L. Neil Smith's
Number 225, May 25, 2003

The Prime Directive

[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 Curt Howland

Another Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from Tom Judkins

Letter from Bill Stone

Attacking Anarchists

Dear John,

I take exception to the attacks on "anarchists" that have sullied the pages of TLE in recent weeks.

The impression that I had of "libertarians" was that, so long as no force is used or deligated, everyone should just get along.

There is a reason I consider myself an anarchist: No one has yet presented me with a function of "government" that cannot be dealt with by consensual cooperation of interested parties.

It is my opinion that actions of those interested parties cannot do worse, and are more often than not demonstrably better for everyone, than actions organized, or paid for, or completed by force.

The logical extreme of the libertarian ideal is itself "no force", the very definition of "an-archy", "without imposed leadership".

Perhaps the writers who so abhore "anarchists" have in mind the excesses performed by those who revel in chaos. It would behoove all of us to understand the difference.

Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]

"Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there.
Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there."
——The Warrior Creed, Robert L. Humphrey, USMC

Reply to Jeffery Fisher

In TLE#224, Jeffery Fisher [jeffryfisher@attbi.com] wrote:

"Do you think the major parties would be bold enough to give mail-ins to soldiers but deny them to the rest of us?"

I suggest re-reading Starship Troopers. [Library Binding, or paperback]

So long as the "franchise" is open to anyone who wants it, my only objection to the system is that the government so imposed can, and will, use force against those who disagree with its decisions. No matter how "benevolent" it may seem, it is still a government of force and coersion.

However, such a system might very well be better than what we have now, which truly seems to repeat the Greek experience of people voting themselves money from the public trough. History is repeating, again.

Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]

"Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there.
Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there."
——The Warrior Creed, Robert L. Humphrey, USMC

RE: Cut Men

In regard to your article in yesterday's newsletter by Wendy McElroy...

Thanks, Wendy for voicing this opinion; I think a lot of us have been noticing this for quite some time. Unfortunately, I don't think most men feel that they CAN express this opinion without feeling like they are complaining, or just being overly sensitive. You see, part of the expectations that society puts on men is to be strong enough to take such abuse, and also to silently drudge along without complaining about such 'vain' things. So, in a way, it is good that a woman is noticing these things and writing about them; somehow there is more credibility than if a man noted them.

My girlfriend related this story to me a few weeks ago, about a womans' studies class she took in college: At the end of the semester, they went around to the students, and asked how they would help stop oppression in women. When it got around to her, she stated that she really didn't think women are repressed any more. The teacher was flabberghasted and insulted. There are still some discrepancies in upper level positions with women, but most of those upper level positions require upto 20 years experience, which women might not have due to workplace environments 20 years ago. If we let things just be, I believe an equillibrium will eventually be reached on its own.

Tom Judkins [b1gcountry@hotmail.com]


Just catching up on the LibEnt (I'm a few months behind on my reading these days), and came across your "PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE DESTROYED AMERICA" article in issue #214. I don't know if the attached MSWord DOC is what you had in mind or not, but I figured what the heck.

I wrote it about a year ago, and it's longer than you asked for (approx. 1900 words). If you want to use it feel free. Just be sure that proper attribution is included.

Hope all is well up there in CO these days.


Dave Kopp [wizard@van-kopp.com]
Phoenix, AZ
Web site: http://www.van-kopp.com

"Most Americans have been conditioned to accept the view that "freedom" is a condition defined by the state; that as long as one is obedient to governmental authority, they will stay out of trouble. By thisdefinition, "freedom" has always existed everywhere: one was "free," in 1938, to stand on a street corner in Germany and praise Hitler, or to laud Stalin on the streets of Moscow."
—Butler Shaffer

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Note: This email was originally sent to our esteemed publisher and to the retiring editor, John Taylor. I did not see the attachment. Write to Dave personally if you want it. Nobody asked me to print it as an article, but if Dave would like that, he can send it for next week's issue.—Mr. Ed

Bill Stone responds to a critic

Dear Editor:

I'd like to take a moment to respond to the criticism of my pseudo-review of the Enterprise episode "Cogenitor."

I received a few of these, most from die-hard Star Trek fans, each of whom had the same general criticism: my review is uncategorically critical of what fans tend to term the "Star Trek Philosophy." As far as I'm concerned, the entire concept of the Prime Directive as practiced in latter-day Star Trek is immoral.

Most fans have a difficult time with this notion. It's certainly true that the overwhelming majority of Trek fans are Statists of some variety: they believe in the cult of the omnipotent state, and Star Trek—like most of what Hollywood produces—directly supports their worldview.

Unfortunately, Star Trek's lasting legacy is to encourage Statism among those who might otherwise not be inclined to consider it.

Was "Cogenitor" consistent with the Star Trek mythos? Yes, sadly. Was the political expediency evidenced by Captain Archer consistent with both the mythos and with Statist history? Absolutely.

But that doesn't make it RIGHT.

I'm hopeful (probably vainly so, but it's an infinite universe and I plan to live forever) that we'll some day see Tom Paine Maru: The Series—a TV series based on seminal libertarian author L. Neil Smith's novel of the same name. Such a series would be the perfect counterpoint to the amoral philosophy employed by Star Trek: a group of space explorers unhampered by galactic government and its lack of morals. Instead, they are free individuals trading with other free individuals, self-governing their behavior guided by the Zero Aggression Principle.

One of these years, if I ever get around to it, I'm going to try my hand at fiction with Her Name Means Freedom. This is an idea for an explicitly libertarian Star Trek novel centered around the life of Lieutenant Uhura, erstwhile switchboard operator of the Enterprise. It would be an explicit indictment of Star Trek's Statist underpinnings, from the perspective of someone trapped on the inside.

(In fact, if there are any libertarian Star Trek fanfic authors out there who want to take up the project, I'll happily turn over all my ideas and notes. I'll likely never get to it [and I doubt my skills as a fiction writer], but it really does need to be written.)

The other primary criticism I received had to do with my suggestion that Archer and the Enterprise explicitly undertake the liberation of the Cogenitors. This notion appears to support the idea of foreign interventionism.

Does Archer—or ANYONE—have the right to intervene on behalf of an oppressed population?

The answer to this is complex and directly impacts current world circumstances. To answer it, I point you to this week's column, elsewhere in this issue.


Freedom, Immortality, and the Stars!

Bill Stone
Executive Director, Zero Aggression Institute
E-Mail: wrs@0ap.org
Web: http://www.0ap.org

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