Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 440, October 21, 2007

"A crowbar works wonders."

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Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Ann Morgan

Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from Jim Davidson

Reviews Requested!

The author and artists of The Probability Broach: the Webcomic and Roswell, Texas are asking you and anybody else you know to write reviews of those two projects for publication anywhere you can get them published. We believe that both represent a sort of communications revolution, and are unprecedented for their size and scope in the field.

You don't have to be any kind of professional at this to have opinions about what delights you and what disgusts you, and write them down. We'll provide you, if need be, with a list of possible places to send them to. We don't ask to see them in advance, as that wouldn't be decent. All we ask is that you send us copies once your reviews have been published,

Roswell, Texas:



L. Neil Smith

Regarding the Letter by J. Martin:

Dear Editor:

I think it is both rude and counterproductive to the cause of freedom, for J. Martin to insult L. Neil Smith's idea of writing letters to advertisers and say that we should spend our time developing and/ or using video blogging programs instead. I think that those who love freedom have enough enemies in the forms of various mutations of tyrants, without turning on one another.

The fact that writing letters to advertisers may not be as effective as video blogging in aiding the cause of freedom (I don't know enough to state which is actually more effective) is irrelevant. The questions J. Martin needs to be asking himself are:

1. Would writing letters to advertisers HARM the cause of freedom?

2. Would writing letters to advertisers HELP the cause of freedom, however slightly?

If writing letters to advertisers does not harm the cause of freedom, then J. Martin should not be criticizing it. If, in addition, it would HELP the cause of freedom, even a little bit, he should probably, if anything, be recommending it. Why? Because first of all, there are some people or some situations for which video blogging may be the best freedom-preserving action to take, but there are probably other people or situations for which writing letters to advertisers may be the best freedom preserving action to take. Claiming that YOUR pet freedom preserving action is the only acceptable one, even IF it can somehow be proven to be the most effective one for most people under most situations, is the same logic used to impose monocracy on people. Not everyone is the same, and even if video blogging is the most favored and effective way of preserving freedom for 99 out of 100 people, it would be foolish to demand that the 100th person engage in it as well, if they personally prefer or find to be more effective the writing of letters to advertisers.

By Martin's logic, would he also forbid Smith (who is diabetic) from injecting himself with insulin, since taking insulin is harmful to the majority of people, who are NOT diabetic? Such an action would be foolish, the fact that taking insulin is inappropriate or harmful to most people in most situations does NOT mean it is inappropriate or harmful to Smith, since his situation (being diabetic) is different than that of most people. That is the entire definition of freedom, that a person can choose whatever action they want to choose, and not be bound by what others choose, so long as they do not actually harm others.

I would suggest that J. Martin could have phrased his suggestion far more politely and constructively by not insulting Smith's idea at the same time. He should have said something along the lines of "Yes, Smith's idea is a good one, for dealing with certain situations such as anti-gun newspapers. Here is another good idea of my own, for dealing with other sorts of situations, such as when you are about to be beaten or arrested by the police. The use of both ideas, in situations that are appropriate to them, can be part of a many-pronged approach to preserving freedom and human rights".

Sincerely yours,

Ann Morgan

Where will it all end?

Re: "Letter from Andrew G. Eggleston Sr."

Schools used to reduce students to an unthinking compliance to the rulers' will. Parents in dutch for failing to raise their children in a politically correct manner. Where will it end?

It will end with our children (in my case grandchildren, my daughters are adults) being raised in state barracks to protect them from parents' pernicious effects. Only the fact that children go mad, sicken and die if they do not have parental affection for the first few years of life will allow parents to keep their children until they reach the age of five.

At five they will be gathered to their barracks (which will be labeled as "publicly maintained boarding schools") and raised according to the needs of the state as predicted in Huxley's Brave New World. called for in Plato's Republic, and practiced in ancient Sparta.

There will be no neglect, no molestation, and no abuse. There will be no racism. There will be no cultic mysticism. Everyone will be educatated to the best of their abilities and psychological profiles according to the needs of society. They will all grow up to have useful, productive, satisfying lives. They will be trained to defend themselves from criminal assault and even allowed to own weapons that suit their temperaments.

It will be hell.

This will not be caused by liberals, progressives, conservatives, atheists, fundamentalists or a ny other single group. It will be the result of a hundred and another hundred laws, court decisions, regulations, and policies reaching their logical fruition. And one morning we will wake up in hell, and not know how we got there, or possibly even recognize that that is where we are.

Unless we make a hundred and another hundred acts of will to prevent it from happening each and everyone of us.

Writing this letter is my first.

"One hundred and ninety acts of will on the wall. . ."

Like you expected me not to go out with a joke or a question?

A.X. Perez

Dear Editor,

When the USA was founded, English Merchantilism was well established. Founding Fathers like John Hancock had made their livelihoods as smugglers. When the new Constitution was proposed, it seemed perfectly reasonable that some of the rationalizations used to support Merchantilism would make it into the powers of the new, more powerful central government.

Thus has the USA been burdened with Copyright and Patent.

When the durations were actually "for a limited time", and the scope of their coverage limited, the negative effects of these Merchantilist programs were far less, and much harder to use as arguments against the systems themselves.

However, now that the scope and duration of Copyright and Patent have been expanded beyond all Original Intent, the negative effects of these systems is easy to see.

"Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat & Novell—Just Like Ballmer Predicted"

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act was just another small step.

Curt Howland

Parking safety hazards? Easily fixed!

Dear Editor,

Jim Lesczynski very aptly describes the attitudes of NYPD and other parking offenders in his essay "Free Parking for Me, but Not for Thee".

I went to college in NYC and remember well many of the abuses of the NYPD. Not only were they inclined to ignore badness by their fellow blues-wearing claque, they were disinclined to do their jobs. A great many photos exist of NYPD uniformed officers standing by while, within view of the same camera at the same moment, someone was being robbed, raped, murdered, or beaten. The notion that these vile scum do anything to serve the people of NYC or protect them from even the most tentative threat is not supported by any evidence.

So, what to do about cars which create actual safety hazards, such as those blocking fire hydrants or intersections? Especially those appearing repeatedly in those locations?

Quite simple. A campaign of civil disobedient retaliatory force is in order. Vehicles parked in a manner that create safety hazards are harming actual victims who have an actual property in their own safety. So, it is not wrong to use force in defense of the lives, liberty, and property of those victims. Anyone can do it.

All you need is a pea shooter and a push pin, if we are to take the advice of Jean Merrill in her delightful novel, _The Pushcart War_ or a monkey wrench if we are to take the advice of Edward Abbey in his darker novel, _The Monkey Wrench Gang_. A sharp knife is a good tool. A crowbar works wonders.

Simply put, why should cars blocking fire hydrants have inflated tires? Why should they have windows? What possible advantage to the victims of these hazards to safety would un-keyed doors and fenders be? Is it reasonable to suppose that headlamps are needed by retired pigs who are sanctimonious in their demand for obeisance by the people they supposedly protect?

No. I say, no. No way.

Create a hazard to safety, lose a window. You might not get towed by the city tow truck for blocking a fire hydrant, but you'll need a tow if two or three of your tires are flat. Your paint job ought to suffer.

There's nothing funny about a block of houses going up in flames because some fat donut eating porcine tax farmer blocked a fire hydrant. There's nothing rational about withholding defensive and retaliatory force against a clear and present danger.

The only question is whether New Yorkers are willing to take action. And, that, my friends, is the real question. Much as I admire the work of the Manhattan LP, whose toy gun giveaway is stuff of legend, I do not expect many New Yorkers to do anything. I lived among them. I saw unspeakable disregard for others.

Many of them are cowed by the very same things that Karen Kwiatkowski points out in her recent essay keep Americans quiet about the war and the loss of their liberties.

New Yorkers fear being hurt by the cops. New Yorkers fear losing their government benefits if they make waves. New Yorkers fear getting involved, because the witnesses and complainants and victims of crimes are treated with the same shabby disregard that the criminals are occasionally given by police who, as beneficiaries of money stolen from taxpayers have more in common with criminals than with victims. (And judging by their published attitudes on parking in hazard of public safety, scoff at the law, as well.)

The sheep turn on the wolves? Not a chance. But, in every analogy, there are many permutations. There are sheep dogs as well as sheep, and there are other barnyard beasts and even wild animals in New York, to simply extend the metaphor. It isn't that hard to wear costumes at Hallowe'en. In winter time, it is easy to wear scarves and masks. So, people who wanted to get involved need not expose their identities to the endless surveillance cameras in the city.

And many people, young, old, homeless, or activist, really don't have that much to lose. Since the cops won't police traffic hazards by permit abusing pigs, perhaps the people who have time to take action would.

But I'm not holding my breath.


Jim Davidson

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