L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 207, January 20, 2003
OH HAPPY DAY!
The Happy Days Ahead
Exclusive to TLE
From time to time, I'm asked what kind of world I'm fighting for. Usually the question is accompanied by a disbelieving stare from the questioner, a Statist who can't believe that ANYONE would truly want government utterly and completely out of his life.
The answer is simple:
Freedom, immortality, and the stars!
Really, that's the promise of individual liberty:
Freedom, immortality, and the stars!
The long answer to this question involves self-education. In concrete terms, I want the world that seminal libertarian science fiction author depicts in his Galactic Confederacy series of novels. If not that world, then the one very like it that pure, unfettered individual liberty would produce.
If any self-respecting lover of freedom has not read at least The Probability Broach, then you need to IMMEDIATELY fire up your Web browser and go to Amazon.com. Have them next-day air it to you -- you won't regret the additional charges. Then buy The American Zone (the other book in the series currently in print). You'll be hooked at this point and will need to scour bookstores and the Internet for the remaining novels in the series.
(And lest anyone mistake "Freedom, immortality, and the stars!" as my invention, it's not. That's Neil at work, again.)
What I want is obviously simple. Lately, however, I've concerned myself with what the ENEMIES of freedom are fighting for. This thought comes to mind particularly when listening to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk-show hosts. Rush uniformly purports to want freedom, but when you really examine what he's championing, you can't help but realize that the outcome is anything but free.
Look for a moment at what Rush wants:
No doubt Rush would claim that in theory, he's against every one of these items. Yet his current championing of Unconstitutional foreign and domestic policy betrays his true intentions:
How can government track, trace, and prevent potential terrorist activities except through constant monitoring?
How can government prevent disgruntled individuals from occasionally fighting back except through victim disarmament?
How can government pay for its activities except via regulation of the economy and leeching of its resources?
How can government prevent terrorists or disgruntled individuals in other countries without the ability to impose its will on everyone in the world?
This is no exaggeration, but simply carrying Rush's current positions to their only logical conclusion.
Since Bloody Tuesday (September 11), Rush has championed every War On Noun in the book: War on Terror, War on Iraq, a new Cold War with North Korea and any other potential nuclear powers. Every Noun on which Rush wishes government to make war is assisted by modern technology, particularly micro-miniaturization. Nuclear weapons, for example, consistently become smaller and smaller. While I'm no expert, I'm told that they can now be fit into suitcases. In twenty years, this might be reduced to something the size of a laptop computer. In fifty years, the size of a handheld computer.
Further, any War on Nouns must by definition go on FOREVER -- just have a look at the War on Poverty or the War on Some Drugs.
The Wars on Terror or Nukes are no different. If the FedGov is to ascertain for all time that no foreign power or crazed American is ever to plant a palm-sized nuke in front of the White House, then government must know what every individual is carrying at all times.
There's no end to Wars on Nouns. There can't be. Not ever. In the free-market economy that Rush CLAIMS to support, technology always becomes simultaneously smaller and cheaper. For government to prevent the worst requires it to know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE.
Limbaugh also doesn't seem to grasp how the level of control that he seeks to achieve impacts the expansion of technology and freedom that he currently enjoys. If government had the same level of control in 1776 that it seeks to impose now, we'd all still be riding horses for transportation.
Take our assembly-line automobile: would an all-controlling FedGov have allowed Henry Ford to put into the hands of virtually every individual in the country a device capable of delivering ANY payload of ANY kind to virtually any destination at any time? Clearly, this device (which we'll call an "assault vehicle" after modern parlance) could enable a disgruntled or disturbed individual to deposit, say, fuel oil and fertilizer in front of a Federal building.
Clearly, given the destructive potential of assault vehicles, they could not possibly have been allowed into the marketplace. The potential for misuse is far too high.
For that matter, modern fertilizer or diesel fuel obviously has a very high explosive potential. In fact, using modern parlance, we should simply call them what they are: "bomb-making materials." Would an all- controlling FedGov have allowed the development of this technology given this obvious fact? Would it further have allowed it into the marketplace unrestricted, where some disgruntled or disturbed individual might harm himself or others?
This is, not coincidentally, why we will never see commercial space travel, personal weapons more advanced than slug-chuckers, or personal energy sources more advanced than the internal combustion engine -- at least, not so long as we allow government to in any way regulate their development. It's simply not in government's interests to allow the the average individual off the planet, nor to allow them powerful personal weapons, nor unrestricted access to energy.
Think of it this way:
Human civilization has been around something in excess of 20,000 years. Except for a virtually negligible amount of time, the most advanced technology developed was simple refinements to the processes of manual labor. It's only in the last 250 years that we've crawled out of the mud and made our first tentative grasp for the stars.
Why? Simple: for the first time in all of human history, a large group of people were left alone to pursue their own personal goals. This is in stark contrast to the preceding TWENTY MILLENNIA, when human beings slaved from dawn to dark for the benefit of kings and emperors.
Think of it: in just over two centuries, humanity has achieved THOUSANDS of times more than in the entire preceding history of the species. All because we took government out of our lives.
What Rush Limbaugh advocates three hours a day, five days a week, is a return to serfdom.
Rush needs to loosen the restraints on the half of his brain that he keeps perpetually tied behind his back, just long enough to crowbar the following simple concept into his cranium:
Without freedom, there is no technology. Without technology, there is no advancement. Without advancement, there is no freedom.
Fortunately, despite Rush's vile, twisted daydreams of billions of serfs bowing before the whims of an all-powerful world State, what he wants cannot be achieved. Indeed, as with all such fantasies, it marks the one pursuing the goal as insane.
Five billion individuals cannot be controlled by a few million if five billion individuals do not wish to be controlled. Nor is such a State economically viable: it will collapse of its own instability and internal corruption long before it can accomplish its aims.
In the long term, we have nothing to fear from the State. It can, however, make our lives miserable in the process of collapsing. This is the position we find ourselves in today: the FedGov (and most StateGovs) are in the throes of economic collapse. They uniformly operate with huge deficits and have done so for decades. Their members are uniformly more concerned with the acquisition of personal power than with safeguarding individual rights.
The Beast is thrashing in its death throes. What we're interpreting as a sudden crackdown on individual freedom is in fact the Beast flailing wildly about, roaring and breathing fire, as it finally gasps its last.
The truly amazing thing is that day in and day out, neither Rush nor his listeners can grasp these simple facts. Nor do they understand the simple, easily-provable concept that the best defense against terrorists, criminals, and other evil-doers isn't government and victim disarmament. Rather, it is free individuals armed with anything they have the means to buy.
The choice is simple: freedom, immortality, and the stars; or slavery, death, and the mud.
Me? I'm going to the stars. I hope I'll see you there.
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