L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 102, December 11, 2000
Living in Infamy
From: "Steve Trinward" <email@example.com>
Vin's column about Billy Tauzin and the "Panhandle voters" (TLE #101) is instructive in several ways, as usual.
The most intriguing issue is that there were allegedly THOUSANDS of voters in the Florida Panhandle who, as soon as they heard the 'early call' on the Florida result, turned around in their cars and went home, rather than 'waste" the vote...
This implies three things in the minds of those voters: (1) that the only reason to vote is to affect the outcome, (2) that polling data and network projections can NEVER be wrong, and (3) that each voter's individual vote would have made the difference in the election otherwise.
The first thought would automatically invalidate the voting actions of EVERY Libertarian, Green, NatLaw, Reform or other alternate party supporter. It would also render absurd the vote of ANY voter in a state where the outcome is either:
(a) a foregone conclusion (which covers all but a handful of states) or
(b) unaffected by the vote totals in that particular state (which is true of all but the largest ten - except this year when, due to a preponderance of voter fraud, coupled with general voter apathy and even division among "evils," even a small state like Tennessee could have made the difference ...).
The second idea would imply that on Election Day, we should merely consult the polls, and then stay home! Since the polls are right, the votes won't make any difference whether or not they are actually cast ...
The third idea is a symptom of voter megalomania, since the very idea that by voting or not voting, that ONE SINGLE VOTE will determine the outcome one way or another.
Obviously, for those of us who see the ballot box as preferable to the cartridge box, this is a golden opportunity to attack this avenue of reasoning head on.
From: "Steve Trinward" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RE: Michael Gallagher's extremely one-sided rant, several questions:
1. How does this guy, assuming he is NOT as detailed in #1, explain away the NUMEROUS and BLATANT instances of voter fraud, legal machination and outright LIES perpetrated by the Gore people in all of this, actions which even have elements of his own Party asking him to cease and desist?
2. How do you figure that the Florida Supremes did not overstep their bounds, in redefining a clearly written statute (the deadline for vote-certification) to mean something entirely different (a "suggested deadline" which the Court could extend as it wished). Does Mr. Gallagher have as much trouble with "shall" as his Dem cronies have with "is"?
3. Why is he using the same tired arguments coming out of the Gore legal goons (That Boies, he's sure a piece of work!) to claim that just because Bush's boys didn't think they needed to prolong matters, and thus didn't challenge every OTHER county's results (Why? They were winning already! Do you normally consider a preemptive strike against your opponent when you believe he is already defeated?), ... they somehow cede the right to challenge when the Gore folk try to subvert the results?
4. Why is this wonderful defender of "the will of the people" overlooking the thousands of overseas (mostly military) ballots which his Goron fellows have challenged and invalidated for trivial reasons? Or the BLATANT voter fraud in Broward County, where hundreds of voters who chose not to vote for President had their ballots credited to Gore, based on stray marks, fingernail dents and other fraudulent causes?
5. What is a Democratic Party "spin doctor" doing on TLE?
I reiterate that I am NOT on either "side" in this mess. I am a Libertarian, I vote Libertarian or (usually) not at all, and I frankly did not care on Election Day who won. Now I have become fully convinced that if Gore manages to win this election, he will have done so by stealing it—through the machinations of Cook County vote fraud expert Bill Daley (whose daddy taught him well?), David Boies and the rest of the Mob—and his administration will be as fraudulent and illegitimate as that of his predecessor ...
Of course, that would not necessarily be a bad thing for the long-term cause of liberty ...
— Steve Trinward
It seems to me that Gore is the one who has done most of the whining.
— Susan Wells
From: "Edward Malone" <email@example.com>
This letter is in response to the news article endorsing the behavior of the Florida Supreme Court. The Court based its decision on the proposition that the right of the voter to have his vote case is paramount. However, the Court is being disingenuous. If this so-called right is paramount, then why does the enjoyment of this right depend upon someone else (i.e. candidate and canvassing board) asserting this right on behalf of the voter. In other words, if this "right" to have one's vote hand-counted were so paramount as the court suggests, then why can't the voters of "Republican" counties enjoy that right?
The voters in "Republican" counties whose ballots may not have been picked up by a machine do not enjoy the right to a handcount because neither candidate asked for a recount in that county. Now how can such a "paramount right" depend on someone else asserting that right for you?
With Democrats, the Court is saying "to hell with the law and deadlines, the people have a right to have their votes cast." But with Republicans, they are saying, "Too bad, your votes cannot be counted. Your candidate was too inept to ask for a recount." Is that fair? Is that what libertarianism is about?
If the real parties in interest were indeed the voters rather than the candidates, then the Florida Supreme Court would have orderd manuel recounts in all 67 counties in Florida, notwithstanding Bush's failure to request counts.
Concerning the Secretary of State's descretion, there may be a conflict between "must reject" and "may reject," but in no way does this mean that the Secretary of State "must NOT reject" the late ballots. Judge Lewis' opinion was legally sounder than the Supreme Court's.
From: "James J Odle" <firstname.lastname@example.org&tg;
On the subject of movies, I am not aware of any that carry an explicit libertarian message, but there are, nevertheless, many worth watching. Among them:
Brazil: [ DVD or VHS]This Pythonesque movie ridiculed the insanity and rigidity of government bureaucracy and of the societies dominated by them in the most amazing ways. It reached unparralled heights of absurdity in the scene wherein the government agents required written permission of the terrorist prior to questioning him which was then compounding when they charged him for the 'service'. They also required his wife to sign a document acknowledging that they now had custody of him with her permission. A truly nightmarish, dystopian movie.
Lorenzo's Oil: Now someone might ask how a movie featuring leftist Susan Sarandon could possibly be libertarian. Well, I¹m sure that the libertarianism in this movie is entirely accidental. Nevertheless, consider the plot. The story revolves around a family which is falling apart because a child, Lorenzo, is suffering from a form of Lupus. The parents try all the traditional medical approaches to effect a cure and nothing works. Rather than give up, the father, played by Nick Nolte [who is not a doctor] does his own medical research [this is where the libertarianism or rather, self-reliance comes in] and comes up with the cure. Hence the title: Lorenzo¹s Oil. It is a painful picture to watch but it does have the virtue of being a true story.
The Americanization of Emily: This movie featured James Garner, Julie Andrews, and James Coburn. It ridiculed the notion—quite successfully, I might add—that there is something noble about soldiers risking and losing their lives on whatever the latest battlefield some idiot politicians have cooked up for them. Those, such as Rush Limbaugh, who believe that WWII was righteous because our fathers understood that there were events 'larger than themselves' and that we should build monuments to our war dead should watch this movie.
As for television, during the eighties PBS and A & E, ran a British sitcom called Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. While it is true that this sitcom did not carry any particular libertarian message it did make joyous, if not Swiftian fun of the institution of government. The writing and plots were often quite clever and the use of language was superb. One of my favorite episodes was called The Compassionate Society in which the Minister, James Hacker, learns that there is a publicly funded hospital which is not caring for a single patient. He then attempts to close it down only to be thwarted by the scheming, underhanded [who is supposed to be helping him implement his policies] Permanent Secretary of the DAA, Sir Humphrey Appleby. Today, as far as I know, selected episodes are available on VHS from amazon.com as long as they last. Since we can¹t get rid of government let us at least laugh at the stupid things.
While I never watched it, during the seventies Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie might qualify. If it was in any way inspired by the Laura Ingals Wilder¹s children¹s classics, other than borrowing the title I mean, it should certainly be considered. I¹m sure it is in reruns.
James J Odle
This is just a short note to thank you all for The Libertarian Enterprise. As far as I can see, not only are you not making any money at it, but it's actually costing you money. But how can this be? Without government "encouraging" us to "help" our fellow citizens (at the point of a gun, of course), we would all descend into chaos. Nobody would voluntarily give of their time and intellectual capacity were it not for those caring and noble folks who comprise the government ruling elite. (Didn't Ayn Rand say something about checking our premises? hmmmm...)
At any rate, I am grateful that you have created and maintained this wonderful meeting of minds. Please do not think I am accusing you of altruism (Ayn Rand, get out of my head!). Perhaps you consider TLE a long-term investment that will result in more freedom for you and your families. Or perhaps you just enjoy having your opinions aired. It doesn't matter. What does matter (to me) is that I am the beneficiary of your intelligence, reason, wit and passion for freedom. I thank you for that.
From: "Derk Benner" <email@example.com>
Two things I'd like to comment on.
First, Michael W. Gallagher's 'A Few Notes on Election Protests and Contests' is right on the mark and right on time. It's just too bad that this article was not seen by more people.
I have no desire to see either candidate in office. I do not like or trust either candidate. I fully believe that either candidate will continue to botch the economic, social and political conditions in the US and I don't want to see that happen. However, over these last few weeks it has become increasingly clear that Bush is winning the emotional campaign amongst the citizens of this nation to force Gore to stop his attempts at vote recounts. Bush's attempts to do so are completely self-serving and are NOT, as demonstrated by Mr. Gallaghers article, in the best interest of voter rights nor does it clear the issue of who actually won. Leaving aside the fact that over half the registered voters chose to abstain rather than vote for either major party candidate, those who did vote clearly wanted Vice President Gore to win the election. And, in such a close election between two such candidates, the "losing" candidates have frequently resorted to the fair, legal and common practice of requiring a manual recount in close elections. So, why is this any different? It isn't. Let the manual recount go on.
Second, in response to Vin's excellent article, 'Sparing Us the Emperor Al', I've got to agree with the main thrust of Vin's comments, but I must say that my desire to see AlGore in office stems from the fact that he's a geek and a nerd. GW is more of a jock and good ol' boy. Well, speaking as a geek-and-nerd, I fully remember all those times when the J/G's made my life hell. I also remember those times when fellow G/N's screwed me over as well. But there was a difference between the two. J/G's felt that it was their right and privilege to screw everybody any time they felt like it, just because they could get away with it. The G/N's only screwed someone over as a last resort, because they knew full well the truth behind the saying, 'What goes around, comes back around.' Letting GW into the Presidential Playhouse is akin to giving a pyro a Bic lighter and a can of gasoline.
I guess what I'm saying is that both AlGore and GW will screw us over for the next few years, but GW is far more likely to do it, jsut because it feels so good!
Derek A Benner
From: "Ken Rachels" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From the TLE base page reference,
"Who is a libertarian?"
"A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim."
At what point in the incursion by government on freedom does defensive use of force become valid? When the government passes an anti-freedom law (e.g. confiscation of guns, prohibition of alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs, ...), is that enough to enable the use of defensive force per the above? or, to be a consistent Libertarian do we have to wait until the BATF/DEA et al. actually starts shooting?
I was surprised to see a partisan and specious review of the Florida Supreme Court ruling on TLE. Aside from being legally baseless, it offered no libertarian principles as foundation or context. My repost [see "Perverse and Malicious Dictates"—ed.] is below.
From: "Grendel Drago" <gdrago23 (at) yahoo.com>
I have some techie skills, and will be acquiring (access to) an XL1 (mini-DV format camcorder) and editing console this spring, if all goes well.
But I have nothing to make! I'm not a writer, I'm a technician. I can make special effects (within certain limits), I can learn to be a cameraman, I can mix sound... but I can't write a script, I can't lay out a scene.
So here's your chance, all you closet libertarian screenwriters! This here's a call for all your dusty material; I can't promise anything, but we can at least all see each others' work and swap ideas, right? Sort of a SourceForge thing; perhaps we could host it there. Anyone else have any input?
Contact me at gdrago23 at yahoo.com (obscured so some web-bot doesn't spam me.)
From: "Curt Howland" <email@example.com>
Find below a copy of a letter to the Japan Times, in response to their article here:
This URL subject to changing text, but links to past articles are on that page. Look for "ready for takeoff"...
----- Forwarded message from Curt Howland -----
I read with interest the article in the Japan Times online edition, Cyberia, "Ready for Takeoff", December 6th.
I'm interested that you didn't mention the singular reason why bandwidth in/out/through the US is cheaper than going direct, why such a huge percentage of Asian traffic still traverses the Pacific twice to get to its destination, why it's cheaper to fly to Fukuoka from Tokyo by taking a stop in Seoul, etc etc etc...
NTT's prices are so astronomical because they are a protected monopoly. If NTT's assets were sold off to the highest bidder and telecommunications completely deregulated by the Japanese government, the national infrastructure might skip a beat, but it would return and exceed the capabilities of anywhere else in the world within 2 years. or less, because of the existing wireless systems.
Yet we're stuck with Mori's latest "5 year plan" to do nothing.
Your historical trends do not go back far enough. In 1992 and 93, the US federal government bureaucracy attempted to force upon the US telecommunications market a "data superhighway", much beloved by Al Gore, he even campaigned on the issue. This "superhighway" would consist of about 6 interconnect points around the nation, where any and all ISP's would be forced by law to connect. All peering would be done, by law, at those interconnects, and all long-haul data transmission would travel, by law, between those nodes.
The perfect model of efficiency, predictability and control. And just as perfect a complete disaster if it had come to pass.
What happened instead was a fluke: for once the bureaucracy reduced it's grip, just a little. The National Science Foundation released it's routing tables to the responsibility of the individual companies who had IP networks. Whether or not your network could be reached by anyone else came to depend not on government fiat, but on your own efforts as an ISP to leverage the most efficient connectivity for your customers.
The entire explosion in connectivity follows that loosening. I know, I was there and I was working on that connectivity for a major ISP as the National Science Foundation ESS servers were taken out of the loop.
US national infrastructure ballooned, and prices dropped because the industry moved too fast to be stopped by government regulation. Customers bought the service that best suited their needs, and companies such as CompuServe and Prodigy fell by the wayside. Imagine the cries of agony if a major, and I mean MAJOR steel manufacturer were to go out of business because someone undercut their prices and "stole" their customers? But that's called "dumping", and it is illegal.
Inefficiencies in a market require government assistance to continue, otherwise the customers would just go to someone else where they get the service they want.
It is the terror of the short term disruption that allows governments to keep strangleholds on industries, like Japan has on its telecommunications infrastructure. not Mori, not NTT, no one can determine what will best serve the information consumer and force it into existence. One size cannot fit all.
The only system that works is no system at all. Prosecute fraud, but otherwise leave the people themselves to decide what the best service means to them. Some telecommunications companies will go bankrupt, some will merge or be bought out, and some will make extraordinary profits. They will only be able to do this by serving the desires and needs of their customers.
From: "mwglaw" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[see Steve Trinward's letter above—ed.]
TO THE EDITOR:
Thank you for this opportunity to respond to the letter of John Trinman, regarding my article on the election. There are a significant number of misstatements and misunderstandings I would like to correct.
1). Mr. Trinward asked how I "explain away" behavior by Gore et al. I don't. My article did not concentrate on Gore.
Mr. Trinward: obviously I did not write the article YOU wanted someone to write. That being the case, if you want an article on a specific topic, WRITE IT YOURSELF. However, do your research and keep your facts straight. The readers of this publication do pay attention.
Before I wrote my article, I realized that there would be one or more people writing about Mr. Gore and his (perpetual) election litigation. This is understandable. Gore is such a lovely target. Hell, anyone who spent eight years running errands for (and lying for) Bubba Clinton would make an irresistable target. Add in Gore's own behavior and beliefs, and it is inevitable that one or more people would go to work on him. All I have to say about that is, good hunting!
However, I realized that it was less likely that someone here would also review the behavior of Mr. Bush and his thugs in detail. Just because Gore is, well, Gore, does not mean that Georgie Bush should get a "free ride", (at least not in my humble opinion).
2). Why do I restate the arguments used by Boies and others, that there is no general state recount because Bush never asked for one? Because he didn't. That was his choice.
Look, litigation in America is "self-serve". It is up to you to assert your own rights, either personally or through your attorney(s). Nobody's going to do it for you—least of all your opponent. If you don't assert those rights, you may lose them. Further, as I understand it, the Florida election code, like most state election laws, contemplates objections being filed on a voting district or county basis—not on a state-wide basis. The voter(s) or candidates(s) affected in a particular county file objections in that county, if they want to.
OF COURSE Gore only complained about some counties. Those were the counties where he thought he had been damaged, and could make up some votes. If Bush wanted to object to the count in a county, it is up to HIM to file that objections. For Bush (through his attack weasel, James Baker) to later complain that Gore only wants to count certain counties is, at best, ingenuous. Bush knows (or should know) what the rules are.
In reality, this is yet another attempt to lie to and confuse the American people. Further, it is denegrating to everyone who listens to him—because he is assuming that his audience is TOO STUPID OR TOO LAZY TO THINK.
3). Why didn't I go into the issue of the absentee ballots? Because I didn't. An article detailing every issue of this election would take me at least a month to write, and would be the size of a small telephone book. I didn't feel like writing it, you wouldn't feel like reading it, and I am sure John Taylor would not feel like publishing it. I was writing a (brief) article—not a textbook on elections! If you want to see that article, I say again, write it yourself and submit it!
4). Why do I believe that the Supreme Court of Florida did not overstep its bounds? Because it probably didn't. It is the job of each state Supreme Court to decide the law of that state. Where there is a conflict—as there was between several sections of the Florida election code—they have to figure out what to do to implement the laws as best as possible.
This sort of thing happens all the time. Legislators are often sloppy, and do not properly reconcile parts of one statute with another statute when they pass these things. In this case you have three statutes, all in conflict. How then, do you make the laws work together? You reconcile them as best you can, using whatever you can for guidance—the state Constitution, the legislative histories of the laws, (what the legislators said, when they debated these laws originally), and basic "rules of construction". From their opinion, it appears that the Florida Supreme Court attempted to do that. I think that is what you will see when the Florida court issues its (more detailed) opinion, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's remand order.
Look—there is nothing that says that Georgie Porgie, er , I mean, George W. Bush, cannot appeal a ruling he doesn't agree with. There is nothing wrong in claiming "The Court below erred". But it is the height of arrogance, (not to mention childish whining) to publicly state that it is a political fix, when you lose in court. It also demeans the people he addresses, since Mr. Baker (presuming he is not a buffoon) knows that what he is saying is trash. He knows he is lying.
This behavior also shows that he is familiar with—and believes in—the techniques of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels, also known as the "big lie", i.e., tell a large enough lie often enough, and people will be stunned into believing it.
Much as I admire the writing of Vin Suprynowicz, and often agree with him, I have to disagree with his latest article, at least in part. I do agree that Al Gore is a crazed power-junky. I do agree that such people are very dangerous. However, there isn't any real evidence that George Bush is not just as bad, (other than one or two self-serving statements). And, even if he isn't as power-mad as Gore, the people he as surrounded himself with ARE. There is a sort of "burn the place to the ground so that I can at least rule the ashes" kind of logic to the statements of Baker, et al. Do whatever damage you want to do, as long as you win in the end.
In summary, I find no relief whatsoever in Bush's election. He scares me just as much as the other twit—and more, in some ways. What kind of Supreme Court justices might Bush, et al, appoint? What freedoms are they going to revoke, "in the public good?"
What rights are we going to lose?
Michael W. Gallagher