Is Trump a Tyrant?

As a former Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute, I read with great dismay in the Summer 2018 Claremont Review of Books both Charles Kesler’s editorial, “Fake News,” and Michael Anton’s review essay, “Will the Real Authoritarian Please Stand Up?”

I once had great respect for Mr. Kesler, but his discussion of fake news is appalling. Why? Well, he moves from addressing the high-minded Thomas Jefferson who, in a characteristic bout of enthusiasm, preferred newspapers without government to government without newspapers, to Jefferson in power as president complaining about lies and slanders against his administration. Problem: one of the alleged lies has now been confirmed—his long-time affair with his slave, who had no choice, Sally Hemings. Small wonder Jefferson warned so often against tyrants: he was one himself! And he knew it, which perhaps explains why he thought slavery corrupts both master and slave. We should listen to Jefferson’s arch-rival, Alexander Hamilton, who—while defending in court a Federalist Party editor the president had encouraged his allies

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