L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 98, November 13, 2000
The People Have Spoken!
The Parade of Collectivism Marches On
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
I have witnesses: I said early on Nov. 7 "This election will come down to a couple thousand Cubans sending a message to Al Gore about the way Jackboot Janet decided to 'resolve' the matter of Little Elian Gonzales."
Who, by the way—Elian, that is, not the murderess troll—will come to America and have his own talk show after Papa Fidel finally becomes the last hero of the World Socialist Revolution to be embalmed and laid out for public view. (The Russians are apparently running out of money to keep re-embalming Lenin. I'm not—as Dave Barry would say—making this up. Of course, the Russians are running out of money for pretty much everything, despite the best efforts of the thieves at the World Bank to run a pipeline full of U.S. taxpayer cash right into the Kremlin, concluding in that secret deal recently OK'd by our point man in the kleptocommissariat, Al Gore, encouraging the Reds to unload all their left-over engines of death on Iran and other friendly powers. Not that I mind a free market in weapons, mind you. I'd just like to know, if the average barefoot goatherd from Zahedan to Samarkand can now buy his own a shoulder-launched heat-seeking missile, why I can't pick one up at Home Depot. Fair is fair.)
The AP reported after the Kursk disaster this fall that "Not a single rescue system functioned on this top-of the-range submarine. ... Disasters ranging from crashing airplanes to industrial accidents have become commonplace in Russia. ... A string of plane crashes were blamed on overloading after pilots accepted bribes to take extra cargo, weighing down their aircraft. ... In rural areas, people hack holes into oil pipelines to siphon fuel, often causing fires or explosions. ... Hundreds of people are electrocuted every year while trying to pilfer communication wires, electric cable and train and plane parts for sell as scrap metal." Airplane parts taken out of planes which then try to fly the next day, mind you—remember the missing parachutes in Joe Heller's "Catch-22"?
It's all thoroughly predictable, after decades of teaching a nation's youth in the government-run propaganda camps that acquiring private property and investing in hopes of future profits are both bad; that everything belongs to the first person to get there with a pair of pruning shears; that "excess earnings" should be confiscated and "redistributed." You know—the political philosophy which has been in control of Washington City since 1932, now being genetically encoded through the reproductive organs of our own collectivist state, under the secure guardianship of the National Education Association.
Give it a few more months: the Russians will try to auction off Lenin's yellowed corpse to either Disney or Maddam Tussaud's. I say that in the interest of international cooperation and historical irony the State Department should approach Ringling Brothers, heirs to the great P.T. Barnum. Decked out in a top hat and Uncle Sam suit, strung up on wires, I know I'd pay to see the old assassin dance like the skeleton marionettes in that famous music video of the Grateful Dead's "I Will Survive"—preferably performed by the Wheaton College Department of Feminist Studies Faculty Chorale.
Meantime, from the front in the ongoing Wars on Guns and Drugs, comes word that four senior citizens, owners of Granicy's Valley Wide Feed Store in Lancaster, Calif., may become the first citizens imprisoned under another Brave New Law of the People's Republic, this one requiring merchants to record detailed personal information about people who buy iodine crystals.
Yes, iodine—you'll remember it from the periodic table of the elements in Mr. Stewart's 11th grade chemistry class. Not only is iodine the rust-colored stuff that stung when mom spread it over your childhood cuts and scrapes—it's also used to treat hoof and mouth disease in horses, and to purify water. What a lot of us might not know is that the stuff is also also used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, which makes it OK for the cops to kill you on the spot if you're caught with any. (Las Vegas cop Bruce Gentner, for instance, got off after emptying the magazine of his .40-caliber automatic into local resident Ron Perrin last year, when it turned out Perrin—otherwise armed only with a basketball—was in possession of a vial of iodine crystals.)
So in a way, maybe the four California oldsters should count themselves lucky. State prosecutors merely busted the four, in the words of The Associated Press, "after becoming frustrated by the store's refusal to comply with the law." Which is to say, refusing to take down the names and other intimate data of their iodine customers, thereafter turning in said data to The Proper Authorities.
If convicted, the four powderheads could spend a year in jail.
Did I mention guns? In late September, a 41-year-old Hamilton, Ontario, man was eating lunch with his family at a crowded restaurant after being fitted with a heart monitor by his cardiologist that morning. Canada being the Land of Snitches, a customer at a neighboring table noticed the bulky outline and leather strap of the heart monitor and, mistaking it for a shoulder holster concealing a handgun, summoned police.
Shattering the moment of family togetherness, a team of SWAT-clad Canadian cops suddenly dashed to the man's table, grabbed him, and threw him up against the wall. One of the thugs tore off his shirt and was trying to pull out the monitor, which was hooked to the man's belt, when he finally realized it was actually some kind of medical device.
The Hamilton chief of police later apologized for the incident, explaining it was an honest mistake.
Hey: You can't be too careful. The guy could have turned out to be an Afghan goatherd.