Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 419, May 27, 2007

"What is ad hoc government?"

Letters to the Editor

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[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear, otherwise we will use the information in the "From:" header!]

Letter from E.J. Totty

Letter from Albert Perez

Letter from Drew Williams

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from An Anonymous Reader

Letter from Ryan Costa with a Reply from L. Neil Smith


Re.: "Letter from Curt Howland"

I've taken to including the following information in all of the discussion lists I frequent:


See his Official office here:

See his campaign office here:

Read his thoughts on a whole range of issues here:

And remember: If his name isn't on the ballot, WRITE IT IN!

E.J. Totty

The news media announced on the 22nd of May 2007 that Congress has voted to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through next year to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars, no strings attached. This was called a compromise. President Bush apparently gave up nothing in return.

How is this a compromise?

More importantly, the folly of "compromise" to get votes for the Libertarian Party is clearly illustrated. Until "compromise" is not a synonym for "abject surrender," it is not a viable tactic.

albert perez

I've been a reader of The Libertarian Enterprise for a number of years as I am libertarian in my beliefs. I'm writing you to encourage you to officially support Ron Paul for President and encourage your readers to also support him, financially or however possible. One theme I've always found at TLE is the hope for real political change, smaller government. Ron Paul represents possibly the last, and certainly the best chance for such change. People are responding to his message, he is growing in popularity by the day and now is the time for influential organizations like TLE to live up to their revolutionary message.

Ron Paul's performance in the 2nd debate received a great deal of media attention and praise. He's scheduled to be on Bill Maher's HBO show this Friday, as well as The Daily Show. People like Ron because they can see that he's a real person, not some politician putting on a show. They also see that he's intelligent, consistent and sincere.

Please support Ron Paul for President.

Drew Williams

[We already have. See Issue 417 and this and many other recent issues of TLE—Editor]

Please note that the two-hour Second Amendment radio show I did this morning with Michael Badnarik can be found archived at

where it can be listened to online, or downloaded in a couple of different formats.

L. Neil Smith

Proposed 28th Amendment: Right to detect Congressional mendacity.

Whereas the people of the United States rely on labial motion to detect prevarication by members of The United States Congress:

Section One. No person knowledgeable, trained, or skilled in the arts of ventriloquism may hold office in or seek election to the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States of America; neither shall any person unable to move their mouth or lips due to illness or injury be eligible to serve in Congress.

Section Two. No member of the House of Representatives or Senate may seek to learn the ventriloquist's arts on pain of loss of office and pension for service in Congress.

Section Three. No person may instruct or train members of Congress in the Ventriloquist's arts.

Section Four, Any Members of the House of Representatives or the Senate who suffer illness or injury leading to labial paralysis and forced to learn how to speak without moving their lips shall be required to give up their office but shall keep full pay and privileges.

An Anonomous Reader

Hello Mr.Smith,

Here is what I don't understand about Ayn Rand. Most of it is after reading Atlas Shrugged. Twice.

Every country the United States has a trade deficit with has either much greater government control than the United States, or insurmountable poverty, or both. Nearly every proponent of Ayn Rand is some kind of social science or philosophy graduate who doesn't do much for a living but get people riled up about taxes, then hooks them on to a train of expensive foreign entanglements. Every Hero in Atlas Shrugged is mostly some kind of hack mechanic or physical engineer, or some other such person with few formal credentials.

The MacTaggart Transcontinental Railroad's history doesn't match the history of any Railroad in the United States. It would be impossible for it to do so. In a hypothetically free market world each additional acre distance of land would cost more than the previous unit of land.

The United States triumphed industrially through getting in early, great protectionism and isolationism (geographic and cultural), and other un-liberterian conditions. It is a mistake to frame the 19th century as a triumph of liberterianism, and to reframe that as a liberterian decade. What it was was a triumph of emptyness, isolation, distance from convention and the freedom of being a hick and a hillbilly.

Ayn Rand is mostly an example of Russianism. That is too say, any political or socio-economic paradigm will always suck under Russianism. She is the Lenin of Capitalism.

No economist or philosopher has really caught up with the Steam Engine yet, let alone the telegraph wire. Thorstein Veblen comes the closest, his ideas may have even anticipated the effect of television.

By default Ayn Rand-ites are just shills for exporting more manufacturing and subsidizing greater suburban sprawl.

Have a nice day,

Ryan Costa

L. Neil Smith Replied

Dear Mr. Costa:

You have written me an interesting letter which I will print—and reply to—in the virtual pages of The Libertarian Enterprise . Look for it next Sunday.

I do, however, detect more than a bit of ideological bias in what you've written, and a rather dismaying need for further education. The first thing you need to know is that the term "trade deficit" is utterly meaningless, both syntatically and economically. Just to be brief, here, I have a serious, lifelong "trade deficit" with regard to Safeway. I buy thousands of dollars' worth of groceries and other things from them every year, and, to my knowledge, they've never bought anything at all, from me.

The bastards.

Yes, it's true that Ayn Rand had a soft spot in her head for corporations. Her philosophical decendents (you're communicating with one of them right now) have begun to fix that. I don't know where you found my writings, but try TLE's archives, or my book of essays, Lever Action to see more. I identified corporations as being as great a threat to individual liberty as governments a long, long time ago.

What Ayn Rand did was devise a system of ethics that doesn't depend on Authority of any kind—divine or temporal—and is consistent with the laws of nature as we presently understand them. For this alone, it's fair to say that she's more than earned the right to be wrong on other issues.

You're quite wrong, yourself, about railroads. Rand based hers on the Northern Pacific (James Jerome Hill actually did throw a politician down a flight of stairs) which did remarkable things without the bludgeon of government to "help". Likewise, you're quite mistaken about what made the United States the remarkable economic power it became. I can name you six other countries with the "advantages" you list, and most of them are still banana satrapies. England, on the other hand, had almost none of those advantages, and it preceded the United States in economic innovation and power.

The people who made up the stuff you're parroting are/were deeply invested in controlling the lives of others, and desperate to find some alternative explanation for a phenomenon that was the pure and simple product of freedom. I urge you to read How Capitalism Saved America by my friend Thomas Di Lorenzo.

If you're still looking to Veblen, you're in a bad way. If you need to work your way up to DiLorenzo gradually, read some Gabriel Kolko. Then read some Milton Friedman. The read some Murray Rothbard. Finish with Tom (you'd love his books on Lincoln, they're savagely anti-corporate) and you might just start to be conversant in these areas. You've obviously been lied to so much by the schools and the media that you don't know which way is up.

Get back to me in a year or so, hmm?

L. Neil Smith

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