L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 118, April 23, 2001
Just Another Thursday Past
From: "Dennis Kabaczy" <email@example.com>
On 19 April 1775, a group of American farmers took their state of the art small arms, and fired upon representatives of the legitimate government. Those government agents were engaged in a law enforcement operation to confiscate or destroy a cache of arms, ammunition, and supplies of the local militia. (Gun control at its worst)
The citizens of the time, had faced a long list of government abuses including excessive taxation, asset forfeiture, and restrictions on speech and assembly. The government was unresponsive to many of the citizens pleas to right these abuses, and indeed, was in the process of increasing the number of agents in the area. Today, we honor those men as patriots.
Given the circumstances similarity to what is going on in this country today, in a similar situation, would we honor the resisters as patriots, or would we condemn them as terrorists?
I hope this country never again comes to open armed rebellion. However, our government acts as if the Constitution is a worthless piece of paper. Just recently our federal senators passed a bill (the Campaign Finance Reform act) that blatantly ignores the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. They have long ignored the second (gun control) fourth and fifth (asset forfeiture without conviction of a crime) sixth and seventh (dilution of the right to trial by jury) eighth (is it cruel or unusual punishment to place a person in jail because the length of a piece of steel is 1/2 an inch shorter than some bureaucrat says it should be?) and tenth (states rights).
At what point do we say "enough!" For 146 years, starting with Lincoln and the Civil War (or if you prefer the War Between the States, or the War of Northern Aggression and Occupation) Congress, the President, and indeed the Supreme Court, have ignored or perverted the constitution when it suited them.
It is time to remind our government from whence we came. I propose that from now on, every 19 April, we hold a massive sick out and go shooting. Target, IDPA, plinking, skeet, doesn't matter. Yes this is a futile and probable miniscule gesture, but if it gets people thinking, it is a start. Maybe it'll get attention, and maybe not, but at least it is a start of action.
From: "Brian Jennings" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Portions of message directed solely to "Them" deleted here. -- ed.]
My real reason for even commenting is that I have become spoiled by The Libertarian Enterprise, and the fact that they regularly feature two of the finest essayists I've come across: L. Neil Smith and Vin Suprinowicz. I also loved - absolutely LOVED - your trashing of Ashcroft that sierratimes.com was level-headed enough to post, at a time when everyone thought the old heir-to-Goebbels was going to save the conservative movement.
The Letters section of TLE leaves a ton to be desired, it's more like a multi-topic message board. I made the mistake of thinking your letter was a real article and probably was using the measuring stick I have for them instead of the scale I use for the spouts and rants that litter the Letters section.
I guess I was in search of some intellectual stimulation; I got a tired, formulaic parody. I should've clicked over to lewrockwell.com instead.
From: "Gene Strong" <email@example.com>
Your newsletter continues to be a shining light in our world of increasing official darkness.
Perhaps many more of your readers would actively send politicians & government agencies email expressing their opionons & discontent if they were able to do it anonymously.... Prudence & Discretion often prevent one from writing letters of dissatisfaction & disagreement to people like the IRS, Dept. of Treasury, Dept. of Justice , OECD, Politicians etc. etc..... Of course it is better & more effective to sign your emails but anonymous emails are better than 'no' emails...
You might consider putting a list of email address in your newsletter covering every topic/agency you are discussing...Such as.
and so on.... ADDITIONALLY..... You might suggest utilizing one of the many ANONYMOUS email services available. I would suggest the excellent
I believe you will have a lot more readers writing letters if you advise them as to the email address of the agency you are 'shining your light on' and as to someone like "blind-mail.com" that they can use to send their opinions when Prudence & Discretion (FEAR) would normally prevent them from doing so.
Joseph Stalin (KGB) and Adolph Hitler (SS) were probably the most recent and notorious proponents of the philosophy of setting neighbor against neighbor by having their citizens spy against one another. I suppose they called it the " Know your Neighbor " policy. Once someone 'turned-in' their neighbor, the government enforcement bureaucrats (thugs) simply swooped down and seized all assets (and kept them without a trial for the citizen), and if the citizen was lucky, he was allowed his freedom to start all over again.
Western governments (bureaucrats within powerful government agencies) have fallen into the footsteps of Stalin, Hitler and their ilk with the same insane philosophies and policies. We now have laws like "Know your Customer" and "Asset forfeiture" setting neighbor against neighbor and Big Brother swooping down to claim the spoils.
Privacy rights in general and in communications in particular are now falling like dominoes before intrusive government programs like Carnivore & Echelon which intercept our every word.
It is amazing to look back on all the good Russian and German people who were willing participants in those reigns of terror. No one is more amazed than the Russians and Germans themselves.
"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It appears that power and money have seized control of the Politicians and Bureaucrats running the Governments and governmental agencies of the western world.
From: "Barbara Cunningham" <CharlesB@tca.net>
Well, I've read about how Bill (I feel your pain) Clinton and Janet (I take full responsibility) Reno murdered those helpless people in Waco one more time, and it's time to set the record straight.
True, Bill and Janet were the ones responsible for the final atrocity, but the investigation which resulted in this vicious murder of helpless innocents began when George II was president. In other words, this was a multi-presidential effort.
So, while assessing blame and hoping some day to see justice for the dead, remember that there more criminals than the ones we just got rid of.
As well as enough guilt to go around.
[Quite so -- an excellent point! Just as Vietnam properly "belonged" to Saint Ike, and her escalation to Saint Jack, bequeathed to Landside Lyndon (I can't bring myself to canonize him even in jest), setting up The Trickster to take the fall -- so Waco "belongs" first to the law-und-ordung Stupid Party (and Ruby Ridge solely to them, one notes). Now it looks for all the world as if Dubya Dubya III will preside over the most public execution in modern Amerikan history, in his father's domestic war crime's name. -- ed.]
From: "Peter Arroyo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I remember many years ago that tape recorders were going to ruin the music business. It didn't happen.
Then VCR's were going to ruin the movie industry. That didn't happen either.
The past year or so I purchased about 70 CD's. The preceeding years I bought none. Why the difference? Since Napster I could sample music and decide who and what I liked. Take that away and I will probably never buy CD's again. Also there are many alternatives to Napster that permit the same sharing of music files and some even permit sharing more than music.
Care is advised before using these but if you know how to stay secure, it can be great.
From: "Curt Howland" <email@example.com>
i guess "napster" is now a verb, ne? to "napster" something is to download it after a search. hmm...
another point in favor of the Napster concept, if i may: the real benefit of the centralized nature of Napster (and it's Achilies Heel) was that the files downloaded were also tracked. since there was no corrolation between username and real person, there was little danger of individuals being identified (just erase the IP address, please). but it did make it easy to analyze what music people liked.
for an independent artist, like Steve Trinward in TLE#117, it's nice to know what people like, and to know that someone enjoys his work.
for something like Record Giants Inc., such tracking is invaluable to know just exactly what it is people like so they can target their contracted musicians to produce more of what already sells. they spend untold millions of $$ hiring consultants to tell them what those Napster logs were compiling in easy-to-read ascii.
for El Neil and myself, it allows us the opportunity to find music "we haven't heard in decades" that the executives at Record Giants Inc. have no wish to spend another dime on for the microscopic market that such reminiscence represents.
i am also one of the (i believe) millions of people who decided to spend their money on a CD only after hearing the song by MP3 through Napster. when a blank CD costs 80 cents retail, i need good reason to spend $15+ for one that's been written on, even if it does come in a cute but fragile plastic case.
From: "Michael M. Butler" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To L. Neil:
I think you slipped up there, pardner:
Could be; picking Cantonese is a suboptimal choice.
I suspect Mandarin would be a better choice.
Michael M. Butler
From: "John Hoffman" <email@example.com>
In reply to L. Neil Smith's article, http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe117-20010416-04.html
>It had happened because Chinese fighter pilots were
Official policy? I doubt it.
Oh, I'm sure the incident had its roots in Chinese policy, after we started meddling in China's quest to conquer Taiwan. We Americans had become adversaries rather than trading partners (though they were so happy with all the military knowledge we "traded" to them). I still can't believe that fighter pilot was ordered to fly so dangerously close to our spy plane. Shoot it down? Yes. Force it to land? Perhaps. Collide with it in mid-air? Nah.
What I can imagine is a hot-shot fighter pilot, annoyed at having to fly around a lousy propeller plane for hours on end, deciding to make a nuisance of himself. I can also imagine his wing man keeping mum about the games being played. Further, I can distinctly imagine any protest by the US government to the upper echelons of China's controllers getting lost -- or at least, reduced in importance -- on its way to a certain fighter squadron commander.
So when China's public-hero-fighter-pilot decided to play chicken with another airplane and lost, the China's governors lost face. They tried to cover it up -- saying the lumbering prop plane violently maneuvered into their 400-meter-distant fighter, something that anyone with knowledge of aircraft could refute logically (if you do the math, at that distance the fighter should've easily avoided the US plane). Video of prior (alarmingly!) close contact between US spy planes and Chinese fighters merely made it plain for anyone able to view it.
The current heads of the Chinese government are uncomfortable with the Oriental philosophy they claim to abide by. When one loses face, one must acknowledge that fact; honor demands it. Even the attempt to sweep such an incident under the carpet is a greater loss of face than the original error. Those officials have plainly shown their lack of honor, deserted in favor of the Communist system, which refuses to acknowledge that such a thing exists. The Chinese people are still in the dark about what occured 80 miles off the coast of their nation. Should they find out any time soon what we already know, China might soon have a new government.
From: "Mitchell McConnell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Aren't the people defending Napster forgetting one important point? Any artist who thinks that free downloads of their work provides them a marketing edge is free to allow it. The problem with Napster is that artists are not given the choice.
It may very well be that the Internet and Napster-like offerings will permanently change the way music and video are distributed, and this may redound to the benefit of all artists. Until that time, however, libertarians at least should respect the existing laws and insist that the product of their labor and artistry cannot be given away by others.
If e-books ever catch on, I would like to hear L. Neil's view when (as would be inevitable) his books can be freely swapped like Napster songs.
Mitchell J. McConnell
From: "Jeff Schwartz" <Schwartz@BitStorm.net>
There's been a lot of talk about the success of the S&W Boycott. It has dramatically proven the effectiveness of the 'power of the purse', and that the average gun owner has a fairly deep one - despite the stereotype that says we should all be rednecks that sit around drinking cheap beer and wondering why the roofs of our double-wides leak. ("Land Sakes, Emma-Jean, we done paid six hunnerd dollars for this hear double-wide, and the roof still leaks!")
But the S&W Boycott has another lesson to it - the civilian firearms market is much more lucrative than the LEO market. A company can survive without LEO's buying its product, but very few manage to survive making LEO-Only products.
Because of this, I'd like to make a suggestion to the gun companies of the United States, and the FFL's who distribute the product.
One class of your customers is doing it's very best to ruin your business, and yet you continue to sell your product to them. Why not stop?
I'd like to propose that in every state where there are punitive victim-disarmament laws, you add one more question to the screening you normally give a customer:
"Are you an employee of any local, state or Federal Law Enforcement Agency?"
If they say yes, tell them you won't sell to them. Tell them they're helping the people who are trying to put you out of business, and you're not helping to drive yourself under.
Stop selling ammo, spare parts, magazines and guns to them. Tell them you won't sell anything to them that you can't sell to the average Joe off the street.
Yes, you'll lose one sale. Maybe one departments worth. On the other hand, how many private sales have your state's politics prevented you from making?
Post that you've started this policy, and ask for help in making it work. Post in the newspaper, on the net, heck, send in a letter to TLE. Tell the rest of us you're making a try for it. Put up a post saying, "Hey, I just blew off the sale of 6 handguns, and I need you folks to make up for it."
That's where the rest of us come in - the folks who boycotted everyone associated with S&W. We used the power of the purse one way to show our displeasure, and now we need to use it to support the people who take the next logical step.
Buy a gun, ammo, magazines, whatever - but buy it from the people that aren't making the sales to the LEOs. When you see that post that says, "I've got an extra half dozen pistols, and I need to make up that profit", jump in to help them out.
From: "Lux Lucre" <email@example.com>
>Radio Free Asia must be a broadcast version of the Internet,
Hey, I love this idea! Neil has been promoting, for several years now, the concept that we drop millions of little earhole-sized crystal radios into China and broadcast all sorts of hard-core freedom materials. I think maybe the time has come to start a serious project along those lines.
Phase One can be accomplished right now: Develop and record Cantonese versions of the libertarian fiction and non-fiction we intend to broadcast. Fiction can be recorded like audio books to start with, and developed as radio plays later on, and essays and articles can just be read straight.
Living, as I am, in a part of Canada where the Chinese population makes up as much as 1/3 of some of the suburbs, it should be an easy thing to find suitable translators and voice actors.
Even if the ear-piece radio drop does not happen for some time, these broadcasts can be made available on the Net, passed on in MP3 format to any Chinese speaking surfer with a Napster clone.
So how do we fund this? Donations? Or can we find some model of revolution-at-a-profit Neil is more fond of? How about Non-Aggression War Bonds?
From: "James J Odle" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The CATO Institute has just released itıs review of the Danforth cover-up of our governmentıs felonious actions at WACO. Itıs called No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident. Itıs downloadable in Acrobat format from http://www.cato.org
James J Odle
From: "Curt Howland" <email@example.com>
a few texts inspired by April 19th that you or the TLE might be interested in, that i've archived over the years.
also, readers of TLE might be interested in the mostly daily "Freedom News Daily" sent out by Free-Market.Net, found here: http://free-market.net/news/
Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
The foe long since in silence slept;
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
O Thou who made those heroes dare