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35


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 35, January 15, 1998

Some New Tactical Reflections

By L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

[This sequel to "Some Tactical Reflections" is dedicated to my friend and spiritual advisor, Ernest Hancock. If more of us were like him, America would be a better, freer -- and admittedly noisier -- country.]

         As much as "sunshine soldiers" or "summer patriots", beware an ally -- more common than you know -- whose fear of the uncertainties of success moves him to surrender at the very moment of victory.

         Choose your allies carefully: it's highly unlikely that you'll ever be held morally, legally, or historically accountable for the actions of your enemies.

         Choose your enemies carefully: you'll probably be known much better and far longer for who they were, than for anything else you ever managed to accomplish.

         The fact that nobody asks you to sing is not an indication that you should sing louder. This sounds obvious until it's applied to matters like mass transportation. There are virtually no private mass transit companies. This does not represent the failure of the market to provide a needed service, it represents the failure of an unneeded service to go away!

         The function of government is to provide you with service; the function of the media is to supply the Vaseline.

         Give the other guy an Angstrom unit, and it'll be reported that you gave him a parsec.

         Great men don't "move to the center" -- great men MOVE the center!

         The great secret of life lies in choosing the right woman. It's a mother's job to tell you not to play with fire. Marry the girl who tells you, "Go ahead."

         I was surprised to discover that children have to be taught to tell the truth. Lying, as a path of least resistance, is easier and comes more naturally. Children also have to be taught that life is more important than television.

         If there were a generic one-word expression for one "whose fear of the uncertainties of success moves him to surrender at the very moment of victory", it would be "Republican".

         In this world we live in, there are good ideas and there are bad ideas; those who can't tell the difference conduct opinion polls.

         It is moral weakness, rather than villainy, that accounts for most of the evil in the universe -- and feeble-hearted allies, far rather than your most powerful enemies, who are likeliest to do you an injury you cannot recover from.

         Just what "life" is being defended here? I seriously doubt whether 99.99% of the anti-abortionists who wave their gory photo- placards around at demonstrations could tell a human fetus from that of a rabbit or a rat.

         Once you've taken a public stand you know is right, never back down; anything less than a rock-hard stance will let your enemies nibble you to death.

         One of the sadder facts of human existence is that power will get you through times of no brains better than brains will get you through times of no power.

         The only way to beat the government is to become the government.

         The people who worry most about "controlling their appetites" are the very people who least need to. And the people who need to most -- never do.

         "The perfect is the enemy of the good", you say? I say that if nobody ever insisted on the perfect, there'd never be any good.

         She never said a word during labor, but four and a half years later, as we stood in my daughter's bedroom, hip-deep in toys and trying to clean the place up, my wife glared at me and said, "You did this to me, you sonofabitch!

         Sometimes stereotypes are 180 degrees off-course and common sense isn't worth the paper it wasn't written on. For example, see who goes on longer having a good time -- and who, by contrast, is the first to get tight-lipped with indignant outrage -- an individual secure and unbending in his principles, or a compromise-prone "moderate".

         Stereotypes can be a would-be objective observer's undoing: in terms of surface area alone, for example, is it human males or females who shave?

         Those who sell their liberty for security are understandable, if pitiable, creatures. Those who sell the liberty of others for wealth, power, or even a moment's respite deserve only the end of a rope.

         To be human is to live by means of the artifacts that humans devise. To build a home, and scorn a weapon, is hypocrisy. It's also a good way to lose the home.

         Try never to speak of your enemies by name. Any publicity is still publicity -- and there are those for whom your disapproval constitutes a recommendation.

         What about GATT and NAFTA? If an agreement is more than a paragraph long -- and it's between two governments -- then it ain't about free trade!

         When you boil it down, all group behavior is about eating, and all individual behavior is about sex.

         You cannot force me to agree with you. You can force me to act as though I agree with you -- but then you'll have to watch your back. All the time.


Novelist and political essayist L. Neil Smith is the only Libertarian ever to be called a "thug" within the pages of the LP News. He's also been characterized by a disgruntled reader as having written the "single most repugnant ... piece of tripe ... ever seen in an American newspaper." In his spare time, he's the award-winning author of The Probability Broach, Pallas, Henry Martyn, and Bretta Martyn and 15 other novels, as well as founder and publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise. Order his books from Amazon.com via "The Webley Page" at http://www.lneilsmith.org//lnsbooks.html#amazon, or give Laissez Faire Books a toll-free call at 1-800-326-0996.


It is the nature of American politics that clarity is considered harsh and uncompromising.
-- George L. O'Brien


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