There’s a Straight Line from a Child-Murderer to Donald Trump’s Treason

The roots and brutality of the January 6th coup attempt grew in the soil of libertarianism and Ayn Rand’s writings

Thom Hartmann
12 min readJan 31, 2021


Photo by Alison Courtney on Unsplash

Many Americans are baffled by the Republican Party’s embrace of a billionaire sociopath and elected Republicans’ willingness to overlook the death of five Americans, including a police officer, in an attempted coup. (Particularly after they spent over 2 years and tens of millions of dollars obsessing on 4 dead Americans in Benghazi.)

But it’s not just power politics; the roots of this movement in today’s GOP run from a 1927 child murderer, to a real estate lobbying group, to Ronald Reagan putting both of their philosophies into actual practice.

Thus, Republican policies over the past 40 years not only gutted America’s middle class, but led straight to the Trump presidency and the attack on the Capitol on January 6th that he led. Many Americans are now so confused about how government should work that they’ve embraced a bizarre conspiracy theory positing Trump as a sort of messiah.

The Libertarians

Reporter Mark Ames documents how, back in the 1940s, a real estate lobbying group came up with the idea of creating a political party to justify deregulating the real estate and finance industries so they could make more money. Their Libertarian Party would give an ideological and political cover to their goal of becoming government-free, and they developed an elaborate governing philosophy around it.

Their principal argument was that if everybody acted separately and independently, in all cases with maximum selfishness, such behavior would actually benefit society. There would be no government needed beyond an army and a police force, and a court system to defend the rights of property owners. It was a bizarre twisting of Adam Smith’s reference to the “invisible hand” that regulated trade among nations.

In 1980, billionaire David Koch ran for vice president on the newly formed Libertarian Party ticket. His platform included calls to privatize the Post Office, close public schools, give Medicare and Medicaid to big insurance companies, end food and housing support and all other forms of “welfare,” deregulate all…



Thom Hartmann

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