Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 473, June 22, 2008

"The nifty thing about democracy is that it's
never over, no matter how many fat ladies sing."

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Letter from Jim Davidson with Reply from Scott Graves

Letter from Brian Nickerson

Letter from Robert Jackman

Letter from Marc V. Ridenour

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Dear Editor,

Re: "Letter from Scott Graves"

Scott Graves is upset because a 2002 Senate candidate in Colorado called for certain judges and police to be hung from lamp poles. As someone who has made similar comments about those who violate their oaths to defend the lives, liberty, and property of constitutes, I'm curious why he's upset. What exactly is wrong with saying that people who beat up civilians or sentence them to lengthy prison terms for non-violent victimless "crimes" ought to be killed, eviscerated, and displayed from highway overpasses, trees, and lamp posts?

Poor Scott was embarrassed to vote for Mr. Stanley. How terrible for him. Meanhile, Stanley seems to have been arrested and convicted for keeping and bearing arms in 2002, and was otherwise actually doing something for liberty in his life. Meanwhile, the Cato Institute did some analysis and concluded that effective libertarian races have cost the Republican party control of many seats in Congress.

Bob Barr has not decided to join the ranks of libertarians. Barr has decided to get involved in the fastest growing segment of the voting population, by joining a party with widespread ballot access because libertarians worked their behinds off to create it. With as much as 15% of the identifiable voting population being libertarian, it makes sense to get into one of the parties advocating liberty.

But, that doesn't mean Barr is a libertarian of any sort. He is a drug warrior and a terror warrior.

The war on drugs and the war on terror are wars on Americans. They are wars on our freedom, on our property, on our privacy, on our decency, on our families.

Bob Barr has been a criminal in support of tyranny in opposition to the lives, liberty, and property of Americans. He should not be given a free ride with his apology. Sorry doesn't feed the bulldog.

Where are his acts of contrition? And where was his opposition to the war on drugs when he appeared on Fox News two weeks before the Denver convention of the Libertarian Party and told Hannity and Colmes that he did not want to legalize all drugs? Where was his re-thinking of the Defense of Marriage Act when he appeared on CNN the day after receiving the nomination and said he thought it was the right thing to do? His vote for the USAPATRIOT act and his votes for the war in Iraq and funding for it are to be forgiven, he asks, because he was deceived by the Bush administration. I call shenanigans on all these excuses and usurpations.

The career of Bob Barr evinces a design to reduce the American people under the iron boot of despotism. If he was wrong, if he apologizes, then he can get the other former law enforcers like himself, and they can crawl on their knees over broken glass to the homes of every family they've destroyed with their vicious prosecutions of non-violent drug possession or sale. That might be an adequate act of contrition.

Meanwhile, another libertarian party, the Boston Tea Party, is hard at work this week putting together our ballot access work in Colorado and Florida. Visit us at


Jim Davidson

Reply to Mister Davidson from Scott Graves

Jim Davidson evades the first and most important point I made demonstrating the un-libertarian nature of Rick Stanley, I suspect because it demonstrates his hypocrisy on the issue of a Bob Barr Libertarian candidacy. Rick Stanley supported an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would make burning a U.S. flag a crime. This isn't something he did in his past or used to believe before coming over from being a Christian Militia whacko. This is a position he made a plank in his official platform as a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate, the top slot on the ballot in 2002.

No matter how many people in the party explained to him how that went against not only the party platform but the "Zero Aggression Principle", which is supposed to be our highest philosophical ideal, he ignored that advice and drove forward with his anti-Libertarian position. Still he was supported by the majority of the staff at The Libertarian Enterprise. That position made the job of party building even harder as it alienated civil rights types and made our other free speech planks seem hypocritical.

As for his position on murdering judges and police officers I had two problems with that. First off, Mr. Smith tells us that capital punishment should only be administered during the commission of a crime by the victim of that criminal. To go along and string up random people just because others who work in their field have done evil makes no sense. It certainly isn't justice and it certainly isn't libertarian. We aren't supposed to believe in collective guilt. Even if trials were to be held, doesn't that smack of the kind of thing a third world dictator does after seizing power?

The second reason I didn't like his position was because it was politically ignorant. This was less than a year after 9-11 and cop love was at a sycophantic all time high in this country. Coming out with not only an anti-cop position but a pro-cop killer position was the worst choice a candidate could make. Two years prior it would be edgy and maybe even cool to the younger set. At that time it was idiotic and it put us on the defense with gunnies, the exact crowd Rick was supposed to bring to us in droves. We must remember that in order to win elections you need lots of voters who want your candidates to represent them. Think of how many cops, judges, prosecutors and politicians are out there. Then think of how many family members and friends they have. Then think of all the people who have a generally positive view of any of those people. Congratulations, all of them are alienated by that position. Not a good way to win an election or grow a party.

Add to this, Rick Stanley would often publish wild Internet anti-Hispanic, anti-black and misogynistic rants, which he sent to every fracking media outlet whose e-mail address he could glom onto. Again, the guy who topped our 2002 legislative slate sending the media rants that would make a member of the KKK proud. Yeah, real great. Yet all we got from you guys at The Libertarian Enterprise was excuse after lame excuse why Rick was the Last, Best Hope for Liberty.

As for Stanley's quixotic arrest for carrying a gun on the State Capital grounds, you might want to ask Duncan Phillips about that little party. You see, Rick promised to pay for the legal expenses of everyone who protested with him. Then after Duncan went along and got arrested Rick didn't pony up for the lawyers. Talk about "hangin' high", that's where Rick left Duncan. Duncan then had to deal with the might and majesty of the Colorado Legal System all on his own. Not to mention that Rick so poorly organized the actual event that it got almost zero press and even less support from the gunny crowd that he was supposed to bring to us in droves.

So yes, I do detect the delicate scent of hypocrisy from these anti-Barr screeds. Especially in light of the support offered to a candidate whose active campaigning was rather un-libertarian. If Barr steps out of line, if he campaigns as a right wing tyrant who wants to turn the party toward support of draconian laws then by all means lets renew this discussion, but he would have to be pretty bad to be worse than Rick Stanley, golden boy of The Libertarian Enterprise. Until then lets be better than our opponents, lets be tolerant of those who once were our enemies. Because unless you plan to take power by force of arms you will need to win the hearts and minds of people who, like Bob Barr, at one time were our foes.

Scott Graves

[This discussion continued, but was undoubtedly of more interest to the writers than the rest of us... or at least to me, who is lacking in patience—Editor]

Re: "Letter from Scott Graves"

"So you didn't get your way. Grow up and get over it."

The attention-demanding gadfly telling other people to grow up. The irony is there for everyone to notice, I hope? I'd laugh if it were funny. Further there is the misstatement, or misunderstanding, (or outright obfuscation) of the objection to the Barr/Root ticket. The problem isn't that Barr/Root aren't sufficiently libertarian, it's that they're not libertarians at all. Libertarianism is not simply one field marker in a long line of political positions. It's a normative position with positive content. The distinction is primarily categorical, not numerical. It's not that Barr has advocated unlibertarian things in the past, he's done them. The man is a walking poster-child just behind Bill Bennett and John Yoo of everything libertarians (and, I used to once hope, Libertarians) are, by the very definition of the philosophy they ought to adhere to, supposed to intractably oppose.

Sure, Barr/Root may give the word libertarian more exposure, but they shall rob it of all its meaning in the process. If Bieser's prediction comes true, and there's a Giuliani/Gonzalez ticket for the LP in '12, and it gets the nomination, will Mr. Graves get up on his hind legs, thump his chest and tell us all to 'grow up' yet again? Or will he have the courage to admit that the radicals knew just what they were doing and talking about?

Brian Nickerson

If The Roads are Rolling, Why do we still need cars or gasoline 7 years later?

The Verrazzano Bridge, at least, seems to be moving at about 50 mph.


Which begs the question, Why haven't the video creators of this SHOW been nominated for special effects?

Robert Jackman

What the 2nd Amendment TRULY means!

Check out THIS one, folks!

Marc V. Ridenour

Re: "Of Course You Know, This Means War" by L. Neil Smith

Someone calling himself John Shuey blathered:

> So Mr. Smith, for the thirty-five plus years that your brand
> of libertarianism has been in existence big government has
> only gotten vastly bigger and our liberties have deteriorated
> to a mere shadow of what they once were. And you want to keep
> on keeping on?

> Just what was Albert Einstein's definition of insanity?

> You and the very small minority that support your myopic brand
> of libertarianism need to form a Pontificate and Purge Debating
> Society and allow the Libertarian Party to be...well...a political
> party, with all that term implies.


I will have more to say, very publically, and very soon, about this utter crap you and those like you are spewing. You all use exactly the same memorized phrases, so I suspect you're going to workshops on how to be a slimy politician just like the Big Boys.

On the other hand, I was there for all of those "thirty-five plus years". I got ten times the "normal" vote percentage when I ran for office—applying my principles to the task—and established a record that stood for a decade. When my principles were applied in Arizona in the 1990s, they were so remarkably effective that the national LP shut the Arizona LP down in a fit of pique and jealousy. That's what we've come to expect from creatures like you..

Get this into your tiny little brain for once and for all. It is you cowards and temporizers, you timid, timorous practitioners of pusillanimity that have always held the party back. We have had them to contend with first—before we could get on with other, more important matters—since the first year the LP existed.

On the contrary, it is you who will be driven out of the party, and you're lucky. You don't have to start a new party, there's a more appropriate organization waiting to receive you, presently headed by your heroes, the ever-pragmatic, ever practical, never principled George W. Bush and Mad Jack McCain.

We are not a small minority. Using every dirty trick in the book, Barr and Root were just barely able to overcome those who stood against them, and I assure you this struggle is very far from over. So enjoy your spastic little republicanoid moment while you can. The nifty thing about democracy is that it's never over, no matter how many fat ladies sing.

L. Neil Smith

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