L. Neil Smith's
An excellent commentary about the idiocy of the SEC, from the Future of Freedom Foundation:
Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]
I am forwarding this missive by Richard Pearl Chair of the Tennessee Libertarian Party. As he explains the letter is a response to a fund raising campaign from Rep. Sen. Bill Frist.
The reply is of such excellence I am hopping you will consider using it in the TLE.
I recently received a letter from the National Republican Committee asking that I donate funds because they "are over $834,000 behind budget" and need to get more Republicans in the Senate to take control to help President Bush get his programs through.
I sent the following reply in their postage paid envelope. If you see a use for it, feel free to use it.
Yours in Liberty,
Dear Senator First,
I have received your letter asking that I donate to the Senatorial campaigns for Republicans. In years past I would have done so, but no longer.
I supported the GOP when they talked about making government smaller, but instead, I now have a Republican president who is spending more money on Socialist programs than any president in the past. His state of the Union speech sounded more like Lyndon Johnson proposing the Great Society than someone who believed in our Constitution! Instead of shrinking government, it continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. You may shrink the rate of growth, but it still grows. I wanted it smaller. I can no longer trust Republicans to keep their word to shrink the size of government.
I supported the GOP when they said they respected the Constitution and would follow it, but I have a president and Congress who just passed the USA Patriot Act. It is patently unconstitutional since it effectively nullifies several of the Constitutional amendments which were intended to limit the power of the federal government. It tramples on the rights which were given by God and were supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution. Those rights are belittled and besmirched by your Attorney General, as are people who demand the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He said that everything the USA Patriot Act was being done anyway, he just wanted a law to make it legal. It may be legal, but it is still unconstitutional. And may I remind you that everything the Germans did in Nazi Germany was also legal. The fact that something is legal does not make it right! I can no longer trust the Republicans to respect the Constitution.
I supported the GOP until they started passing Unconstitutional laws against law abiding gun owners, ignoring the prohibition against doing so in the Constitution. If people are no longer allowed to defend themselves, that makes them slaves, in my opinion. I can no longer trust the Republicans to protect my right to keep and bear arms.
I supported the GOP until they continued escalating taxes until American citizens now pay nearly half their income for Government. Our founding fathers revolted for paying less than 2% of their income and the serfs in England never paid more than 30%. If they were slaves, what does that make us? I can no longer trust the Republicans to recognize that what I earn is mine, not yours!
It is assumed that the people have the right to petition their government with a redress of grievances, but elected officials of the Republican Party have allowed the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department to refuse to answer one question from a citizen which should be his basic right. He has asked the IRS for one thing. Show him the law that says HE has to pay income taxes. They refuse. The Justice Department refuses. The Republican president refuses to tell his subordinates to answer the question. A Republican elected official offered to host the meeting and ordered the IRS to be there. The Congressman never reserved the room and, along with the IRS and Justice Department, backed out. An organization or entity which enforces laws which do not exist is a criminal enterprise. With the exception of a dictatorship, I can find not one good reason why a government should refuse to show a citizen a law? I can no longer trust the Republican Party to ensure that, when a citizen has his property taken and is put in jail for something, he will be shown that the law giving that authority exists.
I supported the GOP until they decided to spend nearly half of our national law enforcement budget to put people in jail for smoking marijuana, giving them long, mandatory minimums while murderers get out in less than 10 years, rapists get out in an average of three years, and child molesters get out in 16 months. They are let out to make room for more pot smokers serving even longer mandatory minimums. Violent criminals walk the streets because almost 70% of our prison space is taken up by non-violent drug offenders. What a skewed idea of appropriate use of resources, and one that is NOT supported by the majority of Americans. I can no longer trust the Republican Party to allow the punishment fit the crime.
I supported the GOP until, in the name of the drug war, you decided that you have the right to overturn free and fair elections by arresting people after the people of their state vote to repudiate the federal stance on medicinal marijuana by overwhelming margins. You ignore elections and arrest those people even when local law enforcement, elected officials, judges and prosecutors object. If you can overturn these elections, even if only by ignoring them, then the people can obviously expect you to overturn any election which does not turn out the way you like in the future. I can no longer trust the Republican Party to respect the results of fair and honest elections.
I supported the GOP until, also in the name of the war on drugs, you started stealing people's property by using confiscatory civil laws which deny people their constitutional rights to be secure in their persons and property and are guaranteed due process. More than $2.5 billion in private property are confiscated every year, yet 85% of the people whose property is confiscated are never charged with a crime, but have been bankrupted because they have no resources to prove their innocence, which you Republicans have demanded, knowing that you cannot prove a negative, and in complete violation of the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Making the laws "civil" was an "end around" the Constitution and I see it as a despicable act. I can no longer trust the Republican Party to follow either the letter or the spirit of the Constitution.
I supported the GOP until they began to say that decent people who did not see things their way and disagreed with their policies are terrorists and the enemy of the state and should be silenced. You are trying to do the same to electoral speech with the Incumbent Protection Act, better known as campaign finance reform, and most of the acts passed since 9/11. You are also complicit with your Democrat colleagues in keeping any real competition out of Presidential debates and write election rules with which only the wealthy or those with something to sell can afford to compete. It seems you fear that the people will actually see a viable alternative to more Socialistic tax and spend government. I can no longer trust the Republican Party to allow truly open and free elections.
I supported the GOP until they started calling people disloyal if they did not agree with their policies. It would not surprise me at all if I am investigated as a result of writing this letter, as is the practice now days when someone speaks out against the powers that be in politics. It is fully believed by many citizens that today is the first part of the Fascist takeover of the US and that you are leading it. There is nothing that better proves that than the statements of Attorney General Ashcroft, who appears to want everyone in jail or kowtowing to authority with their secret searches, stops for no reason other than identity checks, and a national ID card which all will be required to carry. "Show me your papers" used to be a line in a bad movie. It will soon be the order of the day if the Republicans have their way. I can no longer trust the Republicans to protect my rights to peaceful dissent.
To paraphrase a man I knew personally in my youth and respected highly, I did not leave the Republican Party. It left me. You were supposed to be the party of the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and individual rights. You have become so Socialist/Fascist in your orientation, all I can say is that Adolph Hitler and Karl Marx would be proud of your handling of the press and the people. Thank God for the internet and the foreign press where we can see what you are REALLY doing to us. No wonder China blocks it. I imagine that will come from you soon, as well. Lord knows you have been trying hard enough.
I would leave the country before I would give the Republican party one red cent. You blew it. I gave you the chance to fulfill your promises, and all you did was become even more and more totalitarian. I will work hard against you, but I will never work for you again. I will do anything I can legally do, without violence, to see to it that you are run out of Washington and never have power and authority again, but under no circumstances will I help you do anything but pack and get out of my capitol!
Yours in complete disgust,
Richard E. Pearl, Sr. Ed.D.
[In TLE 163 Richard wrote:]
Heck, maybe we'd get lucky, and the first hundred would be enough to trigger 900 more to refuse; and that would be enough to trigger 90,000 to refuse, and...and the million we need would happen. But if not, those first 100 pay an awful price.
Richard and all,
Here, now, in these interesting times, is where the rubber meets the road. Action and committment occur when the "terrible price" of compliance with oppression exceeds that of resistance/refusal. As an American who can remember better days, my threshold is lower than some. Yours is a matter for you and your conscience. Nobody ever said that freedom was free. Many of those who purchased ours for us paid all that they, and their loved ones, had. As the beneficiaries of said sacrifices, I feel that we owe the same to those who follow us. God willing, there are enough of us of like mind to put things right, and the sooner the better, for my money. Fortunately, our present society and infrastructure are susceptible to many forms of "correction" that need not involve violence, and humor, public exposure, and lateral thinking (to plagairize twice, "Think globally, act locally." and "Pray for peace; fight for justice.") could be quite capable of bringing the kettle to a rolling boil. However it happens, the current and rising degree of perturbation in our world will, must, result in a restructuring of the very fabric of society, and pretty soon. Those who are tuned in will have many opportunities to effect the outcome for us all. The ride gets interesting from here...
Ed Williams [firstname.lastname@example.org]
This is a great tribute to Chuck Jones. Those of you who are fans of classic Looney Tunes will appreciate this.
I'd like to publicly thank Mr. Jones for his work. He was truly a Great Man in my opinion. That may seem a bit of high praise for a cartoonist, but it is shy of the mark by fathoms. Jones, Freeling, Blanc, and many others produced a body of work that stands the test of time and I'm sure will be enjoyed far into this new century for their insight, comedic timing, and just plain enjoyment they give us.
I'd like to relate to y'all an experience: some time in the mid-80's I saw YES in concert here in Dallas. The band that was supposed to perform as the lead-in didn't show. (I think it was Berlin, but am not positive). Rather than have the crowd hang out there in Texas Stadium with nothing to do, the management decided to try something completely different... They played Looney Tunes on the big monitors. If you've ever been fortunate enough to see classic cartoons played in front of 50K people, you'll understand what it was like. The crowd went wild when Bugs said the inevitable line about taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Similarly, every spectacular smash-up of Wile E. Coyote engendered similar reactions from the crowd. It was not like we'd not seen it all before, but it was a special occasion nonetheless.
My hat is off to all who participated in the creation of these cartoons which were my first real exposure to classical music (Barber of Seville anyone?).
May Chuck Jones Rest In Peace, and may the Lord bless him as much as he blessed all of us.
The quotation below is taken from http://www.strategypage.com/, under their "Terrorism" header. This transmittal is provided for your information, and is not to be considered permission to recapitulate Mr. Cole's article without his permission. That having been said, I doubt that Mr. Cole would mind very much if The Libertarian Enterprise were to offer a link to the Web site where his articles are published, nor that he would be hostile to an inquiry asking his permission to reproduce his work in TLE.
March 2, 2002; Polls have shown that 73% of airline pilots (and similar percentages of passengers) want the FAA to allow pilots (with proper training) to carry handguns in the cockpit to stop hijackers from taking over their planes. Intelligence from Afghan caves shows that al Qaeda still plans to use American airliners as flying bombs and the incident in which a deranged passenger nearly broke into the cockpit of United Flight 855 have all but silenced the critics. Still opposed to the idea are the usual opponents of handguns in any situation, plus some airline executives who fear the weapons could become an insurance liability issue.-- Stephen V Cole
Richard Bartucci [email@example.com]
The Students in Free Enterprise [SIFE] chapter at Wheeling Jesuit University would like to advise you of the forthcoming publication;
CAPITALISM AND COMMERCE: Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise By Edward W. Younkins.
For details please see the enclosed information.
John Reed [firstname.lastname@example.org]
[In TLE 163 Richard wrote:]
In Mr. Hutchinson's recent letter to the editor, he berated a previous writer for 'word capitalization'.
Considering that I proceeded to capitalize two words for emphasis later in that very same response, I am aware of what a single capitalized word represents. My comment, quoted above, was intended as a criticism of the argument (that is, that it seemed to use word emphasis in lieu of logic), not of the author's writing style per se.
and [In TLE 163 Paul Birch wrote:]
Kent van Cleave's attempt to settle the immigration debate is, regrettably, flawed. The fundamental error in his analysis is that he considers public or government land to be unowned, and therefore not subject to trespass. It isn't. Such land is jointly owned by the public (although the precise nature of the title may often be cloudy). To all intents and purposes each country is the property of its own citizens, and it is those people who have the right to determine the grounds under which outsiders shall be permitted to enter it. In previously choosing to make some of the territory "public", they were assuredly not choosing to make it the "common heritage of mankind", nor to surrender their joint rights over it.
With apologies to Mr. Birch, I find his response far more flawed than Mr. van Cleave's essay. To suggest that property can be jointly owned by 280 million people, all or almost all of whom have never set foot on it, is precisely the definition of property that government would prefer. And just who was it who "chose" to make some of the territory public? Can land be homesteaded by decree? I wouldn't mind owning Antarctica ...
What about land that belonged to a private owner before it became "public property"? Barring the occasional trusting soul who gave it up gratis, it was obtained with stolen money (known euphemistically as taxes) and/or with guns (but eminent domain sounds nicer). This, again, is something the government can get behind with enthusiasm. Income taxation isn't theft--it's money we need in order to provide public services (there's that word again).
To find the best libertarian solution to the issue is not trivial, but it is not to be found by trampling on the rights of the general public (however ill-defined they may currently be). I hope to be able to provide a complete and viable solution in an upcoming essay; for the time being, I will merely indicate that the right of citizenship is a valuable piece of property which ought to be purchased at market rates by (or for) prospective citizens, including the newly born. Those who want to live in a country, or encourage others to do so, should appropriately compensate those existing citizens who do not want them there.
Pardon? A right to citizenship? I need no government to call me a subje-- er, citizen. The State can wither away and die tomorrow (wishful thinking), and I'll still be sitting right here, my habitation undisturbed. I don't need a country. A half-acre will do fine.
Robert Hutchinson [email@example.com]
Richard McGrath wrote:
I believe there should be a law stating at what age a contract becomes binding on an individual - the age of sovereign adulthood. Voting rights would be attached to this. But the age at which sexual activity is allowed, alcohol may be drunk, or a firearm may be used by a minor should be the decision of the adults responsible for that child.
To which Jeff Colonnesi replied:
Myself, I favor the idea of a MAXIMUM age which a person can be considered a child. This would be the age at which parents could, legaly and morally, tell the child to leave and have no more responsibility for the child ... regardless of how the child felt about it. It would also be the maximum age which a parent could be held responsible for a crime commited by a minor child. It would also be, by default, the age at which a parent could no longer claim any control over the childs actions or make decisions for them without thier consent. Probably the age sould be somewhere between 16 and 21. Personally, I favor 18.
Below is my idea for an elegant way of handling a complicated issue:
I would handle consent and other adult issues through insurance companies.
Say, that in order to be treated as an adult, a person would have to provide her own insurance, and that providing your own insurance means you are an adult, with all the rights and responsibilities thereto.
If she was still living under her parents policy(s) she would be off limits to you depending on what her parents say in the matter. But if she was fifteen and providing her own insurance then no one could gainsay her decisions. No one else is responsible for them though.
In order to get insurance she would have to prove to the insurance company that she was not a bad risk. The insurer would check her background, give her some written and practical tests and sell her a probationary policy. After a certain amount of time it becomes a full policy, and she is considered a full adult. Note that she would have to buy the policy with her own funds. It would be pointless for someone else to provide the money.
This status would mean other people will enter contracts with her, meaning she could start a business or use roads, or buy a gun without her parents there.
Insurance companies do not like to pay out money, therefore a well run company will see to it that the tests are useful at weeding out the for-reals from the wanna-bes.
A person may have to take the test a few times before being sold a policy, or they could get it first go, make a mistake, have it cancelled and have to move back with mom and dad.
If the test fee grew progressively bigger each time you took one or the older you got it would behoove the applicant to mature quickly.
The usual rigors of the free-market will weed out bad insurance companies and provide good ones with brand name reputations. Some of these reputations or brands will be more desirable which means a person insured by G.E. Six-Sigma Insurance will have more initial options than someone insured by Mike's Lube, Tune, Guns, and Surety Company (bait 'round back).
So in a free area, consent could be handled with a minimum of fuss to others and a maximum of incentive for a young person to began behaving as an adult.
Warren Tilson [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In his excellent and thought-provoking series of articles on "Some Limitations of the Non-Aggression Doctrine", Patrick Martin uses several examples designed to illustrate that the libertarian doctrine of non-aggression cannot be accepted as an absolute moral principle as written.
As a casual libertarian, I have always found it possible to reconcile the principle as written with most of the actions Mr. Martin describes. It is not that the principle is incorrect as written, but that two particular words need a more refined definition. Specifically, those two words are found in this section of the principle as L. Neil Smith articulates it: "no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation."
The two words I would clarify are "initiate" and "force". Here are my proposed clarifications to those terms.
"Initiate" is to CREATE the entire force scenario. For example, if I encounter a group of criminals on the street in the process of a rape, I am entering (by my observation) a force scenario that was created by the force of another individual. Once the force inequity exists, and has been created by another, the "non-initiation" doctrine no longer applies. I am freed from the constraints of non-aggression and at liberty to take whatever steps are required until the force scenario has been completely neutralized. Put more simply -- once you VIOLATE the non-aggression doctrine, you are no longer PROTECTED by the non- aggression doctrine. You are then open to the justified violence of the victims, the law enforcement authorities or even completely unrelated passers-by.
"Force" is the second word I would clarify. To my mind, "force" here implies not simply violence, but the violence directed against a RATIONAL, INFORMED WILL. If I violently smash a cup of poison out of the hand of a person who doesn't know it is poisonous (and it doesn't matter if that person is 4 or 40) I have not acted against their informed will, because it was not their will to kill themselves. I have not used "force" because I have not opposed a rational, informed will. Now even if I am NOT opposing a rational informed will, violence is always a last option. It is preferable, if possible, if I simply talk the poison victim out of the idea of drinking the glass of poison. Similarly, it is preferable if I limit my use of force against non-rational beings such as animals, but it is not a violation of non- aggression if I am compelled to use force against them.
In the matter of adult-child sex, it seems to me that Mr. Martin has not found a difficulty with non-aggression, but with some libertarian notions of age-of-consent. As I said above, force involves violence against a rational, informed will. In order to make an informed, rational decision regarding sexuality, a child needs to have reached an appropriate level of psycho-sexual development. Physically restraining a child from a sexual situation is no more a violation of non-aggression than physically restraining a toddler from playing in traffic. I realize some libertarians will disagree here, but fully responsible human beings capable of exercising their full portfolio of human rights do not pop into existence at a particular moment. They develop gradually, with some of those rights existing at first only in potential form.
As I said, I'm a casual libertarian. These clarifications may have been already voiced elsewhere, better, by others.
Keith Campbell [email@example.com]
I must open my remarks concerning your Limitations of the Non- Aggression Doctrine essays by saying that, unlike some others who have written you, I do not believe that you have written what you wrote with evil intent. I am a firm believer in Heinlein's Razor: Never attribute to malice what can safely be explained by ignorance. It is with kindest intent that I advise you to get hold of some philosophy and logic texts and study them. Someone, I believe that it was Ayn Rand, defined philosophy as the art of non-contradictory integration. Given that definition, what you have written is not technically philosophy, since there are holes in your logic through which planets could pass. If you are too busy to discuss your columns, I understand, just toss this into your "delete folder." The things in your columns which I believe are not fallacies of logic would make a shorter list than the things which I believe are, and I am not going to go to all the trouble to lay this out for you if you aren't interested. Nevertheless, in the off chance that you are interested, I will give you a small example of what I consider to be one of the more blatant holes in these swiss cheese essays:
If, as one person suggested, another person's cry for help implies a contract, then the person crying for it is advocating and attempting to delegate the initiation of force, which is itself a violation. I'm sorry Sir, but your correspondent is entirely correct and it is you who are completely wrong. The fallacy in operation here is called "dropped context." The victim's cry for help, provided it is not fraud itself, is not an attempt to delegate a force inititiation, but an attempt to delegate a defensive use of force. You can only claim that it is an attempt to initiate force if you drop the context -- the circumstances within which your example is occurring. If the victim in your example is a real victim, then she did not initiate force, by definition. Any use of force by the victim is not an initiation because the attacker has already initiated it -- again by definition. Since the victim is not initiating force, she can not delegate it to someone else. The victim is defending herself and is delegating her right of self-defense to another party, which is a perfectly moral action to take. Any moral action undertaken by party A (e.g. self- defense) may morally be delegated through contract to party B.
Bob Lallier [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I'm appalled at some of the things I read in your publication, and not on ideological grounds.
Mad King George? Military Idustrial Imperial Government Complex? Phrases like this are the reason that the word libertarian is firmly linked in the public mind with images of anti-social nuts barricaded in their bastements and drinking boiled water.
It doesn't have to be this way! This malicious and hate filled poison pen is not worthy of you. All but the most bigoted Americans are political pragmatists. They know how to compromise; how to disagree civilly.
Vitrolic rambling will not win the libertarian movement any supporters. People just don't want to read negative stuff. Hell, I don't want to read it ... and I support you guys! I would like nothing better than to see a libertarian president, governor, congressman. I would like nothing better than to see an end to the ludicrous drug war, to gluttonous government spending, and an end to the smug self rightous moral busy bodies of every political persuasion who want to take your money and run your life.
If your web site were the first introduction that my friends or family had to libertarian ideas they would immediately be turned off. How many people are you losing this way?
Libertarians should not have to resort to insults and exaggerations of the kind I see here. Reasoned, thoughtful, intelligent arguments will always win in the end. Libertarian philosophy is simple enough, elegant enough, and appealing enough to bring people you its side - but your ideas need to be presented WITH STYLE.
Most of your contributors are articulate and intelligent, and can speak lucidly and convincingly when they wish. The problem is, they too often degenerate into the kind of insulting, demeaning negative language that almost certainly turns away uncounted potential recruits.
You making a monumental waste of your ideas, and almost certainly are doing the libertarian movement a disservice.
Statement from the Publisher, The Libertarian Enterprise.
As one who strives personfully to be one of the most vitriolic ramblers whose insulting, demeaning negative writings besmear the virtual pages of this otherwise almost-praiseworthy publication, I would like to ask "Steve" (full name next time, big guy -- if Sherman's horse can take it, so can you) where he gets his expertise, nay, his telepathic certainty, regarding what works best when seeking to bring people into the freedom movement and what doesn't.
I favor the 2x4 between the eyes approach, and there are many here who will attest that it worked for them when nothing else would. To back my theories, I have 40 years in the movement (this spring), almost two dozen books with my name on the cover, a handful of literary awards, and hundreds and hundreds of letters, phone calls, and e-mail over the years -- people thanking me for what I wrote and telling me how it changed their lives.
And always, of course, a few limp ones blubbering that I should "tone it down".
Steve, your creamy aerosol cheese method has been tried and tried and tried for three decades, mostly by the weenies in the Libertarian Party. It doesn't work. It's an utter, abject, humiliating failure. We couldn't have been worse off if Charles Schumer and Bob Dole had laid out our strategy for us.
Sometimes I think they did.
The Founding Fathers would laugh at you, Steve. The Jews in Europe tried very much the same approach as you suggest, and they ended up in concentration camps, gassed to death, with the immediate forebears of today's American airport security guards wrenching the gold teeth out of their heads with pliers.
The era of Politenessman is long, long past -- if it ever existed in the first place. Don't tell Grandpa how to suck eggs, Steve. You (and the rest of this "Nation of Cowards") desperately need us to do what we do at The Libertarian Enterprise. If you're embarrassed by what gets published here, simply say so.
We'll write you off as another weenie, but an honest one.
L. Neil Smith [email@example.com]
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