L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 229, June 29, 2003
Mr. Ed is Back!
Bill Stone writes in "Why I'm a Libertarian" (this issue):
Here I am going to have to disagree with the Esteemed Mister Stone, for I have had this conversation on many occasions, with many different people, including one man who branded himself not only a socialist and a communist, but actually Stalinist. I feel this guy was exaggerating to watch libertarians like me burst a blood vessel, but there is no doubt he shared the point of view of most Liberals and Socialists.
Bill stated it explicitly above. When it comes to welfare or some other form of mass coercion to level the playing field, "There's no way private donations could equal the good work of welfare." or "Without the force of law to back it up, no one would ever just voluntarily put down racism and walk away from it. We need those laws." or "I'd be trustworthy with a gun. You might be (probably, I know you), but there are people out there whocannot behave in a trustworthy fashion, and so all guns must be controlled, to prevent harm."
All of these "Liberal" positions are predicated on a simple assumption. That without laws and government coercion, people would be evil to each other. This presumption states "Most folks are greedy racists who'll let poor black mothers starve, while a solid minority are violent loons who are only restrained from attacking us right this very minute by the fear of what will happen to them if they are caught."
This idea that our neighbors are at best incompetent and at worst evil is what is killing Liberty, and those of us who promote the idea. It's all over. News stories are filled with stories of stupid, vile people, doing stupid, vile things, and the idea that only a large force can keep a lid on the madness. I walk outside my door and see no cops anywhere, and yet I see no one assaulting anyone, setting fires, or walking to the back of their RVs for a beverage under the impression that a cruise control is semantically equal to an auto-pilot.
However, a lot of people seem to see this world, a world of violence chaos, insanity and incompetence and fear it.
For a few months in 2000 I carpooled with a man who'd spent thousands on security for his home and rental property, and said he was *scared* to *drive* in Downtown Spokane, WA after dark. I am from L.A. I have been out in the bad neighborhoods there, and I can tell you that Downtown Spokane is a mewling kitten. I drove a taxicab here in 1993, and learned to identify prostitutes and drug dealers. Occasional dumb things happen but if you keep your eyes open and your wits about you, it becomes more a floor show than a danger. But despite my eyewitness accounts that Downtown Spokane was nothing to fear, this man preferred to hold on to his world view that this is a dangerous, violent world, out to get you.
Another friend of mine asserts over and over that Anarchy, or Minarchist Liberty will never work. That human beings are fundamentally not equipped to govern themselves without the mechanism of a power structure with a power mad bully on top. Else all will be at the mercy of the stupid, incompetent and evil.
I wonder, and often out loud, to his face, how he can voluntarily be a part of a such a miserable, useless species as this, composed of mainly useless mouth breathers, with a portion of truly evil people and smaller proportion of smart people and an even smaller proportion of people who are both smart and evil enough to make the trains run on time. I wonder how he can paint this on himself and his species and continue to want to live through it.
The people I know consider the bureaucrats and power mongers of the current system evil, and disposable. But they cling to the structure itself desperately. If only they can find the right man or woman to put behind the steering wheel, the leviathan can be driven safely.
Bill's statement above"But," you say, "you're particularly generous! Not everyone will be like you and we'll have people starving in the street!"
And all the implications of that statement are *exactly* what motivates the average moderate waffling statist type on the right and on the left. "But if anyone could buy any weapon at any time, without showing any ID or anything, then insane people would buy guns and shoot up more schools like Columbine!" "But unless the police can search everyone, a criminal might escape them and hurt someone!" "Without guns pointing at their faces, the others would put the Jim Crow signs right back up! We know most of them are secretly racists anyway."
This fundamental distrust of the "other", of our fellows in our community is what is destroying our freedom, and our nation itself, slowly, but surely.
I have never found a more effective rebuttal than to say "Go stand outside on your front porch. Do you see any of that stupid shit happening? Don't believe the news. They have to hunt for the one in a hundred million example to try and scare you with. The news is full of shit."
I believe that by-and-large people are fundamentally decent, and will generally not go out of their way to aggress or cause injury. I know there are some who will, but they are in such a tiny minority. The proof of this is all around you. There are not enough cops to stop it when a large group of people decides to violate the zero aggression principle. I saw this, I was in Los Angeles for the Rodney King riots in 1992. And 9095% percent of Angelinos did just what I did. We hunkered down and watched it on CNN. This kind of thing is not happening in your town now, although depending who you ask it might seem like it. Spokane, WA proceeds into another summer night with no hint of that sort of insanity *as does 95% of the world around us today*.
My species is not the violently idiotic monkeys we see reflected back to us from the tube. My species is the one that gave birth to Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Tom Paine, John Locke, and Robert A. Heinlein.
There are more. People of every ethnic background, people of the two sexes, people from all social strata who are wonderful.
And then there's you and me, Going about our business each day, making a living, and loving our families and doing the best we know how. We're pretty cool too.
Jay P Hailey
This is a comment on Bill Stone's article, 'Just How Stupid Do We Look?'.
One thing I have seen when I was working at a book convention was gaggles of authors signing books. I'm not talking about working the signing tables. I'm talking about gaggles of authors sitting in hotel rooms, lobbies, restaurants and even convention center hallways signing stacks of books. Many even went so far as to add comments such as, 'Best Wishes', 'Enjoy' or 'Nice meeting you', to the books. These books were then set back into boxes for use when these authors took their turns at the signing tables.
And, quite often, people would show up and just grab a book from the special stack of pre-signed copies so as to avoid waiting in line for a more personal message. All these books were considered part of the 'signed books' totals.
So, did they lie? No, because Hillary undoubtedly signed all 1,000 books and all those books were sold during that three-hour stretch. But neither did they tell the exact truth. However, what do you expect from a PR release?