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54


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 54, August 31, 1999
"We didn't start the fire ..."

Letters to the Editor

by Our Readers
Send letters to TLE@johntaylor.org


Letter from C. Cathey


Letter from Mark Wilson


Letter from Jon S. Barber


Letter from Gerry James


Letter from C. Cathey

"Advances in industry, transportation, and city living all gave the domestic economy such a forceful shove that it expanded beyond the power of officialdom to regulate it, and soon adventurous merchants were moving into the even less manageable arena on international commerce. But a harbinger of China's later stagnation can be glimpsed, even at the height of the Song renaissance, in officialdom's reluctance to lose too much control. Fearing ungovernable merchants and industrialists ... the administrative class waged a steady regulatory war against the free-wheeling ways of ambitious entrepreneurs."
-- US News & World Report, August 16-23, 1999, Special Summer Double Issue, "The Way We Were", Page 40, 3rd column

This selection was taken from an article describing life 1000 years ago (in this case in China), but it parallels most of the troubles with the US and Western Europe (Internet, fax, cell phone, satellite communications, etc.).

I am somewhat curious about the people writing US News. On one hand they clearly recognize that a large regulatory government destroys industry and creates mass stagnation that can last centuries. And on the other hand they demand that such a government be created. I fail to understand how someone can be intelligent enough to recognize these consequences, yet be dumb enough to demand more regulations. I don't believe that it is pursuit of power, after all the article clearly shows what eventually happened to China and therefore shows that the journalists understood the cause.

I am not sure that there is an answer to this apparent contradiction other than a willing suspension of disbelief. Hoping and praying that what has happened countless times in the past won't recur.

C. Cathey ndr_martin@hotmail.com

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Letter from Mark Wilson

Picqued by your intro to TLE #53, I checked the SPLC site out. Mr. Dees seems to have a problem with "patriots," or more accurately, with the word "patriot." I looked through the site but could find no link to report "patriots" -- a disappointment, since I wanted to turn myself in.

If you happen to know how that can be arranged, please let me know. After all, I have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I hope I qualify.

best -- Mark Wilson markish@iname.com

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Letter from Jon S. Barber

The Libertarian Enterprise
Mr. John Taylor, Editor

Dear Mr. Taylor:

Having watched the mainstream media's feeding frenzy for the last 4 months, I've long since tired of the "tragedy" at Littleton, Colorado's Columbine High School. I doubt that I'm alone in my disgust. This is one cow that has been milked for all it's worth, and it is long past the time to move on.

The other day, Monday, August 16, I think it was, ABC had coverage of the first day of school since the shootings, and again brought out the milking stool. This was, in itself, bad enough, but to me, at least, the worst was yet to come. The national (and even my local -- Minneapolis/St. Paul) news broadcast included coverage of what a number of school districts have undertaken as a means of improving the "security" of their facilities. Of course, it's "for the children". One school they included was in Texas, though I don't recall the city. At the entrances, they have installed metal detectors. Students are allowed only transparent backpacks and bags. They're subjected to sweeps with hand-held metal detectors - "Up against the wall...". They must submit to random searches of their bags, pockets, and lockers. Video cameras abound in the halls and rooms. Security guards walk the halls and parking lots. It's repulsive! Ben Franklin must be turning in his grave. These students have given up any shred of liberty, for the sake of safety. AND, they've not even been asked for their blessing or permission. By the way, school violence is down by one third from the beginning of the decade. Such precautions are likely unnecessary.

Anyway, here's my point: Being subjected to the watchful eyes and ears of "Big Brother" for the 12 or 13 most impressionable years of their lives, these kids will, in their adulthood, have become so indoctrinated in the intrusive ways of our benevolent "Protectors" that these practices will in no way be unusual. They will "Stand and deliver" when it's demanded of them by a person in authority -- policemen, for example. Those students who go on to become members of the (I dislike this term, but can't think of a better one) law enforcement agencies will also think it's acceptable, and will have little regard for the privacy of the citizens they are hired to protect. Others will become lawyers and judges. These people will have little respect for the highest law of the land, and routinely abuse their power. Still others will go into politics, and also ignore the Constitution in their pursuit of safety and security. I am not optimistic about the outcome.

Change in the American way of life is happening in such a gradual manner (boiling the frog) that the average person doesn't perceive it. The media is assisting in the erosion of our liberty by desensitizing us to the abuses of power. The more it's shown, and the more common it becomes, the less it alarms us. Inch by inch we're having our individual liberties stripped away. You and I will likely be OK, but I fear for my two sons (young adults), and much more for their kids -- as yet unborn. Their future is grim, indeed.

Our hope lies in the elimination of "business as usual" in Washington, DC. We need L. Neil in the White House! The erosion must stop if we are to preserve this nation. It must!

Jon S. Barber jbar@rice.willmar.mn.us

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Letter from Gerry James

I particularly enjoyed L Neil Smiths article on Cars. In particular the reason for politicians' tendency to dislike and fear them. Its because we can individually wake up at 4 in the morning, get in the car, drive to another city, buy some things at the morning market, then get home before the workday. Whats so frightening about that according to politicians? Well -- they might never know you did it! Imagine that! Moving around the country whenever you want to, without a form to sign or ticket to buy in a car of your choice listening to a cassette of your choice and.....thinking what you want to think! Well any power hungry politician would shudder at the thought of people doing those kinds of things without prior permission!

So how do they go about banning cars? The same way they ban anything in a 'free democracy'. In small stages. They dont pass a law saying cars are banned -- that just wouldnt work. They dont just pass a law saying guns are banned -- that wouldnt work either. Oh no, the method is drip drip drip -- one small incremental law after another.

Want to ban cars? Then regulate the fuel, demand that certain exhausts are fitted, require this or that feature, ban some small part of a car -- types of bumper or seats for instance. Build on that very slowly, a few new laws every few months each one adding to the cost of a car and reducing choice at the same time. For a pincer effect work from the other side too -- regulate driving cars, require ID plates, introduce no driving areas in cities ("for the childrens' safety" ofcourse). After a few generations of this people will only be driving if issued with a permit to drive and only as and when stipulated by that permit, and only those destinations allowed. You know that you are living in a despotised country when a right is considered a privilege.

In Britain we have a slightly more hamfisted approach. Yes our government does all that drip drip drip regulation stuff -- but the main tactic is to simply price driving out of the market until such a time as second rate over priced public transport actually becomes the only option for the productive classes. Want a liter of petrol in the UK? That will be $1.17 please. Want to license your car for the road? That will be $260 per year. Want to buy a Chrysler Neon (yes, those little ones) that will be upward of $20,000 dollars please.

Gerry James deg19x@yahoo.com

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Any time you see a proposal to restrict the Internet, here's the company the proposers keep. [Countries that restrict or prohibit access to the 'net.]

"The twenty enemies of the Internet": Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam.

-- Source: Reporters Sans Frontières
http://www.rsf.fr/uk/alaune/ennemisweb.html


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