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167



[Get Opera!]

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 167, April 1, 2002
Eel Douche, Eh?

Dress for Excess:
Fashion Tips for William Bennett

by L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

Bennettito Izzawienie
Bennettito Izzawienie
by Scott Bieser
http://www.libertyartworx.com

Exclusive to TLE

"Of all the animals in Creation, only human beings have civilization, because only human beings have buttocks on which they can be beaten to instill it into them." - Bennett Williams, The Seat of All Virtues

The quotation above is the epigraph -- that pithy little saying authors like to put at the beginning of a book to sum it up -- to my latest novel, The American Zone.

The American Zone is a sequel (one of several, but the latest, and, I think, the best) to my first novel, The Probability Broach, about a cop who gets blown "sideways" in time to an alternate history where western Pennsylvanians won the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, and the president who sent 15,000 conscripts to Pittsburgh to suppress a 400- farmer tax protest gets put against a wall and shot for his counter- Revolutionary attitude.

The epigraph I chose (an astonishing 25 years ago) for The Probability Broach -- a real quote, from the real guy -- reads: "My movement to the Chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a criminal who is going to the place of his execution." - George Washington, February 4, 1789

The epigraph to The American Zone is not a real quote from a real guy, but not for lack of trying. Philosopher-thug William Bennett, familiar to libertarians, is adored by fools like Rush Limbaugh, and regarded by many whose primary interest is individual liberty, as one of the most evil creatures in politics today.

I've heard it said Bennett dabbled in libertarianism in college, the same way middle-aged pinkos in the 1950s confessed they'd dabbled in Communism. According to a column I just read, he also dabbled in Janis Joplin. (The mental images this generates are thoroughly scary.) In the end, having served a stint as Minister of Federal Child Indoctrination, he took the next logical step, becoming Commissar of Unconstitutional Drug Enforcement for the United States of Sovietized Amerika.

Bennett fathered the Clinton-Dole semiautomatic weapons ban and most of the recent Republican aversion to self-defense. It says here he applauded the FBI at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Since then, having arrogated himself to a moral authority his résumé plainly demonstrates he doesn't possess, he's penned a couple of pompous eructations I won't advertise here, one of which I lampooned in The American Zone, in which a character (resembling Bennett by the most amazing of literary coincidences) is portrayed as a having paranoid distrust of, and evil intentions toward, everyone around him.

Although I began writing The American Zone seven years ago, by the time it was eventually published (by Tor in 2001), Bennett was putting together an organization for the specific purpose of stifling dissent on the part of anyone who thinks -- and, more importantly, says or writes -- that this War on Everything of his and Bush's isn't the greatest thing since omelettes made from broken eggs.

He calls it "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism". (Why he capitalizes one preposition and not the other remains a mystery; the acronym isn't that great either way.) According to Burton Blumert, Lew Rockwell's publisher, Bennett's first priority is to put Lew out of business, then campus anti-war activists, then, presumably the rest of us. I'm a little insulted that I wasn't mentioned, but all that will change once Bennett gets wind of The American Zone. In the meantime, like the horse in Animal Farm, I'll just have to work harder.

But what shall we, the intended targets, call his group? By now, most of the good shirt-colors -- red, black, brown, silver -- have been taken. Red's been used twice, by Garibaldi and Gene Roddenberry. Some might feel "White Shirts" is appropriate, but the unhappy fact is, there are plenty of black idiots on Bennett's side (Alan Keyes, for one) and white shows other people's blood far too readily for the sissified tastes of today's Leninesque rationers of liberty.

I was discussing this dilemma with my friend Rex May. Rex is a cartoonist whose work you know, having seen it in every conceivable publication from The Wall Street Journal to Hustler. If you want to see more, pick up his book, Gesundheit Dummy!

"I like my fascists to dress like fascists," Rex informed me a bit peevishly. "None of this wimpy, understated Armani business. If a politico is going to strut around like Mussolini, and bluster like Hitler, then by god, he should dress like Mussolini or Hitler!"

"Preferably both," I suggested.

Rex added that the robin's-egg blue uniform Hermann Goering affected would look splendid on Bennett. Unlike Hermann, however, he wouldn't be able to bedeck his tunic with medals. Democrats are always eager to spend other people's money; Republicans feel the same way about other people's blood. Like so many "heroes" in the bellicose Republican ranks today, Bennett was "out of town" during any war in recent memory. (So was I, I hasten to add before someone else does, but I've never kidded anyone, especially myself, about it, nor have I called down the wrath of B-52s on much of anyone I can remember. I'm still dabbling in Libertarianism, you see.)

Whatever color shirt we choose (I vote for puce, with fuschia lapels) it must have epaulettes and pockets pleated down the middle, accented with a wide leather Sam Browne belt (ever wonder who the hell Sam Browne was?) with a dashing diagonally-buckled shoulder strap and optional matching flapped military holster kept fashionably empty so as not to drag down the lines of the shirt.

Jackboots, of course, are de rigeur, just as dead dissenters are de rigeur mortis under a properly jackbooted regime. Such footwear is appropriate today, if only to keep one's toes clear of all the bovine excrement being spread around by the current administration -- uniquely suitable to Bennett, who ought to be offered the Lon Horiuchi Chair for Creative Final Solutions, and an honorary Jb.T. degree.

And how about those fancy riding pants -- I believe they're called jhodpurs -- with the flapdoodles on the outsides of the thighs? I never quite figured out what those were for -- perhaps wiping blood off your saber after a long day of spitting uppity peasants, but they make a fashion statement that says, for all to hear, "Sieg Heil!"

Orson Welles thought so well of such an outfit, he chose it for an odd but popular stage production of Julius Caesar. Richard Nixon agreed, and tried to dress his White House guards that way, but visitors kept looking for a key in the back to wind them up with.

Last but not least, there's that little hat Mussolini wore, what you might call an "anti-liberty cap", with thingies that waggled as he stamped back and forth along the balcony, his mighty brows beetling Cro-Magnfully, lower jaw thrust out like the bad-tempered two-year-old he did such an excellent impression of until they strung him up.

Here's cartoonist Scott Bieser's take on the subject [also reproduced at the top of this page]:

http://www.libertyartworx.com/bennettito.html

By George (or Adolf or Benito), wouldn't Bill (or Tom or Donald) cut a hell of a figure in nifty duds like that? Throw in lot of brass buttons and other make-the-trains-run-on-time doodads; why should the 40's outdo the Oughties for sheer swastika swank? Someone needs to advise our beloved Czar-of-Czars that these days you not only need to have the courage of your convictions, but of your clothier, as well.



L. Neil Smith's The American Zone recently tied for third place for Freedom Book of the Year at Free-Market.net, behind Lever Action, by L. Neil Smith, which tied for second place, and Hope (by Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith) which won first place. Denounced as unseemly and politically incorrect by Book List and Publisher's Weekly, it can be read about and purchased (along with The Probability Broach and many of his other books) at http://www.lneilsmith.org. Rex May's Gesundheit Dummy! is available at http://www.kiva.net/~jonabook.



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