions- more on that in a moment).

    The problem is that loud, socially-aggressive movements of that kind are very good at provoking backlash, and backlashes have an historic habit of outdoing the thing they’re lashing back against. Compounding this is the fact that the SJ-Left expects the State to do all their wetwork for them, while those on the Right likeliest to lash back first just want the State to give them an official Green Light and then get out of the way so they themselves can get busy castrating gays and lynching their racial minority of choice. Given that the SJ-Left behave like the Judean People’s Front (or was that the People’s Front of Judea?) at the best/worst of times, they’re very easily parylized at the point of action. The Collectivist Right, marinaded for forty years in “leaderless resistance,” lone-wolf fantasizing? Not so much.

    The SJ-Left is dangerous not because of what they themselves may accomplish, but because of the reaction they will (in a few cases already are) provoke.

    Look at Charlottesville. The SJ-Lefties succeeded in on of their objectives, but that success provoked a tremendous counter-reaction. Yes, lots of somewhat-decent people protested against the removal of that statue, but they were joined by a large crowd of honest-to-God swastika-waving Nazis. The Nazis weren’t there so much for the statue as for a chance to take a swing at people who had been crowing about the cultural destruction of people with whom the Nazis identified. The result, as any student of 20th Century European history could have predicted, was your classic Communist/Sparticist street fight. Part of the reason for this, and part of the reason the Nazi reaction turned lethal, was that as the clash progressed the Police stood down. Argue about their motives all you like, but the Nazis present understood this as their “green light.” Only the presence of several dozen visibly armed Militiamen kept the situation from becoming much, MUCH worse.

    That’s why, IMO, the SJ-Left is so dangerous: because of the backlash they will inspire. When the State and its myrmidons (aka the cops) get sick of being insulted and called out on their bullshit by a bunch of “smelly college kids, uppity urban dindus, dykes, fudgepackers, and gutless shits too scared to strap on body armor,” they will do as the Charlottesville PD did and step back to eat popcorn. What they don’t understand is that once the Nazis get done doing the State’s wetwork for them, the Nazis will turn on the State, just as they did in 1933-37. The SJ-Left is dangerous because it is they who will whip up, and then unleash, the Collectivist Right.

    I leave you with John Ross’s words: “Stripping motivated people of their dignity and then rubbing their faces in it is a very bad idea.” It doesn’s matter if the people being stripped -are- Nazis. It’s still a very bad idea, and the results never change.

  29. Antibubba
    Antibubba June 28, 2018 10:46 pm

    Demagoguery on the Left is no more dangerous than what’s on the Right. Perhaps less so right now, since the Right seems to be able to put their issues with each other aside long enough to accomplish a larger goal. The Lefties seem to think having a consensual mission statement is essential before they can go any further.

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