L. Neil Smith's
Number 207, January 20, 2003


[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Jeff Colonnesi

Letter from Carl Bussjaeger

Another Letter from Carl Bussjaeger

Letter from E.J. Totty

Letter from Brian W. Gross

Letter from Joshua Holmes

Letter from Kevin Carson


There is one advantage that was not mentioned that Libertarians have when running for local offices.

Like it or not, the reality is that right now many people think that voting for a Libertarian for higher office is "wasting" your vote. It's an even more prevelant attitude with groups that endorse candidates. Many would rather endorse no one in a race than endorse someone they think has no chance of winning.

But that doesn't apply nearly as much to local offices. The libertarian who honestly thinks that libertarian candidate for president, senator or whatever has no chance of winning may think the best chance to improve things is to vote for the least objectionable of the two major parties in that race. But that same voter, faced with a choice for local office, may vote for the Libertarian even if they don't think they have much chance. Believing that there isn't much difference between what either of the two major parties will do in a local position.

Jeff Colonnesi [jcolonne@flash.net]

North American Samizdat has selected Officer Anthony Johnson, Detroit Police Department, as its Jackbooted Thug of the Month for January, 2003.

This award is in recognition of Officer Johnson's accomplishments in demonstrating special skill in advance hand-cuffing technique.

The full text of Officer Johnson's award, and his award certificate can be viewed at: [This Link]

Carl Bussjaeger [bussjaeger@surfbest.net]
Editor, North American Samizdat

I finally had to weigh in on this one; Kevin M. Crady's observation in TLE 205:

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.

By Spooner, he's right; it is impossible! And Henry Morrison Flagler's privately financed rail connection between Key West and mainland Florida (completed in 1912) was figment of my imagination.

Sarcasm aside, Crady also ignores the possibility that property owners might want the road/railroad/et cetera, as it could improve their own access to their property, or even channel customers into their area. Maybe someone wants the recreation and irrigation benefits of a reservoir.

Or maybe that lone holdout for more bucks is smart enough to realize the dangers of pricing his property off the market.

Carl Bussjaeger [nomad1@surfbest.net]


OK. You can all call me a cold blooded, heartless bastard, now.

Okay, James, you're a cold-blooded heartless bastard.

Me too!

But, better to be THAT, than to be a frigging know-it-all altruist, who'd sooner see you in the grave, than to face the truth.

How many dictators in history DIDN'T eliminate their only competition, merely that they were believable, understood, and were gaining ground? How many DIDN't bury the truth out of sight?

The altruists have all been known to devolve to the 'final solution' in one way or another, and Brian Gross seems no different.

What's bothersome about him, is that he's been given every reasonable explanation regarding free-choice, has totally ignored every aspect of those while continuing to accuse those of the Libertarian bent of wanting to enforce a belief/polity upon the rest of the nation.

As I explained in my last missive to him, how can we be accused of forcing ANYTHING upon anyone, merely that we demand to left the hell alone? I would suppose that making that demand IS forcing the rest to mind their own bloody damned business. But, is THAT forcing yourself upon everyone else?

How could minding your own business be declared force?

I see this as the difference between the desire NOT to have sexual relations with someone, as opposed as just laying there and letting the general population screw your pants off.

If Gross STILL feels the same way, after reading this, then I suggest that he:
(1) Go rent the movie "Top Secret"
(2) Remember the part about the "Power Dildo"
(3) Get ready to experience it!

How many times does an explanation need to be delivered - in as many ways as there are Libertarians, before the realization finally sinks in that the person we are addressing will not only NOT recognize a good argument when it is delivered to him, but absolutely refuses to see the truth in any case - no matter how lucid?

As a very dear old girlfriend of mine has said many times: The prime difference between masturbation and getting laid, is that only the latter can may you pregnant.

Let me deliver the aphorisms:

When you refuse to see the truth, you refuse to see its attendant possibilities.

A closed mind is like a closed door, not even the truth may pass. When the door is open, the mind is pregnant with possibilities.

In Liberty,

E.J. Totty [ejt@seanet.com]

Maybe I asked the wrong question. I asked "Why Legalize Drug Usage?" maybe the question should have been, Is There Intelligent Life on TLE?

John the Bastard says "If an insurance company raises their rates purportedly because of others' drug usage, you're free to find an insurance company that does not cover anything relating to chemical dependency."

Jeffrey Quick says "Nobody claims there wouldn't be social costs to drug use".

Doug Spittler says "I don't think anyone ever claimed there would be NO costs associated with legalizing drugs."

James J Odle says "For the record any Libertarian who would make the argument that drug use hurts no one but the drug user is being stupid."

The NAP states you can do what ever you like as long as you harm no one else. Please define "Harm" for me. As I understand it, someone's behavior that has an adverse affect on someone else is Harm.

If I must decide if I can afford insurance or not based upon someone else's behavior, means I am being harmed. I should not have to change my behavior because of someone else's behavior. The offending behavior is the one in need of change as defined by NAP.

I can only conclude that the NAP and therefore the Libertarian Party is a Sham.

Brian W. Gross [jubilee131@cox.net]


In Mr. Odle's recent article, he says:

Returning to drugs, there are problems that are so intractable that asking the government to solve them is like attempting to chop a snake off the head of Medusa. You know, Medusa - Greek mythological character, woman with a head of snakes - chop off one snake, two more snakes grow back in its place? That's what happens with the Drug War. It just makes everything worse.

Actually, this is incorrect. What Mr. Odle is attempting to reference is the Hydra. The Hydra was a many-headed beast. Cut off one head, and two would grow in its place. Herakles/Hercules defeated the monster as one of his great labors by cutting off a head and burning the resulting stump before more heads could regenerate. The last invincible head was buried under a great rock.

Joshua Holmes [jdholmes@force.stwing.upenn.edu]

[Actually, this is also incorrect (not to mention off Mr. Odle's point). The reference you are attempting to set straight is indeed to the Hydra. But Hercules defeated the monster by smashing its heads with his club. Furthermore, it was his nephew Iolaus who held a torch to each smashed head to prevent its regeneration -- this leading Eurystheus, to whom Hercules was indentured for the twelve labors, to assert that this feat could not count, as Hercules received assistance. But don't worry ... someone will undoubtedly further correct me! :-) - Ed.]

re: Curtis Handsaker On Private Ownership Of Streets In the Jan. 5 edition, Curtis Handsaker wrote:

"In the perfect libertarian world, that street will be private property."

That depends on what you mean by "private." If it means owned by a corporation or other proprietary firm, I disagree strongly. There's a lot of room in a genuinely free market, stateless society for the resurrection of the idea of "the commons" as a form of property that is both "private" and communally owned at the same time. Carlton Hobbs, a writer at antistate.com recently wrote an excellent article on this principle: [link]

It strikes me, at least, as preferable to selling off assets acquired by years of taxpayer sweat-equity, to be bought up by politically connected financial elites. This latter phenomenon, called "tunnelling," was described by Sean Corrigan in a column at LewRockwell.com: [link]

Larry Gambone has argued consistently for "mutualizing" state property as an alternative to corporate privatization: that is, decentralize control of it to the lowest possible neighborhood or community level, turn it into a consumers' co-op under a board of selectmen directly responsible to its clientele, and fund it on a voluntary user-fee basis. [link]

In a similar vein, Rothbard and Hoppe have both argued that the best way of "privatizing" state industry in post-communist regimes would be to treat the enterprises as "unowned" property, and allow the workforce to "homestead" them and run them on syndicalist lines. I'm told that at one point, at the height of Rothbard's alliance with the New Left, he argued for likewise treating any corporation that received a majority of its profits from state capitalist intervention as unowned and handing it over to syndicalist control.

The common lands in medieval and early modern Europe were the legitimate, communal "private" property of the inhabitants of a village. This was no more a "collectivist" institution than the modern joint- stock corporation. The landlords who disregarded the peasantry's rights in the land and transformed them into tenants at will (thus creating a majority of propertyless laborers) were robbers. Likewise, most of the rights of way that modern streets are built on have had the status of "commons" from the time of initial settlement in America, and "from time out of mind" in Europe.

There is no need for the libertarian right to be so closely wedded to the corporation as an ideal organizational form. The mainstream libertarian movement tends to view the corporation as some kind of aesthetic ideal, and to envision a free market society as just "actually existing corporate capitalism" without the state. But a corporate economy on anything like the current pattern does not by any means logically follow from the principles of non-coercion and free market exchange. A free market society that makes room for the vision of, say, Karl Hess and Ivan Illich, instead of just Uncle Milty and John Galt, would be a lot more humanly tolerable.

Kevin Carson [kevin_carson@hotmail.com]


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