L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 294, October 24, 2004
"Scare the crap out of the statists!"
Presidential candidate's book hits Amazon's Top 50 in first day
Austin, TXLast fall, as his campaign for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination began to catch fire, Michael Badnarik stopped to write a book. "After several months on the road, I realized that I needed to put my ideas down on paper," he says, "not just for other Libertarians to read but also as a means of focusing my message in my own mind."
Good To Be King: The Foundations Of Freedom, Badnarik's self-published treatise on the Constitution, sold a few copies at convention tables and by mail, then dropped off the radar as he concentrated on securing his party's nomination and launched an aggressive third party campaign for the presidency of the United States.
In less than 24 hours after the release of the book was announced, the second and more attractively presented edition of Good To Be King has rocketed into web giant Amazon.Com's top 50territory occupied at this time by no other presidential candidate's bookselling at a far faster rate than anticipated. At this time, the book is listed as the eleventh highest seller at Amazon.Com's new releases listing.
"The publisher did a fairly small first print run," says Badnarik. "We expected steady sales to a libertarian audience, not a run on the book by the public. Looks like we'll have to get the presses going."
Good To Be King examines the Constitution with an eye toward the distinction between "rights" and "privileges."
"A right is something you have the authority to do without asking for permission," Badnarik says. "A privilege is something that a higher authority allows you to do. The Constitution is supplemented by the Bill of RIGHTS, not a 'Bill of Privileges.' Its function is to safeguard our rightsthe only privileges it confers are to government, and those are very limited. Most politicians get this key distinction reversed. My book and my campaign are both about setting the record straight on that issue."
Although Good to be King isn't a political fundraiserit's Badnarik's personal projecthis campaign staff is enthused by the book's performance. "Michael Badnarik's ideas have been captivating audiences around the country, and the success of the book establishes that those audiences are coming back for more," says campaign manager Fred Collins. "We expect that the people who buy the book will also be voting Libertarian and supporting Michael's campaign."
Badnarik recently polled at one percent nationally with independent candidate Ralph Nader's name included on the survey, and at three percent when compared to just Bush and Kerry. These data are from a national opinion survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on October 14 by Rasmussen Research. The poll has a margin of error of +/- three percent.
Badnarik's name appears on 48 state ballots plus the District of Columbia, while Nader's name currently appears on only 34 state ballots plus the District of Columbia. Additionally, voters in New Hampshire will be able to write Badnarik's name in on November 2nd. The Libertarian Party is America?s third largest political party, with more than 600 members serving in public office at all levels of government.
Stephen P. Gordon
Re.: "Letter from Benyamin Cohen"
One wonders why Cohen didn't simply ask that the referenced article be shortened to a simple relevant paragraph with a URL pointer to the full article at the appropriate web site.
While I respect his desire to maintain control over a journal article, the tenor of his letter comes across as sour grapes.
I'd have thought that the whole idea of communication was to 'get the word out' and not 'funnelize' it to a cadre of readers.
And besides, it seems to me that Cohen should be working to gather readers for his endeavor, instead of shoving them away.
In his recent article, "Western European Socialism: The Triumph of Mediocrity" (issue 293), Charles Stone made the point that Western Europe is currently in a bad situation and ultimately on a road to nowhere if it keeps that up. With that I agree. However, I disagree with a great many of his other points.
When it comes down to it, Europe's current socialistic problems are not recent phenomena. For the past few hundred years, almost anyone who has had any spark of ingenuity has either fled to the New World in search of a better life (or been taken there involuntarilypersonally, as an Australian, I regard this as a blessing in disguise for some of my ancestors) or has been the apparatus of imperial forays into other continents, or perhaps both.
Europe has never been a continent where libertarian ideas have had even a remote foothold. It's always been about subservience to the state, whether that has been aristocratic or socialistic. Speaking to many Europeans of all different nationalities whilst living and travelling in Europe for two years, I believe there is a fundamental difference in thinking between people of the Old World and New World. Even the most left-leaning of our lot have fundamentally different outlooks to almost all Europeans, which I believe in part to have been formed by our large open space and the fact that our not-too-distant ancestors (and currently some of us) carved civilisation out of the wilderness.
Although things are changing, we haven't been born under the weight of history and a fatalism that follows from that. We haven't been born into the idea that what's ours is actually someone else's. Europeans have always accepted the idea that your life, your ideas, and your property are not naturally yours, but given (and taken) by someone else. Anyone who has disagreed with this has tried to leave.
As for my predictions about the future of Europe, I think it will become increasingly irrelevant in any sphere, be it political, economic or intellectual, as its "glory days" of empire fade. It will become increasingly inwardly focussed, and in particular, it will become obsessed with the idea of protecting its boundaries and stale cultures from its neighbours both near and far. I predict a marked increase in xenophobia, but if anything, this will only be a new take on yet another form of socialism in the continuing statist cycle on that continent. There certainly won't be any sort of libertarian revolution.
Re.: "Western European Socialism: The Triumph of Mediocrity", by Charles Stone, Jr.
It occurs to me that while you have a point, you've left out some very important things.
The most important of which was that the leadership of the USunder every administration since Lincolnhas been in their primary leanings, socialistic in nature.
I suppose I could utter that the same was true, in one fashion or another, of every administration and the associated congresses. Public works are, in their essence, communistic in nature and character. One simply cannot call the taking of property from a group of unwilling citizens, and using it for the so-called 'benefit' of all citizens, when in fact the theft of that property was to benefit only a select few of those citizens.
Now, as you know, the only way for someone to get elected to office, is to offer something to the majority of the electorate, such that the candidate/incumbent attains office.
It matters not what the promises are, only that they sound good to ears of the electorate.
You really can't blame the Europeans for their predicament, when it was after all, the US which finagled the current state of affairs that we both witness, with the greatest interference happening right after WWII.
The US was then, as now, a socialistic nation.
The EU powers that wereat the time, were essentially 'directed' into doing what they are doing now, buy dint of US pressure on their economies. You must remember: The economies of most European nations were in shambles, and the US took every advantage of that, by bringing political power to bear.
The largest market at the time, was that of the US and Canada, along with Central and South American nations. The production capacity of the US was simply converted from war based to peace based, and from making war materials to that which was needed to sustain normal commerce.
The US and its various administrations and congresses, had an awful clout, and it used that leverage every chance it got.
Legitimate candidates to office werebehind the lines, reviled by the CIA and hounded from office, or were prevented from achieving officeif they were seen as not toeing the US mandated mark.
So, while you and I were busy thinking that we were 'defending the free world' against communism, we were in fact spreading the very disease of the mind, just as fast as the USSR, only our brand of communism wasand is even more insidious than that of the USSR version, and perhaps ever more so, simply because we wereand still areliving a lie.
We were told that 'we are free,' and we believed it.
Yet, every action our nation took was in direct contravention of that idea of 'free.'
I say that because, at least the USSR was most up-front with its polity. They wanted world domination.
The US, on the other hand, implied no such idea. Rather the key idea was to 'protect US interests' abroad, while the related idea of world domination was never mentioned. And in fact, whenever the leaders of the USSR raised the mark by calling US hegemony by its real nameImperialism, the US retorted by referring to the USSR's desire for world domination.
The sound bite of 'World domination' has more psychological affect than does 'Protect US interests.'
And, it pays to understand that most Americansupon hearing the term 'imperialism' are somehow given to relate the term to the old British Empire, rather than to modern US hegemonywhich for some reason, is seem by most Americans (if mass media reports are to have any credibility) as just okay. Who's arse are we gonna kick tomorrow?
You see? The key differences between the USSR version of communism, and US communism, is that the US employs the tenets of the Fabian socialists. The Fabians, which started out in the UK and led by Beatrice Webb, were for gradual change, rather than for the violent revolutions that the Russian communists wanted.
The socialist of the 1920s and onward, followed the Fabians ideas. That's why they managed to attain such affect in US government.
Now, you know? The USSR had troops stationed throughout the world, just as the US did and still does.
There is only one reason for that stationing of troops: To enforce the policies of the US government. Otherwise, why be in those places?
But in any case, the matter of who is communisticand who isn't, can be understood by the US not calling the EU a pack of communists, simply because the EU has settled on the notion of the Fabians gradualism.
The EU is after all, exactly the same as the US, save for the fact that the EU has attained a degree of control that the US has not, regarding its citizenry. And, lastly, everything the US wants to do to its citizens is championed by the US in the EU.
Every insidious invasion of human rights starts out somewhere the US has had control of at some point.
When enough foreign nations have adopted secret US policies, the US will follow suit via the mechanism of treatiesjust as it has been doing for a very long time.
In closing? If we are going to call the EU communistic/socialistic, then it pays to understand how they got that way, and why. There's something about looking into a mirror here, when we speak about yet another nation, or group of them.