L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 348, December 18, 2005
"I wouldn't wish that fate on my very worst enemy."
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Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken, and G. Monty,
G. Monty, my comments interspersed with yours below:
> Indeed, you're a brutal realist and certainly if it is as bad as
Actually, I don't get out of bed in the morning, and only slither out of bed in the early afternoon because I then realize that I've missed a whole half-day's drinking that I must then seek to catch-up on!
It must be my Scottish blood, as my Father used to tell me that when I was a kid, I always seemed to be running on empty... Not anymore!
Before one may attack a problem, one must first fully evaluate for complicationsin the present and future realistic senses. If those complications are either ignored, or even left undiscovered, they you may not realize any of your best hopes.
Better to know in advance what you are going to be up against, before you actually expend any energyonly to discover later that all you've done is rather worthless in total. And foremost to that is an appeal to intellectual honesty. All the optimism in the world isn't worth anything if the objective cannot be accomplished.
Every problem has multiple dimensions; better to know all of them before hand, than to wait and discover them at an inopportune time. Before you address, you must first assess.
As you may have surmised then, I am not a 'yes man.' Just because a plan sounds good, doesn't in the least mean that it will work as advertised.
> Perhaps the answer is to turn in your guns and become a Democrat.
Every polity has its champions and detractors.
And, by attempting to insult me, you insult yourself, for I am not your enemy.
My words above speak to this: Lay out your plan in as complete a way as possible, and play devil's advocate with it. Look under every stone. Intellectual honesty demands that you question each and every aspect of your plan not only for integrity, but that you also brutally attack it in ways that it likely won't be: Question everything. If you cannot provide an effective counter-argument, then you are in trouble.
And, if everything in your plan hinges upon one argument, then you won't be going anywhere real soon, if the counter-argument has not be thoroughly trashedand is raised at a critical juncture.
Above all, though, is the thought that you should look around first to see if you are actually reinventing the wheel. Has anyone actually done what you are attempting? Does your plan have any aspect within it, which replicates something already in existence? And if it does, what are the downfalls of that? How may they be corrected or overcome?
From my vantage point, you seem to be reinventing the United States of 1779, with a constitution every bit as flawed as the current one.
So far that I saw, nothing I questioned or brought up for discussion was even addressed in a way that would clue me that you or your cohorts, had thought out every aspect of the FSP. Someone drew up a plan, tossed it out, and several tens of people jumped on itapparently without much thought. So, great, you got a lot of votes; but all it takes to counter your dream is just one vote from someone of another political party who desires to sink your ship. Just one, that's it.
As I recall, youand othersexpounded upon how the FSP would give you an advantage that you do not now have. All I did was lay out the facts as they are currently known, and expose the weaknesses of your plan, and assess the other corollary facts which you seem to think are acceptable.
In no case, did I ever suggest that you surrender what liberties you now are able to exercise, to the tyrantspresent, or future.
But, as others have pointed out elsewhere, your vote is a validation of the processes you live under, even if you disagree with them most vehemently.
A vote, therefore, is tacit agreement with whatever results may occur.
What about meshould I happen to live in New Hampshire? I refuse to vote for the simple reason that I do not want to validate government as it is. My non-vote is just as valid as any vote, and a vote against what I find deplorable: The tyranny of the majority. Yet, for all intents and purposes, I have no voice, no say. I might just as well be a non-person.
For most of everyone else, I pose a conundrum: I am here, but I do not wish to be a part of the processes they are a part of. They desire to 'incorporate' me against my will. I view them as a gang of thugs, and they view me as an outsider. Neither do I understand them, nor they me, yet they persist in demanding my acquiescence by dint of a 'majority' rule which I refuse to acknowledge.
They have gone out of their way to make me miserable.
> I don't quite see how a Libertarian takeover amounts to people's
This is a case of 'box thinking.'
You have allowed others to define the argument in their terms.
The foremost thought here should be that True-Blue Libertarians® don't takeover anything. The term 'takeover' connotes the idea of 'control.'
Has it ever been your idea that having 'control' over others was/is a good thing?
And again, I raise the issue of the socialists in New Hampshire: They currently form the majority of the citizenry. They may refer to themselves in many ways, but at the end of the day they have their hands out to Uncle Sugar; their manna comes from everybody else's pockets.
So, since they happen to form that majority, if you and others dilute that majority with your own polityand assume control over their lives, are you not then engaging in the act of forcing your brand of politics down their throats?
Now, you might retort that they've been doing the same thing to others for a very long time, but I hasten to ask how you might qualify your desired act as good, when for all intents and purposes your act would have exactly the same effect as theirs: Forcing others to do your bidding, play the game your way, and essentially negate their way of life.
That simply cannot be good for everybody.
> As long as the FSP has a snowball's chance in hell of actually
However, as I've noted, taking something from someone else, and calling your own constitutes theft. And, as I stated previously, if you consider that it's okay to do that, then be prepared to have the same thing done to youright back.
> If the federal laws you mention are really held to a test of
I consider that weyou and I, see pretty much eye-to-eye here, on this aspect of what constitutes legal law, when predicated upon the USC. But, until the character of the USSC changes significantly such that intellectually honest citizens once again populate the bench of this nation's highest court, then virtually none of what you and I desire in this regard will come to pass.
And, the USSC should never be considered the court of last resort. I seek to remind you that the federal legislature may define what the USSC may or may not review in the way of law (Art. III, Sect. 2, Para. 2exceptions clause).
If it's a sea-state change you're looking for, I might suggest changing the character of the US Congress. But then? I digress, as sooner or later it will all come full circle back to the current circumstances. Your problemour problemis that no matter what we do with the current scheme of things, it will always devolve to what we have, for the simple reason that no man or woman can be trusted to be completely honest 100 percent of the time.
If no man or woman may be trusted with the reins of government, then government isn't the answer.
> In my view, resistance is not futile. It should be celebrated and
In all of this, I get the impression that you consider the FSP to be something of a deus ex machina, that is, something suddenly and 'magically' able to extricate you from the current dilemma.
In essence, what you seekso far as I can see, is another frying pan into which to jump.
That other one might seem a lot cooler, but it canand likely willget just as hot, if not hotter. Then what?
Some time ago, another writer on another subscription list wrote something that's stuck with me: No matter who runs for office, they mean to govern well, but they mean to govern.
I don't know about you, but I have no intention of being willfully governed by anyone, as I have come to despise authority in all of its formssave that necessary to raise one's offspring well.
What you seek is a bull to fight another bull that is even larger. Who's to say that even if you did succeed wildly with your FSP, that your bull wouldn't break out of its pen and lord it over the likes of yourself one day?
> Perchance, what is your solution to the leviathan of activist,
My solution? Anarchy. You simply cannot get any freer than that!
With Libertarian Anarchy you get to slaughter the bull of government, and make jerky out of the remains. After which you won't ever have to put up with any government bull.
For a most excellent treatise see: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~rpm213/ChaosTheory.html
That's my long 'answer' FWIW.
My short answer is: The essence of all law is power: Liberty = 1/government.
Short note: The equation "Liberty = 1/government is not my own invention, and the real owner's name is buried in another computer in the process of resurrectionmaybe by Easter 2006?
G. Monty replies:
Well, my comments were not intended as any kind of insult. FSP critics such as yourself bring up the fact that socialists moving into NH will defuse the FSP objective, therefore, a libertarian migration has already been thwarted de facto. I find in this observation in interesting perceptual truth on the part of the detractors. A.) that socialist migrations work. Socialists concentrate their numbers and their viewpoint becomes the majority. However, when talk of a libertarian migration or concentration is floatedit automatically will never work. Socialists can migrate and concentrate but libertarians can't.
Indeed the death kneel of libertarian migration schemes are more threatened internally than externally thanks to the nature of most libertarians who seem to think bickering over minutiae is somehow productive and fulfilling. It is simply this aspect of the libertarian nature that will kill the FSPnot the migration of socialists. One aspect of the socialist MO that libertarians could well learn to make use of is the team player concept. Agree on what unifies the whole as a whole and work for a goal as a unified team. That's how the socialists are constantly able to out maneuver the libertarians on all fronts. They know how to work as a team to achieve their aims.
So if you want my honest assessmentin all actuality, it will be bickering libertarians that will derail the FSP and FSW long before any socialist migrations take their toll.
Having visited New Hampshire, I found that the level of government presence in the lives of everyday people is almost unnoticeable compared to places I've lived like Washington, D.C. or my home stomping grounds in Denver, Colorado. The design of their local government makes it very accessible and "user-friendly" to the citizens and it is not a place that caters to the career politician. FSP or not, these traits add up to something the rest of the country sorely lacks.
So I choose to make the sacrifice and move there. I will gladly join into the objectives of the FSP until it implodes from withinas most libertarian "movements" usually do.
I find it interesting that notions of libertarian government seem so untenable yet the idea of ANARCHY is just the prescription the national body politic so sorely needs. Now there's a great way to absolutely startle the natives wherever you go: hey, we're going to get a bunch of people to move over here and then we're going to completely ABOLISH the government. Well, libertarian plans might just be pie in the sky, but anarchy seems about as fantastical a situation as communism is. Both extremes do not take into account the nature of the human animal. In the absence of a governing structure in human society, humans will create one. It seems to be something our mammalian genes HAVE to create. Likewise, the commies seem to think human beings are insects, not territorial, hierarchical mammals.
Even in the most primitive human societiesthere IS some form of governing. There is a Top Dog leader, there are rules, there is a structure in place that enforces the rules. That is the very definition of a government. An enforcer of societies rules.
I believe the Founders were well aware of this dilemma.And their solution was that human beings can't get away from structuring governments to order their societies by. The best we can hope for is trying to find a structure for government that absolutely minimizes the coercive and intrusive nature that most governments take on over time.
That's the way my flawed neurons see things right now. It's all endlessly debatable and the endless debate is exactly what keeps libertariansanarchists or otherwisefrom achieving anything remarkable anywhere. Except maybe producing really good science fiction.
E.J. Totty replies:
Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken, & G. Monty
G. Montymy comments interposed with yours below:
> Well, my comments were not intended as any kind of insult. FSP
Not necessarily; you will be thwarted only if you do not form a solid majority, like somewhere around 75% of those eligible to vote. Are you prepared to say that you can easily gain that number and retain them?
> I find in this observation in interesting perceptual truth on the
I never said that a Libertarian migration wouldn't work. What you never stated was how you would both attain and retain the libertarian state. Merely attaining isn't sufficient, because while you might form a majority of the voters, it does not follow that you will also be able to institute a completeor even partialgovernment conversion, if only that you will have to contend with those of other political parties who remain in office, and their political appointees.
And then there is that thought about politics itself: How many compromises with either of the animal parties will be made so that you might garner a degree more of what you're after?
What kind of 'sausage' will you be agreeing to, and what will the contents be? Will they be entirely palatable to your supporters, or will you have to backpedal and do the 'politician' (one step back, and two steps either left or rightdepending upon your proclivities)?
> Indeed the death kneel of libertarian migration schemes are more
Very briefly, the problem with Libertarians becoming a force to contend with, isas I see itthat no solid party platform exists. And, those at the top are too willing to compromise the main principles of Libertarianism by allowing inclusion of socialistic ideas if only to please some left-leaning communistic apologists, and that is where the real bone of contention lies, including the whole idea of 'team player,' simply because it reeks of socialism.
Now, your idea of 'team player' might encompass an entirely different thought, but whenever that term has been used in my life, it was used disparagingly against those who refuse to play the part of sycophants to some inner caste of party/company/corporate 'faithfuls.'
I am notnor do I desire to becomeany part of some 'Borg collective' and I absolutely refuse to compromise my principles just so that 'the party' succeeds. I refuse to sell my soul to whatever devil happens to be the current HMFIC, no matter how silvery his/her tongue happens to be.
Are you willing to compromise your own principles for a political party's success?
As I stated above, what's wrong with the current Libertarian Party is that there is not solid core of Libertarian belief which states emphatically, unequivocally, and undeniablyand in no uncertain terms, that certain aspects of government are not allowedperiod. There is too much leeway for inclusion of ideas which run counter to the whole idea what being free actually means.
So basically speaking, that kernel of thought which speaks of the libertarian is simply this: Leave everybody else the hell alone. If those who profess to be libertarians cannot abide by that thought, then they should at least speak honestly and profess to being just exactly what they really are, and not hide behind a picture of the Statue of Liberty while pointing fingers at everyone else.
It is those peoplethe pseudo-libertarians, whom you are really speaking about, or more to the point: Libertarian-in-name-only (LINO).
Truth be told, it's the socialist who've donned the mantle of the Libertarian and seek to pervert the essence of libertarianism a little piece at a timein the old fashioned Fabian way.
> So if you want my honest assessmentin all actuality, it will be
Better to discover now who thinks 'what', than to discover later that all you've elected to office was yet another liar. The theme ought be: No equivocation.
> Having visited New Hampshire, I found that the level of government
Would Carl Draga agree?
I think not.
The level of interference in his lifeby your supposedly saintly NH government, was what caused him to go off the deep end. So much for 'good government.'
I've got a story or several myself, one of which involves the stream which runs through my Mother's land (which used to be mine). Back before the current town moved from the mountains, down to the valley which it now occupies, there was saw mill on the property which utilized the stream to power the mill. That was back between the mid 1700's to late 1800's.
The remains of that mill, and the waterway, had been there until recently. Seems some meddling town jerk called the state and told them that I built a rock wall that was stopping the water from flowingwhich was a patent lie, as the town records note the fact of the mill's presence up until the late 1800's. The prior owners of the land had informed me that an upper dam on someone else's property had broken loose about 50 years prior, and the resulting deluge of water and other debris destroyed all but a few remnants of the dam that remained on my property.
But that didn't matter: The remains of the dam had to be removednever mind that the flow of water was completely unimpededeven at the height of greatest flow!
Add to that the fact that I was charged with having an 'unauthorized' foundation on my property, i.e., had no building permit. The foundation was all that was left of the mill.
And, yes, all of that happened in New Hampshire.
The law, as they say, is the law. And you want more of that?!!
> So I choose to make the sacrifice and move there. I will gladly
Let's look at that.
First, most peoplein all probabilityhave never heard of 'Libertarian Anarchy.'
Second, just mentioning the word 'anarchy' conjures up the idea of absolute chaos in most people's minds, because it's the only thing they've been taught to think. However, I hasten to note that most people think 'inside a box' anyway, because that's the way they've been raised.
And, for most people, thinking 'outside the box' is tantamount to intellectual free fall.
Tangentially speaking, it's probably the reason that the US will never develop a space faring culture, if only that most people tend to cling to things which they have no need forsuch as government, for instance. We might call them 'Klingons.'
If we may wean our children away from teats (and pacifiers), then the same can be said of what ails us: Government.
Regarding your inapt comparison between communism and anarchy, the former is the practice of theft and oppression, the latterunder Libertarianism, is the practice of leaving everybody else to his/her own devices.
And insofar as you remarks regarding humans inherently needing government? I disagree, for the simple reason that no child is born screaming out for government. In fact, most children are pretty much anarchists from the moment of birth, and rebel at the slightest hint of oppressive dictums throughout their younger years. Maybe the kids have point here?
The idea of government arrives, I would say, from the practice of having extended families, where the family matriarchor patriarch, is seen as the most knowledgeable, and wisebut certainly no tyrant, excepting the in most extreme of circumstances.
Ergo, the 'idea' of governmentbut not government itself, comes from tribes of people all having some degree of familial connectedness. Even the Clans of Scotland didn't meddle in the personal affairs of a family, and most Scots were certainly free to seek their own level.
Diverse peoples hardly ever seek out each other for government; rather if they do seek out others it's usually for trade, or some other purpose having nothing whatever to do with establishing government.
A very classic example were the Mountain Men of a few centuries back.
Click on "Rendezvous Trade Goods" for a description of
'normal life.' It's a perfect example of Thomas Jefferson's remark "I
would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much
liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
> Even in the most primitive human societiesthere IS some form of
I would disagree on several levels, but mostly because in many 'civilizations' no one single person 'rules.' And, the Iroquois definitely didn't fit your paradigm of government.
> I believe the Founders were well aware of this dilemma.And their
So you consider that Libertarian Anarchy wouldn't fit the bill?
If what you have doesn't grow because it's not allowed to, then what else would be better?
You keep pining for a 'minimum government,' yet then you complain endlessly about it possibly getting out-of-hand.
The Federalists intentionally wrote a bill-of-goods which they knew was weak, and without adequate safeguards having lethal consequences for the willfully deceitful. US history is rife with examples of equivocation on the part of every branch of government. Yet you seem to obstinately cling to it as though it were some kind of holy grailwhich it isn't.
If the US Constitution was worth the paper it is printed upon, then a Bill of Rights would not have ever have been necessary, and we would not be having this discussion.
> That's the way my flawed neurons see things right now. It's all
As far as I'm concerned, it's not 'an endless debate,' simply because not enough people have become aware of the possibilities. And, it's peopleas yourselfwho stick their noses in the air at the very thought of anarchy as having any possibility of success, simply because you (and they) won't even give it a chancenever mind ever having cogitated for any length of time over the possibilities.
You're beginning to sound an awful lot like both the R's and the D's.
If you thinkat this pointthat I'm poking fun at you, then consider how people as myself must feel at your poking fun at us anarcho-libertarians.
If you continually think inside the box, then your set of possibilities areand will continue to beextremely limited.
Once againfor posterity: No man-made law has ever stopped anything from happening. Ergo, since law is what forms government, and government cannot be completely controlled, it follows then that no matter how hard you try, government will always get out of hand, because no man-made law...
One last time: Government isn't the answer.
The essence of all law is power: Liberty = 1/government
Re.: Letter from Karen Lebens http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2005/tle347-20051211-01.html#letter6
Regarding your final statement:
"There are problems with unions, to be sure, but if you're living in the real world and working in big industry there are more problems without them."
Not only do I disagree, I completely disagree with that sentiment you express.
If there are problems, do you mean to say that you can't just up and quit?
Who's chaining your butt to the job?
If you are free, then you have no valid complaintsperiod.
Men and women of no means can, and have had great affect against those in industry who would take advantage of them, in ways too numerous to mention.
So far as I can see, you willfully inflicted upon yourself a degree of misery by first attempting to correct a situation you knew to be questionable, and then reinstalled yourself into that same situation, instead of quietly leaving and letting sleeping dogs lie.
Would you have made less of a wage? Likely so.
Was the fight worth your peace of mind? I don't think so.
Will you say that you couldn't find a job in the sameor relatedfield with another employer?
Unions are an imposition, a detraction, a connivance, and a fellow traveller in the world of business which seeks nothing less than total domination in its endeavornot unlike government.
Are we all to believe that you would be willing to give up all of your rights to self-determination, in order to force another human being to believe the same as you do?
Do not union members castigatein the most severe of termsthose other fellow employees who don't toe the union line, come strike time?
Is that what you are all about?
Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken,
Note that in the above referenced 'news' article, the 'staff attorney' for the VPC pretends to be intelligent on the matter at hand.
I won't pretend anything.
Rather, I'll attack the matter directly: Since when does federal law overtake Constitutional law? And, more importantly: Since when does an idiot working for a political law firm presume to say such?
How anyone pretends that federal law completely overtakes a constitutional amendmentwhich itself hasby dint of its legal implications, completely changed every aspect within that document by announcing the enumeration of a specific right, I cannot logicallyor even legallyfathom.
Law degrees must be most easily attainable these days.
I'm inclined to refer to 'Crackerjack®' boxes, and their 'prizes.'
Cheap law degrees lead to cheap advise.