Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 485, September 21, 2008

"The American Empire, like all empires, is about to end."

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Never Forgive, Never Forget
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Forty years ago, whenever a guest character on a TV crime drama displayed firearms—or big game trophies—on a back wall of his home or office, you immediately knew who the villain would turn out to be. Apparently, in the pathetically ignorant view of Hollywood and New York writers, who know nothing of reality, gun ownership and hunting were attributes limited to murderers—usually rich ones—and thieves.

Later, individuals sufficiently concerned about the direction that their country was taking to equip themselves for the protection of their homes and families, and make other provisions against a collapse of the economy—or of civilization in general—were invariably vilified by TV's "dominant culture" as poor, illiterate political and religious fanatics, violent wife beaters, child abusers, racists, and neonazis.

Take a look around now, as the price of gas soars, the housing industry crumbles, and the dollar disintegrates, and tell us who was wiser.

Those of us—early libertarians, genuine conservatives, even the rare enlightened liberal—who knew better than this, suffered these propagandistic calumnies in varying degrees of silence (it was the beginning of my career as a columnist), but never forgave, and never forgot.

Sarah Palin is our revenge.

It doesn't matter a bit that I disagree with Palin on an enormous collection of important issues—evolution, abortion, stem cells, homosexuality, domestic partnerships and gay marriage, the place of religion in political life,—I'm not planning on voting for her or her running mate, Mad Jack McCain, anyway. I'm just enjoying—more than I can say—the glorious sight of Democratic hopes and schemes (which I loathe just as much as I do Palin's views on the issues I mentioned) flushed down the toilet of history by a member of the gun culture.


Palin represents a phenomenon that would never have come to pass—she is an individual we never would have heard of—if it weren't for our "betters" who are so ashamed of the word "liberal", which they have irrevocably soiled, that they now call themselves "progressives". They believe they own our lives and have a right to tell us how to live them. Their relentless persecution and punishment of America's Productive Class over the last six or seven decades, especially those who have aspired and labored to become prosperous and self-reliant, is precisely what caused so many of "us" to rally around the values Palin articulates.

Enjoy her, my left-wing socialist friends, she's your creation, entirely.

And in exactly the same way Norman Lear's misguided creation of Archie Bunker generated a cultural icon with exactly the opposite effect Lear intended, or novelist Brian Garfield wrote in Death Wish of a vigilante villain who became America's hero in Charles Bronson's movies, Palin has given new life to things that liberals had hoped to eliminate from a society that is now slipping from their grasp. As a libertarian—an individual who has sworn on everything he holds dear never to initiate physical force against another human being for any reason whatever—even I am enjoying what I agree with Camille Paglia constitutes a spectacular political drama of unquestionably historic proportions.

It's similar to seeing media liberals get all huffed up about the National Rifle Association. I know—and if you're reading this, you probably do, as well—that the NRA, in fact, is a cowardly, craven, compromising organization of BDSM "bottoms"—submissives—who, rather than endure what they imagine will be intolerable treatment by their "tops"—their dominators—are willing to chain and brand and whip themselves on the theory that it doesn't hurt quite as much that way.

Or that it hurts better, somehow.

Starting as early as the 1930s, NRA leadership signed off on—or even wrote—much of the illegal gun law we suffer under today. I'm always a little heartened nevertheless, when I see an NRA sticker on a car or hear the NRA attacked by lefties who don't know its history. The mere presence of those three letters is a constant challenge to those who mistakenly believe they can order our lives better than we can and are driven by a profound psychosis to protect us to death if necessary.

Now if only there were a National Smoker's Association.

But I digress.

And just as the NRA presence can mean one thing to me, in the thick of the struggle, and another to hairsprayheads and Hollywood types, so can the presence—the very existence—of Sarah Palin. Both mean absolutely nothing, philosophically. Both mean absolutely nothing politically. But and Annette Bening (both of whom despise her) to the contrary, culturally, Palin and the NRA mean everything.

The general public and the mainstream media are unaware of what you and I regard as the NRA's many grievous strategic and tactical shortcomings. They understand little of the deep and real differences between the pusillanimous NRA and genuine Second Amendment advocacy. Yet to have them all in an hysterical flap because the girl Republican Vice Presidential nominee is an NRA member, a hunter, an angler, and a hockey mom is a good thing, a wonderful thing, and a delight beyond describing.

To the marxoid elite, of course, it's positively alarming. The American Productive Class, whose assigned role for the past century has simply been to shut up and fork over, suddenly appears to have had the audacity to talk back to those who mistakenly believed they own it.

Does it really mean anything? Is it something that will last? Only time will tell. A great many pundits opine that Palin, given power, will be coopted by the Beltway and simply melt away as a distinctive entity. I'm not religious myself, and personally see all religions—especially the big, rich, "respectable" ones, as equally crazy. But I know a lot of religious folks, and I am inclined to think that the Beltway, which believes in nothing, is far likelier to be coopted by Palin.

If Bob Barr and Wayne Alan Root hadn't swindled the Libertarian Party away (with the dollar help, I hear, of Richard Viguerie), and Mary Ruwart had received the Presidential nomination she had earned and richly deserved, people would have a genuine alternative—and a female Productive Class candidate—to vote for on Election Day. Of course that was why it was necessary for the Republicans to hijack the party.

Wasn't it?

Never forgive, never forget.

Although I've no idea who I'll vote for in November—most likely I'll cast a blank for President, and you should, too—at the moment I'm content. All those Barnaby Jones and Hawaii Five-O episodes I sat through (not to mention later entries like the X-Files and Numb3rs) that slandered and libeled folks like me have come home to roost.

In the words of Nelson Muntz, "Ha-ha!"

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, or at


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