L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 205, January 6, 2003
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This is a take-off of the Abbot & Costello skit "Who's on first"
(Condoleezza Rice & George Bush in the Oval Office.)
George:Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
George:Great. Lay it on me.
George:That's what I want to know.
George:That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
George:I mean the fellow's name.
George:The guy in China.
George:The new leader of China.
George:Now whaddya' asking me for?
George:Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
George:That's who's name?
George:Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
George:Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.
George:Then who is in China?
George:Yassir is in China?
George:Then who is?
George:Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of
China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
George:No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk.
And then get me the U.N.
George:Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
George:Milk! Will you please make the call?
George:Who is the guy at the U.N?
George:Will you stay out of China?!
George:And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
George:All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
George:Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?
E.J. Totty [firstname.lastname@example.org]
North American Samizdat NorthAmericanSamizdat.com
North American Samizdat has selected Detective Mike O'Neil, Louisville Police Department, as its Jackbooted Thug of the Month for December, 2002.
This award is in recognition of Detective O'Neil's accomplishments in crime control: Forgetting to search a knife suspect for his weapon, and shooting rear-handcuffed man to death.
The full text of Detective O'Neil's award, and his award certificate can be viewed at: http://email@example.com/jbt7.htm
Carl Bussjaeger [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In response to Mr Bussjaeger's and Mr Kabaczy's wholesome exchange regarding their relentless publicity of their responsible gun ownership (TLE 204), I say bravo and hurrah to both! Let me tentatively echo Mr Bussjaeger's endorsement of Gun Owner Day, pending an explanation of the rationale behind selecting the 10th of February (I might have thought the 19th of April apt as well.)
In the meantime, I recommend that we all keep our eyes out for the Massachusetts State Quarters (still MY favorite of the series) depicting the Minuteman with his rifle in hand, maybe drill a couple of discrete holes in them, and use them as tie-tacks, lapel pins, or buttons! In your face Victim Disarmers!
Keep up the Good Word,
Lehr Duquesne [email@example.com]
- - -
Carl Bussjaeger replies:
I did provide a rationale for the choice of dates: Soon enough to get on with it, but enough time to coordinate it with groups around the country and world. But I can elaborate further.
For some years, I've been coordinating such voluntary projects, and I've learned the hard way that the longer people have to forget about it, the more likely they will. I chose February 10th because it's a business day; people will be out and about, seeing one another. Nor does it clash - to my knowledge - with any other event that would draw off publicity.
The entire project is purely voluntary - duh! - and people can celebrate their own Gun Owner Day any time they wish. I continue to support 2-10, though, for several reasons:
- 2-10 has already been publicized, with press releases sent to major gun owner organizations.
- April 19th is an extra two months for people to find reasons to not participate.
- 4-19 is primarily of interest to Americans; while I mainly had North America in mind when I dreamed this up, I wouldn't mind seeing the rest of the world play, too.
- 4-19 is a hot date for fed thugs, who like to put out warnings of evil, wicked patriot/militia terrorists that day; I'd just as soon not get caught up in that. One more good day demonized by the feddies...
- Recognition of responsible gun owners deserves its own day.
- I'm broke, and unless NAS gets some support, I won't be able to keep pushing Gun Owner Day as late as 4-19.
Not to single out any specific person, but this is quite simple: If you like it, do it. If you don't, don't do it. No arms are being twisted in either direction. I'd truly prefer that this not turn into the usual libertarian exercise in uselessly debating every detail, and never getting around to action.
Carl Bussjaeger [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Is pulling someone out of the path of an oncoming car an initiation of force? Or has the pedestrian initiated force against the owner of the vehicle?
Anyone who jumps right in front of my car will owe me for the damage his body does to it, correct?
In the perfect libertarian world, that street will be private property. I can imagine all road owners placing a ped ban on thier streets. Offer a small reward for every clueless/suicidal person yanked out from the path of a vehicle. Balance this with a fine of the same amount for being a ped on the road!
If the ped is in a crosswalk or other place where the CAR is not supposed to be, the driver is initiating, so the fine would be levied against him.
Curtis Handsaker [email@example.com]
I would like to thank you for "printing" my letter "Why Legalize Drug Use?" in the TLE #203. I would like the opportunity for a rebuttal.
1. Not one of my critics pointed out how the legalization of drug use would totally eliminate anyone from being financially impacted. Several letters were of the opinion that the cost would go down. I had acknowledged some costs would go down and others would go up. But in the end legalized drug use would still cost everyone something. For the sake of argument lets assume that the cost to everyone in the country when drug use is legal is $1 per year. That is $1 per year from every man woman and child in the country so you can do drugs in peace. What a deal! How is that any different than $1 per year to support those who don't want to work, or to pay farmers to not grow crops?
2. Several letters correctly pointed out that something as simple as dietary choices have social implications. If you can see that something as minor as dietary choices can affect others, then why can't you see the social implications of drugs, gambling, sex, pollution ... etc? The Libertarian stand on many issues ignores the social implications. One letter even stated that the increase in freedom is worth it. If you are forced to pay, either through taxes, increased cost for goods and services or any other method, for the actions of others how can you consider that freedom? I call it slavery when someone is forced to support someone else. It is called charity when it is voluntary. True freedom is being responsible for your own behavior.
3. Some Libertarians don't see their "non-aggression principle" as a morality they are actively trying to inflict on a nation where many disagree.
4. Some letters disputed my assumption of increased use of drugs if they were made legal. They suggested use would actually decrease. I'm not sure what their assumption is based upon. Mine is based upon the fact that there is a certain percentage of the population that doesn't use drugs solely because they are illegal. The number of people who would stop just because they were now legal you could count on one hand. That sounds like an increase to me.
5. For those of you that think Organized Crime will get out of the drug business, you are dreaming. They have distribution networks in place. Why throw it away? You claim the price of drugs will go down so it will not be profitable for them. So will their cost of production. No RICO so they won't loose planes, boats, cars, jewelry, cash, mansions ... etc. No more paying off dictators, judges, lawyers, politicians ... etc. They can hire FedEx to haul their products and pay minimum wage to sellers. I'm sure they will pay all of their taxes. Besides, where are you going to find poppy plants to grow? Who will sell them to a competitor? If you control the supply you control the price. Just ask OPEC.
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion. Hopefully I provided some food for thought.
Brian W. Gross [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I haven't yet seen the following trend mentioned in the American samizdat (or anywhere else), but I find it more than a little scary.
Early this year (2002) I began noticing posters at many gas stations featuring a threatening member of the constabulary promising to revoke the licenses of customers who drive away without paying. A few months later began a series of TV ads featuring a threatening member of the constabulary giving tickets for seatbelt violations under the "Click It or Ticket" program. Last night I saw a new TV ad featuring a threatening member of the constabulary handcuffing and arresting a driver for DUI as part of "Operation Zero Tolerance". (Both sets of TV ads are, of course, shot at night to increase the aura of menace.)
What kind of state finds it necessary to constantly bombard the general citizenry with reminders that the JBTs are watching and are not in a forgiving mood? (Yes, that's a rhetorical question.) What kind of state finds it necessary to annoint law-enforcement activities with sinister, military-sounding titles? With whom are the police at war? (Yes, another rhetorical question.)
I can hardly wait to see what onslaught of intimidating publicity they have planned to keep us cowed and submissive during 2003. If I were Aaron Zelman, I would be pushing the Totalitarian Time Clock perilously close to midnight.
Brett Middleton [email@example.com]
re: Zapping the ZAP?
Your article is thoughtful and mostly well-reasoned but suffers from two points of confusion.
The first point is, that what you quote as the ZAP is actually El Neil's definition of a "libertarian", which contains ZAP as part of the definition but adds, "or advocates" as being an attribute of a libertarian as opposed to a non-libertarian.
The ZAP does not forbid anyone from making any moral, ethical or political argument, including arguing against ZAP itself. But a person who argues against ZAP is not a libertarian. That's all.
The second point of confusion is your inclusion of "fraud" as a form of force initiation. It is true that Ayn Rand argued that fraud is the moral equivalent of force, but her argument is not convincing to some. Neil contends that fraud is a "market problem" that should be dealt with via market methods and practices.
But by separating fraud from force in this way we eliminate the problem of ZAP being misused to justify censorship as a means of fraud prevention. Of course, this does bring to light another problem with conflicting interpretations of ZAP, but at least the formulation discussed in your essay did not include "fraud," so it becomes incumbent upon any commentator making arguments regarding fraud to show why it is relevant to prohibitions against force.
The section of your essay describing a "privatized eminent domain" problem arising from the restitution aspect of ZAP was interesting but I think a ZAP-grounded judge would rule differently than you anticipate. The road company may have restored Granny's home and property to its previous state, but property has been taken from her and it has not been restored to her control. Under ZAP, she could refuse a monetary compensation for the property taken, because the property still exists in a form that she can use and control. Under ZAP she could still claim the roadway tunnel or bridge or whatever was built to be her property, and wasn't that roadway company silly for building a road on property they didn't own, and block it altogether at her property boundaries, or charge an exhorbitant toll for not blocking it.
Scott Bieser [firstname.lastname@example.org]
- - - Kevin Crady responds:
I'll agree with you that El Neil's definition of a libertarian is not necessarily the ZAP itself, even though it is presented as such in the Libertarian Enterprise (see http://webleyweb.com/tle/whoislib.html and note how the definition is placed under the heading "The Zero Aggression Principle").
I also agree that someone who advocates initiation of force is not a libertarian. However, El Neil's definition does not say that a libertarian merely does not advocate initiation of force, but rather:
If a libertarian is someone who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to advocate initiation of force, that means libertarians almost have to engage in censorship of non-libertarian positions. "No one has the right, under any circumstances" just doesn't leave any wiggle-room.
Now, maybe El Neil means that in a libertarian society there would be no "official" censorship, but it would be perfectly OK to hang out on a rooftop across the street from Democratic Party headquarters and pick off anyone who goes in or out with a sniper rifle. Before you all start cheering for that concept, consider that in such a society people who think your strand of "libertarianism" includes advocacy of initiatory force (i.e. the other side in the abortion debate) would feel perfectly entitled to put their crosshairs on the doors of an abortion clinic or an anti-abortion group's office--or maybe your house, if you're a noted advocate of your position.
If so, then TLE's masthead definition of "libertarian" is incompatible with the ZAP.
Well, as I understand his writings, he considers pretty much all other crime is a "market problem" that should be dealt with via the market, e.g. protection agencies, moral debt assessors, arbitrators, etc. Unfortunately, I can't recall reading El Neil's argument that fraud does not represent initiatory force, so I can't debate that point.
My argument focussed on the ability of Christian and atheist libertarians respectively to accuse each other's belief-systems of representing advocacy of initiatory force, and thus deny them the right "under any circumstances" to spread their beliefs. Admittedly, if fraud is not initiatory force, then the Christian's argument that unbelievers tricking people into eternal torture ("spiritual fraud") is initiatory force fails. However, the atheists can still charge the Christians with extortion, for threatening them with eternal damnation if they do not believe in Christ and obey his commands.
Good point. This means it would be pretty close to impossible for any large-scale transportation network (or other large infrastructure such as dams) to exist in a truly libertarian society. The closer the company comes to getting the swath of territory it needs to build its transcontinental greenway/railroad/freeway/reservoir/whatever, the more the next property owner in the way gets to charge, since the company's already out however many million dollars they've spent and stand to lose it all if the next property owner refuses to sell. It's more likely that no company would attempt such a risky venture in the first place.
Whether or not transcontinental transportation networks are good (they open up commerce) or bad (they make it easy for centralized governments to control large territories) is a separate issue.
Kevin M. Crady [email@example.com]
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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