L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 142, October 8, 2001
More Harm Than Good?
Looks like the Nazis are starting to crawl out of the woodwork now. Now that our airports are being monitored by Guardsmen with automatic weapons, and the police have blanket stop and search warrants, the surveys are now testing the waters about individual liberties. How many liberties are we prepared to sacrifice...temporarily (sotto voce) to feel safe when we toddle off to Food Lion or the local grazing spot?
Not surprisingly, most sheep prefer limits to their rights to assemble, search and seizure, gun control, due process, and privacy. Right now in Manhattan, you may be summarily and randomly stopped to be frisked and your car searched. Right now in Washington D.C. you may be detained and confined (arrested???) for what authorities THINK you might know or what you may have witnessed. Right now sophisticated search programs operating out of Fort Meade, Maryland and Langley Virginia ARE reading your e-mail as fast as is inhumanly possible. Finally, right now our new Attorney General is asking to further abridge your rights with a Congressional rubberstamp.
I'm not generally known for inflammatory statements, but never in the lifespan of any who reads this have your rights been in more jeopardy. Never has it been more vital that you get off your hands and head off the injustices that are about to be committed in the name of security and "liberty". The sabre rattling and hyperbole are just beginning, and if we sleep now, when we awake freedoms will be lost. Watch the polits, and see if Rand, Heinlein, and Smith were correct about Federal government. Now IS the time for all good Men and Women to rise in the defense of their country. If we don't, the terrorists will win their most important battle, the loss of American freedom.
Jack Jerome [email@example.com]
P.S. My father was born in Middle Village, and grew up and worked in Manhattan, and I'm glad he never lived to see the horrors that occured there. I spent a portion of my young life there, and a a piece of my heart will always belong to, and in, New York. This event has tested my character and my libertarianism, and like all Americans, I hunger for revenge. But never at the expense of my or others liberties.
L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman wrote in their "Message from the President":
While I'm happy to agree with their logic and their libertarian premises behind this paragraph, I suspect that they missed one critical fact: As I understand the embargo, Iraq IS allowed to buy food and medicine fairly freely -- a humanitarian exception -- and to sell sufficient oil to finance such purchases. If the evil man chooses not to do so because he wishes to use the resulting deaths as a propaganda tool against the partial embargo, his actions make a poor argument against it. He seems to say "I will starve my people and blame you until you resume selling me guns for my oil". Shall we then agree with him?
(This is certainly not to say that there are not sound libertarian arguments against embargoes in general nor against this partial embargo in particular; only that this argument does not appear to be it.)
But perhaps I have been misinformed as to the nature of the embargo on Iraq.
And while I agree with their general argument that our government has been intervening in foreign affairs where they ought not, It remains not quite clear that this attack had much to do with that meddling.
Perhaps I ought to take portions of this "Message" as rhetoric and not as literal arguments, but it concerns me when our rhetoricians seem to propagate misunderstandings.
But of course I agree with the main thread of the "Message".
Bill Bunn [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In a letter from Kevin Crady (http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe141-20011001-01.html#letter7) it was brought to my attention that some libertarians, like Jack Wheeler, were proposing to threaten to nuke the city of Mecca if Islamic terrorists committed any more acts of mass destruction. Say it ain't so Jack! Say it ain't so!
You realize, I hope, that doing so would be retaliating against people who had no involvement with the affair whatsoever -- a clear violation of the prohibition against initiation of force. Were you planning on giving them an incentive to police themselves? I'd call that blackmail. There are other ways to entice them to do the right thing.
But you're assuming they'd accept the threat in the first place. Please realize that people willing to sacrifice themselves in order to reach Paradise don't necessarily think rationally. Allah shall never allow the Holy of Holies to be destroyed! He shall reach down and stop any ballistic missiles with his little finger! Praise Allah!
Libertarianism may be the only fair and rational system of government, but it assumes those governed by its principles behave rationally. When you have groups of people violating its principles because of their religious teachings -- OR because they've been shaken by a tragedy like the September 11th strike -- is when the system threatens to collapse. Let's not allow ourselves to be swept away from reasoning by these waves of emotion.
John Hoffman [email@example.com]
Its been almost three weeks since the events of September 11th. And from what I've read in these pages, as well as the comments from libertarians on e-mail lists, there seems to be three distinct thought patters emerging.
1) Those who think we deserved what happened for what American foreign policy has done all over the world. These people seem to think that if we pull back from the world, the world will now let us be and leave us to ourselves. They are trying to claim that retaliation, at any level, would be wrong.
2) Those who think that retaliation is necessary, but should be limited strictly to going after "known" terrorists and those we can prove help them to carry out such massacres. Mostly this group doesn't seem all that sure if we should even go after those who "support" terrorists.
3) Those who think we should go after "known" terrorists, the people who help them carry out atrocities, their support structure, any hard assets, those who "enable" them, and anyone else foolish enough to get in the way or slow enough not to get out of the way.
As for group number 1: I now understand what prompted the comment I once heard that many "libertarians" seem to simply be whiners, perpetually complaining about freedoms they have lost, without the guts to man a foxhole to defend the ones they still have. You aren't libertarians, and I sincerely doubt that you ever had the cajones (or ovaries) to live as free men (or women). Go crawl back to whatever emasculated socialist "village" raised you. We won't miss you.
As for groups 2 and 3: I can sympathize with both. On one hand, immediately after the attacks, I thought a quick military response, preferably nuclear, would be a good choice. Especially if it was followed by a second strike, and then a third to make sure nothing .... ever .... grew there again. After I calmed down (a process that I am sad to admit took a good solid week) I started to think that an individual, one-on-one, campaign against known terrorists, preferably with heavy bounties (dead or alive, and I can honestly say I mentioned that online before the President did) would be just the ticket. But there is plenty of ground for a compromise here.
Problem is, neither approach will work by itself.
Vin Suprynowicz suggested using the tactics of Gengis Kahn (and has been thoroughly vilified for it). Kevin Crady suggested creating a form of women's liberation group within Afghanistan. William Stone, III suggested a way to eliminate those terrorists we do catch in such a way as to discourage others. Each suggestion has merits. Each also has significant drawbacks. And none, in my honest opinion, would work alone (Vin's would need to be heavily modified to work at all if we were to remain a civilized society). I suggest a blend of all three.
First) Begin creating a women's liberation group in all countries that even give the slightest lip service to supporting terrorists (whether officially, or as unofficial public opinion). Concentrate most on those countries and regions that show the most support for terrorism. Teach the women to be free. Give them weapons training, infiltration training (appropriate to their society, not ours), education, and useful productive skills. Set them up to feed us intelligence. Encourage them to stand up for themselves and to take control of their lives, livelihoods and culture. And to "influence" their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Make sure they understand that, if they can't prevent their society from producing terrorists, then the resultant warfare which WILL happen will claim many innocent lives as well. Including children as "unavoidable collateral damage". A woman will slip a knife into her husband as he sleeps to protect her children who would gladly suffer him to beat her to death without lifting a finger for her own protection. Its better to be blunt on this point: Wars involve dying, and most of those who die in them are NOT combatants. They are innocents that didn't get out of the way in time. Its a sad fact, but unless we plan on surrendering now we had better face it.
Second) Show the governments of those countries that are waffling what we can get the "women's liberation groups" to accomplish. Make sure they know that similar groups have already begun trickling into their countries. Make sure they know that we will NOT aid them in stopping those groups, but that we will not actively encourage them as long as they help us stamp out terrorism. Make certain that they understand: Its a choice between stamping out terrorism, or finding their own countries turned over to the women they have cruelly repressed within a decade. We won't cripple them and take their women as slaves. We'll crush them and elevate their women to be their rulers. Even if they help us stamp out terrorism, they will have to accept their women as equals eventually. They just may get a little more time to get used to the idea ...... and a few more of them may survive to see it.
Third) Put bounties on "known" terrorists. As more information comes in identifying those that support and assist them, add them to the rolls. Make the bounties high enough to have a significant chance of getting those closest (associates, friends, family members) willing to turn them in. And make them "dead or alive". Its a lot harder to capture Mohammed el Terrorist and bring him halfway around the world to sit in court than it is to plug him, cut off his head, pack it in ice, and send it Fed-Ex (with a note attached saying what numbered account to drop the money in). Include, as part of the reward, that the US will offer a pardon for ANY laws broken in the course of the capture or killing of a known terrorist, provided no innocents are injured in the process. Offer foreigners asylum as part of the package. And affair to provide the money to their legal defense if the country they are in tries to prosecute them for anything related to the incident (again, provided no innocents were injured). Even those who are not captured or killed will find it much harder to move around.
Fourth) Make certain that terrorists that we do catch (dead or alive) are treated in such a way so as to discourage others. Before I hear cries of protests, this does not mean they cannot get fair trials and such. Just that once they are convicted, they are treated in such a way that they are not viewed as martyrs and that their eventual disposition is such to discourage the next batch. Killing them in a way so that their religion views them as never being able to enter heaven is one way. Returning them to their homeland, emasculated, crippled and blinded may be another. Having women that they are close to kill them may work for those whom we cannot capture. And we must also not forget those that terrorists leave behind. Currently, there is talk on the tube of what the terrorists wished for their funerals and how they left wills behind. Go after their families for any possessions or wealth they left them. Granted, the amounts cannot even begin to compensate their victims, but by distributing it to victims families it makes the next terrorist have to spend that much more time and effort trying to make sure their family is provided for after they die. I doubt it will stop a determined terrorist on its own, but its another straw ..... and enough straws will break even the stoutest back.
Fifth) (Though this should actually be done first.) Repeal every single law on the books that prevents individuals from carrying weapons. Not just guns. But knives, tear gas, collapsible batons, and anything else some precious soul wants to carry to defend themselves. Tell the various states that the feds are going to start prosecuting ANY state official that continues to try to enforce state or local weapons laws. And dismantle the ridiculous war on drugs. We lost anyway. And we learned back during W.W.II how foolish it was to try to fight a war on two fronts. The money, material and personnel can be better used to find and stop terrorists. And the economic boost that the legalization of marijuana alone would give would turn this "recession" around.
Make no mistake about it. This is war. Perhaps, two, three or ten months ago, had we begun pulling troops back from the entanglements we are in, we may have been able to prevent September 11th from happening. Perhaps not. But no matter what "might" have happened, now the forces that hate America for the very promise of liberty it holds out have the smell of blood in the water to goad them on. We couldn't stop them from attempting another attack on us if we pulled back every soldier and pulled out of every treaty worldwide. We are too tempting a target. As long as we exist, we are a threat to their way of life. And as long as they think they can get away with it, they are going to take shots at us. Sorry L. Neil, but you cannot counter a threat, any threat, with only a defense. If that were the case, the answer to rising crime would be to wear armor, not carry a gun. The NRA has been trying the "defense only" tactic for years and see where it has got us. You have to have an offense as well.
Jeff Colonnesi [firstname.lastname@example.org]
[in re Kevin Crady's article, "VICTORY IN AFGHANISTAN: WOMEN ARE THE KEY!" file://localhost/e:/webleyweb.com/tle/libe141-20011001-04.html]
You might want to support Revolutionary Association of the Women of
Afghanistan (RAWA). RAWA comes the closest to the kind of
organization you mentioned in the last TLE. Quote below is from the
RAWA sit: "We need many small size video (we prefer mini-DV
camcorders) and digital photo cameras to document atrocities and
crimes of the Islamic fundamentalists in our ill-fated country. As
you may know filming and photography is completely banned in
Afghanistan and we can do it illegally using smallest size cameras.
Sending such cameras or providing funds for it to be purchased here
would be a valuable contribution to our cause. "
For more information on RAWA, check out
At some point in the past couple of weeks, I have contacted most of you for one reason or another connected with the idea that has been occupying Sunni Maravillosa and I since the horrific events of September 11. We've been working hard to pull together a web site to act as a rallying point and central repository of information for an effort to advocate the removal of the restrictions preventing passengers and crew aboard commercial flights from defending themselves. We call this effort Project: Safe Skies, and invite you to both look over what we have and comment, and help us spread the word about this vital mission.
We finally have the basic skeleton up for Project: Safe Skies, at http://www.ProjectSafeSkies.org/ . It is far from complete, but we have the activism stuff--sample letters, addresses of airline execs, media types, and politicians--and rebuttals to objections regarding civilian carry of firearms on commercial flights. Please wander by at your convenience, and let us know what you think.
More important, please help us spread the word. Our official launch date has been set for October 11, and we're planning to launch with a bang. If you're a writer, please consider writing a piece about our project, include a link to our site, and publish it. If you're on lots of discussion lists, please post a PSA on our behalf. If you run a news service, discussion list, or some such, please include a mention of our project for your readers. Email editors of print publications, requesting they cover the movement. Write a paragraph in support of our cause and link to us from your web site. Put our URL in your sig line for that day. We're inviting lots of people who have already written on this or related subjects -- L Neil Smith, J Neil Schulman, Michael Maya Charles, John Keller, Dan Mahony, Claire Wolfe, Vin Suprynowicz, Aaron Zelman, Brian Puckett, Sarah Thompson, and many others -- to participate, so you'll be among great company.
Sunni Maravillosa and I are making ourselves available for interviews--email preferred, phone tolerated--to anyone who's interested in supporting Project: Safe Skies. If you'd like to help with the project or request an interview, please email Sunni at email@example.com, or Jeff Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org about it. Feel free to forward this announcement to anyone you think might be interested in the topic.
Thanks for your help!
Sunni Maravillosa & Jeff "The Hunter" Jordan
Never Again Unarmed... Let Freedom Fight!
The War Party on FreeRepublic.com has been beating its collective breast since Sept. 11. Having watched their festivities since then, I thought the best weapon against them was satire. Needless to say, every reference to this actually posted to FR gets yanked within 10 minutes.
fear republic [email@example.com]
A particularly non-PC set of pictures of NYC from 9/11, and from Belgrade when NATO bombed them:
Scott Cattanach [firstname.lastname@example.org]
To the Editor:
As we appear about to enter into a holy war (a "Crusade"?) against the people of a 30th-rate country, Afghanistan, rather than against the people who killed our citizens on September 11th and the Taliban government (who, I predict, will end up just as alive and in power after this "war" as Saddam Hussein did after the 1991 Gulf War), I would like to make a few alternative suggestions to what King George Bush II and the rest of the U.S. government war machine seem to have in mind.
These suggestions are modified, I admit, by what I believe is politically possible amid the hysteria of the United States today. I would prefer other actions, including far less (or no) U.S. governmental involvement. However, with all due respect to the editors and readers of this publication, I will settle for the "good" in the short-term, if it helps to lead to the "more perfect" in the relatively near future.
First: Realizing that many sections of the United States armed services often complain about a lack of training time for pilots, etc.; realizing that we (the American Taxvictims) pay millions of dollars each year to store surplus grain, popcorn, cream cheese, kosher hot dogs, etc., most of which will never be eaten; realizing that much of the American public has been drummed up to expect SOMETHING from our military in response to the September 11th bombings; realizing that the mere threat of such an action has driven hundreds of thousands of Afghans from their homes in the cities to the borders, in an attempt to escape; and realizing that the United States military has hundreds, if not thousands, of aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules, capable of dropping cargo in hard-to-reach places, why not make the first action to destabilize the Taliban the feeding of the refugees, in quantity? With all of the surplus stored (and about to expire) field hospitals, tents, flashlight batteries, MREs, Diet Cokes, etc. the Army keeps in storage at their massive Carlisle, Pennsylvania, facility alone, a significant number of these people can be sheltered, fed, and cared for, without a single shot being fired. Please note that, if this is coordinated with the volunteer NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), we can accomplish this will few OR NO military personnel on the ground at the aid sites. The pilots will have their flight time, the public will see their country doing "something", and the countries neighboring Afghanistan will see their borders becoming a little less shaky. If the Taliban objects, send fighter escorts.
2. The Green Berets, for all of the failings of how they have been used through the years, are very good at teaching people things. Since we will have a lot of people in one place, and will be feeding and sheltering them, (though not holding them in such camps against their will), after things have settled down a little bit, send the Berets in, with doctors, builders, etc., to stabilize the condition of the people, and teach them--how to shoot. (Admittedly, many Afghanis seem to know how to shoot, but a refresher course is always handy!) Also teach them that the purpose of a weapon is to defend YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, etc., not to fulfill someone else's political aims. A few volunteer American Islamic scholars probably wouldn't hurt. As I understand it, Islam, like most or all of Christianity, Shinto, atheism, etc., accepts that self-defense is acceptable, and it is aggression that is unacceptable. (Sound familiar, folks?)
3. Send guns. To the INDIVIDUALS. In quantity.
4. KGB II (King George Bush, the Second) joked about it. I won't. Place a bounty on Bin Laden's head, big enough that people will notice. Don't be too particular as to whether he is still breathing when we get him, (just so long as the body is clearly identifiable). Place the same bounty upon his known lieutenants, all payable F.O.B. New York.
5. KGB II has already decided to bail out the airlines, as well as immunize them from any suits against them for the September 11th attacks. These are the same organizations which, after the attacks, met with the White House and tried to use it as an excuse to shift the cost of security to the government, NOT do anything that has been recommended for increased security in aircraft for over twenty years (hardened doors to the cockpits, giving the crew their own bathroom, etc), and instead deprive the traveling public of even MORE of their basic human rights while traveling. Thus, it is only appropriate that, since these organizations have avoided spending even small amounts of money for proper security for decades, they should be forced to pay for that. Revoke the immunity granted them. Then, maybe the next idiots who think they can skimp on basics, and get away with it, will have an object lesson. (When it comes to airlines, there are SO MANY things I could say, regarding these so-called capitalists who spend most of their time keeping regulation on travel, and acting in concert to regulate trade and prices, with the government's consent and assistance. However, I will try to stay "on point" and on topic).
6. Revoke the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s, at least to the extent that they purport to stop American citizens from fighting abroad. It is an individual's choice to fight for a cause (or not to).
7. The next Senator, Congressperson, dog catcher, etc. who maintains that Americans must give up their rights, to privacy, self-defense, or to be left alone by government should immediately be impeached and evicted from office.
8. Using the shock effect of the last twenty days, it might be possible to rally much of the public's actual concern, and get past some of the more active international lobbies in Washington. Thus, it might be possible to end all governmental financial aid to Israel and other countries in the area. If individuals in the United States want to support Israel, (as many traditionally do), so be it. That's their right. However, it is not their right to, in effect, force the rest of the country to support Israeli actions on the West Bank, the building of new settlements in apparent violation of previous agreements, etc. On the other side, the Arab League is capable of aiding other arab countries in the area.
9. Having given the Afghanis guns, the U.S. Government will be a bit hard-pressed to explain to its own people why its own citizens should be disarmed, via 20,000 victim disarmament laws. KGB II will have a LOT of explaining to do, down Texas way.
10. Start dropping cheap battery-powered (or hand-crank) radios into Kabul, in quantity. This is necessary because the Taliban, in its hatred for all things modern, has tried to ban television, radio, etc. THEN start up the propaganda campaign. The propaganda? Tell the people the truth about what can happen if they are allowed to run their own lives, by their own consciences, beliefs, etc., rather than having a bunch of wackos tell them what to do, at gunpoint.
As I said, just a few suggestions. The list is far from definitive. Again, I point out that certain actions are a part of what is politically possible. However, if the national mood swings a bit more towards reason, you could substitute releasing much of that surplus food and equipment to the NGOs, for them to distribute.
Dear John Taylor,
I am writing to you because I saw your name on The Libertarian Enterprise and I believe we have many philosophical points in common. My name is Adam Nathaniel Davis and I have just launched a Libertarian campaign for Jacksonville City Council. I don't want to educate the public or tilt at windmills. I am running for city council because I have every intention of winning a partisan seat in one of America's largest cities.
I would appreciate it if you would visit my Web site at
Obviously, I will require a great deal of support, but I'm not trying to make my case in this message. Please visit the site and make your own judgement. I have tried to create a site that is as informative as possible. If you would like to ask me questions directly, please feel free to do so at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time.
Adam Nathaniel Davis
From the Wisconsin State Journal, September 20,
He obviously hasn't read the Declaration of Independence lately, if ever. The founding principle of America is trhat these are our birthrights; indeed, the birthright of everyone everywhere, regardless of what country they live in.
I'm forced to assume that an official high in the federal government making such a public statement can mea only one thing: The federal governemtn is finally admitting that they've conducted a successful coup (opening shots fired by that police-statist bastard Lincoln) and thrown out the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Welcome to The People's Police State of Amerika.
You already seen it. In the aftermath September 11, 2001, the feds are installing Carnivore (or DCS1000, or whatever it's masquerading as today) in ISPs everywhere. Sealed warrants are being used to drag in scores of people even the FBI says won't be charged with any crime. One Senator wants to completely ban privacy-enhancing encryption. Interstate travel by common carrier was shut down.
We've been told that this only the beginning. I think it's the end.
The end of the US as we knew it. Soon, no one will be able to deny that we live in a police state.
I expect to be investigated again myself, simply based on the nature of my writings on this website. I'm an 'extremist'. Of course, if the FBI had a collective IQ greater than Dubya's shoe size, they'd know that a liberarian is no threat to anyone who didn't start something first.
But presumed innocence has been on the way out for years. Presumed guilt is the order of the day. "If you're innocent, if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't object to these new measures. Only thr guilty have anything to fear." Except the loss of privacy, the loss of the capability of self-defense, to travel freely, to speak freely.
Are we such sheep that we will meekly surrender our birthrights for some useless 'War on Terrorism'? Or will we demand our rights, and exercise them as the best way to fight terorism and other crime?
I don't want to live in a police state anymore.
C Bussjaeger [firstname.lastname@example.org]