L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 320, May 22, 2005
"The British are Coming!"
I just read "Runaway Bride Lost in Junk Journalism" by Wendy McElroy and I have an alternative explanation for what happened.
I have noted over recent years that when something is happening that the government thinks we should not be paying any attention to, some other news story gains prominence.
While everyone was following the tale of the Runaway Bride, no one in the US was hearing about the leaked memo in England that provided strong evidence that the Bush administration knowingly falsified the evidence to justify the Iraq war.
While the victims of Waco were being tried for defending themselves against an ATF assault, we were hearing about the trial of Lorena Bobbitt. Perhaps you remember how she got even with her husband by removing his manhood.
They do not have to create the cover story. Outrageous things are always happening. They just have to pick some story that they would otherwise ignore and make a cause celebre out of it. What the situation proves is that the media is operating as a branch of government, the branch designed to prevent real news from reaching the public.
I thought that with the advent of the internet and all its news sources, that type of activity would not be possible. Unfortunately, it appears that the mass of the public really doesn't care and do not use the internet to get around the blockade of news. They still use and believe the mass media. They won't start worrying about the real news until the police state fully closes down and they no longer have the alternative sources.
The letter by Adam J. Bernay details some of the plot points in the mildly interesting but mostly forgettable and regrettable latest version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
He says this shows that DA must have been a libertarian.
Just because there are scenes of government run amok does not make a movie Libertarian it just means that the movie mirrors reality.
Had, at any point, any of the characters said something like "This is evil, stupid and insane. Do we really need this government? Maybe we should try something else." Then it may be a Libertarian movie. And would be a Libertarian movie if someone mentioned, even in passing, that people should be free to live without being brutalized by government. But no one did. They accepted it and went on with their travels.
I have no idea what Adams' politics were but you can't prove that he was on our side by referring to this mostly-waste of a movie.
Thanks for your letter to the editor, and for reading my stuff.
You ask, "How many times did I say that the X-Prize was a honey trap?"
I'm afraid I don't really know. I do know that some of us have been seeing this particular fly in the ointment for some time.
In 1995, Mark Goll's patent applications were classified into that peculiar oblivion into which patents of private launch technology are taken by the Defense Department. I'd already gone through the arrest on Space Travel Services, and come out free but poor. It probably beats a dead horse to go over the experiences of Hudson McKinney Experimental, Rotary Rocket, and so forth. One can go back to the stories of OTRAG, the Percheron, Conestoga I, and Robert Truax's Volksrocket to see a lengthy pattern in these affairs.
For some time, I've said that before we can get off this planet, we need three things: free market money, so we can undertake our ventures without the money cartel controlling our every move; free countries in which to operate; and free people with whom to work. Anyone who thinks they can develop technology in the USA and operate it from elsewhere, or even get a substantial investor from overseas, is ignoring the ITARs.
Sandy Sandfort has proposed turning the old Howard airbase in Panama into a free trade zone. He has some other clever ideas for Panama to be a part of the future of space tourism. It is probably too late for Rutan. But, as Chirinjeev Kathuria has recently pointed out, there are groups outside the USA developing useful space launch systems for passengers.
You say, "We now have a working private suborbital vehicle, a commercial airline willing to fund space tourism, and yet again NASA getting in the way letting other government agencies carry their water this time."
Actually, Frank, I wonder sometimes whether it is just NASA or whether there is a more consistent pattern at work here. In fact, I think it is the defense contractors, which are part of what Dwight Eisenhower called "the military industrial complex" whose unwarranted power he warned against in his farewell address, the Pentagon to some extent, and the banking cartel. Nothing is harder to recover once it is given up than the high ground.
You ask, "How many times does L. Neil Smith have to say it before it gets tattooed on the inside of your eyelids?"
I really don't know. I will say that I have been saying it since 1990: NASA delenda est.
Please don't ask me to buy Vandenberg. I really have no use for it.
There is something missing in your analysis of The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You say, "This is seen first in the British government's destroying Arthur Dent's home for road construction and he didn't know about it because he didn't stay abreast of governmental affairs."
That's inaccurate. He did stay abreast of affairs in his community, and when he heard about the plans to put an expressway through, he found out that the plans had not been "on display" but were, rather, crammed into a filing cabinet in a dimly lit sub-basement.
Similarly, the Earthlings were unable to stay abreast of the plans of the Vogon Constructor Fleet because those plans were on display at the planning office at Alpha Centauri. Which is, one would guess, the sort of thinking that beings might come up with if every time someone on their planet had an original thought, they were auto magically hit in the face with a shovel.
Be that as it may, I'm unable to find much in John Philpot Curran or Thomas Jefferson's lasting contributions to my individual liberty about which to praise. Jefferson himself was prone to absurdly unconstitutional actions.
Staying abreast of governmental affairs seems to imply that the consent of the governed may be found in their silence. But, that isn't consent. It is, at best, assent. Consent, and consensual behavior, and things like contracts, are entered into willingly and knowingly. When one party tries to hide essential information, by hiding it in a sub-basement or around another star, the term for this behavior is: fraud.
Yes, mankind cannot be free if we are constantly falling for frauds. On the other hand, mankind cannot be free if we are constantly looking for liberty in the form of government.
On the whole, it is letting people alone that causes them to be prosperous. Governing them only makes them nervous.
In all the years of the 20th Century, the only thing that has kept people in these united States free has been their overwhelming firepower. There are still more riflemen in private life, by several orders of magnitude, than there are in government.
Eternal vigilance without guns is nothing.
Adam J Bernay
> Although I would disagree with your assertions about
These are no mere assertions. Let's start with their lasting contribution to my individual liberty.
For example, I'm unaware of any lasting contribution to my liberty by Curran, who was a barrister in Ireland, opposed unsuccessfully the act of union, and apparently failed to preserve the lives of Edmund Fitzgerald and Theobald Tone. Other than a few interesting turns of phrase, what were his lasting contributions to my liberty, in your view?
Jefferson helped found a republic. That republic does not seem to exist any longer, judging by the actions of those who are supposed to be sworn to uphold its constitution. Maybe you could point it out to me sometime. I've never been there.
With regard to Jefferson's unconstitutional behavior, he himself agonized over the decision to purchase Louisiana from Napoleon. He found no constitutional authority to do so. In spite of the fact that the decision to do so nearly split the country, with New Englanders clamoring for secession at the time of the purchase and at the time of Louisiana being admitted to statehood, Jefferson went ahead with it.
> bearing on what I was saying, since it is as important to keep
I'm confused, Adam. How does one "work within the system"? Do you mean by voting, say? A thoroughly useless activity, given how tainted the election process has become. Or do you mean by getting elected to office, campaigning, or lobbying? Also wastes of time.
As for being ready for the system to no longer work, it seems important to point out: the system no longer works, at this time. I refer you, for example, to the JPFO declaration in the most recent The Libertarian Enterprise where your letter appears. JPFO says that the passage of the Real ID means that the USA is now a police state and gun owners should prepare to resist.
What is it about the system that you think is working? Maybe you could name a government agency that isn't out of control and isn't in contravention to the constitution, and we could go from there.
>> Although I would disagree with your assertions
It amazes me how quickly you disdain his words. Words are lasting contributions. Without the right words, we could never establish governments that stop people from trampling all over liberty. Philosophy is very important.
> Jefferson helped found a republic. That republic does
So, because our current leaders sometimes abandon his WORDS (remember how much of an impact Jefferson had on the writing of the Constitution), those words mean nothing? Preposterous!
> With regard to Jefferson's unconstitutional behavior,
Great men can sometimes make decisions that might not be the best. Your point? How do his action in doing so hurt YOUR liberty MORE than his words in the Constitution PRESERVE them? And yes, the Constitution is STILL in effect and STILL does preserve MANY of our liberties!
>> bearing on what I was saying, since it is as
Blah, blah, blah... All of those things are still valuable, they are not useless.
> As for being ready for the system to no longer
And JPFO was over the top on that, IMO. Is it bad? Yes. But until stuff actually HAPPENS, it's nothing more than one piece of legislation passed so Congress will feel good.
> What is it about the system that you think is
You know, Jim, I was feeling pretty much like leaving the GOP and going independent... until you came along and reminded me just how whacko the independent "black helicopter" crowd is. There is still hope within the system, even if you refuse to see it.
Adam J Bernay
> It amazes me how quickly you disdain his words. Words are lasting
Some words are. There are many lasting contributions from the Bible going back as much as 3,500 years or more. There are many lasting contributions from Shakespeare. Other than "eternal vigilance" I don't know all that much that Curran said which crops up in literature as compared to, say, the Bible or Shakespeare.
> Without the right words, we could never establish governments
Right. Exactly. So, in the time since 1815 or so, when Curran passed, as I recall, where is the government that has been established that doesn't trample all over liberty? Is it in Ireland? It sure isn't here in Texas. There was a government here in Texas in 1836 to 1845, but it didn't last. And it was pro-slavery.
So, thus far, it seems Mr. Curran's words have not stopped governments from trampling all over liberty.
By the way, I think you have it backwards. Individuals stop governments from trampling all over liberty. Governments do not stop people from such trampling. Rather, the opposite. Externally imposed, coercive governments, such as that of the USA, encourage their people to trample liberty.
> Philosophy is very important.
It is, yes. I agree. Implementation is also vital.
> So, because our current leaders sometimes abandon his WORDS
Madison and Hamilton had much more influence on the constitution.
Jefferson himself pointed to the Virginia Resolution on Religious Liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, much more than the text of the constitution. And, yes, the words of the constitution appear to mean nothing to the men and women who are sworn to uphold it and defile it every day.
What is this fascination with constitutions? Lysander Spooner thoroughly popped those illusory balloons associated with constitutions, over 100 years ago.
> Great men can sometimes make decisions that might not be the best.
Yes, they do.
> Your point?
What is it in Jefferson's behavior that serves as an example? The man was eager to free his slaves, posthumously, when they could no longer serve his interests, but he died in debt, so his preferences were ignored, his slaves were sold to satisfy his debts. How is that sort of behavior admirable?
> How do his action in doing so hurt YOUR liberty MORE than his words
Which are Jefferson's words in the constitution?
The constitution has done nothing to preserve liberty, just as the USA government has done nothing to preserve liberty, and rather a great deal to attack it. You seem to have forgotten Thoreau's views on the matter.
> And yes, the Constitution is STILL in
Horse feathers. Where is it in effect? Go tell it to Sibel Edmonds, or the Americans unjustly imprisoned without charges since 11 September 2001.
> Blah, blah, blah...
> All of those things are still valuable, they are not
No, voting is a bad way of taking choices and completely useless, the more so since the votes are not counted.
> And JPFO was over the top on that, IMO.
Well, I don't agree with your opinion. But, try saying "Blah, blah, blah" a few more times, that ought to endear me to your viewpoint.
> Is it bad? Yes.
Yes. And your Senators were unanimous in their consent to it.
> But until stuff actually HAPPENS, it's nothing more than one
Well, when they pass legislation that puts you in chains, what do you propose to do about it? Write an e-mail with "Blah, blah, blah" as the thrust of your argument?
> You know, Jim, I was feeling pretty much like leaving the GOP
I don't vote. So, there's no reason to blame me for the ills of some political party you might join. I'm not a member of any of the independent parties. You'd love the Constitution Party, I expect.
> There is still hope within the system, even if you refuse to
As Patrick Henry said, many long years ago, the war is now inevitable, hope is vain.
Dear Mr. Ed/Editior/Ken,
I won't belabor the point, except to point out the last three sentences of the news article:
"He has seen the game before. "It's like you go 'round and just kill people basically," said Bowens.
That works for him, onscreen or in real life, Iraqor whatever.
"To me, going overseas and killing people, I would feel happy about myself for that," he said.
I wrote to the AP journalist who authored the story.
I commented that the remarks above reminded me of Arlo Guthrie's 'Alice's Restaurant.'
The relevant part is just a wee bit more than half-way down the page.
Theythe Armyare looking for either the village idiot, or battle fodderor both.
Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken,
Why is it, do you suppose, that the acts of government are always predictable, and ultimately lead to a tragedy? Well, here's one that's just waiting to happen.
Any techie who knows about VoIP will tell you that it's not only unreliableas a communications medium goes, but that the protocol itself does not lend itself to same level of connection oriented service as does a regular telephone service. In fact, it's quite "iffy."
The above news story speaks of the classic example of government attempting to be all things to all people. But mostly, it's all about government getting in the way, a thing government does best.
A woman loses a child because she can't reach the 911 center where she lives. So, she blames that on the phone service. Did the VoIP provider even state that such a service was available? Did she even read the service contract to determine what services were available? Likely not. It was cheap, easy, and required no thinking on her part when asked to 'just sign here, Ma'am!'
Did the commissioners ask those hardhearted questions? Likely not.
What would have been the result had she decided to purchase "regular" phone service, and the phone just went dead on her? What then?
What if she'd been transferred to a call center three states away? Or, maybe even gotten that irritating "Bee-Dee-Eee" tone sequence, followed by "We're sorry, the number you have dialed, has either been disconnected or is no longer in service."
You'll pardon meI hope, when I say that peripheral services (like for instance dial-up or DSL) which rely upon a primary service aren't what one should be considering as a means of emergency hailing.
But then? Modern Americans are a source of great irritation to me of late, as they all seem to demand things they have no business demanding, being dependant upon Big Brother for every arse-wipe piddling tax-funded bauble.
The FCC commissioners are flat wrong with their assessment. I say that because the VoIP services are not in any way the same as the local utilities, insofar as they are not operating on the level of a monopoly, as is the case with most municipal utilities.
In fact, I'd compare VoIP to the a glorified walkie-talkie, separated by ten miles of mountain range in an electrical storm, and at the peak of the 11 year solar cyclewith extreme local electrical interference.
That FCC ruling is tantamount to demanding that every ISP provide the same level of service as the utility they are making use of to provide Internet access.
And, why not? If I can 'contact' 911 (which I won't for reasons I mentioned once before here) via the medium using a different technology, then the same provision should apply across all technologiesIf I use the FCC's faulted logic.
Ergo, I should be able to employ a fax machine to do the very same thingif my phone suddenly goes dead...
The only person responsible for the death of her childif blame is to be assessed, is Ms. Cheryl Waller. If the emergency was so dire, and if she had some form of transport available to her, why then did she not avail herself to that instead of wasting precious moments playing with a technological device known to have a less than sterling ability&3151;even at its best?
Note that nothing in the news article speaks of the span of time between when she discovered her child to have stopped breathing and when she contacted 911 through her neighbor's phone service. What were her acts between discovery and action? How long had the child not been breathing?
Was her neighbor a several tens of feet away, or half a mile away?
Did she call her neighbor's phone, or run over there to use it?
Are we to believe that even if she had been able to contact 911, and the child had died anywaybefore any emergency service had arrived, that it would have been someone else's fault for the death?
Can you say: Convenient scapegoat?
Of course you can!
I suppose that next, the US Dept. of Commerce will be demanding that anyone engaged in fast food delivery must also provide condimentsjust in case.
It's time for the monthly roundup of Free State Project news!
The FSP is now sponsoring Pro-Freedom Talk Radio airing 6 days a week. It's called "Free Talk Live". They are on in 5 markets right now including Kansas City and even parts of New Hampshire. The talk show's hosts are all Free State Project Participants and they promote the FSP at least once an hour. If it's not on in your area, you can listen to the show via their Archives, Podcasting, or Live Streaming at http://freetalklive.com If you'd like to see it get picked up on one of your local radio stations, contact the host, Ian, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he can give you more info about how to help make that happen.
Several new items are in the FSP Storea new FSP brochure, two new magnets, a new section for NH Merchandise (currently featuring a discount subscription to NHToDo magazine), and a partnership with Netflix (for DVD rentals) so you can rent a variety of liberty minded movies no matter where you live.
The FY 2005 Profit & Loss statement is now available. Volunteers are always needed for a variety of jobs small and large, so if you'd like to do more to help foster Liberty in your Lifetime, just contact us. If you can't give some time to help, donations are always welcome and your contribution will support print and online advertising, outreach to other pro-freedom organizations and their members, as well as basic infrastructure like the FSP website. For more ways you can help, see our Activist Center
We never know what sort of donations or help our participants might be able to arrange. For example: A generous donor arranged for the FSP to have radio ads on a top-40 Internet radio station. The audience is nationwide/worldwide. The spots are 1-minute spots and will begin airing on Saturday, 20 times per day. Thanks to the station and the donor for providing yet another outreach method to all of the liberty-minded people out there.
Amanda Phillips wrote a brief report on her talk at the LP Minnesota Convention. If you'd like to see the Free State Project promoted at an event near you, just let us know! We had a presence at FreedomFest in Las Vegas, thanks to Dan McGuire, and we have plenty of upcoming events on the calendar as well.
The Jan/Feb '05 issue of American Handgunner magazine contained a great article "Can a Porcupine Save Your Guns?" by FSP vice-president Evan Nappen. The article is now available in a nice PDF to print and share.
On May 9, Mike Fisher, an FSP participant, violated NH's licensing laws at the State Board of Barbering, Cosmetology, and Esthetics in Concord in an planned act of civil dis-obedience. There's been a lot of news coverage, much of it positive.
Have photos of an local FSP event, or even just you wearing an FSP t-shirt in public? Send them to us and we'll include them on the website or future emails!
The 100+ early movers are already making waves and news regularly, and as more activists move every month, the number of activities that seek to increase liberty will only grow. The Welcome Wagon is always ready to help visitors to the Free State meet people and see the sights, as well as help new movers get settled in. Just let them know your plans to visit!
Speaking of visiting, The Porcupine Freedom Festival is fast approachingJuly 23-31, 2005! Keep your eye on the We'll Be There list. Is your name on it? We're now at 225 people, and the list continues to grow! Have you made your reservations yet? Roger's Campground and Motel will almost certainly fill up, especially after readers of Reason and LPNews find out about the Porcupine Freedom Festival! This will be the best, most exciting liberty event in 2005. Don't miss it! All the information that's fit to print can be found here: http://freestateproject.org/festival
Want more frequent emails of FSP news? While we're going to maintain a roughly "monthly" mailing to everyone, for those of you who want more regular updates from the FSP, we've created a new mailing list just for you. If you subscribe, you'l get more emails as news events happen, weekly or even more often.