L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 116, April 9, 2001
Happy Birthday, Eleanora Fagan!
From: "Alexei Kurupatin"
I went into a rental center today to rent a bag mower for a day. I immediately saw something new...a sign saying they required a thumbprint on all rental contracts. I figured I'd try to bluster my way through it, but no go. Even after I indignantly pointed out that they had a picture ID, credit card, and computer record of my previous transactions with them, they still insisted I press my finger into an inkpad and give them a biometric identifier. I told them that it was bad enough when the government did it to me, I sure wasn't going to let some lousy rental center do it too. And I left them with the definite impression they wouldn't be getting any more of my business.
Every time I get something from Radio Shack or Microwarehouse, they ask my for my address...even if I'm paying cash. At least they'll back down when I tell them to go shove it.
A while back I went into a deliver/carryout version of Pizza Hut. They didn't have any tables, they just did delivery and carryout. They insisted on getting my address, even though I was right there in front of them. Supposedly, that's the way their computer system is set up, and they can't deviate from it. On that occasion I walked out on them. On other occasions, when I can't be bothered to find another merchant who isn't interested in prying into my private affairs, I sometimes tell them "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC." Most of the time, they don't even know the significance of that.
I tell you what...we've GOT to raise the level of indignation in dealing with these scum-suckers. Unlike dealing with the government, we actually have a choice in doing business with these people. We should look them straight in the eyes, and tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, or some other colorful metaphor. And make sure they understand that they've lost your business forever, and why.
This incident with the rental center has peeved me so much, I'm seriously thinking about learning to make artificial fingerprints. For anything but a government agency, a single pull-over sheath for the right thumb should do, maybe with a Band-Aid to cover where the plastic ends and the skin begins. Carry it in your wallet as a different kind of "protection". Unfortunately, I can't find any info on the net about how to do it. I'm thinking something like acid-etching a mold and then molding latex over it. I dunno. Anyone have any ideas?
It could even be an interesting novelty business. If you put a tiny message in the loops and whorls, it might even not be illegal. I don't generally use profanity, but I wouldn't have minded slipping on a sheath over my thumb, walking in there, and stamping "F*** YOU" on their rental contract.
From: "Bill Butson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I cannot fight this anymore.
I was starting to have a good day until I turned on Fox News Sunday and listened to Senator Mitch McConnel and Senator John Kerry talk about campaign finance reform.
McConnel says that "No one" in America wants campaign finance reform because it will infringe on their constitutional rights to free speech. McConnel is a damn liar who's addicted to the $$$$$$$$$$$ flying around Washington DC and will use any lie to achieve his result. What is that result? Keeping corporate $$ in his pocket and the pockets of the rest of his criminal class collectively known as "Senators" and "Congressmen"!
Kerry says a tax cut is irresponsible because it jeopardizes social security and "our" ability to "pay down the debt". Kerry is a damn liar also! Social security is an out of control Ponzi scam that Kerry and his congressional buddies jeopardized long ago by looting it every 3 months, placing an I.O.U. in place of the cash, and spending the money they stole! Who pays the I.O.U.? YOUR CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN!!!!!
And Kerry is suddenly so concerned about the national debt and wants to "pay down the debt"? He ran up the debt, let him pay for it! He wasn't too concerned during the 1980's when congress went on a spending spree and ran up all this debt, so let HIM pay it off! Maybe the Senate can have a bake sale!
DAMN THOSE LIARS!!!!
I ask myself "How can those guys get away with this?" But I already know the answer.
Long ago I read a study that said that the "average" person in America read at a 4th grade level. I was shocked. I didn't want to believe that. But it's true. Not only do they read at a 4th grade level but they think at a 4th grade level. Thankfully there are exceptions such as anyone who reads this because if your on this site you already think for yourself, I hope.
McConnel and Kerry and Shumer and Hillary and Daschle and yes the Republicans too all direct their lies at the 4th grade mentality of "General America" and the media is their conduit!
I was at a gun show yesterday and always enjoy listening to the conversations that go on there. "Average America" is still asleep. "Average America" will never wake up, they do not want to, they enjoy their ignorance and fully accept the "Smoke & Mirrors" and lies as the truth.
But those such as myself are getting very mad! I saw a friend at the show who's in his late 50's and has seen his business ruined through taxation and regulation and uncontrolled immigration here in North Carolina. He has stopped investing anymore money in his business and was buying firearms and ammunition instead. And he is MAD. I know how he feels. I bought more ammo also!
I have to say that for many years I hung onto the belief that "We" could wake this country from its sleep, turn it from its apathy and changes things for the better. I was wrong. America, like Rome years ago, is in decline and will continue to decline. The "Enemies" are at the gate and the gate is manned by Kerry and McConnel who will gladly sell out your children for a few pieces of silver.
What is your next step?
I'm going to get ready for the meltdown, because we cannot stop it.
From: "Jeff Colonnesi" <email@example.com>
"To wit: a bomb kills someone. I saw the bomb making stuff in my neighbors home. I tell Pinkertons, Pinkertons sends over a professional and breaks into the house, finds the evidence, and together we act as witnesses against my neighbor in their trial.
And if I'm wrong? Then I am guilty of initiating force against my neighbor, and must pay restitution for that transgression.
In my opinion, not exactly. You would have to be wrong about them having bomb making stuff, not about them commiting the bombing.
In a truly libertarian society, the fact that you saw "bomb making stuff" in your neighbors house would not justify a warrant. Someone, whether it was you or someone else, would also have to show evidence of a connection that pointed at your neghbor commiting the bombing. That person would be liable as well as "Pinkertons". And then only if they were negligent or less than truthfull about the evidence.
Example: A green 2001 Rolls Royce is reported stolen on April 1. You see your neighbor, who is out of work and always broke, bring home a green 2001 Rolls Royce that same day, pull it in the garage and cover it up. When talking to him later, you mention the "new car" you saw him with and he denies having a new car. You report exactly what you saw to Pinkertons. They approach your neighbor with a warrant to check the VIN on the vehicle and compare it to the stolen one. The VIN numbers don't match. Pinkertons may be liable to your neighbor (they should have checked to see if they could place him near the location of the stolen car and if there were records of any similar vehicles being sold that day first) but, since the only information you provided was truthfull, you wouldn't be liable.
From: "Curt Howland" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
i have no problems with what you state at all. the conventions of society are worked out on the fly, not detailed ahead of time by some bevvy of geniouses inventing every option that may or may not happen.
so my statement stands: this is one way it may work. this is one way it could work.
the only problem with countering statists in their endless pleas that it cannot work without government force is convincing the undecided that it can. that may be the greatest battle of all.
such petty battles as "who sues who" is trivial in comparison.
From: "E.J. Totty" <email@example.com>
Curt, this latter part was either highly simplistic in your intended meaning, or if it was not, then such a scenario would lead to great mayhem -- for all liberties.
In your choice of words, if there were a case of a shooting, then every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who happened to own such devices, would have their abodes crashed, to look for the 'evidence'.
Care to consider a case of rape?
Merely, as you hint, that having anything that is presumed to be 'bomb making material' would onerously impose a presumption of guilt on every person who possessed such materials.
That, in essence, would turn our constitutional protections upside down, making all of us presumed guilty, until proven otherwise in some court.
In your hypothetical case, you might well have planted that evidence in order to frame him, and from there it is all down hill for that neighbor: The Spanish Inquisition, all over again.
The standard rules of evidence used to be, that merely being in possession of a thing was not sufficient to be charged with a crime; the state had to prove intent, presence, or complicity, not merely the evidentiary proposition -- unless past criminal convictions of the suspect were sufficient to induce doubt.
In any particular 'society', the more laws there are, the more criminals there are. If in possessing a thing you are somehow a criminal, then the next step is to be incriminated for even thinking about it.
Think about that.
From: "Curt Howland" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
of course it's simplistic. exceedingly so. this is very deliberate on my part, as the social rules of evidence, the convention of "who-sues-who", are complex systems that evolve as the society evolves. if i tried to account for everything, detail everything, i would be attempting to plan society just as every statist has tried to plan it, and as badly.
planting evidence is not a fault of any particular system, and in a police state the police just get to do most of the planting. the biggest problem with the libertarian idea is combatting the argument that we're "utopians", while we attempt to show why it's the statists who actually are the "utopians".
freedom doesn't solve problems, you and i do. each of us does. freedom means we have the greatest lattitude possible to create those solutions.
because of that, i will not tell you how to solve things. i will not plan out your actions. i merely suggest one way that it could work.
freedom works. shall we enact it, or shall we bicker on details?
From: "E.J. Totty" <email@example.com>
Curt, & John,
Bicker on the details?
You betcha, as the 'Devil is always in the details'!
Every time I get into a discussion of law with another person, I manage to bring to the fore the idea of 'natural rights': You may do as you like, as long as you do not adversely impact the life, liberty, or property of other peoples. If you do, you pay appropriate to the crime, with adjunctive relief for willful acts.
So, basically, if our communities (states, municipalities, and other political subdivisions of government) were to adopt the simple proposition of Natural Law as the only law, then everybody would be assessed of their responsibilities in a simple and concise way.
And, there would be few other local ordinances, for the moderation of known irritants (noise, etc.).
The details are more important than the general idea itself.
From: "Philip Prescott" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I fail to understand how ideological libertarians claim to be for the freedom of the individual, while at the same time demanding that everyone else obey their ideological rules: or else. Some libertarians claim to be egoists, but they demand altruism from those who do not share their model of "reality". That is: Live for me. Follow my rules. Live by my philosophy. Anyone who fails to do so "is" immoral, unethical, wrong, evil, etc.
I like freedom as well, so the first thing I had to do was free myself from the "thou shalt" ideas. Why must thou shalt? Because you want me to? The state wants you to do the same thing and you have refused. I won't serve the state, why should I serve you? (Natural Rights? Don't kid yourself. That is just an idea, a thought, a model. Ever heard a statist use the "social contract" justification? They both sound the same to my ears.) If we are going to live happy and free, it will be because we choose to, not because we HAVE to. I hope we can.
<<Granted by who, you may ask? How about your contract subscribing to Taylor's Court Company? Did you read the part where by your agreeing to the rules of the court, warrants issued under those rules are binding so long as you are a subscriber?>>
What would we do about people who refused to subscribe?--Susan
From: "E.J. Totty" <email@example.com>
<< THAT WASCALLY WAXMAN -- HE'S TWICKED BAKER AGAIN!
Well, I maintain that any kind of ID system invented by government is the 'bootstrap' by which all other forms of tyranny may -- and will -- be instituted. Really, it's just that simple. If you cannot prove who you are, then what rights have you?
If government demands that you produce authentic papers or other media, defining in no less explicit detail than the minimum as prescribed by law, and if you cannot/do not, then you will suffer the penalties for subscribing to the idea of individual privacy -- as defined adequately under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments respectively, to our Constitution.
So, basically, any law which blocks your ability to conduct private commerce without producing government accepted ID, is in essence a violation of the Fourth Amendment, for it is demanding exposure of private information without a declarative warrant, expressly in the face of the edict of said amendment.
If government is so worried about keeping the bad people from procuring firearms, then why do they not also demand that every single purchase of anything that might be used in any way as a harmful device (bleach, ammonia, charcoal, any kind of fuel, automobiles, airplanes, baseball bats, ball bearings, sawdust, flour, etc.)?
All it takes is a careful reading of the Fourth Amendment to understand that a warrant must be issued upon probable cause, and for no other reason. Without that probable cause, the government has no authority to demand anything -- unless it is a licensed activity, like driving on a public road, or hunting, for examples.
How could purchasing a thing -- which possession is protected, and in fact promoted, by an amendment to the Constitution -- be subject to exposure of individual privacy, merely to proclaim that there are no records of note?
If the law is that no person, whom is prohibited, may possess a certain thing, then how is prior restraint (which is also in violation of the Constitution) supposed to prevent that? By prior restraint, everybody is now required to surrender their privacy, in order to conduct business, which is also a form of attainder -- another thing expressly prohibited by the Constitution: you can be a felon before the fact of proof, merely that you did not comply with the law in your purchase, by refusing to allow a violation of your privacy.
If it is the intent of the state to prove that you are not a criminal (which is ludicrous, when you consider that), then that must -- by due process -- be acclaimed in a court of law, not by deprivation of a right, prior to that, by prior restraint, for expressing the right to be free from government intrusion without a warrant.
In fact, in light of the above comment, any system of background checks is faulted from the beginning -- when used to conduct commerce, merely that it promotes the idea of guilt before innocence, something that is reserved for due process of law. In every instance of US criminal law, the defendant is charged with a crime -- not with innocence. It is not for the government to prove innocence, but instead only guilt, for committing a crime. How could the government possibly contend in a court of law that the person before it is guilty of being innocent???
How is it, I'd like to ask, that the one Right of The People which is the most affirmative declaration on the possession of power, is subject to such diminution, as to relegate it to the most inferior of permissions?
If all of the other rights so expressly defined in the Bill of Rights were subject equally to such restraint, then virtually every expression of liberty would invite harassment by the police. In fact, we would need a briefcase overloaded with permission slips, just to walk down the street.
And, today? It appears that if you happen to have your name changed to 'Bugs Bunny', I guess you're in for taking all kinds of crap -- especially from the likes of wax dude (and his henchmen).
Sign me: very disgusted.
From: "Joel C Simon" <JOEL.SIMON@prodigy.net>
Hi, El Neil;
Though you're in the public market and therefore certainly entitled to your opinion on the matter of royalties, I must disagree with your verdict on Napster.
You compared Napster to a library or a used book store, and wanted to know what the difference is. Well, when I buy a book, everybody's been paid. I own the book and can do whatever I want with it EXCEPT copy it and distribute the copies. I can keep it on my shelf for a hundred years, loan it, give it away, toss it in the garbage (an awful lot of airport books go there), or resell it. But I can't make copies. If somebody wants a book like mine and I won't give them mine, they can bloody well go buy their own. This is fair to the writer and the publisher. I'm sure everybody with a financial interest would be happier if I never passed the book on, but it's my property and I have certain rights, too. By example; a week ago my daughter asked me if I'd ever heard of the "Dragonriders of Pern" books. I smiled, rummaged around in my bedroom, and ceremoniously presented her with my tattered, taped-together SFBC edition of the first three volumes, which has followed me around for almost 25 years. The beat-up relic was suddenly upgraded to heirloom. Anne McCaffrey didn't make a dime on the transaction. Somehow I think she'd approve, but I didn't ask her opinion. Giving the book to someone else was both legal and ethical. No one was cheated of royalties. I obtained the book for the full asking price, and what I subsequently did with my property was my business. There still remained only one book.
The comparison with Napster is obvious. What they do is like sticking a book in a Xerox machine, keeping the original and distributing the copies. In my poor opinion this is completely unethical as long as the book is still in print.
You brought up an example of music that was long out of distribution. We agree on that point. If publishers aren't going to continue providing a book or a song, I don't understand why they'd object to others keeping interest alive by making it available in some other way. If I could find a copy of "Brightsuit McBear" or the first Henry Martyn book and photocopying was the only way to possess them, I'd do it with few qualms. I've always wanted to read them, but the publisher won't oblige me.
But as I understand it that's not what Napster was doing. They were taking bread out of the mouths of music store owners and producers and artists by distributing music that was still in production. As you're a professional writer yourself, I found your opinion surprising.
From: "John" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Estimed Editor John,
Just short note for Susan <Swftl@aol.com>
First thank you for asking the questions you have asked - there is little worse than a bunch of self satisfied libertarians sitting around agreeing with each other and finally forgetting why they convinced themselve of their beliefs in the first place.
Thanks for making us defend our positions.
Now on your question of law enforcement.
So far in my life I estimate that private crime may have cost me the equivalent of $2000 and that is being generous. Yes there was one kidnap attempt and one murder attempt that could have amounted to much greater monetary damages (both brought to screaming halts by brandishing the old hogleg but I'm not writing to tell war stories.
The point is that the amount and types of official crime perpetuated against just me and mine would if they had been done by private individuals potentially have brought the death penalty. Complaining about private crime in this country is akin to worrying about flies while being charged by Rhinos.
And its not just me.
Add in the massive frauds of social security, the federal reserve, and the income tax just to name the most gross. Not to mention wars that are nothing more than ritualized murder and sacrifice to the god of the state. What sort of damages and punishments would be meted out to any private individual who even accomplished a hundredth or that which the state has done?
I don't worry about private crime its silly.
From: "Them" <email@example.com>
>"David Anderson (PNOC)" wrote:
We suggest that someone who is concerned about the national epidemic of overweight Americans - which epidemic is clearly caused by a dangerous overabundance of spoons, as well as widespread irresponsible use of, and easy access of everyone including children to spoons - write an urgent letter to Rosie O'Donnell, and suggest the following:
We obviously need to form an organization called SCI - Spoon Control, Incorporated. We desperately need a 5-day waiting period and licensing for all spoons... and those large "assault-spoons" absolutely need to be banned immediately.
Without a doubt, spoons are the root cause of people, including Rosie, eating everything that's not nailed down. Heck - The King himself (Elvis, not Jesus) would probably be alive today if it weren't for these killer spoons.
Worse, many dangerously overweight children have complete and open access to these spoons. Their lives are in jeopardy because of this.
Perhaps Rosie herself, clearly a hapless victim of easy spoon-access, could raise the money for such a worthy organization as SCI.
Mark and Tina Terry
P.S. Regarding SCI - the malady directly caused by the lack of spoon-control is called "Big Fat F***itis." It's a horrid disease that causes one to eat the whole g**dam bowl of mashed potatoes and half of the freakin' Thanksgiving turkey before tearing into and devouring umpteen whole pies.
Obviously, this can't be published, [Wanna bet? - ed.] but it's good to know about it when one is addressing this dread syndrome.
Mark and Tina