Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 436, September 23, 2007

"First Day of Autumn"

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Letters to the Editor

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Letter from Tim Weaver

Letter from A. X. Perez

Letter from Bill Koehler

Letter from Al Newberry

Letter from J. Martin with Reply from L. Neil Smith

Another Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Nydra

Letter from Marc V. Ridenour

Yet Another Letter from A.X. Perez

The NEW Second Amendment!

On an internet board, there's this Swedish gunnie who posted a comment about Giuliani's comments about the NRA and his newfound stance on gun rights.

Giuliani comment in an interview: "Your right to bear arms is based on a reasonable degree of safety. . ."

This guy's reply on a forum:

"No Mofo!, it's based on your citizens right to walk up the steps of capitol hill and shoot you in the face and start over the government if you become a tyrant."

I told him that was the best and most succinct explanation as to the reasons for the 2A I'd ever heard. It's amazing that a foreigner gets the basis of our 2nd Amendment better than most Americans.

So, I came up with a NEW version of the Second Amendment:

"The ability to shoot government tyrants in the face and start the government over being necessary for a free state, the right of the individual citizen to keep, carry or own firearms of any type shall never be regulated."

Tim Weaver

No more Mr. Nice Guy

An article with the following headline was posted by the Miami Herald over the Net:

Police chiefs call for ban on assault weapons

I posted the following response:

To say that assault weapons should be banned because they are fashionable among criminals is absurd. That makes as much sense as saying that people should be imprisoned for dropping out of high school or for being victims of child abuse because such people are more likely to become criminals than people who stay in school or are not abused.

However,banning assault weapons and other firearms from private ownership makes it easier for police officials to extort bribes or otherwise abuse their power. I do not mean to accuse anyone of such behavior but the rights of disarmed subjects are easier to violate than those of armed citizens.

I won't impugn your morals if you won't try to strip me of my rights or the tools I need to defend them.

No more Mister Nice Guy. Unless I am aware of mitigating circumstances I am working on the assumption that any public official who calls for stricter gun control laws is in fact criminally abusing his power to collect bribes and graft or otherwise abuse his power and wishes to disarm his (her) victims. Calling for gun control should be a red flag that this is someone who is due to be investigated by honest cops, and investigative reporters who haven't sold their souls for exclusive excess to our (mis)rulers.

And it's time we start publicly, and loudly calling for these investigations in every possible venue.

A. X. Perez

The surrender option

I don't know if it's just a local commercial but it calls for congress not to surrender in Iraq.

But think about this for a moment. If the United States surrenders will Iraq make us form a new government that is friendly to their interests? Here's the best part will they come here and hunt down George Bush and let us hang him?

Surrender hmmmmm. . .

Bill Koehler

Uneducated Educated People

Hi L. Neil.

I enjoyed your article "Relining America's Birdcages" but was particularly struck by your comments about educators who are practically illiterate.

I work in a residential treatment facility for kids. I have a mere Associates degree in corrections, but I'm an avid reader and writer so I consider my education mostly to be independent of any learning institution. A coworker and I are constantly amazed at the documents and e-mails that come to us from people with Masters and Doctorate degrees. Poor spelling, even worse grammar, and the use of logic that wouldn't be suitable for a four-year-old. These are the people who see themselves as better than us lowly direct care workers. I should point out that my coworker is also an avid reader and writer. Both of us have been journalists. I have been an editor/publisher of my own offline and online zine in the past. Both of us, with our lesser degree levels, can write circles around all of our "superiors." Perhaps that's why we're accused of being disrespectful when we write scathing e-mails pointing out the ways in which the policies being implemented will only serve to harm the children we work with due to their tendency to reinforce negative behaviors and minimize personal responsibility.

It's a sad day we live in.

Al Newberry

Re: "Relining America's Birdcages", by L. Neil Smith

> If he's only half right, then a mere 300 letters could, in only half
> a year, change the editorial policy of the most left-wing
> metropolitan birdcage liners.

Why should L/libertarians care about the views of these papers or their readers? Could it be they care how the readers vote? Why?

Electoral politics has failed, so. . . let's do electoral politics! Vote for Ron Paul! Write to a newspaper's advertising manager! Write utilitarian arguments for freedom for a web publication!

Electoral politics has failed, so persuade the majority!

at JPFO: "Bringing the 'Boys' Back Home", by L. Neil Smith

> That corporation is Blackwater USA, which, under the guise of a
> private security company, has become an army unto itself, rivaling
> the government's forces in numbers and power. [. . .] and now they're
> establishing additional headquarters in Illinois and in California,
> creating what amounts to a string of private paramilitary bases.

The existence of viable private military competitors to the state is supposed to be the L/libertarian nirvana. Why aren't you pleased? Why don't you trust the market? Why do you now ask for a government strong enough to ban them?

Government has failed, so government must protect us from the market!

The L/libertarian doublethink about majority rule has had an effect similar to how the NRA has delegitimized the desire to keep and bear modern military firearms. Two branches say habeas corpus is gone; it happened here; Minarchism is delusional. Get people asking the wrong questions, and they've taken the worst damage from their allies.

Can we please cut through the doublethink, and figure out a self- consistent description of what we want? One that doesn't depend on the very small supply of saints, batmen, billionaires, honorable congressmen elected president who make vast sweeping changes but somehow aren't fuhrers, and bulk changes in human nature?

The ZAP seems right. Could we please follow it? For real this time?

J. Martin

To Which L. Neil Smith replied:

My dear Holder:

Elsewhere in The Libertarian Enterprise today, readers will find a letter to the editor from a J. Martin, who believes he's discovered contradictions in some of my recent writings. He begins, with regard to Relining America's Birdcages by asking why libertarians should care about "the editorial polic[ies]," as I put it, "of the most left-wing metropolitan birdcage liners" or the views of their readers? "Could it be," Martin asks, "[that] they care how the readers vote? Why?"

Well to begin with, it isn't so much how people vote, but what they think, and how they act. However many of us would dearly love to get off this ball of worm excrement, we live in its dominant culture, which is the direct consequence of the way most of its people think and act. If we feel that our lives, liberty, and property are placed in jeopardy by that, or if we believe we can recreate a culture that values political and economic liberty, and demonstrates a high degree of tolerance for individual differences, then not to act is stupidly irrational.

As somebody—you know, I think it was me—once said, in a democracy people get the kind of government they deserve—unfortunately, the rest of us get the kind of government they deserve, too.

If we decide (rightly) to act, one signpost along the road to freedom is the way people vote. Libertarians should view election results the opposite way that most people view them, as establishing a baseline to guide further action: reconnaissance, not the battle itself.

"'Electoral politics has failed'," Martin quotes me again, "so . . . let's do electoral politics! Vote for Ron Paul! Write to a newspaper's advertising manager! Write utilitarian arguments for freedom for a web publication! Electoral politics has failed, so [let's] persuade the majority!"

It is certainly true that electoral politics, at least as the Founder Fathers expected that it would operate, has failed. In fact, as I've written many times, it seems increasingly to select for the most stupid, evil, and insane among us. I've been back and forth about political action in my own mind at least a couple of times—it might be useful to remember that the article Martin cites here is a decade old.

I have often questioned the actual effectiveness of political action as a strategy or tactic for advancing individual liberty, but I never agreed with Robert LeFevre or his fellow electoral pacifists that "pulling a lever in a voting booth is the same as pulling a trigger".

I would certainly be contradicting myself if I believed that Ron Paul was going to win the 2008 election—the guy's against abortion and for closing the border, after all—but I don't. I regard his candidacy, like that of Barry Goldwater before him, to be a nice sharp cattle-prod applied to the system's tenderest parts, worth doing for that reason alone. And, exactly like Eugene McCarthy's candidacy, the main reason for supporting Ron, of course, is to end the insane War on Everything.

I've also attempted to convey on many occasions that it isn't necessary for a good idea—or a good collection of ideas—to win an election in order to change the culture, but an election may an effective vehicle—sometimes it may be the only vehicle—for bringing those ideas to the attention of the public. The Bolsheviks were only three percent of the Russian population, and the Americans only thirty-three, but, for better or worse, they both changed history forever.

As for Utilitarianism, that's a philosophy which holds, when you boil it down, that the end justifies the means. I don't believe that, I have never said or written that, and I take great care that the practical—not utilitarian—solutions I offer remain within principle.

Finally, with regard to Blackwater USA: who they are and what they do has absolutely nothing in common with the free market system. The are not competitors to the state, but its biggest boosters. They and their masters are mercantilists, not capitalists. They are extracting billions from the government—at our involuntary expense—while abusing people and murdering them, which is why the Iraquis want them out.

And it's why we should want them gone from this country, too. They add a layer of unaccountability that politicians find comforting. They'll be the ones who go door-to-door in the end, to confiscate your weapons.

"Can we please cut through the doublethink," Martin hastens to conclude, implying, as he brushes past, that I'm a "Minarchist" (a ministatist), "and figure out a self-consistent description of what we want?"

Sure. I want to live in a society totally devoid of any form of coercion. Since government is responsible for at least 99 percent of the coercion that happens, I guess that means I want to live in a society without government (as I believe I've been saying for 35 years or so). How such a society will operate is a subject I've written about in a couple of dozen books—which Martin should take care to read before he makes any more wild surmises about me—but I don't really care. First and foremost, we must stamp out the evil of coercion.

However Martin blathers on, saying that what we want shouldn't "depend on the very small supply of saints, [B]atmen, billionaires, honorable congressmen [or] elected president[s] who make vast sweeping changes but somehow aren't fuhrers, [or on] bulk changes in human nature". Clearly, he has read one of two of my books, but not very thoroughly.

I've never written about saints, or about even a single Batman, let alone Batmen, plural. I have written about a billionaire or two (William Wilde Curringer and Alexander Hope) who were goodguys and used their tons of money to change things (like George Soros and Bill Gates have tried to do for socialism). But I've written a lot more about "ordinary" people (no such thing exists, really) who changed things, too, when they happened to be in the right place at the right time.

More importantly, my characters are motivated, not by saintly virtue, but by a commendable desire for a better life for themselves and those they love—what Ayn Rand referred to as "greed". Let's get this straight once and for all, okay? My goodguys are motivated by greed.

Vast, sweeping changes do happen, all the time, of course. The Industrial Revolution, the Bill of Rights, germ theory. I'm sitting at a keyboard and will send this article for publication because of just such a change in our culture (which some credit a certain billionaire with). But, thanks largely to Robert Heinlein's influence, and unlike Marxists and Christians, I have never called for any change in human nature.

I don't know why this Martin keeps implying that I'm some sort of majoritarian. Another thing I've said freguently is that if everybody but me decided nobody should have guns, they'd still have to pry mine from my cold, dead cliches. I've also said that history was never made by a majority. I simply acknowledge that creating a free society will involve persuading a lot of people, but that's hardly an electoral matter.

Finally, Martin says, "The ZAP [Zero Aggression Principle] seems right. Could we please follow it? For real this time?" Why, sure. I follow it every day, myself, and try to get others to do so, as well. But as important as it is, it isn't ending this war, or getting rid of the damned income tax, the Patriot Act, or the department of Homeland Security.

What will accomplish that is introducing notions about freedom into society where they will be rejected, laughed at, and then finally absorbed and acted upon. Sometimes that process starts with electoral activity.

Hard work.

However libertarians are more adept at finding perfectly sensible sounding reasons to do nothing than anybody else I'm aware of, and Martin's letter is a good example of the genre. Libertarians can use institutions like electoral politics to turn the contradictory claims the state and its supporters make right back in their silly, ugly faces.

But electoral pacifism isn't an answer to anything.

L. Neil Smith

Tyranny Promises. Liberty Delivers. Cool, huh?

Sorry about now vacuous that last sentence in the letter I sent last week comes across.

I was not trying to get all West Coasty.

I was not bragging about cool line (although, would make cool logo for bumper sticker or coffee cup. hmmm.)

I was trying say that it is cool that a free society actually delivers while tyrannies only make promises.

For the sake of argument we will use the extreme example of religious ideology. Let us say I start my own Church, the Church of Christ the Anarchist. Let us say that the teachings of my Church are closer to the straight skinny than those of any other and that this is obvious from studying the teachings of my faith.

People will be drawn to my faith. They will convert in droves. We will sing and dance and rejoice.

But only if people are left alone to study the truth on their own.

If I try to use the power of the state to force people to convert I will convince many that my faith is the work of the Great Enslaver. Others will feel compelled to resist seeing the truth out of human stubbornness. In the end my faith will become a blasphemy against itself.

Tyranny promised to spread my "truth" but perverted it. Liberty allowed people to see my "truth" and drew them in.

And I think it's way cool that "a more perfect union, common defense, domestic tranquility, and the general welfare" are among the "blessings of liberty."

A.X. Perez

P.S.: Mr. Perez can be found in hiding from the Inquisition for his ideas of what he thinks God considers a joke.

Re: "Wipe Your Own Ass, America", by Mike Blessing

Walter Williams' Lobbyists Are Not the Problem, [see link]. The temptation to buy favors must be irresistible and sometimes necessary to stay in business. Congress can pass laws making legal what would be illegal if done by private industry. "If Archer Daniels Midland used goons and violence to stop people from buying sugar from Caribbean producers so that sugar prices would rise, making it easier for ADM to sell more of its corn syrup sweetener, they'd wind up in jail. If they line the coffers of congressmen, they can buy the same result without risking imprisonment."

Professor Hayek's solution: a law that reads "Whatever Congress does for one American it must do for all Americans. . . . If Congress makes payments to one American for not raising pigs, every American not raising pigs should also receive payments. Obviously, were there to be such a law, there would be reduced capacity for privilege-granting by Congress and less influence-peddling."

Hayek's solution might work better than ass wiping demands.

Random thoughts on some great ideas.


Red China KILLS people for organ transplants! "Killed to Order: A New Form of Evil."


See: "Killed to Order: A New Form of Evil", by Jack Kinsella

Jack Kinsella's commentary about Red China KILLING dissidents to sell their organs to transplant seekers is a tale of Absolute Evil!

We, the citizens of the United States of America, must take a very long look and our continuing to buy anything made in Red China.

Of course, it's a virtually hopeless effort—after all, almost nothing is made in the USA anymore.

Marc V. Ridenour


Massad Ayoub writes a column titled "Self Defense and the Law" for Combat Handguns Magazine. In it he regularly points out that unscrupulous prosecutors and civil attorneys will seek to penalize you for exercising your right to self defense. One thing that makes such people's life easier is if you cancel out or disable safety mechanisms in a firearm. This can be presented as evidence of reckless disregard, if not malicious intent, in a court of law. You may have a "good reason" for disabling a safety mechanism (Improving trigger pull for sporting competition is the usual reason). however Ayoub explains how this can cost you years of your life and/or large sums of money.

Any government powerful enough to defend people's rights is powerful enough to destroy them. When the Constitution was written its proponents had to address this concern, both because they were afraid of such abuse and to sway their opponents to at least give their new Constitution a whirl. They included safeties in the original Constition and added more in the Bill of Rights.

Many people get carried away in trying to use the power of government to make a better world. They get impatient with the "safeties" in the Constitution, feeling it makes the government too inefficient. Others, driven by a will to power, want to get past these restrictions. Both groups try to cancel out safeties in the Constitution.

Cancelling out safeties in guns is considered by many to constitute reckless disregard of the rights of others, if not criminal malice, to be punished by law. Governments are more powerful weapons then guns. So what does that make trying to cancel out the safeties in the Constitution?

A.X. Perez

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