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55


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 55, September 15, 1999
Fire Still Burning

Letters to the Editor

by Our Readers
Send letters to TLE@johntaylor.org


Letter from Scott Bieser


Letter from Russell L. Morrison


Letter from Curt Howland


Letter from Scott Bieser

John,

I believe the title of Scott Grave's piece in the current TLE should read, "Wo sind deine Papieren?" (it looks like "sind" was misspelled as "seine" which makes the thing translate directly as "where their your papers?") Or more colloquially correct: "Deine Papieren, bitte!"

Regards,

--Scott Bieser, HMSH
sbieser@earthlink.net

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Letter from Russell L. Morrison

This is just a thought that has been roaming around my brain for the past few months since the Columbine "tragedy". I have no evidence to support this thinking, just a hunch that itches at the back of my head:

I wonder if the Littleton shooters did not, in fact, kill themselves? I wonder if one of the good guys had an (admittedly illegal) weapon, shot them, then left the gun on or near their swiftly and deservedly cooling bodies?

Just a little thought that makes you go, "Hmmmmmm..."

--Russell L. Morrison
rmorr95925@cs.com

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Letter from Curt Howland

A letter to the editors of both Liberty magazine, and The Libertarian Enterprise:

During the last few months, readers of Liberty magazine (http://www.libertysoft.com/liberty/) have been party to a debate concerning the "changing face of libertarianism". This shift was seen in answers to two surveys of readers and attendants of a national Libertarian Party convention, ten years apart. The shift seen is away from the Randian "non-agression" principle, toward a more consequentialist attitude of "people are better off when free."

When the non-agression principle is discussed, by people with far more credentials than I, the principle is fraught with inherent contradictions, limitations and pitfalls. Ayn Rand is said to have admitted that the principle was self contradictory herself.

Maybe I'm naive. I see no contradiction inherent with the principle. Using one "lifeboat scenario" example given, if I were hanging from a 10 story building, and the only way to save my life was to trespass on private property (entering the window of an apartment owner against their will), would I do so? I cannot be certain without being faced with the scenario. I believe I would do most anything, short of violence toward an innocent person, to save my life.

What the "consequentialists" do not seem to grasp is that it is still wrong to violate the rights of the Bad Samaritan. Either rights are inalienable, or they are not. To allow that it is not wrong to violate the right of property in order to "save a life", is to rationalize coercive charity in all its forms.

Unlike the violent aggressor, the property owner in the above scenario did nothing to instigate my violation of their right of private property. It is *wrong* for me to violate their rights, and I would expect to be held accountable. A jury might find that it was a minuscule infraction on my part, and merely slap my wrist. This is why we have jury trials. In this example, to violate the right of private property and say it is *right* for me to trespass in order to save my life, a standard is imposed without recourse by the people effected. This ends up merely being more regulation of other peoples lives.

If we are to demand freedom for ourselves, we must grant that same freedom to others. Freedom includes the ability to choose badly, or it is not freedom. Consider for a moment if I got myself into trouble on the side of a 10 story building because I was trying to steal something. What happens to that "lifeboat scenario" now?

Curt-
Howland@Priss.com

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Curfew Questions Persist
By Michael H. Cottman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 8, 1999; Page B1

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams vowed yesterday to aggressively enforce the city's new youth curfew, as questions persisted over how police will handle the workload and where and how long violators will be detained.

Looks like a great opportunity for this generation of DC's citizens to learn all about the power of civil disobedience. -- ed.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/daily/sept99/curfew8.htm


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