L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 68, March 31, 2000
What Do You Mean "We", Kemo Sabe?
by L. Neil Smith
Special to TLE
The heart of the Leviathan beats ponderously, every ten years.
I wonder if you've heard the radio commercial recently -- "public
service announcements" they call them when they aren't being
broadcast to earn an honest profit -- reminding Indians throughout
the Golden West exactly how dependent they are on the United States
Census "for all the programs they need". These "PSAs" are in pretty
high rotation on Denver's answer to Radio Moscow, 850 KOA, and you
can bet they're being carried by every Indian radio station between
here and Carlsbad Caverns.
As most individuals are aware by now, the Census was ordained by the
Constitution as a means of enumerating -- simply counting -- the
people of this country, to make damn sure they all get get the hell
represented out of them by members of Congress whether they want to
or not. Just why the government should choose to assiduously observe
this single provision of a document they otherwise treat with less
respect than toilet paper -- well, that's whole object of this essay,
This naive exercise is strongly reminiscent (I suppose "reeks" would
be an unsympathetic expression to use in this context) of the early
Democratic Societies that sprang up following the Amrican Revolution,
possibly deriving from local militias or committees of
Accustomed to 6,000 years of taking orders from some King and his
buttboys, post-Revolutionary Americans felt they needed practice at
running their own lives. They used these societies, which usually met
at local churches or bars, to elect presidents, vice presidents, and
secretary-treasurers, to create organizational charters, to propose
and pass (or reject) all the little things stamp clubs, officers
wives associations, and homeowners groups propose and pass (or
reject) every day.
I can't think of anything more quintessentially American. Trouble was
-- and this is the tragic flaw at the heart of democracy -- they
weren't running their own lives, they were running everybody else's.
And exactly as Alexis de Tocqueville predicted, pretty soon Americans
got to thinking that there wasn't anything at all they couldn't vote
That being the case, it's less amazing that we all wound up in a
lockstep Dictatorship of the Pantywaists -- where a baseball player
can be crucified for voicing his rude opinion of the specimens who
ride the New York subway (how come John Rocker gets barbecued, while
Weird Al Yankovic can write "Another One Rides the Bus" and get away
with it?) and little kids get kicked out of school for displaying a
magazine page with a picture of a gun -- than that it took so long to
I guess Mankind is more disposed not to suffer, as well.
One of the places America eventually went where it wasn't supposed to
go was bayonet-point charity, the forcible redistribution of wealth
from those who earn it to those who are unable or unwilling to do so.
Americans now pay five times the taxes medieval serfs did, and
what this mass confiscation accomplishes is that our civilization
won't collapse with barbarians at the gate, the barbarians will
already be inside.
How very efficient.
We've seen what that does, both to the recipient of stolen goods and
people the goods are stolen from. Enterprise wanes, inventiveness
atrophies, Atlas slowly shrugs. What Democrats and (to their eternal
shame) Republicans perceive as a healthy economy is floundering and
flat compared to what it would be in a condition of real economic
liberty. There should be a cure for cancer, limb regeneration, and
resort hotels on the Moon by now, but the resources were used
instead, cynically and cruelly, to keep blacks and other people
helpless and dependent.
Which brings us back, if somewhat circuitously, to the Census.
Because I am not and never will be Secretary of the Interior I can
say what Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior James Watt (funny
name for somebody who was otherwise a pretty dim bulb) got fired for
The worst thing European civilization ever did to the people it found
in North America was not to steal their land (it never occurred to
them to claim it anyway), force them onto other, less desirable land,
or even massacre them at places like Sand Creek and Wounded Knee. It
was to impose on them -- almost exactly a century before it started
trying to do it to everybody else -- a socialist welfare state.
They have been utterly demolished as a people, blacks have been
demolished -- both by the disease of welfare -- and everybody else is
Maybe somebody on the other side understands that.
In the background of that radio commercial I mentioned, there's some
music that may reveal a lot about about the depth of cynicism and
cruelty behind the welfare apparatus destroying Western Civilization.
As if it were appropriated as a trophy of battle from the Little Big
Horn, a chorus of Indian women is chanting the tune of "Garryowen" --
the official riding and drinking song of George A. Custer's Seventh
Think they're trying to tell us something?
L. Neil Smith is publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise
and author of 24 books including The Probability Broach, The Lando Calrissian
Adventures, Forge of the Elders (forthcoming in April, 2000) and
with JPFO founder and executive director Aaron Zelman.
Order these books at:
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