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L. Neil Smith's
Number 410, March 25, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

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Letter from Jim Davidson

Letters from L. Neil Smith and Kent Van Cleave

Letter from Albert Perez

Letter from Jacob Lovell

Another Letter from L. Neil Smith

What limits to security?

Dear Editor,

Last month, you published an essay "Unpardonable" by Lady "Liberty" in which she expresses contempt for individuals engaging in acts of trade and commerce involving those herbs bearing seeds granted to mankind to be as meat by God in Genesis 1:29 to the extent that she extols the virtues of shooting unarmed drug merchants in the back.

Apparently, she favors shooting unarmed men and women in the back, not only if they might possibly be drug smugglers, but also if their vehicle is fleeing the Geheimstadt Polizei at a border checkpoint. It seems that Lady "Liberty"—whose conduct has always seemed ladylike, but whose commitment to liberty is nothing like the words on the statue whose name she took—wants more security.

I would invite her to comment on recent press coverage of another incident involving police "only doing their jobs" to oppress the innocent, massacre the meek, and destroy the property of the productive. Here is an excerpt about the case:

"Three police officers charged in a 50-bullet barrage that killed an unarmed groom on his wedding day appeared before a judge Monday and had their first encounter since the shooting with the victims and their families. In a packed, tension-filled courtroom, the three officers stood with their hands clasped during the 20-minute hearing as they pleaded not guilty in the shooting that killed 23-year-old Sean Bell and wounded two of his friends. . . . Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Monday unsealed the indictment charging Detectives Michael Oliver, who fired 31 times, and Gescard Isnora, a decorated undercover officer who fired 11 times, with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter."

Are these officers also the sort she would like to see honored by "Pinning a medal on their chest or presenting them with a citation. . . ." for their good work in upholding law and order? Exactly how far is she willing to go for the benefit of a little imagined security?

Having been a victim of police brutality, to the extent of eleven broken bones and a permanent scar on my face, I shall never understand this tragic idiocy. Those who believe that the men and women with badges and guns are exempt from fallibility, should be engaged in interdicting trade and commerce with guns and surveillance tools, and seek to extol the virtues of those who gutlessly shoot fleeing, unarmed victims are, in my view, insane. There is nothing about the conduct of the Nazis in Germany, the Soviets in Russia, the Maoists in China, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or a dozen other dictatorships in a dozen other countries that is any different from the tyranny and injustice of the USA government today. It is insane to suppose that the behaviors which produced bad results before are going to produce different results now or in future.

The USA government is a tyranny which acts in restraint of trade for the benefit of privileged drug runners and other privileged merchants. The USA government is a tyranny which seeks to tag all Americans and run them as cattle. The USA government is a tyranny which seeks to erect border "security" to prevent Americans from fleeing, or foreigners from trading peaceably across the borders. The USA government is a tyranny which has dissolved the writ of habeas corpus, has assaulted the liberties expected to be guaranteed by the Constitution, incarcerated millions of Americans and constrains the liberties of millions more over mala prohibitum idiocy, and engages in aggressive territorial conquest in other countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere.

Sycophants like Lady "Liberty" should be treated like the collaborators they are. Those who collaborate with tyranny are not a part of the solution. They have taken station with those who would stomp on the faces of their neighbors, forever.

Sic semper tyrannis. Domari nolo. ". . .sed ego sum homo indomitus."


Jim Davidson

L. Neil Smith wrote:

Below, please find a letter you wrote to me last November, Kent. I have no recollection of it and don't know if I replied or if Ken ran it in TLE, but it's an extremely good observation, to which I'd only add that Dixy Lee Ray, in one of her two books about environmentalism, passed on 3M's observation that a third of their corporate overhead was spent complying with government regulations. They're the ones, if I recall correctly, who photographed a wall they'd constructed from the document boxes they filled every year, complying with those regulations.

Sorry I've been out of touch,

L. Neil Smith

Kent Van Cleave wrote:

I've always loved El Neil's "Maidenform Bra" speech, from which are taken the ballpark calculations in this article—of doubled, quadrupled, and then octupled incomes for ordinary folks (once government is out of the picture).

I just wanted to mention that things are even better than that. There's another benefit, beyond just the direct savings, when burdensome regulations are removed.

Take all the people working in government. Take all the people whose jobs are exclusively to satisfy government requirements. Then take all the person-hours of people who spend part of their working day satisfying government requirements. Now put all that working time to productive use! The result will be a dramatic reduction in the cost of goods and services for everyone, for supply will be dramatically increased. And that means we can multiply the effective income of the average American again.

How much? I'm not about to do any real research on this right now, but I'll take a stab at estimating it. Let's say about one in eight people works for government at some level; I'm guessing it's even higher than that. Let's say another eighth of workers, in the law, insurance, accounting, and many other industries, work exclusively on regulatory compliance. There's a quarter of the workforce freed for productive work. As for all the hours others spend on compliance crapola, I'm guessing it would amount to freeing up another quarter of the working person-hours. If this is even roughly right, then we're looking at potentially doubling productive output—which will ultimately (it will take a while for the effects to produce some stable level of increased overall wealth out there and bring prices down as far as they'll go) result in doubling the GDP. We'd need to know the percentage of total wealth produced in a given year in order to calculate how much more an individual's income can purchase—and that's too complicated for me to handle here. But I think it's safe to say a time will come when, because of this increase in productivity, there will be twice as many goods and services chased around by the same number of constant dollars—so eventually one would see another doubling of individual purchasing power.

We could then claim that dumping government will ultimately have the effect of 16-tupling (decitupling?) a person's income. . . or did I get something wrong here?

Kent Van Cleave

Dear Editor,

Last week the Federal District Court with jurisdiction over Washington D.C. ruled that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and that at least parts of D.C.'s gun control law violate the 2nd and are therefor null and void. Yay!! a great victory for supporters of the Second Amendment, even those of us who currently can't or don't exercise it (Perhaps more so for those of us who have deferred exercising our right for economic reasons. The guns will be still be there when the money becomes available.)

Yeah, right. If D.C. decides not to appeal or the Supreme Court declines to hear the case the ruling will only apply in that jurisdiction. Unless and until the SC actually rules we could end up with a quilt work of Circuits and Districts with differing interpretations of the law.

Even assuming an intellectually honest SC (actually a pretty reasonable assumption in the long run) that rules the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment at the Federal level and extended to state and local government level by the Fourteenth there is still room for debate. Does the RKBA extend to cutlery? How will this affect flight, bus, and train regs? .50 cal. and assault weapon bans in various states? The current ban on the manufacture of new machine guns? The Depression Era Gangster Weapon Act and Gun Control Act of 1968? State licensing and permit laws?

Most of us agree that free speech does not extend to deliberate libel or slander, nor does freedom of religion permit the sacrifice of involuntary human victims. We may find that our enemies are forced to concede RKBA is an individual right, then bring up so many individual exceptions that we end up mostly where we are now.

Except for one huge difference. It will be on the hoplophobes to prove that their demands are necessary, just and legal, not us to prove we have an individual right to keep and bear arms and that Regulation X violates it. That's what we win.

Albert Perez


I'm a libertarian student at the University of West Georgia. I've been assigned to do a case study in my class, "Free Speech and the Arts", to identify and write about a specific instance of censorship, the events surrounding it, the underlying causes, and the aftermath of it. I've been trying to find a case, incident, or something involving the fine and visual arts—specifically, paintings, photography, sculpture, music, theater, or motion pictures (not literature, sadly)—that I could present with a very libertarian bias. Most of the cases I've found have been trivial and did not violate libertarian principles: people protesting a movie or the denial of Nat'l Endowment for the Arts funding are not forms of censorship, despite what some may say.

I can't pontificate too much like I tend to do, so I want to have an excuse to do it anyway. If you know of of such a case or incident, off the top of your head, where I could quote significant passages filled with libertarian principles, or where the victim has relied extensively on reason and the rights of property, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know.

Jacob Lovell



> Lawmakers behind these bills include three
> Chicago Democrats, Harry Osterman, Edward
> J. Acevedo and Luis Arroyo, and Oak Park
> Democrat Deborah L. Graham.

You would do a great favor for your members and others to whom the Second Amendment is of vital importance if you were to use your organization's resources to construct—and make publically available—detailed dossiers on each of these political miscreants. I promise you that every one of them has something, somewhere to hide, and that, by making examples of them, you would deter politicians like them who are otherwise inclined to act like they do.

I'm also confident that, within a year—with the help of volunteers inside and outside your organization (take a look at the Gutenberg Project and Wikipedia for examples)—you could build an enormous website dedicated to this effort that would become a major element in putting a permanent end to victim disarmament in this country.

L. Neil Smith

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