L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 113, March 19, 2001
D Minus 30
From: "Dennis Kabaczy" <email@example.com>
Ms. Wells in TLE #112 writes: "Someone has to be in a position to stop people from murder, robbery, arson, rape, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, etc. At the very least, someone has to be in a position to take down evidence and hunt for the perpetrator of such crimes after the fact. Do you think that private organizations can do all of that?"
Private Investigators do most of "that" now. All major coorporations have a security department that investigates losses, interviews witnesses, gathers evidence, and hunts for the perpetrator. It is only a small step for PI's to move to the other elements you describe. Forensice investigation is a science. Government holds no special monopoly on it. Private citizens are, under our constitution, already able to arrest for felonies. And, under a truly free society, there would be a lot less rape, murder and robbery, as people would truly be able to defend themselves.
From: "JACK JEROME" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi J C,
TLE #112 was a jewel just by your publishing of Mike's great birthday piece. It's hard to believe that you can laugh and cry two sentences apart!
Now onto beating my favourite Bush. George Junior has ridden the wave about as far as he can, and now is out to make his own waves. Starting with, surprise surprise regulating peoples' actions. By signing an order prohibiting a strike by machinists in the airline industry, he has prevented private enterprise from doing what it can do best, solve its own problems. Using the economy as an excuse, he has taken away the franchise of citizens to protest what they to belive is a trespass.
By my own admission, I can't quite believe I'm writing this, because I do not support unions in general. I specific terms, I believe that the bulk of the reasons that unions were created for have been addressed (i.e. work conditions, safety of workplace, pay equity) by government regulation. Their time may well be well past. Their continued existence may be only as a monument to greed and self aggrandizement of it's officers.
That having been said, all people have a right to organized protest. All companies also have a right to remain in business by hiring non-union workers (ala The Replacements) to function in union workers' places. This is the heart of a true Free Enterprise system. This is a blatant move to support the backers' whose monies may have put Mr. Bush in office to begin with.
Not to be a ghost in the machine again, but the euphemistically titled "Faith Based Initiative" seems less an attempt to put religion into help programs than to put government in control (to some degree) of religious institutions. Whoever writes the check has some degree of control, in my estimation. Time will tell the tale.
Churches and liturgical institutions posess significant access to funds and currently enjoy tax relief on real estate and many other issues. Should such organizations quickly que up and get the queen's shilling, knowing that there are always strings attached? Church leaders would do well to think long and hard about this. Getting pennies from heaven is like an addictive drug, and once cash starts getting mainlined, troubles begin if the supply is cut off.
Supporters of gun rights think this guy is in their corner, but I feel that Mr. Bush may throw them a curve too. Pledging to support and enforce existing gun laws without enacting new ones sounds good, but as stated innumerable times in this publication, there are plenty of bad gun laws on the books. Any Libertarian should feel any gun law is a bad one, so if they are going to be rigorously enforced, we've got more trouble coming. He would do well to focus on repealing unjust gun laws and easing up on punishing the innocent gunowner.
Simplifying the tax codes would be nice, eliminating some would be nicer. Mr. Bush has followed in his father's footsteps "read my lips", and issued a Funk and Wagnalls sized addition to the tax codes. This Greater Los Angeles Directory of new laws is staggering in its scope, and insures that the IRS will not be idle during the ensuing next 10 years.
I took the opportunity to peruse some of his Tax plan, and I couldn't make head nor tails of it. I was sure it wasn't exactly what he's been touting on the newswonk programs.
Stay vigilant, the wars still on.
Peace out, Jack
I was amused by Mike Huben's "Non-Libertarian FAQ" and exchanged some email discussions with him. He does have a complete page of various critiques of his FAQ, and a full bio (he's a botanist, specializing in mites). After reading the later, I offered him the following quote - which he says he plans to include on his site:
"It is a true slight that a man who occupies himself dissecting ten thousand mites gets the same pleasure of libertarians." - William J. Westmiller
He wasn't as pleased with the other quotes I offered, including one that noted some tokens of respect for the libertarian philosophy:
"A foolish man may become what he pretends to be, while a wise man may come to cherish what he seeks to slight." - William J. Westmiller
Finding several "Mike Huben" self-quotes in the page:
"If the argument from authority is feeble, what does it say of a critic who quotes himself?" - William J. Westmiller
Huben seems to be a thoughtful and honest even if mistaken statist, who offers a huge compendium of intellectual stimulation for libertarians. This is a great site for testing your philosophical and logical talents!
From: "Chris Goodwin" <email@example.com>
Susan Wells writes:
<<Someone has to be in a position to stop people from murder, robbery, arson, rape, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, etc.>>
Why not the intended victim? Studies have shown that individuals stop murders, robberies, rapes, arson, etc. directed at themselves, anywhere between 800,000 and 2 million times a year.
<<At the very least, someone has to be in a position to take down evidence and hunt for the perpetrator of such crimes after the fact. Do you think that private organizations can do all of that?>>
Do you think that private organizations can't investigate crimes? If so, what is your evidence? What is so magic about government that its blessing is required before an organization is capable of investigating a crime? The reason why private organizations don't (not can't) is that the government has reserved to itself a monopoly on investigating crimes and is very protective of that monopoly.
From: "David M Brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Libertarian Enterprise:
A few months back L. Neil Smith posted an essay to The Libertarian Enterprise http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe95-20001023-03.html explaining why he accepted the Arizona LP's presidential nomination. His explanation included some very pointed personal criticism of Harry Browne, delivered in Neil's usual softspoken style. Later, Browne replied in some detail http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe103-20001218.html, specifically answering many of the claims in Neil's piece.
I gather that a few readers of the Libertarian Enterprise found it troubling that Browne was allowed to reply publicly to a personal attack in the very forum in which that attack occurred. What I find troubling is that we have seen no response to Browne from Neil one way or another in these electronic pages. It would seem that, in fairness, Neil should either apologize for publishing unfounded claims, if he recognizes now that they were unfounded; or else provide evidence that his original claims were correct after all.
But maybe that isn't how ideological guerilla warfare works.
David M. Brown
<<Though the financial crisis passed and is long since forgotten, this Nevada law was still on the books when Senior Deputy Attorney General Doug Walther notified the Culinary Union back in 1996 that a leaflet the union was circulating stating that Commercial Bank was losing money ran them afoul of the long-forgotten law.>>
Well, the answer to charges like that is jury nullification.
From: "Joe Kultgen" <email@example.com>
<<Someone has to be in a position to stop people from murder, robbery, arson, rape, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, etc. At the very least, someone has to be in a position to take down evidence and hunt for the perpetrator of such crimes after the fact. Do you think that private organizations can do all of that?>>
Ever hear of Pinkertons? IIRC, Wells Fargo also had an investigative branch at one time. Insurance companies also hire private investigators, both directly, and through paying them a percentage of the value of recovered property.
When it comes to tracking people, and taking them into custody, the laws actually favor bounty hunters. They can often avoid the paperwork snarls that a cop outside his normal jurisdiction would have to deal with. Of course, that means somebody has to decide exactly how much it is worth to bring someone in, instead of simply throwing money at a PD.
Who says we have to totally pitch out one in order to try the other? Why not try farming out criminal apprehension, the way busineses farm out debt collection? It shouldn't take too long to build enough information to do a cost/benefit analysis, once we get past the notion that pinning a govt. supplied badge on somebody turns them into something special.
PS Don't say anything on a wireless phone you wouldn't say in front of a jury. The courts have already ruled that you give up any reasonable expectation of privacy, when you broadcast your conversation. The cops in the van out front can use a modified scanner to record every word, without having to get a warrant.
From: "Curt Howland" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Susan Wells wrote, in TLE#112:
"Someone has to be in a position to stop people from murder, robbery, arson, rape, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, etc. At the very least, someone has to be in a position to take down evidence and hunt for the perpetrator of such crimes after the fact. Do you think that private organizations can do all of that?"
It's clear you never saw an episode of "Magnum P.I." Of course private firms and individuals can investigate criminal acts and wrong-doings. Imagine a world without such private investigators as "Failure Analysis" and "Underwriters Labs".
Where would fiction be without Win Bear or Shirlock Holmes? Cadwell or The Executioner? Or even Batman?
Private arbitration has a long and distinguished history. Respected individuals have acted as "judges" throughout time when people cannot agree. Many business and employment contracts have clauses stipulating the private company who will arbitrate in the event of a disagreement between the interested parties.
Don't forget the power of "reputation." Would you go to a doctor that was uncertified by some organization you trusted? It is in their best interests to act against members who do not conduct themselves honestly, be it malpractice by a doctor, or cooking the books by an accountant.
Criminal action is only prosecuted by the "state" because the "state" has ever increasingly taken the part as prosecutor. I suggest you go back to court records, especially the Supreme Court, and notice how many cases were "so and so vs. so and so", not "U.S. vs so and so" or any actual government agency at all.
However, I do agree it will be a serious paradigm shift for someone to be punished for a "criminal" act by a private court without recourse to such an "unquestionable by force" court as governments run. For a discussion of this idea, please see "The Probability Broach" by L. Neil Smith. Yes, it's in there.
From: "Sam Grove" <email@example.com>
Regarding Mike Huben's Anti-Libertarian FAQ. Mr. Huben is typical of many 'liberal/populist/colectivist' (lpc) theoreticians.
He uses faulty logic and reasoning, not so much to critique libertarian thought, but to defend his erroneous perception of same. Reading his FAQ is an exercise in frustration for any critical thinker as he skews logic in revelation of the perversity of his interpretation.
It is truly amazing how inept many of his 'arguments' are. For example, he criticized the Nolan chart as being too simplistic for having only two dimensions. Of course, he never thought to compare it to the previous one dimensional left-right political graph. His criticism is therefore incredibly stupid. Much of the rest of his criticisms fail due to his unknowing process of compressing the unfamiliar two dimensions into the familiar one dimension. Being an intellectual reactionary, during the compression process, he places libertarians where he thinks they should be, quite apart from his own position. That's why liberals perceive libertarians as conservative.
I have had this experience with others of similar bent. They apparently are unable to receive information accurately. They interpret libertarian arguments into their 'lpc' mold thereby converting information into garbage.
Huben is illustrative of the failure of reason and logic, which many libertarians are good at, in cutting through the emotional fog in which many, seemingly intelligent, non-libertarians often embed their intellectual perceptions.
A different subject.
Watch out what your kinder may view on PBS. The is a program called The Big Comfy Couch, in which a perky young woman pretends to be a little girl. In one episode she read a new version of the ant and the grasshopper. In this interpretation, the ants were a bit disgruntled that the grasshopper fiddled and played while they worked, but when winter came, they allowed the grasshopper to stay with them and they were glad they did, for he entertained them through the boring winter with fiddle playing and other entertaining talents.
Come to think of it, it's not a completely different subject, for once again we see how 'liberals' see a tale that illustrates the importance of productivity to survival as one that reveals the ant's callous indifference to the suffering of the unfortunate grasshopper. Do they see everything at an interpersonal level? Are they unable to see the impersonal nature of the government's activities?
Is it just a problem of communication?
Whose problem is it?
From: "Curt Howland" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
i was just looking up information to refute some prohibitionist propaganda, and noticed something really nasty:
the Amazon.com official review of The Samurai, The Mountie and The Cowboy uses innuendo, ad-hominim and unsupported opinion to "refute" the conclusion that firearms in private hands reduces crime.
luckly, the personal reviews are somewhat better researched.
From: "E.J. Totty" <email@example.com>
RE: TLE 112
Susan writes -
What if you have a cordless phone? Can you be listened in on in only the room in which the plugged in base of the phone is located or can you be listened in on in any room into which you've introduced the portable receiver?
In the first place, in a free country such a thing shouldn't be necessary. In the second place, it would severely limit the number of people you could talk to. [...]
Susan, you sorely mislead yourself.
Nothing is safe, absolutely nothing. Not your food, not your water, not the air you breathe, not the ground you stand, nor the sky from falling debris, not the firmament upon which you might gaze. Nothing is safe, least of all liberty. Liberty is the least 'safe' condition under which men (okay, women too) may exist. But it is THE ideal condition where men (yeah, okay, women also) may seek the greatest level of achievement, the largest amount of self wealth, and untold happiness to pursue any goal, any quest, and not have to worry about communists in government stealing the very things that make life so meaningful: the elements of self-determination.
In a free country, such things as you say should not be necessary are always necessary. And, 'shouldn't' isn't an option. You are dreaming if you think that liberty should be threat free. The whole idea of liberty is that you are free to pursue your life unencumbered by government encroachment. It is you who is responsible for you.
The Constitution cannot protect itself, never mind the rest of us. The Law Courts have name for letting things be processed: Ripeness. Sounds to me as though the country is almost ripe for another fight.
Cordless phones are good for only one thing: running away from, or hiding from a pursuer while dialing 911 and pissing your pants because you neglected to pack your piece religiously if at all.
Otherwise, they are just as susceptible to eves dropping as any other device, including the fancy spread spectrum, code hopping models. How do you think they got FCC approval? Uncle Tyrant knows all the preselected codes, so the phone is damned useless for hiding from him. Any neighbor with the technology and the will to seek you out can do so with a little perseverance. Pretty soon the phone is another open device.
In the last instance you state above, Susan, a lot of things shouldn't be, but it's like playing poker with marked cards. The government is the one that makes the cards. Get my drift? Look at it this way: the more ways that you can communicate, the better off you are. Expand your options: the more you have to play with, the bigger your game, the more you can play. Know your limits, constantly push them: do not expose the same weakness twice, unless it is a game you wish to play ...
In the corollary, when you seek laws to ameliorate your perceptions of what you would deign as necessary to your 'safety', while you trounce upon another's abilities to enjoy liberty, you are in violation of your sworn oath that you made upon joining the Libertarian Party (if indeed you are a standing member). In effect, you are using force against another to achieve your own jealous ends. Making laws that limit the liberty of others, is the first use of force. It is employing the full un-throttled power of government against another human for your own purposes: what you set into motion, you are ultimately responsible for.
When you have no one telling you what you can and can't do, when nobody is responsible for your life but you, when you can come and go unencumbered by any law, and BE free to determine the minutes of that life however you may wish to spend them, then you are free. And they only effects which my encumber you, are your transgressions upon others lives, liberty, or property of others.
If you are looking for security, then it isn't liberty that you seek. The only 'security' in liberty is the knowing that you may secure to yourself all of those necessary articles which will ensure in great measure your ability to protect that liberty. And, no government not severely restrained can ever provide any of that. What government takes from us to use in the pretext of defending our liberty, it jealously denies us while pretending fealty, and absconds mercilessly with ever more in the name of 'security': its own.
From: "Frank Ney" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jack Jerome wrote in TLE#111:
<<A Christmas cruise is where the officers (And possibly crew) can invite close male relatives to take a trip on a submarine (pending security approval).>>
In the surface fleet they are called "Tiger Cruises."
Frank Ney N4ZHG WV/EMT-B LPWV NRA(L) ProvNRA GOA CCRKBA JPFO
From: "Curt Howland" <email@example.com>
Dear Sailing Magazine,
In Reference To: http://www.sailnet.com/sailing/01/f&bmar01.htm
I was browsing online sailing magazines, and was happy to sample your excellent writing style and attention to detail.
However, I must take exception to Bill Schanen's aparent attitide of gladly sucking from the public teat when it's in his intrest to do so.
No one, I repeat, NO ONE "deserves" rescue at public expense. Individuals donate their effort, their time and their resources to the rescue of their fellow sailors because we understand that each of us may find ourselves in such a situation. The tradition of voluntary rescue and aid is a noble one, which I am glad to participate in. I also stop and help stranded motorists on the highway.
But no. Bill Schanen advocates paying for rescue, real or trivial, at gun-point. Maybe he's forgotten where "public expense" comes from.
Yet, he closes his discussion with the fact that he would gladly donate to private efforts involved in the rescue at sea of daring individuals who were too stupid to carry insurance.
That is the crux of the issue: Voluntary Insurance. Has the spirit of self reliance fallen so far as to expect there is no need to wear your economic life-vest? Not to worry, there's always some government somewhere with a net to pull you back to shore.
In the same article, he notes the wave of protest that a picture of a child without a life-vest brings. Yet he then advocates exactly the same lack of safety on the theory that it's ok to rob Peter to pay for Paul's sinking in the south Pacific.
From: "Brian Monahan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If Susan Wells is still worried about lack of justice without gummint, she may want to take a look at The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State, Bruce L. Benson, San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990, and his other writings.
<<Not mentioned here, but of significant interest, in that it was discussed on the net back around 1994 or so, is that all new telephones which are made by AT&T or any of its subsidiaries, have been made to allow phone conversations be eves dropped even with the phone on the hook. The necessary circuitry was mandated if I recall correctly by a proposed federal law, to be a part of all new phones, so as to allow the feds to tap any phone at will and listen-in to room conversations, without the phone even ringing. Whether that was signed into law remains to be seen, but AT&T took the measure of making sure its phones were already in 'conformance' to the proposed law.>>
Are you talking about land-line phones, cordless phones, or wireless phones? In any case, AT&T hasn't made phones in several years. When you mention subsidiaries, could you be more specific? If you mean Lucent and the "baby bells," they are not subsidiaries of AT&T. I don't think AT&T has any subsidiaries that make phones now. If you know of any, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know. Thanks.
Laura W. Haywood