L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 84, August 7, 2000
Letters to the Editor
Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org
[From TLE #82]:
In any case, I wound up cautioning her, that having a large amount of cash around is asking for it to be confiscated.
Tell her to check out Forfeiture Endangers American Rights http://www.fear.org/
Susan W. Wells Swftl@aol.com
I've been reading quite a bit lately from many Libertarians who write about their problems with the party platform approved at this years convention, and I must disagree with them on some of the complaints. It seems we are working toward tearing the party apart with disagreements over method, not principle. Certainly many may feel that these disagreements are principle based, but I see them as disagreements over how we are going to get things done.
The disagreement I speak of today is over the platform plank on concealed carry. There were several complaints that we are compromising far too much, that to support any type of concealed carry other than Vermont style, is wrong. I agree in principle, a free people should be able to "pack 'em if you got 'em" but will your neighbor accept that idea?
Always remember, in today's society most folks have never spoke more than 5 words with any of their neighbors beyond a terse "howdy" or similar thing. Even if you did break down the imaginary boundary that keeps you from speaking with you neighbors they would be so shocked to see you on their front porch they would most likely call the cops. The media has been on a campaign of "hate your neighbor, trust your government" for quite some time. Most people will say, "Sure, I can carry a gun safely, but my neighbor is a loony who shouldn't be allowed near plastic silverware." And you want these people to vote in favor of "pack 'em if you got 'em"?
With that in mind, we need to educate the public on the truth. We need Joe Six-pack to realize what the people of Florida are learning first hand, that more guns equals less crime. We need people to have that epiphany of "My God, you carry a gun? You seem so normal.", so as to demonstrate the lies the media shovels out at 6 PM every day. In order to do that, we need to start small. We need to get more people in every state to carry concealed, so crime rates plummet. Now will we get that by demanding "pack 'em if you got 'em" or if we work for a minimally intrusive concealed carry permit system.
We have been on a road to tyranny started by Abraham Lenin over 100 years ago. For the last 50 years we have been told to distrust everyone except the government. We can not just say "Hey folks, the government sucks, join the party of principle" and expect everyone to vote for liberty. We need to work toward a goal of liberty, and in the case of guns, we have to overcome a propaganda effort that would make Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot proud. We need to educate and lead the people of this country back to the path of liberty, not demand that they all wake up tomorrow.
There are many issues we Libertarians feel strongly on, issues of liberty and freedom that we know are right. But if we fight to disassemble over 100 years of slow progress to tyranny all in the next year, we will gain nothing, our energies will be spent fruitlessly. I know the dream of Martians beaming up every bit of government and taking it away forever is something that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, but the reality is we must do this to slow way, winning small battles until the war is over and we are victorious. Today Concealed Carry Permits, in a couple years we can fight for Vermont Carry. If we try for it all, we may find ourselves needing permits for that plastic silverware.
Scott Graves email@example.com
I loved reading the part of the letter to TLE where the author discusses the reasons behind the Civil War with his mother:
"I told her jokingly that I learned quite a bit about the revolution in class, but very little about the Civil War, where it was basically reduced to "fought to free the slaves."
From my own attendance at a history class in the pre-PC era, I remember vividly the exchange between teacher and student when asked the question of why the Civil War had been fought: "To free the slaves? No! To preserve the Union!"
I was briefly in Columbia, SC, home of the recently re-embattled Confederate battle standard. For no real reason other than curiosity, I visited the Episcopal Church across the street from the state capitol. The church and its cemetery pre-date the Civil War, and the church brochure states proudly that it was one of the very few buildings spared from burning during Sherman's March to the Sea. In the cemetery, one of the most interesting headstones is in the form of a broken column (a Victorian symbol for a promising life cut short) with this inscription:
In memory of
For the Gist family of South Carolina (not southern California), at least, the concept of States Rights was apparently a much stronger principle than the ownership of slaves -- strong enough that parents would name a son for it who, ironically, would die defending it in a war precipitated to destroy it. It's also testament to the intensity of the long debate on the subject that preceded the first shot. I don't know if any of that family's descendents are still alive, and I won't presume to speak for them regarding the recent squabble over the meaning of the Confederate flag then or now. However, the press/media needed to walk only a few feet from the scene of recent confrontation to get a different, albeit Politically Incorrect, perspective. But it also might have undermined their leftist lapdog line that the Civil War was fought solely to free the slaves, that slavery is the ultimate form of capitalism, that the battle standard is the equivalent of the swastika and stands for the same things, that the First Amendment applies only to the press, and that freedom is what they and the federal government tell us it is. George Orwell was right!!
Coleman Weidenbusch PS, I hope the FBI enjoyed reading this with their new CARNIVORE
software. Maybe if they read enough of our e-mails, they'll begin to
realize that the real criminals in this country are the enemies of
freedom who are exploiting them to subjugate the American people.
PS, I hope the FBI enjoyed reading this with their new CARNIVORE software. Maybe if they read enough of our e-mails, they'll begin to realize that the real criminals in this country are the enemies of freedom who are exploiting them to subjugate the American people.
Dear Mr. Taylor:
For a week I looked forward with relish to reading the rebuttals of TLE readers to Paul Birch's letter (TLE #81, 07/17/00) claiming that the "war on drugs" was neither unconstitutional nor ineffective. I was disappointed by the total absence of reader response in issue #82.
Perhaps all the other readers were reluctant to dignify such "crude and extreme" views with a rebuttal, or maybe they all felt that such ignorant nonsense needed no refutation. Then again, Paul Birch may have seemed to all such an easy target that they could not in good conscience shoot that fish in that barrel.
I don't have any of those problems.
Mr. Birch began his polemic very weakly with the statement: "The existence of anti-drug laws does not violate the constitution of the United States (though certain of the federal regulations and activities may do so)." In other words, Mr. Birch claims that the federal "war on drugs" is not unconstitutional even if the federal government may be violating the constitution in its prosecution of that war.
Mr. Birch's reference to our federal drug laws as "regulations and activities" shows that either he is unaware of the difference between regulations and statutes or he has not read Title 21 (Food and Drugs), chapter 13 (Drug Abuse Prevention and Control) of the United States Code. This is federal statute law, enacted by congress and signed by the President. It is not mere "regulation" or "activity." It provides for up to 20 years of imprisonment for the mere possession of tiny amounts of a "controlled substance" (see USC Title 21, chapter 13, subchapter I, part D, section 844). Reasonable people consider that law a violation of the 8th amendment's prohibition of cruel punishments.
Mr. Birch failed to point out any part of the U.S. constitution that authorized such federal laws. The 10th amendment to the constitution states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The constitution of the United States of America does not delegate the power to "control substances" to the federal government.
Mr. Birch went on to say that "libertarians who wish to rely upon the American constitution should realise that for the most part it does NOT guarantee individual rights; it guarantees the political 'rights' of the several states against encroachment by the federal government." I have heard this claim before, but only from people who have not read the constitution.
What Mr. Birch meant by "for the most part" he did not make clear. Most of the constitution does not address rights, whether of the state or of the individual, but is rather concerned with the organizational details of government. But the main section of the constitution that does deal with rights, the first 10 amendments, is almost entirely concerned with individual rights. All of the 10 amendments refer to individual rights. Only the 1st amendment limits the prohibition of the passage of certain tyrannical laws to the federal government, and only the 10th amendment mentions the rights of states, and that only in the same breath with the rights of the people. The other eight amendments are universal prohibitions of governmental violations of individual rights. Mr. Birch's citation of the 2nd amendment as a rare exception to the constitution's guarantee of nothing but "political 'rights' of the several states" shows that either he has not read the whole Bill of Rights, or he is a fool, or he is a liar.
The 2nd amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The 3rd amendment guarantees that no individual homeowner shall have soldiers quartered in his house in time of peace without his consent.
The 4th amendment guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The 5th amendment guarantees that no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless upon a presentment or an indictment of a grand jury, and that no person shall be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, or compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, or deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or suffer his property to be taken for public use without compensation.
The 6th amendment guarantees to each individual accused in a criminal prosecution the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, and to be confronted with the witnesses against him, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
The 7th amendment guarantees the right of trial by jury to all individuals in suits at common law.
The 8th amendment guarantees to all individuals that excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The 9th amendment states that the enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendments 13, 14, 15, 19, 24, and 26 also guarantee the rights of individuals. Mr. Birch would do well to read them.
So much for Mr. Birch's absurd contention that "for the most part" the constitution "does not guarantee individual rights" but guarantees instead "the political 'rights' of the several states."
While his ignorance of the contents of the U.S. constitution is inexcusable, given that his country of residence (the U.K.) has many fine libraries, Paul Birch might be forgiven his mistaken belief that "there is no war on drugs," on the grounds that local U.S. events are sparsely reported in U.K. newspapers, were it not for the preposterous reasoning he presented to support that contention.
He wrote: "In a real war, street level dealers would be scooped up and given a choice: shop their suppliers or die; and ditto all the way to the top. Resistance would be met with overwhelming firepower, up to and including cruise missiles and stealth bombers to obliterate the druglords' Columbian strongholds."
By the above logic, Mr. Birch must inevitably also claim that World War II was not a war because we did not execute German prisoners for refusing to betray military secrets, and that the Vietnam war was not a war because we did not nuke Hanoi.
The last twenty years have seen the complete reorganization of local, state, and federal police forces, in the U.S. and many other countries, into military-style units equipped with military weapons up to and including machine guns, helicopters, and tanks, all in the name of the "war on drugs." These units have been trained to attack at night and with no warning, and have been made exempt from nearly all traditional restrictions on the violation of the civil rights of citizens. They have been shooting citizens down in the streets and in their bedrooms, both those "guilty" of drug possession and those innocent of it. If Mr. Birch does not know the names of Donald Scott, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Diallo, Ismael Mena, Mario Paz, Pedro Oregon Navarro, and Esequiel Hernandez, he would do well to learn the particulars of their untimely deaths. They are but a few of the innocent people gunned down by the government in the last few years in the name of the war on drugs. Esequiel Hernandez, for instance, was an 18-year-old Texan shot while herding his family's goats by a U.S. Marine who was patrolling the Texas/Mexico border looking for drug smugglers.
For every innocent victim of the "war on drugs" there are hundreds of others who have lost their lives or their freedom for mere possession of small amounts of "controlled substances." The prisoners of this war now number in the hundreds of thousands.
These are not "the normal enforcement methods of criminal law," as Paul Birch would have it. These are acts of war.
There is no need to respond in detail to Mr. Birch's other fatuous assertions, such as the claim that the 13th, 14, and later amendments are not really part of the constitution, and the claim that many communist countries and other tyrannies have armed their populace to the teeth. His strident pontification on subjects of which he clearly has minimal knowledge has marked him as a man whose views should not be taken seriously.
Verne D. Fukawi firstname.lastname@example.org
When leaving 'The Patriot', I observed to my companion, "Well, it's nice to know that agents of OUR government don't shoot teenage boys in the back when they're running to help a family member[*]. Oh, wait, there was Sammy Weaver out in Idaho. Oh, well, at least it's nice to know agents of OUR government don't close up people in a church and burn it down around them. Oh, wait, there was that thing down in Waco. Ehh, Never mind."
I saw no fewer than six people glaring at me with looks that, if they could kill, would have made me a crispy critter on the spot.
Robert J. Gibson email@example.com
[*]Tell a teenage country boy that a dog isn't part of his family.
I thought that I was up to date on all the tyrannical, police state operations of the Federal government. Unfortunately, I found a new one.
It seems that there is now a requirement that when children under 18 travel out of the country with one parent, they need the written consent of the other parent.
Now to some, the occasional story of one parent taking the kids from the other is tear jerking and sad, but those situations are quite rare and should not be taken as the excuse to create another police state system. Nevertheless, there is now a restriction on leaving this nation. It may be limited for now but it will surely be the precedent for further rulemaking and further restrictions on leaving.
This is not the way America should work. Restrictions on leaving are appropriate for Cuba and maybe East Germany but not this country.
For everyone's information, children under the age of 18 leaving the United States, must have in their possession a letter from the parent not travelling with them authorizing the trip.This letter must be notarized. The airlines enforce this rule and will simply not give you your boarding passes without this document. Of course, this is in addition to the usual passports, birth certificates, etc suitable to enter wherever you are going. I am not sure what happens at the land crossings like the Mexican and Canadian borders but I ask any readers to report here any experience that they have had with this.
Does anyone know if this requirement is statutory or simply the result of bureaucratic rulemaking or Presidential executive order?
The divorced among us are probably now thinking of all the new nasty things that one parent can do to the other. Divorce brings out the worst in people and this just gives more power and ability to inflict more pointless pain. There are also all kinds of practical difficulties that might arise like ill or missing parents unavailable to sign the letter. How can something like this get put into place without publicity, debate or, apparently, thought?
Mike Kerner M_Kerner@Compuserve.com
After watching all the hoopla about which chief flunky the two puppets for the Evil Branch and the Stupid Branch of the Totalitarian Party are going to pick for the well-deserved obscurity of veephood, it occurs to me that the best deal would be if Bush chose Gore and Gore chose Bush; that way, the fix would really be in, and no one goes away unhappy, no matter who wins! (Well, except for the voters, that is.)
Rick Trentham firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Taylor,
This is a response to TLE #83. There are two issues worthy of note. I can offer some suggestions regaring the proper interpretation of the Waco FLIR tape, and I'm concerned about the IRS seizure described in the article about Jamie.
To someone with the proper training it is beyond question that the flashes on the tape are muzzle flashes. It does not require arcane knowledge or esoteric skill to reach this conclusion, but only some familiarity with firearms.
When I first saw the tape my immediate reaction was that the phemomena were too regular to be natural, they had to be artificial. Depending on the frame rate of the camera, it might even be possible to determine the cyclic rate of the weapons involved.
My other initial reaction was to admire the discipline of the shooters (plural). There are clearly two firing positions. They alternate every so often. The first shooter releases a few bursts, emptying his magazine, and then the second shooter starts firing, while the first shooter is presumably changing magazines. This pattern repeats several times in a very steady rhythm.
I have not had a opportunity to review the tape in detail, but I'd be willing to bet money that there is no section in which flashes from both points are visible. The rhythm is too precise. It, too, is artificial.
Now I'm a firearms trainer. I'm probably the only person who has completed the course schedule (by taking the highest level course) at the world's leading gun schools: Lethal Force Institute (IV), Gunsite Training Center (499-E, SMG-E), Thunder Ranch (DH3), Chapman Academy (Master), Defense Training International (Instructor), Smith & Wesson Academy (Firearms & SMG Instructor), etc. ad mauseum. I'm no where near the world's greatest authority, but I have a little bit of background.
What bothered me about the regularity of the fire discipline is that targets don't come in that pattern. Of course, one only fires when a target has been identified, and has the ability and opportunity to place an innocent person at risk of death of grave bodily harm.
Only later did I figure out the true implications of the regularity of the precise fire discipline. They weren't shooting at targets. They were shooting at the doorway. This technique is a form of suppressive fire. It is never, ever used by any civilian law enforcement agents, including the DEA, who are probably most at risk, and certainly not by the FBI.
It is a military technique because only battlefield situations justify indiscriminate fire.
We have no need of laboratory evidence to show the truth. Anyone who has trained fire teams will be able to identify the pattern by the regularity of the bursts and the alternation of the firing points. It is "obvious by inspection" that there were at least two shooters behind the building who were "containing" the inhabitants and denying them the use of the egress.
Please solict additional opinions on this topic.
My other issue is regards to the seizure of the motel by the IRS. Are you able to substantiate the claim the that the motel was seized only for failure to withold from the unpaid volunteer staff?
Please provide whatever references you have on this seizure that I might learn "the rest of the story".
Hello to the staff of TLE,
I have recently discovered The Libertarian Enterprise online, and I have also concurrently read Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness." In Rand's "The Objectivist Ethics" (1961) I read the passage:
The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man -- or group or society or government -- has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initialte its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: It is the difference between murder and self-defence. A holdup man seeks to gain a value, wealth, by killing his victim; the victim does not grow richer by killing a holdup man. The princible is: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force. The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence -- to protect his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to his own property and to the pursuit of his own happiness. Without property rights, no other rights are possible."
I realized that I'd already heard this idea from TLE, in your answer to "Who is a Libertarian?":
Who is a libertarian?
I would like to know your opinions about the influence of Rand's ethics on the Libertarian philosophy. When was the above description of a libertarian penned? Are objectivists and libertarians very like-minded people? It would seem so to me. I appreciate any comments you may respond with.
Ian McKee email@example.com