Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 384, September 10, 2006

"In my book, I'm number one."


How to Best Herd Cats
by Ron Beatty

Credit The Libertarian Enterprise

My friend, Herman Tumbledweed (not his real name), has recently bought a piece of land here in rural Arkansas. He moved here from Northern California, tired of the rat race that exists there. He happily spends his days working on his land and writing his stories. He now has four cats and a dog, all without hassle from the local office of the pet police. He honestly can't believe how he put up with it that long, now that he has experienced a bit of a relatively free life.

Just two weeks ago, he bought his first handgun, a DAO Ruger GP-100, that had been surveyed from a police department that finally went to semi-autos. He is in the process of building a pistol range for his personal use on his land. When he is outside, he carries it constantly.

Fortunately, in the area where we live, feral humans aren't that much of a problem, but feral animals are. Snakes, skunks and armadillos abound. There are feral hogs and an occasional black bear or panther. He is constantly amazed at this area. When he goes out to shoot on his lower acreage, he is considerate enough to call the local sheriff's office to let them know that there is no problem if they get a complaint from one of the (few) neighbors. The only response has been, "Thank you for letting us know." Not once has a deputy showed up to check up on him, just to make sure he is not some mad terrorist. Not once has a complaint been made. He's checked. No one has called to complain about the guy wandering around, wearing a gun on his hip. He often meets the mail person at the box. She has never complained of him being armed. How many of you could say the same?

It is the same for me. I live a couple ridges over from Herman, about five miles in a direct line, but about 15 by road. When I'm able, I go outside to work on the yard. When I do, I carry my .45 on my hip, openly. No one has ever even made a comment about it. How many places are still like this, in today's world?

Big gooferment isn't much of a problem in this area, at least not yet. Even the Bible Belt mentality doesn't effect us much, as we stay to ourselves, and avoid talking about religion or politics, except to those like us, who've moved to this area to live relatively freely. I think you'd be surprised at how many of us there are in this area, too. People who write for the Sierra Times have a strong presence in this area. People who are protesters against various gooferment agencies and policies are well represented. Even though the area is largely Republican, there is a strong libertarian presence.

In a way, this area is what the Free State projects are looking to achieve. However, it's happened on a more natural level. Instead of a massive publicity campaign, it's been more one of us mentioning it to friends, friends who've pulled up stakes and moved here. One man brought Kate. Kate brought us. I've brought Herman. That's how it's worked. No publicity, no fuss, no news releases. Just friends moving to be near friends, most of them of a libertarian bent, or at least libertarian friendly. With luck, it will continue. Perhaps Herman will bring Kinsfire and Ishtar (again, not their real names). Who knows? Hopefully, more people of like mind will keep coming to this area. Eventually, perhaps this county will go to a libertarian majority.

I think that this is the way to go. A 'Free State' project is a good idea, in theory. There are problems in execution, however. It is both easier and more practical to work on a smaller level, with no published goals or plans. Work on a county level, with like-minded people grouping together on a smaller level, concentrated on more rural areas. Not only will it be easier to get friends to group together, in a smaller area, it will have just as much effect, while not appearing as dangerous to the power mongers in the state and federal capitols. Imagine if a bunch of Neil's friends moved to his area. Imagine if a bunch of Ernie Hancock's friends moved to be near him. Or imagine if a few dozen folks moved to this area. In a rural county, they would have influence far beyond their actual numbers.

Someone once said that getting libertarians to work together was like herding cats. Well, that may be true, but if the cats are all friends, and there's not so many of them, it IS possible. A few dozen or a few hundred are a lot easier to manage than 20,000!

Think about it.

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