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40


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 40, July 9, 1998

I'm Tired

(With Apologies to Pearl Bailey and Madeleine Kahn)

As presented to the second annual Liberty Round Table
Conclave near Estes Park, Colorado, July 2nd, 1998

By L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         You may remember the way that, at the start of Robert Heinlein's novel Methuselah's Children, a secret gathering of the exceptionally long-lived "Howard Families" began with the hero Lazarus Long assuming the chairmanship on the grounds that he was the oldest individual present.
         Well ... I've been an active libertarian for 36 years last month, which, I suspect, makes me the senior libertarian at this gathering, presumably full of mature wisdom -- not to mention a great many other things I'm sure that several of you are practically bursting to bring up.
         Mature wisdom. Heinlein also asked us -- in "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long", as I recall -- if we'd ever noticed how often "mature wisdom" resembles "just being too tired". Ayn Rand said something very like that, too. And I certainly qualify on those grounds, as well.
         I'm tired.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government that, in the name of making the world "safer for democracy", took a young religious conscientious objector during World War I -- a kid who was willing to do everything the Army required of him but wear a uniform and kill the people they'd picked out for him to kill -- and hung him by his shackled wrists in the deepest dungeon at Leavenworth, standing in a foot of icy water in the dead of Kansas winter, let him die of pneumonia, and then buried him -- in a uniform -- before his mother could arrive to claim his body.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government which, at the end of a war widely advertised as having been fought to obliterate fascism forever, nevertheless agreed to round up two million Russian refugees in France and elsewhere in Europe at the end of that war, crowded them into boxcars exactly as Hitler had done to the Jews, and sent them back to Stalin, who had them all shot to death within a few hours of their arrival.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government that smashed its way into the Utah homes of Mormon polygamists in the 1950s, people harming no one by practicing their First Amendment right to freedom of religion, sorted out the women and children and made them pose for humiliating photographs with numbered cards around their necks, while imprisoning their menfolk until they signed statements making bastards of their children.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government that, sliming its way from one sleazy justification to another every day for 51 days, confined, terrorized, tortured, poison-gassed, machinegunned, and incinerated 80 innocent individuals -- two dozen of them beautiful little children -- in broad daylight, on national television, and not only got away with it, but prosecuted the survivors, and -- when they were acquitted -- sent them to prison anyway, for what will likely be the rest of their lives.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of carrying around the knowledge that a crooked federal judge imprisoned that handful of innocent, acquitted victims of state terrorism to keep the government from being on trial in "his" courtroom.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of knowing that another crooked federal judge, in Idaho this time, deliberately set a killer loose to kill again for his vile masters, and that what he's expected to kill for his them -- fully as much as any innocent women or babies he happens to find in his high- powered rifle's crosshairs -- are the very things every American would most like to believe about himself, his country, and his children's future.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of waking up in the middle of the night, or not being able to get to sleep at all, worried about a gang of masked thugs in black body armor smashing into my house, brutalizing my family, crushing my pets under their jackbooted feet, laughing, and stealing anything they want -- with no legal obligation to give it back ever, even when it turns out that we're all innocent -- because they happen to disapprove of something I wrote ... or simply got the wrong address.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of having it back there all the time in the corner of my mind, whether I want it there or not, that I should really hide all of the possessions I treasure most -- possessions I like most to display in my home for everyone to see and enjoy -- and even worse, to find some hole to bury my family and myself in, in order to survive another year or two in what was once the freest country in history and in the world.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being considered some kind of criminal or dangerous throwback for no other reason than that I value, exercise, and defend my rights under the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being portrayed as a perverted monster for passing on to my daughter what my father passed on to me, the love of deeply blued steel and richly polished walnut, the smell of Hoppe's #9, the proper way to align the sights, breathe correctly, squeeze-don't-jerk that trigger, and hold solid as the sear breaks, the weapon bellows, and the delicious aroma of smokeless powder wafts back to you on the breeze.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being treated as some kind of lunatic or villain, even by some members of my own family, even by some members of my own party and political movement, because I want -- all I want or ever wanted -- is to give people back control over their own lives and to live out my life in the land of liberty that I was promised as a child.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government that's supposed to be, above all, subject to ten laws that were supposed to make all of these travesties and atrocities unthinkable and impossible, ten laws that were supposed to shield me and my family from the kind of oppression my ancestors once fled from in Europe, ten laws that were supposed to let me know where I stand and what the rules are, ten laws that were supposed to let me and every other American think, say, do, and be whatever we wish without filling out a single form or asking anyone's permission.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of having to fight for my rights every day in a country where those rights were supposed to have been guaranteed, when what I want to be doing -- what I ought to be doing, after 36 mind-numbing years -- is enjoying my one true profession of storytelling, and my family.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living in a culture where the police are a greater danger to innocent civilians than they are to real criminals -- many of whom give the police their orders -- and where the military is a far greater threat to the people of America than it is to any enemy overseas.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living with a government that terrorizes, bullies, beats up, tortures, and kills more and more individuals every day, here and abroad, and does it in my name, and at my involuntary expense.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of living in a culture where you're considered lucky if you're allowed to register your name and Social Security number, surrender your fingerprints, provide your photograph and the serial number of your weapon, visit a psychiatrist, endure endless hours of expensive, useless "instruction" at the feet of some mercantilist parasite who lobbied for the legislation in the first place, and, finally, pay a whopping fee in order to exercise a right you were born with.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm even more tired of the dullwitted individuals and corrupt organizations who claim self-righteously to support and defend the Second Amendment, and at the same time give their wholehearted enthusiastic support to such a blatant abrogation of my inalienable rights.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of paying rent to the county on a home I bought and paid for; I'm tired of paying rent on my own life to the IRS and Social Security Administration; I'm tired of watching the government take a slice of everything I earn or possess, even though all they ever do is get in the way -- and make it more and more impossible to live every day.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being lied to by government, by the media, and by every corporation I have anything to do with. I'm tired of always being on the losing side because I refuse to lie, cheat, or steal, myself.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of no one being considered a "real life hero" unless they're forcing some poor, helpless, broken creature eke out another miserable moment of existence -- while those who help to make life possible for productive individuals are reviled as exploiters and profiteers.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being considered property.
         Make no mistake: when the government can tell you what drugs you can take, what drugs you can't take, and what drugs you must take; when the government can define the circumstances under which you may or may not obtain, own, or carry weapons; when the government can force you to surrender your children -- the sweet hope of your heart -- to indoctrination centers where they'll be transformed into your bitter political enemies; when the government can tell you that you have to sign up for military slavery; when the government can tell you that you must have that baby -- those are assertions of a property right.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         And I'm tired of a world where being the property of the fascist dictatorship that America has become is the best that anyone can hope for.
         I'm tired of living in a police state.
         I'm tired of being tired.

*********

         Are you tired of living in a police state?
         I am, but after 36 years of political activism, I know exactly what to do about it. Now all I have to do is convince you to help me.
         And this time, we're going to do it right.
         The key to the future we all look forward to can be found in four words:
         "Bill of Rights enforcement".
         Bill of Rights enforcement. Many years ago, I was a member of two Libertarian Party national platform committees -- 1977 and 1979 -- two Libertarian Party national platform committees that produced the most radical platforms that the party had ever seen and, tragically, would ever see -- the platforms that the Nerf libertarians presently running what's left of the party are most embarrassed by and have been chipping away at hysterically, in the fear that other people might mistakenly believe they really stand for something besides collecting campaign contributions and doling them out to themselves as consultant fees.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         I'm as radical as libertarians come. I've proven it again and again over 36 years of activism. But let me tell you now that if the first ten Amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were fully and stringently enforced like the highest law of the land they happen to be, any difference between the "New America" that that would give rise to, and the "New America" that would have been created by those radical Libertarian Party platforms, would only be a matter of fine tuning.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         And the advantage is that, unlike those platforms, the original radical libertarian document on which this nation was founded, the Bill of Rights, has all the respectablility, all the historical cache, all the time-honored tradition any suit-and-tie could possibly wish for. Now throw in the fact I mentioned a paragraph or two ago, that it's already the highest law of the land, something to be enforced, something for which you -- meaning them -- can be thrown in jail or breaking.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         So what do we do about it? Well for starters, from this moment forward, never let a day pass without writing those words, "Bill of Rights enforcement", at least once, preferably over the internet, or in paper correspondence with some sitting politician or political candidate.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         From this moment forward, never let a day pass without saying those words, "Bill of Rights enforcement", at least once, preferably on the telephone to a aluminum siding salesman or a radio talk show host.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         From this moment forward, never let a day pass without saying those words, "Bill of Rights enforcement", at least once, preferably to some door-to-door evangelist or, even better, to a political canvasser.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         Our future, our very survival, depends on making those four words, "Bill of Rights enforcement", the widest-spread catchphrase in history.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         No sitting politician or candidate should be able to make an appearance without being asked where he stands on Bill of Rights enforcement.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         No worldwide website anywhere should be without the Bill of Rights enforcement logo (which I'll have up on my "Webley Page" about the time you get home) on its opening screen, beside the free speech blue ribbon.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         No sidewalk should be without a t-shirt or two echoing the same idea.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         No car bumper or pickup truck window should be without that same logo.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         No storefront should be without that symbol, displayed proudly in the window along with the words, "We are a Bill of Rights enforcement establishment".
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         There's no need for a national libertarian political party (a good thing, because we no longer have one) or for any other kind of group activity. When enough of us, acting on our own, have saturated this culture with the idea, politicians of every stripe will be stumbling all over themselves to get aboard the Bill of Rights enforcement bandwagon.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         Which is a good thing because by then (and it could be no more than a year or two from now) the most important, perhaps the only criterion by which any politician -- including judges and prosecutors, and why not throw in television, radio, and newspaper commentators, as well? -- will be evaluated will be his position on Bill of Rights enforcement.
         Bill of Rights enforcement.
         And we'll have taken an important, unprecedented -- and, with any luck at all, irreversible -- first step to reclaiming the nation we always wished America could be, for ourselves, and for our children's future.
         And then, perhaps, I won't be quite so tired.
         Thank you.


Novelist and political essayist L. Neil Smith is the only Libertarian ever to be called a "thug" within the pages of the Libertarian Party News. He has also been characterized by one 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 publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/index.html. Order his books from Amazon.com at his home site "The Webley Page" at http://www.lneilsmith.org//index.html, from Laissez Faire Books at http://www.laissezfaire.com or call toll-free at 1-800-326-0996.


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