Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 383, September 3, 2006

"It's the end of the 8000-year Age of Authority."


A Snot In The Dark
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

As many of our readers know by now, The Libertarian Enterprise and my personal site, "The Webley Page" were "hacked" earlier last week. Thus we join a legion of those— comes to mind—who have suffered a fate that would mean absolutely nothing to my grandmother's generation.

What she worried about was the Yellow Peril and white slavery.

Now as much as I'd delight in taking this act of cybervandalism personally—it would mean that, doing my job, telling the truth as I see it, I had reduced some creepoid out there to boiling, inarticulate rage—it appears, at least as I understand it, that the real target was the server where TLE and TWP happen to live, and that it was chosen more or less randomly, by some variety of robotic Visigothian software. As a result, dozens, possibly hundreds of other sites went offline at the same moment we did, whether they had truly earned it or not.

That's the virtual equivalent of loading up your Remington 1100 (a semiautomatic 12-gauge shotgun), wandering into the densest crowd you can find, squeezing your eyes shut tightly, and jerking the trigger as fast as you can while turning around on your heel until you run out of ammunition.

The truly nifty thing about the Internet is that, as annoying as the event may have been, nobody actually got hurt. You can't initiate physical force in cyberspace. That means it's a perfect model for the society that we at TLE (and that other libertarians at many other sites) propose. It's a model that by turns is exciting, aggravating, intellectually and emotionally dangerous, chaotic, spontaneously ordered, productive, and immensely destructive to all those who crave power and wish to accomplish their evil in the dark, or from behind a mask.

That explains why libertarian thought dominates the Internet and why non-libertarians frequently hate, loathe, and despise it. Talk radio is the domain of conservatives, where they can shout their critics down, or even switch the mike off if an opponent is making too telling a point. Liberals prefer television and the movies, where the principal medium is phony, maudlin sentiment, rather than rational communication.

The most recent example of pure, crispy, finger-lickin' Internet goodness is, a splendid compendium of human knowledge and nonsense, a genuine "people's encyclopedia", where my views on, say, foreign policy, for example—and yours—all carry the same initial weight as the officially-approved notions of Madeline "Starve 'Em All Let Allah Sort 'Em Out" Albright or Condoleeza "Oreo Killer" Rice. On the Internet, that pair of expensively-dressed murderous bitches must defend the crap they spew in defense of atrocities they commit. There's no way to impose it by force, and there's no place to hide. looks like it's going to work out the same way, but for current events. With every phony press conference and staged event, child-slaughtering shrews like Albright and Rice expose themselves as evil, stupid, and/or insane—and so do the media whores and pimps backing them up—and if they don't, someone else will do it for them.

It's the end of the 8000-year Age of Authority.

But I have digressed even worse than usual.

There's no way to find out exactly who did this to us or why. Some individuals who know far more about this kind of pheomenon than I do tell me it was a Canadian who calls himself. . . well, he'd want me to mention his name. Others say the attack originated in Egypt. The real fun part is that in this age of interconnectedness and speed-of-light communication, neither of these theories necessarily contradicts the other.

The excuse the hacker offers us is that, as a Muslim, he objects to everything that the United States government has done and is doing in the Middle East. He assures us that, if we just stop the bombing, then he'll stop the hacking. The trouble with this substitute for reasoning, of course, is that, with regard to the Internet in general, and to my websites in particular, he's silencing, however temporarily, very nearly the only sympathetic voices remaining for his cause in America.

Or at least for fair treatment of his cause.

I have opposed this war from the beginning. I went to school with Muslims (as well as with Christian Arabs) and found them to be good company, kindly and generous. Just like everybody else, they're far from perfect. There are deep, strong currents of authoritarianism and collectivism running through the various Middle Eastern cultures, most of them powered by a religion that is just as irrational (although certainly no more so) as any other that a human brain has ever cooked up.

In general, I don't care much for the way they treat their women—although to be fair, my Arab friends have always insisted that this is more a relic of tribal cultures that preceded Islam in that part of the world than Islam itself—and I find it particularly infuriating that the U.S. government seems bent on systematically destroying the very few countries that have actually been trying to do better in that regard.

For all those reasons—mostly for his inability to see western culture as it really is, an ocean of perfectly happily conflicting opinions—I'm inclined to believe that our hacker is who he claims to be. Nevertheless, an overriding sense of human nature makes me think that his real impulse was nothing more than the sheer joy of destruction for its own sake, and that the Muslim justification is an afterthought and a lie. We're dealing with a 14-year-old idiot who doesn't have the balls to pick up that shotgun and take it with him to school.

Oops! I didn't say that.

I wasn't here.

Whatever you are, jerkoff, next time, look before you pull the trigger. Shooting the closest thing you have to friends is a poor way to advance what you believe in. And if you're just a post-adolescent e-graffitist, try your damnedest to get laid—it'll do wonders for your complexion—and leave the rest of us out here in cyberspace alone.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at, or at

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 383, September 3, 2006

Big Head Press