L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 296, November 7, 2004
"Please, sir, may I have another?"
Why Supporting the ACLU Sucks
The ACLU is unfortunately almost worthless in defending our rights.
They didn't stop the PATRIOT or PATRIOT II Acts (the Libertarians have filed lawsuits, not them), they totally ignore the rights of gun owners (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and the NRA does that better), they didn't stop the RICO illegal search and seizure laws (again, JPFO fights harder for your rights), and they haven't worked on fixing our ridiculous laws against growing hemp (NORML does that much better). They weren't at the forefront of the repeal of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which is patently anti-1st Amendment (the Electronic Freedom Foundation, EFF, lead that fight). Did they sue the Federal Gov. for what happened at Waco, which violated the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights of those people? No! Do they fight for a fully-informed jury? No! That is being done by the Fully Informed Jury Association.
Remind me again what they've ever done except take on highly symbolic but idiotic cases recently? I mean, considering all of the above, the ACLU has a terrible track record. They're a bunch of prima donna lawyers who are afraid to get their hands really dirty with the hard work.
I consider the ACLU one of the worst public advocacy groups in the country based on effectiveness. I can't wait for them to die off so that other, much more deserving groups, can raise more money.
Alan R. Weiss
Re: "The Nightmare After Halloween", by L. Neil Smith
As always, I enjoy reading anything from L. Neil Smith and I think that this article almost exactly mirrors my own thinking. I do, however, have a better analogy to his dilemma of finding only a .25Auto to fight the two-headed chimera bearing down on him.
I believe that government has no place in a society of Zero Aggression. Unfortunately the Founding Fathers of the current governmental mafia that holds power in North America believed that they could create a limited government and hold it in check with a "Constitution." That document has, by it's own failure to do what it was designed to do, shown that is not worth the paper it was written on. And like common toilet paper the so-called "leaders" and politicians have taken turns wiping their collective asses upon it until that worthless document is nothing but a wadded and damp crap-covered mess that has very little worth fighting the behemoth of government.
But, (and there is always a but) that document which is covered in human feces and urine, is the only weapon we have left to fight the monster without bloodshed. It is a poor weapon -it has already been proved to be so fatally weak and impotent that it has failed in almost every way to hold back the beast. Even so, that document and the terms laid out by it are the last best weapons we have. So, it is with wrinkled brow that I, and men like Mr. Smith, take up that soiled paper and fling it with all of our might towards the monster in hopes that it will slow it down -that it still has some ability to hold sway over it.
Vote! Not to win elections but to win minds. For that monster is not red brick buildings in Washington and concrete bunkers on military bases. It is not even the soulless bureaucrats serving their sentences and praying to their evil ghods of power. No, the life of that monster is breathed into it by the people behind the polling lever, those "citizens" who wish the monster to act in certain ways. They are the men and women behind the curtain that we need to keep and eye on and change the way they think. Until we win the minds of those voters the monster will continue to kill, maim and destroy as they bid...
Re: "The Nightmare After Halloween", by L. Neil Smith
Thanks for the nice Nightmare After Hallowe'en essay by el Neil. It reminded me a bit of some things old Lysander Spooner wrote in his "No Treason" essays.
Neil writes, "And so on Tuesday, for whatever it's worth, I'll cast my vote. It may be feeble, it may not make a difference, it may amount to using a tiny, underpowered weapon on a monster. But it's the only weapon I've got."
I don't know what's wrong with Neil these days. Evidently, he's completely out of weapons. I'm tempted to drive up to Ft. Collins and hand him a used kevlar vest and a nice 7.62 by .54R rifle I've been keeping around. For my own part, I've a newer kevlar vest with ceramic insert, and I'm training with a FAL.
Seriously, though, I don't know why Neil votes in self-defense. There are so many more useful things to do in self-defense. I start new countries in self-defense. I use free market money in self-defense. I help people get out of debt in self-defense. I start companies in self-defense. Right now I'm working on a project to buy the oldest data haven in the world. Some friends and I started a project to build a free port in Africa. Another group recently approached me about a free port in North America. Some dedicated friends of mine are working on a free province in Costa Rica. And the Movimiento Libertario of Costa Rica is doing very well politically, with several seats in their parliament and a cabinet position last I checked.
Every week I write about strategies and tactics for freedom. You can see some of the things I've suggested at indomitus.net. I wouldn't mind if you wanted to reprinted an essay now and then, either, giving due credit and pointing at my site.
There's a lot of work to do. I don't see how campaigning or voting at this point is a top priority. Evidently, this year, Neil voting didn't do any harm, but also didn't do much good. Some hundreds of thousands of voters voted for Michael Badnarik, and some tens of millions for the other guys. In fact, of 118 or so million voters nationwide, according to an ABC News exit poll, 9% felt their votes were not going to be counted accurately in their state. That's well over ten million people who showed up at the polls believing that the vote they were casting would not be counted. Don't these people have some business or work to be doing?
In other news, of those who voted for Michael Badnarik, only a scattering of write-ins were from New Hampshire. Why? The home of freedom, the destination for the Free State Project, didn't have Michael on the ballot. What a laugh. To my taste, Wyoming is a much better choice for numerous reasons.
In fact, of the things one could do rather than voting on Tuesday, reading Molon Labe! by Boston T. Party comes to mind. In it, Boston does advocate some voting, along with a bunch of other interesting projects and ideas. More, the voting in his proposed future is motivated by prospects for local success. Nothing quite a nice as a plan.
Finally, not to put too fine a point on it, but I did look for any state where Bush was beaten by Kerry by the same or fewer votes than won by Michael Badnarik. I must have missed the spoiler effect. Which state was that in, again?
There is nothing wrong, in my view, if you want to vote. Vote already. Vote twice if you think it would help. Sure, it has aspects of initiatory force, since you may elect someone who is unlikely to be able to function in office if nobody is compelled to pay any taxes. However, the argument of self-defense that Spooner and Smith make is effective. But, certainly, there are more productive things to do with my time. The world is very large and most of it is not the USA.
Maybe if I had some assurance that I would live forever, I'd take time off every year to go vote. But I doubt it.
You'd think my readers would have learned by now that of all the writers in the world, I am the least likely to provide space "between the lines" for people to read into. I am nothing, if not an unusually forthright, outspoken individualin fact I'm often criticized for it.
That's why it's frustrating to get messages from people who believe they know what I "really" meant when I was actually saying something else altogether. Of course it always helps when they know half of what they think they know, and when they think they can make up their own definitions to otherwise well-used and well-understood words.
Naturally, if they didn't really read what I wrote, but what they desperately wanted to believe I wrote, then that makes it absolutely perfect.
A recent case in point is someone calling himself Joseph Crowe. I believe I may have heard from him before, but I can't really remember. Referring to me by my first name, he claims that I "might just enjoy initiating a little aggression" because of what he calls my "vehement declaration" that I'm not a pacifist. He goes on to say, erroneously, that he's a pacifist, because he opposes initiating forcealthough (rather strangely for a professed pacifist) he will defend himself if attacked.
Get this guy some help.
He presumes from there to lecture me on the Zero Aggression Principle and how it logically demands anarchism, a position that he approves of. Apparently he hasn't read much else of what I've written, or he'd know I've advocated anarchism on those very grounds, probably since before he was born. Also, he illogically mistakes my willingness to vote for my approval of the state, which it is not and never has been.
I thought that I'd made that very clear in the article he claims to have read, likening the vote to a sadly inadequate weapon I have to use because it's the only thingin a political contextthat I've got. Yet somehow (and he's far from alone in this) he strings that into my approval for government and its current murderous exercise in Iraq.
Which, of course, is nonsense.
He reiterates this error, asserting, without evidence or support, that "voting for anybody, including libertarians, means voting for a state." Of course I'm equally entitled to assert that it doesn't, so there, nyahhh. I have clearly stated the conditions under which I voteor I do anything else, for that matterand that isn't one of them.
"Voting is a means," he says, "of a majority ... infringing the rights of a minority ... " He's right, that's one way, historically, in which majorities have oppressed minorities. But my voting for a candidate who'll never be in a position to oppress anybody hardly falls into that category. In fact, by helping to raise other people's awareness that there's another way, and warning the state that there are individuals who oppose it, I may be making things better in that regard.
Whether it actually works or not is quite a different argument altogether.
Crowe then proceeds to break out in an embarrassing rash of opinions, again without proof or support. "Your vote is a meaningless joke," he blathers, "regardless of who you vote for or against." Well, that may be true and it may not be. But sticking your lower lip out and pouting about it doesn't seem very efficacious either, now does it?
"Voting is a waste of time and resources." Yeah, but they're my time and resourcesisn't that what this movement's supposedly all about?
Finally, our correspondent reveals himself to be a catastrophist. "The only way leviathan state will [wither]," he claims, "is through total failure, bringing down the economy ... the runaway state [can't] be stopped at this point by any means, other than self-destruction. On the other side of that process, "individual liberty may again flourish."
Or it may not. History is not on his side, and it occurs to me to wonder why he even bothers to write a letter like this one to The Libertarian Enterprise. Is it perhaps because this is essentially a religious argument he's makingGhod will obliterate the unrighteousand nobody will listen to his gloomy prognostications anywhere else?
He will pardon me, I hope (oh hell, I don't really give a rat's ass), if I essay a somewhat different approach, one that might not end up collapsing civilization around my ears or getting my lovely and talented daughter killed, enslaved, or eaten while we all wait around patientlyand passivelyfor a Supreme Galootie to destroy the state.
We are also in receipt of a missive from one Jim Davidson, a long-familiar character around the Enterprise's virtual potbelly stove. Jim elects to take literally what I clearly meant metaphoricallyit's a spiffy debate technique, until somebody calls you on itwhen I compared voting to picking up a rusty old .25 automatic pistol for self-defense.
"I don't know what's wrong with Neil these days," Jim laments. "Evidently, he's completely out of weapons. I'm tempted to drive up to Ft. Collins and hand him ... a nice 7.62x54R rifle I've been keeping around.
Now Jim. If I were to follow your example, deliberately conflating the literal with the metaphorical, I might be tempted to remind you of an occasionwhen you learned that I sometimes request the public presentation of a weapon as a part of my speaker's feethat you shouted cybernetically, "I'm not going to contribute to Smith's gun collection!"
But I won't, because that would be unfair.
What Jim really wants is to make fun of my statement that I vote in self-defense, and he offers an impressive list of worthier things he claims to have done in self-defenselike starting entire new countries and establishing free portsyour basic 1960s libertarian bonnet-bees.
For what it's worth, I haven't seen a lot of physical evidence for any of these worthy accomplishments, but then I don't get out much. Once again, I've foolishly allowed myself to be distracted by the merely trivial, writing 23 published books in defense of individual liberty.
Having completely (and willfully) misunderstood the entire reason that libertarians vote, Jim mocks them because this year there was no "spoiler effect". Quite true, Jim, quite true. But there has been before, and there will be again. You can't know until you try, can you?
"There is nothing wrong, in my view," Jim concludes after a brief commercial for his website, "if you want to vote. Vote already. Vote twice if you think it would help. Sure, it has aspects of initiatory force ..."
No it doesn't. See above. But tell me, if there's nothing wrong with voting and he generously concedes to me the right to do with my life what I wish, why the hell he wrote this letter in the first place?
Okay, both of these writers wasted more time and energy passing along hackneyed and unchallenged bromides about voting, than I ever wasted by voting. I spent half an hour in line, in a warm, comfortable student center, visiting with my lovely and talented wife while we listened to heartbreakingly ignorant and illiterate children babble about politics, personal hygiene, and other things they knew nothing about.
I freely acknowledge that the time and energy this pair of writers wasted was their time and energy to waste, although they're wasting mine right now, when I really ought to be writing another chapter for Ceres.
One has to ask oneself, if they're so happy with their position on voting, why they feel a need to criticize mineespecially when at least one of these guys knows perfectly well that I used to be a conscientious non-voter, myself. And then I grew up, learned better, betrayed my principles, sold out, geeked, however you want to slice it.
One reason for that was, at the risk of offending a great many people I like and respect (you all know who you are), the whole non-voting shtick was starting to smack of little more than childish petulance to me, falsely elevated to moral high dudgeon. I took a shot at changing the course of history last Tuesday, and I plan to do it again.
It isn't the only thing I do, of course. I write a lot of articles like this one. And there are always those 23 insignificant, trivial books.
And The Libertarian Enterprise, which was nine years old this October.
L. Neil Smith
Re: "The Curse of the Curse of the Bambino", by Jonathan David Morris
There is no I in Team, certainly.
There is also no "team" in INDIVIDUAL.
Now that you mention it, Jim, there's also no "mixed doubles" in "life, liberty, and property." Just a thought. Thanks for reading.
Jonathan David Morris
Yes, but mixed doubles is yet another stupid team sport. It isn't quite as bad as baseball for boredom or football for stupidity, but it is a team sport.
The point I was making was that although there is no "I" for individuality in "team" sports (the individual is expected to suppress his consciousness and participate as a team member; which is a way of dealing with things, I suppose, and may work out for team sports; I wouldn't care) but there is also no team involved in individual events. A great many useful and worthy skills are trained in individual sporting events.
Team sports are for team players. Which is all well and good for team players. I have utterly no interest in team players nor in team sports. I think the focus on team sports is a part of the dumbing down of America. And, I gather, from your rather lackluster response, that you either don't care or received the dumbing-down some time ago.
Um, no. I happen to think there's a difference between collectivism and people coming together over a common goal. I am opposed to the former, but not to the latter, and I see no reason why an individualist can't enjoy baseball (in either environment). Of course, you're talking to a boxing fan.
Jonathan David Morris
Forwarded without comment by John Taylor:
World Trade Center Rescue Hero Sues Bush and Others Under RICO Statute, Alleges Willful Complicity in Attacks that Killed 3,000.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, OCTOBER 22, 2004.On September 11, 2001, William Rodriguez, a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, single-handedly rescued fifteen people. The only employee with the master key to the North Tower staircases, he led firefighters up the stairs, unlocking doors as he went, aiding in the evacuation of hundreds of additional people who, but for his efforts, might have perished. Although his job description did not include saving lives, Rodriguez re-entered the building three times after the first plane struck, and was the last person to exit the North Tower alive. He survived the collapse of the North Tower by diving beneath a fire truck to avoid the avalanche of concrete and steel. After onsite treatment for his injuries, Rodriguez plunged right back into rescue efforts at the site. At dawn the next morning, Rodriguez returned to Ground Zero from his home in Jersey City, to continue to aid in rescue efforts.
Later, Rodriguez became an unofficial spokesman for survivors, among other things helping to secure an amnesty for undocumented aliens, many of them Latinos, and in the creation of the World Trade Center Memorial Fund. Although he lost his job of 19 years and his means of livelihoodeven falling into homelessness for a timeRodriguez has continued in the three years since 9-11 to continue his work in honor of the heroes and the victims of that awful day, as president of the Hispanic Victims Group, Director of the 9/11 United Services Group, and member of the Family Advisory Council of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Now, this native of Puerto Rico and remarkable American hero is taking his 9-11 activism to an even higher level. He has commenced, as Plaintiff, a federal court lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld and others alleging that they and others were complicit in the 9-11 attacks, and either planned the attacks, or had foreknowledge of the attacks and permitted them to succeed, in order to exploit a "New Pearl Harbor" to launch wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. (The phrase "New Pearl Harbor" comes from a declaration of principles by the neo-conservative "Project for the New American Century," in which it is proposed as an event needed to steel American public opinion to support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and U.S. military domination of the Middle East.)
Attorney Berg acknowledges that Rodriguez's action will shock and offend many Americans. But he urges critics to read the detailed complaint, posted on the internet at www.911forthetruth.com, before forming conclusions. "The 'Official Story' of what actually took place on 9-11 is a lie," Berg flatly maintains. "We do not pretend to have put together a full and definitive account of how, and by whom, the attacks were carried out. But information reported in mainstream media, and viewed in the light of common sense and the laws of physics, demonstrate that the 'Official Story,' examined closely, is not credible. The 'Official Story' contains an alarming number of inconsistencies and implausibilities. The major media have reported many of the raw facts, but have studiously avoided analysis, because doing so would reveal that the government is lying to us. The 9-11 Commission, a suspect collection of government and intelligence insiders, restated without question or examination all essential elements of the 'Official Story' of the actual events of 9-11. It failed almost completely to refute, or even to mention, the great body of evidence that suggests the 'Official Story' cannot be true, and it failed completely to hold anyone accountable. From the foregoing facts, it ought to be obvious that a cover-up, or a "limited hang-out" admitting only bureaucratic mistakes for which no one is to be held accountable, has taken place and is continuing."
Berg maintains that many prominent figures in politics, the military and the mass media consider the 'Official Story' of 9-11 to be untrue. But while the truth is emerging bit by bit, thanks to anonymous whistleblowers and researchers posting on the internet, to date no one with the stake in being a Senator, a Presidential candidate, or a media celebrity has found the courage to risk being ridiculed as a "tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist." Berg points out that the only Senator who has dared to publicly question even parts of the 'Official Story," Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, has received threats ominous enough to impel him to shut down his Washington, D.C. office until after the coming election.
"Some facts cannot be denied," says Berg. "Clearly, 9-11 was carried out by more than one person. Therefore, by definition there was a conspiracy. What we're arguing is that the true conspirators have abused their enormous power and the trust of the American people to concoct and to sell to the world a false conspiracy theory, to justify war and mass murder for economic and political gain. Since the neo-cons, allied with the President, said in almost so many words that they wished for a New Pearl Harbor, why dismiss out of hand an allegation that they used their undeniably sufficient power to actually bring it about? Why has there been no full and transparent investigation? Indeed, isn't it shocking that the federal government grabbed up all of the physical evidence, and that no police authority has conducted a true criminal investigation into 3,000 homicides? Instead of due process of law, government officials and the mass media convicted Osama bin Laden, and had names and photos of his 19 accomplices on the internet, literally within hours of the attacks. The truth is that there is no definitive evidence that there were any Arabs on those planes, and even less proof concerning the supposed identities of the alleged hijackers." Berg notes too that a poll taken by the respected Zogby organization in August 2004 disclosed that half the population of New York, including such unlikely "conspiracy theorists" as those who identify themselves as "very conservative" and as Evangelical Christians, believe the federal government had foreknowledge of the attacks, and knowingly failed to prevent them.
Asked why he decided to bring this controversial lawsuit, Rodriguez explains that, having survived the World Trade Center disaster when so many did not, he feels he must learn the truth of what happened on that day. "If what the government has told us about 9-11 is a lie," he says, "somebody has to take action to reveal the truth. Since that plane hit the North Tower on 9-11, like it or not my life's meaning has become to reduce the number of victims, and the amount of suffering from those attacks. If suing President Bush is what I have to do to accomplish that, so be it." Rodriguez notes that the events of 9-11 are directly related to the deaths of thousands of people in two ongoing wars, attacks on Constitutional liberties in the United States, the abuse and torture of detainees around the world, and the use by the United States of depleted uranium and other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Admitting the obviousthat his client's legal fight against powerful government figures is of the "David versus Goliath" varietyBerg, a former deputy attorney general in Pennsylvania, invites both financial support for his efforts, as well as assistance from volunteer attorneys.
The action, filed in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on 10/22/04, is Rodriguez v. Bush, et al., Civil Action No.__________.
Read the Complaint in Rodriguez v. Bush on the Internet at www.911forthetruth.com
You have signed on to the idea that liberty in our lifetimes can be achieved by moving 20,000 pro-liberty individuals to New Hampshire. Your pledge"I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the state of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property"is in itself an awe-inspiring commitment to freedom. But in order to achieve the 20,000 goal, the Free State Project needs your help. At present we have only 6,150 signers, with perhaps 100 of those actively doing the recruiting. We are currently getting approximately 18 new signers per week. In order to reach 20,000 by our unofficial goal of 2006, we need to be recruiting at a rate of about 150 new signers per week.
For That, We Need Your Help.
How can you help? What the Free State Project needs most is people actively recruiting. If you don't have time to spare for recruiting, please, donate some much needed funds to those activists who do have time (http://freestateproject.org/getinvolved/donate.php). What does it take to be an FSP recruiter? Nothing more than a willingness to learn. Very few of us started out as activists of any kind. We had a dedication to a goal, and the patience to learn what needed to be done. My mission as the Director of FSP Volunteers is to help you become an activist, not only to reach our goal of 20,000 signers, but also to help empower you to make the changes necessary for New Hampshire to become a haven for freedom, and thus for each New Hampshirite become a master of his or her own fate.
Will there be benefits to you as a new activist? Yes! Not only will you have the knowledge that you have done something meaningful to promote liberty, you will also find camaraderie in working with other liberty-minded individuals. There is no more fulfilling job where you know you're making a significant contribution to liberty in our lifetime!
How does one become a recruiter? There are many ways to do it. Some of the ways to get started include these: you can join one of the many FSP local groups, write letters to the editor mentioning the FSP, call in to talk radio shows and mention the FSP, or place ads in local publications. You can find more ideas here:
Interested? We want you to help! On Thursday November 11th, 9PM ET, we will be holding an online workshop on recruiting. There, you can get your questions answered, present your ideas for recruiting, and "meet some fine folks" who are also working for liberty in our lifetimes! The workshop will be held online via the Free State Project Chat web site at http://freestateproject.org/chat.
When it comes time for your epitaph to be written, will it say, "He sat by and let tyranny come to America?" Or will it be written that, "He was a brave freedom fighter, who did everything in his power to restore freedom to America?"