L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 253, January 4, 2004
Hopes and Fears for the New Year
Exclusive to TLE
I am sitting here on New Year's Day, with Georgia-Purdue on in the background, and wondering what the New Year, and all the following New Years will bring. Unfortunately, my crystal ball is cloudy and dark, with few flashes of light to lighten up the gloom.
What will the future bring? We all wonder that, not least at this time of year, and those of us who are Libertarians (either small or large 'L') are probably more attuned to the future than most. We see government intrusion in private life, in business, in religion, and wonder where will it all end?
My first fear in this new year is one that is especially dire: Just suppose that all this "Orange alert" business over the holidays was nothing more than an excuse to justify even more of a police state than we already have? It was a win/win situation for government. If something DID happen, they could use that for justification. If NOTHING happened (as it did or did not, depending on how you looked at it), the government could trumpet on how it's 'security precautions' were making the country safe for all Americans, therefore justifying even more draconian intrusion into the private lives of Americans. By the way, how ANYONE can look at the pictures that were spread all over the internet, showing police, troops, and even Coast Guardsmen carrying those deadly 'assault weapons', with their faces covered, wearing coal-scuttle helmets and black cover-alls, and NOT see that we live in a police state is beyond my comprehension!
My next fear, and this is one I am working on a novel about, is this; Just suppose a U.S. president were to ask for UN 'peacekeepers' to 'restore order' once enough people get PO'd enough to start fighting back? I can think of several things that might bring this one about, and all of them haunt my nightmares. The gun-control advocates, who, by and large, are also one-world government advocates, might use the 'terrorist problem' to force draconian gun control or gun registration/confiscation through Congress, and then, when those who feel this is wrong, including many members of the military resist, using this as a justification for calling in UN troops. Another possible scenario involves enough people realizing what Congress is doing in turning our sovereignty over to the UN, and a popular uprising resulting. Still another possibility, albeit a faint one, is that Congress will wake up, listen to Ron Paul and the millions of Americans who hate and distrust the UN to kick them of our country. This might result in the rest of the world, since so many nations hate us as a result of the arrogant posturing from Washington, ganging up on the US as an 'outlaw state', resulting in that Third World War that so many people have dreaded for so long. Think it can't happen? It can, especially since the war in Iraq has resulted in a major downgrade of US readiness to handle any other MRC (major regional conflict).
The last of my major fears (there are many others, all less likely than any of these), is that the 'Religious Right' will gain enough political clout to become a de facto state religion. I see Congress contemplating a ban on homosexual marriage, a US president justifying political actions on the basis of his religious beliefs (no matter how admirable they may or may not be), and several states forcing individuals to take 'time-out' time to contemplate personal decisions such as abortion, and also requiring 'approved' state counseling before this action can be taken. While we may all see the wisdom of being SURE before taking an irreversible action, the notion of ANY government requiring it is reprehensible. Personal lives and decisions are just that, PERSONAL, and government and religion have absolutely no place in either of them. In any case, this could well result in another Civil War, since the numbers of those who claim to be "born-again Christians" and those who make no such claim are so close to even, according to recent polls.
Any or all of the above, plus many others, could result in massive civil unrest, riots, and/or civil war. Is there any ray of light in my gloomy crystal ball? Yes, there is, but it is a faint one, and government is working even now to eliminate it. That ray of light is the internet, and the fact that it is presently impossible to limit or restrict the free exchange of ideas through the internet. It is barely possible that enough freedom lovers will be awakened by articles and ideas expressed in TLE, and on other, similar, web-sites, that all this doom and gloom can be averted, or at least ameliorated.
The late, great, Robert Heinlein once said that politically, the human race divides into just two categories, those who want to control others, and those who have no desire to control or to BE controlled. We, as libertarians, fall into the second category. This alone makes us anathema to both government and organized religion. Don't be surprised to see 'incidents' that will be blamed on domestic terrorists, and the 'terrorists' identified as the cause of these incidents will be libertarians. Don't be surprised to see good men like L. Neil Smith, Ken Holder, Aaron Zelman, William W. Johnstone, Angel Shamaya, Michael Z. Williamson, and other voices in the freedom movement fingered as instigators, collaborators, or even as traitors and seditionists. Don't be surprised to see the Religious Right try to brand us as 'Satanists', 'sinners', heretics, etc.
The future is before us, and no matter whether it is dark or fair, it is up to us, individually and collectively, to work to make it as free as possible.