Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 449, December 30, 2007

"Lives of Drudgery and Servitude"

  Table of Contents Contents Next Next

Letters to the Editor

Send Letters to
Note: All letters to this address will be considered for
publication unless they say explicitly Not For Publication

[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 Alan R. Weiss

Letter from A. X. Perez

Letter from Jack Chleva

Letter from Robert Sheets

Letter from Ron Paul

Letter from Adam Harris

Letter from Curt Howland with comment by Ed Heistand

Letter from Julius No

Letter from Don Wilson

Letter from Dave Earnest With Reply from L. Neil Smith

New Liberty-oriented book available as an affordable download!

Flight from Eden is written by my good friend of mine, Kathryn A. Graham, a private investigator, security expert, airplane pilot/mechanic, and professional writer. It is a terrific read, and is now available as a download (as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file—you read it on your computer!). The price is only $4.99, and since it is a download, there is NO shipping fee at all!

This is eBay item number 250199851107

Ebay says that the bid price is $4.99, but that's only because we couldn't figure out how to list it as a Buy Now item. There is an unlimited supply of this book, since it is being marketed as a download. Rest assured that Kate will personally send you the details.

This book has a very strong plot that kept moving nicely, good characterization, and an interesting premise with some real page turners.

This link makes the download automatic. Saves a step for those who want to buy.

Happy Reading,

Alan R. Weiss

[This book was reviewed in TLE (twice!) in 2004. Still highly recommended!—Editor]

This isn't an attempt to cover for Bush's and his neocon buddies foreign adventures, tortures, or violation of human rights of the enemies they've gotten the US into fights with in Southwest Asia and elsewhere. This sure as hell isn't an attempt to cover for their attempts to "end run" the Bill of Rights domestically.

Let us not get sentimental for the Taliban or Al Quaida in Iraq or anywhere, the Sadr militia, ad nauseum, etc.. These guys really are bad guys, the best of them good men suckered into the service of evil. And yes, they are angry at us for butting in in their part of the world. Just remember that one of the things they hate us for is our attempts to export secular democracy to their homelands. They really do hate our freedom, they want it the hell out of their homelands, and they won't be broken hearted about coming to America and ending it here.

The question thus becomes not whether we should oppose these people, but how. And the answer Mr. Bush and company are giving isn't the right one, at least big chunks of it are wrong because, whether you support the overseas military interventions or not, in too many ways the neocons are choosing to become like the enemy they claim to oppose and to crush the freedom in America and overseas they claim to be fighting to protect. This failure cannot be tolerated and must be opposed in all peaceful manners.

But never forget that Al Quaida and the neocons deserve each other.

To quote Edith Ann, "and that's the truth."

A. X. Perez

Re: "Why Did Ron Paul Give Up on the LP?" by Christine Smith

"Why did Ron Paul leave the Libertarian Party?"

A rhetorical question?


I left the "Big L" libertarian party because of two reasons:

1) Endorsement of same sex marriage (a contradiction in terms), and

2) An insane open-borders policy that obliterates any concept of nation.

I am not a Christian, nor am I one that is repelled by the Spanish language. My wife (for what it is worth) is a naturalized American citizen of Venezuelan birth. I'm still a registered Libertarian (soon to officially change). I've come to realize that despite the religious overtones, the Constitution Party (and the maturity it's members) are both more in line with my thinking—a simple return to Constitutional government being my prime political consideration.

Since the days of trying to Live Free in an Unfree World, the Libertarian Party and movement has evolved into groups of Libertines divided by petty ideologues who will individually claim ideological purity as some badge of honor. The Libertine /Libertarians condemn the Good as the enemy of the Perfect, and well, dammit, if they can't have their purity , they will, by god (small 'g', of course), take their ball and go home.

The leftist/doper-wing of the Libertine/Libertarians always seem to have a hair up their kazoo against anyone who doesn't agree with them on the 'homosexuality as normal" line...and if you dare to claim that you don't want the United States to be as Mexico, then, well,'re just a gay-hating racist. And if you believe in God, then, ipso facto, you must be at least half-crazy.


The Libertine/Libertarians are their own worst enemy.... and if the examples I've been exposed to on some of their web discussion groups are any indication, they are a cross-section that has more than t the average share of a$$holes within, as well.

I used to think that the accusations of others (Republicrats, Neocons, et al) that Libertarians were essentially leftist were hollow...not anymore. The two main issues listed above, and that subsumed under them, is the reason I've left the Libertarian movement. Many of us find more in common with the Constitution Party , and the left-wing of the Libertine Party is foolish, intolerant, and decadent.

Jack Chleva

Talk about a goverment stripping a country!

You should research the history of the island of Nauru. Stripped to coral to get its phosperous.... then they decided to let anyone start a bank on the island for $20,000. Most of the billions of $$$ that disappeared from the disolving Soviet Union was laundered through Nauru.

Robert Sheets

December 17, 2007

What a day! I am humbled and inspired, grateful and thrilled for this vast outpouring of support.

On just one day, in honor of the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the new American revolutionaries brought in $6.04 million, another one-day record. The average donation was $102; we had 58,407 individual contributors, of whom an astounding 24,915 were first-time donors. And it was an entirely voluntary, self-organized, decentralized, independent effort on the internet. Must be the "spammers" I keep hearing about!

The establishment is baffled and worried, and well they should be. They keep asking me who runs our internet fundraising and controls our volunteers. To these top-down central planners, a spontaneous order like our movement is science-fiction. But you and I know it's real: as real as the American people's yearning for freedom, peace, and prosperity, as real as all the men and women who have sacrificed for our ideals, in the past and today.

And how neat to see celebrations all across the world, with Tea Parties from France to New Zealand. This is how we can spread the ideals of our country, through voluntary emulation, not bombs and bribes. Of course, there were hundreds in America.

As I dropped in on a cheering, laughing crowd of about 600 near my home in Freeport, Texas, I noted that they call us "angry." Well, we are the happiest, most optimistic "angry" movement ever, and the most diverse. What unites us is a love of liberty, and a determination to fix what is wrong with our country, from the Fed to the IRS, from warfare to welfare. But otherwise we are a big tent.

Said the local newspaper: "The elderly sat with teens barely old enough to vote. The faces were black, Hispanic, Asian and white. There was no fear in their voices as they spoke boldly with each other about the way the country should be. Held close like a deeply held secret, Paul has brought them out of the disconnect they feel between what they know to be true and where the country has been led."

Thanks also to the 500 or so who braved the blizzard in Boston to go to Faneuil Hall. My son Rand told me what a great time he had with you.

A few mornings ago on, I saw a YouTube of a 14-year-old boy that summed up our whole movement for me. This well-spoken young man, who could have passed in knowledge for a college graduate, told how he heard our ideas being denounced. So he decided to Google. He read some of my speeches, and thought, these make sense. Then he studied US foreign policy of recent years, and came to the conclusion that we are right. So he persuaded his father to drop Rudy Giuliani and join our movement.

All over America, all over the world, we are inspiring real change. With the wars and the spying, the spending and the taxing, the inflation and the credit crisis, our ideas have never been more needed. Please help me spread them in all 50 states. Victory for liberty! That is our goal, and nothing less.


Ron Paul

I started reading TLE when Windows 3.0 was new. I hard copied most of the articles and passed them out to friends.

Nowadays, many libertarian sites do as well or better than you guys, and they do it everyday, or at least several times a week.

You want me to pay your power bill?

Do something worth paying for.

You do so much begging nowadays you seem little more than wannabe parasites.

Adam Harris

[Well, sir, as a Reader Supported publication, we have to remind Our Readers that we are Reader Supported. TANSTAAFL and all. And we also remind them that IF they find us worth reading THEN perhaps they could help keep us going. If not, then not.—Editor]

On Thursday 20 December 2007, Chris Snyder was heard to say:

> interesting theory, kinda hope it true, not that I'm all that
> excited about any "state" having a monopoly on violence, or
> anything else for that matter.
> Interisting source as well
> -----------------------------------
> ----------------------------------

Somewhere on there's an audio file of Mises giving a talk on how "the state" was a fantastic invention", much the way that this author does. I even agree, as far as it goes.

Here is the problem: there was no lack of government in 16th century France, his first example of casual (even sadistic) violence. What was different about Holland and England where this author states the sea-change concerning violence first took hold?

Trade. Recognition of the individual. Technology.

Trade: I found the reference to "zero sum" game theory interesting. So many people do not recognize that trade is a "positive sum" game. Once that recognition takes hold, even if only subconsciously, war (a negative sum game) isn't so attractive.

The Individual: Once an awareness that "society" is merely a collection of individuals, that people are not merely tools but each as valuable to themselves as I am to me, torture and slavery become much less attractive. "There but for {insert supposedly benevolent deity here} go I." The Jury springs to mind as an excellent example of this attitude.

The Equalizer: When the "monopoly on violence" includes complete technological superiority over ones subjects, one walks as a God. Justice is whatever you say it is. Why is anyone surprised that such an invulnerable "Knight in Shining Armor" would turn out to be a thug? Yet where the general population is armed, peace becomes the norm.

So from chaotic individual tribes all scrabbling around on a subsistence level, we become interdependent specialists, with an awareness of the value of our trading partners as partners rather than subjects, and with the power to defend ourselves as individuals from violence regardless of the source.

Sounds like a worthy sea-change to me.

Now, if we can convince the author that "anarchy" does not equal "chaos", maybe we can move on to the next level of cooperation: The elimination of the monopoly on coercion as a valid form of regulating peaceful interactions.

Curt Howland


A friend of mine wrote a companion piece to my letter yesterday in reply to "On Violence and Civilization". He's asked me to "do as I will", and if possible could it be put up along with mine?



I enjoyed your article. It prompted me to write this rejoiner. Feel free to share it as you will.

I tend to believe that violence in endemic to humanity. It certainly has been with us as long as we can piece together any picture of the past's records, from the caveman days where we can find skulls crushed and broken by primitive stone tools all the way through to today's news of genocides, warfare, and criminal activity. All it takes is being in a relatively stronger position to some other human being and a willingness to choose the quick, short-term gain over the longer-term benefits that can accrue via more peaceful interactions.

The first "governments" basically codified this violence. Some slightly brighter tough-guy ancestor basically promised his potential victims "Give me a cut of your earnings from now on and I'll see to it that nobody else takes a cut of your stuff." Weaker folks figured that paying a regular cut was better than losing it all from time to time. After all, it's the same principle that insurance is based on today, although our mythical ancestor probably reinforced his idea with the threat of "or else I'll just take it all now myself", which is not part of modern business practices.

Most primitive societies kept up this level of violence, at least at the implied level. At that time, to free up a large enough portion of the population to be able to build the architecture and artwork, the vast majority had to be forced into rather abject servitude or slavery. There really was little choice. It took the labor of large numbers of the populace to free up a few to pursue mathematics, science, and the arts. But that rough beginning set us on a course to ever better technology and philosophy. With more power at the command of each individual, fewer and fewer were required to support the number of people involved in developing the boundaries of knowledge, so that nowadays we can envision a life where anybody should be free to follow his own ideals.

This particular ideal was not strongly in force even in the previous cultures that we now acknowledge as being particularly free and tolerant. The ancient Greek democracies were very limited in who got the power to vote or even to voice an opinion in the forums. Slavery was widespread, and mostly recognized as necessary. During the Roman Republic, conquered peoples were allowed to maintain their own religions and cutstoms (a very liberal idea for the time), but they were still oppressed with heavy taxation and tribute. The English Magna Carta was a document protecting the rights of the nobility from infringement by the King. It took several centuries after taht for the common man in England to begin to enjoy the benefits of live under a system of law rather than under the whim of his lord. Even the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution ended up supporting slavery in their plan of government, even though several were personally opposed to it.

But the basic trend does continue. That as more technology pervades a culture, the result is that more people are freed from living lives of drudgery and servitude.

That said, increasing technology is not a universal benefit to all. None of the share croppers in the Midwest got rich from farming. By the early 1900's most of the lands in Oklahoma through Nebraska were depleted and farmed out (mostly from the methods used in the day). When the Depression rolled in, coupled with the dust storms that finished off much of the depleted farm lands, the land owners were desperate to make the land turn profitable once again. Thus began the advent of the large commercial farming activity in this country. Using tractors to till the soil and fertilizer to replenis it, they were able to stave off destruction for themsleves. But in doing so, thousands of the small share croppers were thrown off their farms to live or perish by their own wits. The advent of the modern commercial farm did end up freeing thousands from the back-breaking job of share cropping, in the long run. But at the time, it turned those thousands into a vagabond army that rolled across the land looking for any kind of employment, with hundreds failing and dying.

So for us, the main lesson is not just that we should learn to embrace the new techology for its benefits, but also that we should learn how to make the paradigm shifts more painless, especially for those caught up most severely in the change. Technology is our most potent weapon against violence. But if the changes brought about by new technology create a social class who only resent the change, then all you've done is sown the seeds for more violence in the hearts of those people who feel displaced and abandoned.

Ed Heistand

From Alcohol Can be a Gas!

Why Megaoilron is Obsessed with Controlling the Press

What follows is a story about Will Rogers, as told by Utah Phillips.

I was thinking lately about old Hank Penny. Hank Penny was an old man. I don't know if he's still extant. We shared a park bench together in San Diego some years ago. Well, Hank Penny was an early Grandpa Jones. He played the banjo and the fiddle and the guitar and told tales and sang old songs.

He told me on that park bench that in the early days of radio, he had been on the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast in the history of the known universe. I questioned him about that and he said, "Yes, it emanated from Camden, New Jersey. It was sponsored by Standard Oil of New Jersey." He said he was in the studio tuning his instruments and he understood that there were people out on the poles all the way across the country physically holding the wires together so they wouldn't blow down, because this would be the first time anybody was going to actually speak to millions of people all at the same time. That's extraordinary. "Well the Master of Ceremonies," he told me, "was the great Will Rogers."

Hank Penny said he overheard Will Rogers talking to the president of Standard Oil who was there for that historic occasion. And Will Rogers said, "You know, I'm about to talk to millions of people for the first time. Now, Caesar couldn't do it, Alexander couldn't do it, but I'm about to do it, so it probably better be important. What do you think I oughta talk about?"

The president of Standard Oil said, "Well, I think you should remind the people out there that Standard Oil of New Jersey is a service company." Will Rogers didn't understand what he meant. He walked around and thought about it for a while, and then they put him in front of the microphone and threw the switch, and there he was alive in front of all of America and parts of Mexico and Canada for the first time, millions of people. He said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I've been asked to offer a few remarks about Standard Oil of New Jersey, and especially as regards their policy of service, and I didn't know what that meant.

I cast my mind back to my daddy's ole ranch in Oklahoma years ago and remembered that we had a big stud bull ...—"he's talking to millions of people, ya know—"... and the neighbors would bring their cows by for service. I didn't understand what that meant. I asked my daddy "Daddy, what is this service we've been offering,' and my daddy said,

"You're too young to know about that, son. Nature will provide that information in due course, and by the time you got it, you'll be so glad you got it, you won't care where it came from.'" They always tell little kids that.

"Well, I was disappointed, but then my daddy went away on a selling trip; he sold lightning rods part time for a firm out of Des Moines, Iowa. The hired hands were out stretching wire, and I was up at the big house alone, and a neighbor came by, leading a cow, asking for service. I thought this was my opportunity to find out what that might be. I run him into the pen, closed the gate, clambered up on the top rung, sat down there to watch.

"My neighbor said, "Get down off of there, son, you're too young to know about that," and he sent me packin'. Well, I was sort of disappointed, but I knew around back of that pen there was a high board fence, and in that fence were some knotholes. I snuck around quiet, rolled some cordwood up against the fence, clambered up on it, put my eye up to one of them knotholes, and I peered through. And, ladies and gentlemen, I saw right there in front of me exactly what it is Standard Oil has been doing to the people all these years."

Julius No

Please read this quote it is from Alexander Hamilton and provides a historical proof of his beliefs and his animosity to our freedom and the Constitution which he considered too constraining of government as early as this quote at least.

I would like to see what he really thought about the Bill of Rights.

I would bet he couldn't sit still thinking about the first ten Amendments and probably threw things in private. (A nice novel idea: what if his personal plans for a monarchy had succeded and then in a time around 2007 a new American Revolution happened?)

"The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed."
—Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 23, 17 December 1787)

Don Wilson

Why men are Republicans:

Dave Earnest

To Which L. Neil Smith Replies:

Ah, but you should see Libertarian women!

L. Neil Smith

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates. We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
  Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 449, December 30, 2007

Big Head Press