L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 69, April 15, 2000
Good Mornin' California, How Are Ya?
by L. Neil Smith
Special to TLE
Unlike most individuals in politics today, people know exactly where I stand. I've gone to a lot of effort to make sure they do. If you want to be lied to or jollied around, you've come to the wrong guy.
I believe that each and every one of us owns his own life and all the products of his life. That's the kind of statement you don't hear very much in politics today, even from the Libertarian Party where "pragmatists" (who can't win an election) have replaced original thinkers.
Nevertheless, everything I do and say politically comes from the concept of self-ownership. The social expression of that belief -- the Non-Aggression Principle -- holds that nobody has a right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason. That's the fundamental tenet of libertarianism, the idea that's guided my life for 38 years, since 1962, when I was 16 years old.
Having dedicated four decades of my life to the freedom movement, I've reached the conclusion that the clearest political expression of what I stand for -- a document that bears a high degree of historical respectablility, yet at the same time is every bit as radical as when it was written more than 20 decades ago -- is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution is the basic operating system, if you will, of our civilization. The Bill of Rights is the highest law of the land and supersedes the rest of the document, just as it was meant to by certain of the Founding Fathers suspicious of the strong central government the main body of the Constitution establishes. Contrary to what most people believe, the Bill of Rights is not a laundry list of what we're all graciously allowed to do by the government, it's a list of things the government is absolutely and explicitly forbidden to do.
I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Any civilization produced by stringent enforcement of the Bill of Rights would be indistinguishable from what would come from enactment of the most radical and principled Libertarian Party platforms (the real platforms from the 70s, not the squishy Nerf platforms today) I ever helped to write.
Regrettably, the Bill of Rights has never really been enforced. Government -- the activities of which it severely limits -- has no interest in seeing it enforced, and until recently, ordinary people didn't realize that it was up to them. If the Bill of Rights had been enforced from the beginning, we'd have a very different society today, one in which my expression of self-ownership wouldn't seem unusual at all. We'd also be wealthier, a lot more advanced technologically, we'd have many fewer enemies in the world, and we'd have fought many fewer wars.
Why? Because government would have been limited to those functions listed in Article 1 Section 8 of the main body of the Constitution. It would never have been able to strip us of half of everything we earn every year, or tax what we already own. It wouldn't have had the power to act as a drag brake on progress or the economy. And there would be nothing to gain, politically, by making enemies of as many other countries as possible and fighting one stupid war after another with them.
If the Bill of Rights had been enforced, we'd have only a tiny fraction of the government we have today. There would be no War on Drugs to corrupt and destroy every institution on which our society depends. But we'd probably have a cure for cancer (who knows whether the individual destined to discover that was killed at Anzio, Pusan, or Khe San?), nerve and limb regeneration, and luxury hotels on the Moon.
Our children would have a future in something other than a police state.
Speaking of police states -- and those who maintain them -- it's time to have a look at some of the other guys who want to be your president:
Not being much of a basketball fan, I know next to nothing about Bill Bradley, except that, when Algore recites something straight out of Karl Marx, Bradley immediately says he can do more of it and Marxier. When I first laid eyes on Hillary Clinton, what now seems like eight centuries ago, I said to my wife, "That woman has the stink of the death camps on her" and I referred to her as Polly Pot until it became clear that nobody was getting it. Bradley smells the same way to me -- like there's nothing he wouldn't do to fold, spindle, and mutilate reality until it fit his theories -- and that makes me damned nervous.
Without a moment's hesitation, this more-socialist-than Algore "humanitarian" will have you beaten up or killed if it's "for the children".
Pat Buchanan is a man I might have voted for -- 20 years ago. At times, he speaks the language of individual liberty fluently. I didn't know he was a thug, I hadn't read his biography where he describes the joys of wrecking cars and beating people up, and he hadn't decided he has a right to tell me who to trade with. I admit that his take on the Second Amendment -- that every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and drive a tank -- is extremely difficult for me to resist.
Without a moment's hesitation, this liberator of America will have you beaten up or killed if you buy a car from people in the wrong country.
When George W. Bush absconded from his native state to inflict himself on the rest of the nation, he'd been trying -- rather like the current anti-gun Republican governor of Colorado -- to cram new and unconstitutional laws down the throats of Texans curtailing their rights under the Second Amendment. Even his fellow Republicans recognize him as nothing more than an "empty suit" whose apparent regard for the Bill of Rights resembles that of a dog for a fire hydrant.
Without a moment's hesitation, this "compassionate conservative" will have you beaten up or killed if it's in the interest of National Security.
Algore is a 50-year-old campus commie with all the brains of a flatworm. Cut him in half and you'd get two Algores, just what America needs. He is a surrogate in this election for a demonstrated liar, rapist, thief, murderer, and traitor, and to judge from his campaign so far, Algore's only goal is to surpass his boss in all of those categories.
Without a moment's hesitation, this paragon who longs to feel Bill Clinton's pain will have you beaten up or killed if you light a cigarette, the tobacco in which he used to proudly claim he helped to grow.
People in Arizona where he comes from call John McCain the "Manchurian Candidate", the idea being that the Vietnamese commies who held him captive must have done something to him to make him the way he is. He's never seen a tax or regulation he didn't like. A screaming lunatic who can't abide being contradicted -- I'd much rather see the six-year-old who shot his classmate with his finger on the nuclear button than John McCain's -- his only saving grace is that he's corrupt.
Without a moment's hesitation, this Hero of the People will have you beaten up or killed if you ask him the wrong question on the radio.
The Libertarian Party, however tiny and insignifiant, was at least respectable until Harry Browne and his bloodsuckers got their fangs into it. Mostly what he's done is take America's last, best hope for freedom and turn it into a meal ticket for his relatives and friends. Harry even refused outright, to my face, to endorse the idea of Bill of Rights enforcement -- presumably because that might upset his right wing contributors. He got all sniffity and upset when I implied (on a Denver radio talk show) that he didn't know enough about America -- having spent so much of his adult life in other countries -- to govern it.
Without a moment's hesitation, this great freedom fighter will have you beaten up or killed if you decide that your uterus is your property.
What about me? Do I want anybody beaten up or killed? You bet I do -- rapists, muggers, burglars, all at the scene and moment of the crime, at the hands of their intended victims. Read The Probability Broach.
I'd send federal marshalls onto the floor of the Senate, the House of Representatives, state legislatures, city council chambers, and wherever county commissions meet every time they tried to pass laws violating the Bill of Rights. I'd have Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, and each and every one of their vile ilk dragged into the street before TV cameras, in leg-irons, manacles, and belly-chains, and thrown into the back of a Black Maria, hauled off for indictment and trial.
Meanwhile, I'd let everybody out of jail who never hurt anybody -- that's about three quarters of the current prison population -- and compel those who put them in to make restitution out of their own pockets. I'd declare "Peace with Honor" in the War against Drugs, bring the troops "home", and set them the task of stringent Bill of Rights enforcement. The DEA, ATF, FBI, and all those other armed and dangerous blue gangs would become the Bill of Rights Enforcement Administration.
As you know, I'm not really a candidate for the presidency, I'm just a guy whose friends are trying to persuade him to run. (A victory in the California, Massachussetts, and Missouri primaries would be pretty damned persuasive!) The main hat I wear, of course, is that of a writer (like Vaclav Havel, current president of the Czech Republic, come to think of it, another writer who's dedicated his life to the advancement of freedom). I write science fiction novels, mostly, and although it's not the principal objective of my work, along the way I've made some startling (at the time) but succesful predictions showing that I understand my culture and its time and place in history.
I predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire 10 years before it happened. I predicted the internet as we know it today, and the laptop computer. I predicted the digital watch and the fact that Y2K would be a bust. I predicted (or helped start, I'm not sure which) the movement to arm ordinary Americans on an everyday basis. I predicted it would cause crime rates to plummet, and indeed, that's what exactly they've done.
I mention this because, although we all know that I'm not going to be elected president of anything (at least not this time around) I am the only individual in the race who's promised that he will enforce the Bill of Rights. Your votes for me (provided there are enough of them) will put a chill up the spines of politicians who think they own you.
It will slow them down and make them hesitate.
For now, that's a victory, and I'm the only one who can give it to you.
Thanks for listening.
L. Neil Smith