Letters to the Editors
From: "Curt Howland" Howland@Priss.com
Subject: Reply to argument in "Just Check 'em At The Door, Boys"
The article by John Taylor in TLE#21 has a serious logic flaw that needs to be addressed.
While discussing what actions may be restricted by a business owner concerning the actions of their employees and customers, such as restricting sales or employment by what one may call "bigotted" criteria, he brings into the list of abrogated "rights" the following:
"In the same silly sense, only more so, he may decide that since it is his property, he will purchase slaves overseas, import them into this country, and bind them into indentured servitude on his property. Well, OK -- enough's enough."
This is NOT a logical extreme of bigotry. Where each of his other examples is of restraining his own business from interacting with someone he doesn't like, this example is of forcing ones will on another individual.
A business owner who refuses business with someone will find that the individual will take their business elsewhere. As will I.
A slave has no such option.
We need to keep such examples of force clearly in mind.
Subject: Letters to editor LE
Greetings from the Socialist Republic of California. Noting your request for "letters to the editor" I am pleased to contribute.
I have over the past few months been downloading volumes from the L. Neil Smith Webley www page and am absolutely delighted with it's contents. I'm sure you get tons of e-mail with the same sentiments, so let's go on to current events.
Here in California Proposition 218 recently passed by a considerable majority. That doesn't mean a lot to those out of the Socialist Republic, so let me give a bit of background.
Many years ago when property taxes were skyrocketing Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann authored Proposition 13 which allows the government to only tax property one tenth of one percent of it's value and created limits on increases. The bureaucrats went absolutely bonkers predicting major disasters if this proposition passed and after it did created every obstacle possible to punish the Californians who had dissed them.
Bureaucrats being what they are, soon circumvented the new law by increasing other fees that were not regulated by Proposition 13. One of such increases was special districts. To give an example, here in Moreno Valley (frequently known as Moron Valley) the park district fees went from $20. per parcel in 1984 when the city was incorporated to today's rate of $87.50 per year.
Proposition 218 requires that all such fees and increases in fees be approved by a 2/3 vote. Naturally when this proposition passed the bureaucrats went nuts again and are predicting vast cuts in "services". Here in Moron Valley where the park director gets paid $80,000. per year, the proposal is to close all the parks but three. Naturally there is no suggestion of laying off overpaid management.
The city council, instead of simply obeying the law has spent $10,000. to commission a study by a consultant group who told them to put it on the ballot. They could have gotten this information from the authors of the legislation, but that would make far too much sense.
This scenario is being carried out throughout the Socialist Republic and as you can imagine the tax vultures are in a panic. (How very sad!)
The bottom line is every district that levies a fee must get it on the ballot or their honeypot runs out July 1st. Already the tax financed propaganda has begun to flow from the government halls and their toadies, the press.
Don't be too surprised that many areas will vote to keep these taxes, after all, we voters have chosen to stay in the Socialist Republic, so we can't be all that smart.
From: email@example.com (Jim Davidson)
Subject: Letter to the Editor
In his recent essay, "Turn off the government," L. Neil Smith calls for precisely that course of action. Unfortunately, while I had hoped to read his article to learn how he would propose doing so, I only found further reinforcement of my inclination to find the government tedious, aggravating, or outrageous by turns.
However, one of my nearest and best friends has done something rather interesting about just this problem. My friend, who prefers to remain anonymous, has just taken out an assumed name "Repeal Sixteen." The web site and bank account should be open soon, and the usual promotional items for sale not long thereafter.
The purpose of this organization is to have the following amendment to the United States Constitution proposed by Congress and ratified by three fourths of the legislatures of the several states, or proposed by a Constitutional Convention and ratified by conventions in three fourths of the states, or any combination of proposal and ratification as provided for in Article 5 of the Constitution. The specific text of the proposed amendment is subject to improvement, but the general intention should be clear.
"Section 1. The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. "Section 2. Congress shall have no power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived. "Section 3. All persons subject to criminal prosecution for evasion of or regulatory enforcement for failure to pay any taxes authorized by the sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States are hereby pardoned. "Section 4. The records of income tax filings and all other records on the income of American citizens and their corporations are to be destroyed within one year of the ratification of this Amendment. Congress is authorized to pay for this destruction from the general revenue."
Several of us have discussed whether this proposed amendment should include a ratification clause. Since no amendment prior to the Eighteenth (prohibition) had such a clause, since the 18th was given such a clause to ensure it would expire if not ratified within 7 years, and since no amendment since the Twenty-third (DC electoral votes) has had such a ratification clause, it was agreed that no such clause was appropriate for our amendment.
There are obviously many issues related to this proposal which need to be discussed. Many will question whether Congress would ever pass such an amendment. Perhaps if enough states voted for a Constitutional Convention on the question, Congress would be persuaded. After all, the last time there was a Constitutional Convention in this country, the entire form of government then in power was discarded.
Others will question whether there is enough money to pay for all "essential services" of the government without an income tax. That entire aspect of the issue needs to be thoroughly examined by every non-libertarian, preferably with a libertarian friend or two making the occasional snide remark.
But these questions and issues are too numerous to discuss in a short epistle. Suffice it to say when Mr. Smith calls for turning off government, some of us are working on it.
From: "Curt Howland"
Subject: TLE Letters to the Editors
Re: TLE 20
Vin Suprynowicz deals with a writer who believes that guns have no *political* purpose, since "wars aren't fought with guns anymore", they use bombs, gas, nukes, etc.
The writer, "J.D. a sincere young fellow", makes the case that guns in the hands of common citizens are useless against a government that has the full power of the state at its disposal.
Where Vin fails is to answer the writers question: "Why Guns?"
The answer is: "The government chose them."
Guns are a bell-weather, just like encryption. They can be abused, just as anything can be, and thus become tools that harm others. How these tools are treated tell us how free we are. "Guns" are an issue in the public mind not because guns are special in any way, they became an issue only when the government initiated force to deprive us of them.
What is freedom? The ability to choose. I cannot posess an inanimate steel tube with various and sundry parts bolted on. I am not allowed to make that choice, without anyone being harmed by, endangered by, or even aware of that choice.
The government has decided that my actions are no longer sufficient for me to be judged by, I am pre-judged guilty and censored in my actions and choices.
There is no difference between an "assault weapons ban" and the government telling me I cannot build with redwood 2x4's, only pine.
Prohibition is the antithisis of freedom. Guns are not now, nor have they ever been, either the problem or the issue. The issue is their prohibition.
Freedom to choose, or slavery? That is the issue.
Subject: Letter to Editor
While raking my front lawn today I found a little cannabis plant growing in the parking strip between the sidewalk and the street. It's about two inches tall. I was about to pull it up and toss it into my trash can along with the dandelions and crabgrass but realized that I would then be in possession of a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance-- which could get me thrown in the dungeon. Since I am also in possession of a firearm, my sentence would have an extra 5 years or so tacked on. Even if I get a friendly judge. It's mandatory.
I took the next option and left the plant in place. True, when it's discovered by the authorities they'll confiscate my home without even filing charges (by virtue of those handy assets forfeiture laws) but they won't throw me in the dungeon and thus my boss won't fire me. I can sleep at a friend's house until I save enough money to get an apartment. Thankfully, we live in a free country where we have options.
I suppose a third option would be for me to call the police and let them remove the plant. (As you know, police are allowed to possess Schedule 1 Controlled Substances). I decided not to call the police. I was afraid they might want to "have a look around" and would notice that my backyard fence is higher than the legal six feet zero inches, or that my new water heater was installed without a building permit ($80) and city inspection. Fortunately we live in a free country where we have the option of not calling the police.
So the little plant sits unmolested. I'm hoping that soon a passing teenager will spot it and steal it. Yes, he will then be thrown in the dungeon but at least I can quit worrying about losing my house. And yes, it will take all of the approximately $23,000 per year that I pay in taxes --and then some-- to keep him in the dungeon, but at least I will still be "free."
(Name witheld until the plant gets stolen)
Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 22, February 15, 1997.