L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 141, October 1, 2001
HOPE? OR GLASS?
It's Time to be Free
by William Stone, III
Special to TLE
In issue number 132 of The Libertarian Enterprise, I wrote an article entitled "The Free Mind" (http://webleyweb.com/tle/libe132-20010730-05.html). In it, I argued that a free individual doesn't wait to be free, rather he wakes up one morning and says, "Today I am free."
And then a free individual ACTS like a free individual.
Today, in the shadow of Bloody Tuesday and Orwellian Thursday (Bush II's address to Congress on 9/20/2001), it is time for you to decide to be free.
Maybe you've been putting it off for some reason. Maybe you've been waiting for "things to get better." Maybe you've been waiting for more of your neighbors to "get it" on their own.
Maybe you're just plain scared of what the State will do to you if you actually show them how a free individual lives. It's a valid concern, particularly after Orwellian Thursday.
Free individuals are absolutely antithetical to governments.
If you've been waiting to be free, I suggest you note the following:
"Things" are not going to get better. They're going to get worse -- dramatically so.
Using Bloody Tuesday as an excuse, the State has already put additional draconian limits on freedom -- and it's going to do more. It has already formed an Unconstitutional Office of Home Security that will be responsible for Browning only knows how many intrusions into our lives.
If the mere IDEA of a Federal Office of Home Security should make a free individual's blood run cold.
The OHS will no doubt become one of the most feared and hated State agencies. Indeed, the OHS is poised to become the Federal Secret Police, in a way that the IRS, BATF, and FBI only dreamed of.
In the immediate term -- and to the positive glee of every Congress- and Senatecritter on Capitol Hill, the idea of the national ID card is in the public mainstream.
An unsurprisingly large number of particularly foolish individuals are in favor of the idea.
Longtime Statist sycophant Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, has been motivated to throw in with them. Ellison has offered to DONATE the technology that would make it possible for the State to track the identities, movements, and whereabouts of every American.
Predictably, the would-be slaveholders of the 21st century (including such notables as Democrat Diane Feinstein and Republican Mary Bono) are euphoric. Bloody Tuesday was exactly the sort of excuse they've waited for. As Orwellian Thursday proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, they're pouncing.
The handwriting is on the wall: before the year is out, the State will have mandated Unconstitutional and immoral electronic "travel papers" for every American.
The story of Statist sycophant Larry Ellison and Oracle is worth recounting for two reasons. Firstly, it says something of Ellison's background. More importantly, there's a moral to his story that free individuals should take away.
As this sort of debate often borders on religious discussions in technology circles, I'm going to tell you my biases right up front:
I'm a Information Technology specialist. I have an extensive background in operations, particularly from the UNIX server, Internet, and security perspectives.
I'm a Linux-head: I'm fan of Microsoft products because of my strong conviction that -- on a technical level -- Microsoft consistently produces software that is buggy as an ant farm.
However, I have enormous respect for Bill Gates for a number of reasons. Not the least of these is that his marketing skills are so good that he can become fabulously wealthy selling such technically flawed products. Only in the computing industry -- one of the few areas left in the U.S. economy that approaches a free market -- is this possible.
Gates' ability to out-market his competitors does not make him a monopoly -- not even a de facto one. The State's efforts under Clinton to destroy the company were simply the usual destructive vindictiveness government reserves for anything that it cannot control.
Which is why, of course, there are 20,000 immoral and Unconstitutional gun laws on the books.
In order to control us, the State must first disarm us. They and their sycophants have positively no conscience about this, as evidenced by Bloody Tuesday. Remember this, and remember it well:
Victim disarmers would rather see five thousand people dead in the rubble than a few airline passengers with guns in their hands.
As to Larry Ellison:
He is CEO of a company that produces a relational database server that is the back end of an enormous number of applications in the world. Their product, Oracle, is the target at which Microsoft has been aiming with its own SQL Server for some time. In recent years, Microsoft has shown signs of starting to outperform Oracle.
Larry Ellison may be a disgusting Statist, but he's no fool. He was one of the primary litigants in attempting to force Microsoft out of his market.
After all, if you can't beat 'em, have the State do it for you.
Note this imporant fact, however:
While he was spending unnecessary billions saving his company from the State's axe, Bill Gates ignored virtually every Statist edict as to how he was to run his business.
Gates' critics clamor that he has no respect for the law. A free individual should say, "Good. If that is the law, then the law is an ass of gargantuan proportions."
Free individuals must always rememember the lesson that Bill Gates taught us:
The State cannot control you if you don't WANT to be controlled.
Less than two weeks after the massacre of Bloody Tuesday, Larry Ellison was on record as saying that national ID cards were a necessity. He suggested smartcards with digitally-embedded photographs and fingerprints.
Oracle, (as L. Neil Smith noted of Smith & Wesson before it) must now die.
However, pulling Oracle's products from the data center is the LEAST that a free individual should do today.
Remember this clearly: if you've not been living as a free individual, TODAY is the day to start. Things are not going to get better. Your neighbors are not going to "get it" on their own.
The State is still going to be a terrifying, vengeful entity filled with alphabet soup agencies and jack-booted thugs.
This isn't going to change. It's going to get WORSE -- unless YOU wake up tomorrow morning and decide to be free.
It is time for you to decide to be free IN SPITE of how bad it is or how much worse it might become.
If not now, WHEN?
It's time for you to wake up in the morning, stretch, and say to yourself, "Today, I am free. I will go out and do anything I like, short of initiating force against another human being."
Here are only some of the ways a free individual lives:
1. We seek out and get to know other free individuals. These are our friends and potential allies in times to come.
2. We seek out Statists and their sycophants. We try to change their views by showing them how free individuals live.
Failing that, we are simply aware of who they are. They are our potential enemies in times to come.
3. We carry weapons appropriate to our self-defense and to the defense of those around us.
If the State makes it illegal -- under any circumstances -- to carry weapons, we ignore the law.
This may mean that you need to carry a weapon that isn't visible without a search of your person. There are many choices -- my own current personal choice is the Taurus Model 617 snub-nosed revolver in .357 Magnum. This is by no means the ONLY choice.
We carry our weapon at all times, regardless of local law. By definition, SELF-defense is personal and cannot be delegated. In particular, it cannot be delegated to the State.
If the State insists on searching us in order to disarm us, we avoid places where such searches occur. This may mean that instead of flying, we take a train or bus, or drive a car.
Is there anywhere that you need to be so badly that it is worth your life or freedom?
If, in the fast-paced business world, you find yourself in a situation in which you MUST disarm to avoid State persecution, follow the advice of Bill St. Clair:
If the State outlaws our weapons completely, we hide them from searches and seizures. We maintain black markets among free individuals to keep weapons available to those who wish to protect themselves.
This is clearly not the moment to think of measures that are other than peaceful. Nevertheless, Orwellian Thursday makes it clear that the State may ultimately require us to spill the blood of Statists if we are to retain our liberty.
We therefore MUST NOT give up our weapons. Not even the tiniest .22-calibre pistol.
4. We refuse to participate in fingerprinting, photographing, and any other State-mandated record-keeping of free individuals.
If the State makes it impossible to travel without such records, then do not travel. Is there anywhere you need to be so badly that it is worth your freedom?
We maintain "underground railroads" among free individuals so that if travel is necessary, free individuals may do so without State-mandated electronic "travel papers."
5. We use the highest level of encryption we like for whatever purpose we see fit.
If the State outlaws encryption, we ignore these laws.
We maintain black markets and "black networks" of free individuals so that we may communicate freely, without the interference of the State in our affairs.
6. We refuse to obey ANY laws that infringe on our freedom.
We maintain "underground railroads" among free individuals so that those who violate unjust, immoral law may escape persecution by the State.
7. We go about our business -- whatever it may be -- guided by only one principle:
That we do not have the right -- under any circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to advocate or delegate its initiation.
If we initiate force against an individual -- intentionally or accidentally -- we must provide restitution to that individual.
If an individual initiates force against us, we may take whatever action is necessary to counter it.
If a force initiator is a Statist or one of the State's sycophants, we are still ethically justified in taking action. The power of the State must always be kept in mind when contemplating action, however.
8. We go about our business openly whenever possible, showing our unfree friends and neighbors how free individuals conduct themselves -- and thus inspiring new free individuals through our example.
The State seems intent on following a course that leads inexorably to tyranny. I am utterly confident that there is only one way to reverse this course:
A sudden proliferation of free individuals -- starting when YOU wake up tomorrow morning and decide to be free.
Imagine that even a third of the adults (and responsible children) of the United States woke up tomorrow and decided to be free. The State -- on ALL levels -- does not employ enough police to enforce its will on so many individuals.
Remember this truth when you wake up at night, terrified by what the State may do next:
The State cannot control you if you do not WISH to be controlled.