L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 201, December 2, 2002
MINE'S A MODEL 21
Exclusive to TLE
I could be in an interesting position.
The feds now admit that they have various lists of un-approved "subversives". These are tallies of people who have committed no crimes, but whom the government distrusts, fears, or hates.
Several versions of one such list were distributed to banks, major employers, credit institutions... pretty much any outfit that might encounter someone on the list. A lot of companies started using incarnations of the list for background checks: If you appear on that one, forget opening a new bank account or getting a job. A better known list was given to the airlines for passenger screening. This one consists of "dissidents;" folks who - again - haven't committed a crime, but were silly enough to be openly critical of the government's civil liberties and Constitutional violations, like at least one pacifist nun. Unless you're a masochist, don't try flying via commercial air if you're on this one: You'll be singled out for "security" harassment. But you might be allowed to fly. Maybe. If the would-be gods of government so condescend. If you grovel enough.
A third list was only formally publicized last week: This is the "no- fly" list of non-criminals. These are the poor saps who've sufficiently annoyed enough infantile bureaucrats that under no circumstances are they to be allowed to board a commercial aircraft.
How petty. Remember, this is 21st century America, where the President now declares citizens to be enemy combatants (even if they never fought, and were arrested in Chicago) and locks them away, to be tried - maybe, someday - in a secret military tribunal. Where people whom the government admits are not criminals get locked up as "material witnesses;" no lawyer, no outside contact, no trial, no rights.
Yet this police state environment notwithstanding, the feds have at least three lists of people whom even they can't justify arresting. So they harass them; make it tough or impossible to work, to travel cross-country.
So... If one isn't accused of a crime, nor a material witness, nor even a credible potential suspect, how does one get singled out for these trivial assaults on character and life?
Who knows? The feds won't say. If you ask the airlines why you got strip searched and raped by the Transportation Gestapo, they just refer you to the TSA bureaucrats. Who, in turn, tell you it isn't their doing, ask the FBI.
The FBI claims that they merely collate the names as provided by other gov-goons. Ask which agency referred you, and you'll get a blank stare.
No accountability, no responsibility. Piss off a nameless backroom goon - or bigger ones, like Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, or Dubya himself - and you're screwed.
It makes me wonder if I've made any of those lists. Yet. These are small-minded weasels, so I figure it depends on whether they've noticed me. Yet. I'm fairly outspoken and politically incorrect, so it's a just matter of time, if they haven't already tagged me.
After all, I do "subversive" things like run the www.SimonJester.org site to encourage and coordinate informal protests. I send Dubya and Ashcroft letters and certificates recognizing them as Jackbooted Thugs. I'm the editor of Doing Freedom! Magazine, which publishes all sorts of scary material; like how to make darned sure you're never unarmed, and unsubscribing from government itself; we even rate battle rifles. My novel, NET ASSETS, depicts the dissolution of the American federal government. My North American Samizdat site consists largely of governmental critique.
Someone has noticed me; dot-gov hits on my websites have gone way up as I've become more vocal. For now, I can only hope it's benign attention.
But I'm starting job hunting again. (I'm apparently widely read, popular; but this doesn't pay worth a darn.) Am I still employable? Or have I ticked off the wrong person and made the wrong list? Is this honorably discharged veteran, ex-cop, past DOD-contractor with security clearances and no arrests now going to fail a background check?
We'll see. Maybe I'll have to start asking for charitable donations to buy rice to fill my belly and pay the rent. And I don't want to forget the ISP charges to keep the sites going, to keep pissing off the gov- goons.
If freedom survives just a little longer, if I can inconvenience those who hate and fear free individuals, it'll be worth it.