L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 279, July 11, 2004
We celebrate our Independence
On this day, which is supposed to commemorate the institution of individual liberty throughout America, and, indeed, throughout the world, it is very difficult for anyone conversant with history or the philosophy of freedom to feel anything other than a sort of bittersweet regret that the great promise of the American Revolution was never really lived up to by those who came afterward, and means very little to those alive today.
I won't bother to catalog the ways in which the Revolution has been betrayed and its underlying ideas sullied and besmirchedfor the most part by those entrusted to preserve it. I think the recent disgusting performances by the Bush Administration, the Congress, or especially the Supreme Court, or simply the fact that in most areas individuals are forbiddenunder police state threats of kidnapping, torture, impoverishment, and, ultimately, deathto celebrate the Revolution with in the traditional manner says everything that can and must be said.
Instead of what it is supposed to be, a celebration of the casting off of the British state by North Americans, July 4th has become a celebration of the establishment of the American state, an entity vastly more dangerous and harmful to individuals than the British state ever offered or hoped to be.
This need not always be so, as long as we keep the real meaning of the Revolution in our minds and hearts. The people to whom this message is directed have no real need of instruction in how to do that. Each in his or her individual way, you all do that every day of the year and every hour of the day.
So, despite the fact that this is one of the blackest hours for freedom in this nation's history, I convey to you my very best wishes and my confidence that if you keep doing what you have been doingI assure you that I willwe will eventually have something worthy of celebration once again.
In the meantime, let's make December 15th the real holiday of individual independence.
L. Neil Smith
Well, today is the Fourth of July, and I am sitting here wondering why the hell we are celebrating. Two hundred twenty-eight years since our Founding Fathers signed and proclaimed the Declaration of Independence. Are we any freer than we were back then, under the despotic rule of George III. Nope, not at all. At least back then, if the situation became too intolerable, you had the option of packing up and heading west for an area that wasn't governed or claimed by anyone else.
I've spent most of my adult life in uniform, security, law enforcement, investigations, even a short stint in the Marines, ended by injuries, and I wonder why? I honestly got into that field with the idea of Protect and Serve, the motto that has become such a lie. All my life, I cherished the idea that this country was something worth fighting for, and even worth dying for, that it was a shining beacon of hope, humanity's last chance for freedom, the promise of new worlds and new enterprise.
Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the office manager at my company. Basically, she says it is people like us, who question authority, who are the cause of all that is wrong in this country, that we shouldn't say a word to or about government, until we ourselves are perfect in every way.
Now, I make no bones at all at work, that I am libertarian, and that I completely despise what our government is becoming or has become. I know that it is common for many, if not most people to confuse their government with their country. But to have someone who has absolutely no idea what freedom is accuse me, and those like me, who want only to see the dream of freedom re-born, for all people, not just for ourselves, of being the source of all the problems?
I look down at the scars on my body, the ones still visible and the ones that have faded, and I ask myself, "Is this what it was all for? All the pain, the hardship, the lonely times away from my family? The times in the hospital, recovering from surgeries?
To go through all of this, to live protecting a dream, to live protecting the innocent, just to be vilified by those who have no conception, no understanding, who have never even read the Constituton and Bill of Rights, but can quote chapter and verse out of the Bible, justifying socialism and slavery?
Would someone please tell me where America went to?
Re: "Now and Then", by Lady Liberty
In the last issue of TLE, Lady Liberty writes, "Obviously, the technological advances in the last fifty years have been awesome as have the corresponding improvements in the quality of life." She then goes on to complain about the things that have gotten worse. This should be proof of the axiom that hardly anyone complains about the great things that never get done, thanks to our government.
As one trained in the sciences and engineering, it is far from obvious where the great technological advances are. The last two breakthrough technologies, the transistor and the laser, are nearly contemporaneous with her parent's wedding. While there has been some reasonable theoretical progress in genetic engineering and nanotechnology there is no corresponding "killer app" in these fields. If one were to chart the progress of technology, except weapons technology, it would likely appear to be exponential for the first half of the 20th century but only arithmetic for the second half. The difference being that in the first half a better technology could lead to new products and processes rapidly. In the second half better technologies were achieved incrementally after all the permission slips were acquired from the appropriate bureaucrats. Any space buff can tell you that NASA's purpose is to keep the private sector out of space by allowing just barely enough access, only to the proper people, at exo.
Get a clue Lady. There's nothing awesome about the state of today's technology. It's a whole lot like the 1950's with bigger, sharper TV's and smaller, faster computers. Someone from 1900 would be totally lost in 1954, but someone from 1950 would need about a month to get up to speed in 2004 and maybe a year to get comfortable with Microsoft and the internet. This is the 21st century. We're here already. Where are the moon bases? Where are the cures for cancer? Where are the drugs that double our life spans? Where the hell is my flying car?
The future just isn't what it used to be.
Re: "Now and Then", by Lady Liberty
In her recent article, Lady Liberty waxes poetic about her parents' generation, whilst also attributing the general decline of western civilisation to subsequent generations.
Apparently, we don't work as hard or as well. This seems to fly in the face of all evidence that people today are working much longer hours than previous generations. In fact, people are so committed to their studies and jobs that they don't have time to start families now until they're into their thirties. They also don't have the luxury of having one parent around the house to look after the kids.
That aside though, I agree that there are a lot of problems with younger people.
However, I take issue with the following quotes: "I suggest we also take the time to teach our children not to live as many in our generation do, but to look, instead, to Grandma and Grandpa."
"Just as the downturn is largely ours..."
No, the downturn is not largely ours, and no, our grandparents' generation is not one to look up to. My generation (gen Xers or whatever you want to call them) is yet to leave its mark (for better or worse, and I predict worse) on the world. All of the problems mentioned with today's society were created by those very people old enough to be celebrating their 35th or 50th anniversaries, but mainly towards the upper end of that scale.
My generation didn't create the War on Terror, the War on Drugs or the War on Just About Anything Else. In fact, my generation is generally opposed to any kind of war, but especially those wars. My generation didn't cause world wide political instability, despite also fighting (and supposedly winning) the equally ludicrous Cold War. My generation didn't cause widespread economic hardship. My generation didn't cause the woeful education system. My generation isn't the one that is going to be living high off the hog and milking its descendants in its old age (which our grandparents have done and our parents may or may not be able to do) while we indeed will be the first generation to live worse than its parents.
If my grandparents' generation had such a level of commitment to family and society, why is all this so? Why did they sit back and watch politicians bleed us dry a bit more each year and steal our civil liberties bit by bit, thus ensuring a pretty bleak future for those to whom they are supposedly committed? It's okay for them because they're going to be dead before they have to deal with the consequences of their actions while people my age and younger are going to be left to deal with it all.
As I said, I don't know that my generation will make a better fist of it, but we haven't had a real go yet. Likewise, my parents' generation may indeed be to blame for a lot of the above. However, a lot of the blame should sit squarely on the shoulders of their parents, who either really dropped the ball or just didn't care. I certainly hope my generation doesn't follow the example of my grandparents' generation because they're the ones responsible for this mess we're in.
I have prepared a Libertarian Candidate Campaign Support CDROM. If any of you have campaigns that you are working on, now or in the future as a prospect, or would like to organize for a campaign, please send a papermail address to which I can mail it. It contains about 20 megs of largely practical material.
As all of you are aware, Aaron Russo publicly threw his support behind Michael Badnarik after he won at the Libertarian Party convention. As most of you are aware, I have now accepted a position with the Badnarik for President campaign.
Similar to the period of time after Russo announced that he was going to run for office, after winning the nomination, the Badnarik team had to build a national campaign from scratch. They now have most of the key staff people in place, have opened an office, are raising money, and this new organization is beginning to workand work hard, to bring the voice of freedom to our land. Additionally, we have just surpassed Ralph Nader on internet traffic!
I am writing this letter to personally urge you to support Michael in his quest to become the next President of the United States. This could be a key year for the Libertarian Party. The Reform Party has all but folded. Ralph Nader is having serious ballot access problems. David Cobb, of the Green Party, is not well known and has raised little money. The Constitution Party isn't gaining any traction, so far. And a whole lot of people are very dissatisfied with both Bush and Kerry. It could be a pivotal year for us.
If you are on this list, you probably supported Aaron Russo. I understand that, as I did, too. However, Aaron and I are both supporting Michael, now. And Mike needs your help.
As a final act of Team Russo, I'd like for us to show the Libertarian Party, and the world, what kind of people we are.
1) The Badnarik e-mail list server is now officially ready for action. Please stop by http://badnarik.org/Newsletter/dada/mail.cgi?f=list&l=BadnarikNews to sign up for the Badnarik Newsletter. It just takes a couple of seconds and it will keep you up-to-date with what is happening with our campaign.
2) Then click http://www.amazon.com/gp/misc/flag.html and leave Mike a contribution. Like Aaron was planning to do, Mike will be spending the majority of his campaign funds on commercial advertisingso you can be sure that your money will not be going to waste. If we all pop over to Amazon and just give Mike a few dollars, think of the message that will leave in the minds of Libertarians the next time that Aaron decides to run for office. Again, that's http://www.amazon.com/gp/misc/flag.html to show the world what sort of people make up Team Russo!
All your freedoms, all the time!
Stephen P. Gordon
Stephen P. Gordon