Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 488, October 12, 2008

"There is a war going on between those who
love individual liberty and those who don't."

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Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from David J. Earnest

Letter from Paul Bonneau

Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Brian Nickerson

Another Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Jim Davidson


Took this picture in a store this morning.

The MONOPOLY™... game using CREDIT CARDS?

The Bernenke/Paulson version!

Curt Howland
Howland -+at+-

Re: "An Open Letter to Kathy Reichs" by L. Neil Smith


Comment from a respected mate who is no "dill". I have no idea who Kathy Reichs is, what she writes, if she is a she, or whatever.

The point is that fiction on emptive subjects is perceived as truth—thus—fiction is/can be part of the indoctrination and misinformation process. Perhaps that might have been a more appropriate response theme because "she" can hide behind the cloak of "fiction". If on the other hand it was factual, then your retort would be justified.

Peter Cunningham


I could go unstable here but I'll try and remain calm.

First. Kathy Reichs writes stories—they are fucking fiction, they are meant to entertain. If the facts don't fit the story, so what? There are uncountable books where story "facts" are fiction. That's the nature of entertainment. If not, then scrap the entire genre of science fiction and the Bible. My apologies to anyone that believes the bible is 100% fact.

Second. To me, it seems that Neil Smith has gone ballistic and is foaming at the mouth. Someone has trodden on his hobby horse and he's lapsed into a fit of word soup. I haven't read Reichs's book, so I tread on thin ice saying that I doubt if the book is intended as an anti-gun lobby.

Smith's ranting was unstructured, undisciplined and failed to criticise rationally.

If the pro gun lobby wants a sane face, it should shoot Smith, he does the lobby a disfavour.




I know perfectly well the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and how each of them work. If your friend Nigel had read my article carefully—as he clearly seems not to have done—he would note that I said the paragraphs in question were jarring and out of place. I'm willing to bet good money that the author's editor told her the same but she jammed them in there anyway.

There is a war going on between those who love individual liberty—that's my hobby horse—and those who don't. It has been going on for a long time. The popular culture is one of its main battlegrounds. We have been infested with socialism largely because the anti-freedom side (folks like H.G. Wells and Edward Bellamy) grasped this decades before the pro-freedom side.

On a happy note, I seem to have annoyed your friend Nigel considerably. I view this as a good thing. I've always said that if you can't beat the other guy directly, at least you can make his stomach churn, cost him a night's sleep, and, in the long run, shorten his life expectancy by a few minutes. I note that he failed utterly to dispute any of the facts I brought up in my letter, and that it is he, not yours truly, who seems to be foaming at the mouth.

I would certainly never dream of inviting anyone to shoot him.

L. Neil Smith

An afterthought:

It has been my experience that it is the victim disarmament lobby that is packed full of individuals with violent impulses and intentions, only just minimally under control. During the infamous "Million Mom March", for example (in fact, no more than a few hundred morons whose numbers were inflated and whose actions and character were whitewashed by the socialist media), the only violent acts that were committed were by the "Moms" against peaceful, nonviolent counter-pickets. One of them happened here in Fort Collins.

In Denver, one anti-gun city councilwoman was infamous for getting drunk and threatening to shoot those who had the temerity to disagree with her with an "assault rifle"—a class of artifacts better described as "sport-utility weapons".

This and many other similar other observations have led me to a certainty that those who would employ the violent capabilities of the state to deprive their fellow beings of the means of self-defense perceive themselves as whim-driven and irrational, and then project those attributes onto others. Naturally, they want to outlaw weapons because they believe everyone is as unstable and dangerous as they are and can't be trusted with them.

Happily, my rights are not dependent on their warped impressions of a world they can barely tolerate existing in (although that's a subject for a future essay that will drive poor Nigel even further around the bend).


Re: "An Open Letter to Kathy Reichs" by L. Neil Smith

I read with great interest your polite letter to Miss Reichs. I'd like to add a couple points that seem to be ignored by the hoplophobes and statist authoritarians. The first is that mistakes made by "Practicing Medical professionals" this includes all endeavors within the scope of medicine. GP's, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and pharmacists, kill more people world wide every year than firearms, suicide, drunk driving COMBINED. I didn't pull this factoid out of my ass this is supported by JAMA and the US governments own statistics!

The second point is that Lawyers, insurance companies and the USG have worked together to drive the cost of healthcare up to the point that if you get sick and don't die you will be crippled financially for the rest of your life however short that maybe. I speak from personal experience. Some of the personal details you are already familiar with. One treatment that could save my life is based on embryonic stem cell research. Our government in its endless beneficence has decided that this science is evil and therefore unobtainable to Americans. I would have to travel to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand or Dubai to have this procedure. The average cost of the procedure ALONE is $75,000 US. This does not include airfare, housing and food costs in the local economy add another $50,000 US for the 18 months of treatment. Every 6 months I would have to return to US territory to repatriate. As you recall from my previous polemic I'm on an international NO FLY list. I have committed no crime, harmed no one by the Initiation of violence, robbed people or in any way violated the "social contract". This is my reward for 51 years of being a law abiding, tax paying LOYAL American. Thanks GW you statist, authoritarian, brain dead motherfucker!

(I know! Come on Dave, tell us how you really feel....)

Your friend in Freedom and Liberty
David J. Earnest
earnest_dave -+at+-

RE: Ann Morgan's letter

Ann writes, "My point was that if such an area were a valid subset of a free society, it could not then be a town, in the sense we normally think of the word, because it would not be possible for those who lived there to actually own their own property. If they DID own their own property, it would be inappropriate in a free society, or any subset thereof, for there to be rules existing that dictate what they can do on their own property." Many arguments boil down to semantics, this is true here. I don't care what you call it; I am positing a free society would have places where people could live, and that those places would not be uniform across the entire society. And owning property certainly does include the possibility of restrictions on the use of that property, or of anything else besides, including personal behavior—providing the owner agreed to those restrictions (libertarians often use CC&R's as an example of alternatives to statist control of property). Here is another semantic issue; I called it voting, a poor choice of words perhaps, really it would have to be more like signing a contract. But if it was voting, and was unanimous, wouldn't that amount to the same thing? Everybody agreed to it, and everybody would be bound by it.

Or does Ann suggest that being bound contractually is not possible in a free society? Does Ann's version of freedom not include a right of association—to live in places that suit you?

I see the point about a town composed entirely of people with light brown skin voting unanimously to enslave people with dark brown skin, but so what? People with dark brown skin don't have to move there. If they decide later to classify you (or your child) as dark brown, therefore to enslave you arbitrarily, you still have recourse to moving out, or picking up a battle rifle. Freedom does not imply "no strife". This time it's Ann who is uncomfortable about the implications of freedom.

As to this notion that 90% would be bound by something they hate, forever; well, first let us recall that 90% of people today probably hate certain aspects of the Bill of Rights. Popularity does not imply correctness. If these people dislike this thing in their "town" so much, and they can't drum up 100% of the vote to change it, they can always move elsewhere—to a place that better suits them, which is possible in the free society I posit, because the "towns" there are not uniform. In Ann's "anything goes" society, there is no place for people who don't fit in. As to things going on forever, that's pretty silly. Nothing in human experience goes on forever; if it lasts 200 years unchanged, that's something.

I am not responding to arguments about what is theologically correct, which is entirely beside the point.

Ann writes, "In a free country, nobody of ANY age can be bound by an agreement made by anyone else. This is a major point made in L. Neil Smith's book 'Pallas' in which a tyrant (Altman) tried to claim that the 14 year old hero (Emerson Ngu) was permanently bound by an 'agreement in perpetuity' signed on his behalf by his parents." Well, that is clearly wrong. A four-year old is not free. He is bound to obey is parents, who in turn are bound by the agreements they make. I picked the age 18 arbitrarily; it might as well have been 14; it's up to the 100% vote of the community what the age of majority is. Yes, parents could theoretically bind their children in slavery for life; but again, so what? At some point that child discerns his condition, and takes steps to change it, like Emerson Ngu did. Freedom does not imply lack of strife. Freedom does not imply people won't do stupid or mean things; it just means the weight of the state is not behind them when they do. If the (unlikely) possibility that parents might bind their children in slavery concerns you, what are you going to do about it? Call your representative to pass a law stopping it? If you do, you're not free, because you have Big Daddy Government "taking care of us" again.

Ann still insists on sterilization in our contractually-bound free "towns", but the above clearly negates that. Children are not free. They are bound to their parents, as long as they are with them, or reach the age of majority. Yes, people can have babies in my towns. Sheesh!

Ann writes, "As for my scenario being 'outlandish', that is not an argument, it is merely his way of dismissing something he doesn't want to have to deal with." That's right, I don't want to deal with it. No one can concoct a political theory which will work for everyone in all cases. That requirement is a prescription for failure. You just have to hit the high points, and let individual human ingenuity or cussedness work out the rest. I mean, we can't even get half the people to see the benefit of no taxes; why spend your energies advocating diddling on the front lawn?

Ann write, "I suppose I am a 'provocateur' in that I want to 'provoke' people to examine their own moral codes and inconsistencies." Ah, we have a missionary here, wanting to convert people to her religion. Ann, you'll find life goes much easier if you read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People", and apply the lessons you learn in it. It's a manual for getting along with the rest of the human race. Don't convert people, don't try to show them their moral codes are wrong; just leave 'em alone.

Paul Bonneau
pjb1 -+at+-

Scattered Comments

"That to protect these rights governments are created among men..." The current US government justifies it's existence on sentence two of paragraph two of the Declaration of Independence. Paragraph two is a summary of the social contract theory. Governments are tolerable (not necessarily desirable) to the degree they keep this contract. If they can not carry out this contract they need to be "altered or abolished and replaced with such forms as the people find necessary..." It is up to the government to prove that any job it claims or creates for itself is necessary to completing this contract. Surprise, most of these jobs don't meet this criterion and should be left to private industry. When I take a wide eyed innocent approach to describing government actions it's to let people reach this conclusion by themselves. It seems they take it better to heart that way.

If I don't want to watch my neighbors engage in a cluster fuck I can build a fence on my property blocking the sight. I'll even build a foot trail for people who don't want to watch to use, for a reasonable fee of course. Everyone else should be watching the road so they can dodge the lookie loos trying to find a new house to buy or an orgy to join. Drop the front yard orgy debate already. I love everyone I know engaging in it but properly applied respect for the rights of others and free enterprise can solve that one.

Speaking of free enterprise, does anyone really believe that the current credit mess would have occurred if the bankers and Wall Street types hadn't been planning on the Federales bailing them out if things went south? Neither do I, or at least it wouldn't have been as bad.

Regarding gun ownership and violent death rates; down here in El Paso where you can clear to buy a polymer framed large capacity handgun in less time than it takes to fill out the paperwork (liberals scream in horror) we've had 14 murders this year. Only four were with guns and in one the gun was used as bludgeon. The rest have been beatings, knifings and one by carbon monoxide. There have been two other shootings, one of the murders was a murder/suicide and one was a killing of a suspect armed with a toy gun by a cop. So far that last one is considered justified. (Note, we did have one gang banger shoot up people leaving hip hop night at a local club, he wounded 11 people. So far all of them have survived. Guess they just make them tough here on the border.)

Regarding suicide, which is the main form of gun death in America, for better or worse it is the ultimate act of self sovereignty and one which I don't plan to exercise. That said, a bullet or charge of shot seem to be an easier way to go than a couple of glasses of Drano mixed in Clorox. If you are silly enough to test this please don't bother to tell me how it turns out.

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico there have been over a thousand killed in the war over who gets to smuggle drugs into the US. A big chunk of these murders have been by cops taking bribes from competing cartels. Firearm ownership and using them in self defense are all but illegal in Mexico. Please don't try to sell me on gun control, I can see where it gets you just by watching the local news.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs -+at+-

Re: my "Letter from Brian Nickerson" last issue

As early as 5PM Eastern Time Thursday, Mr. Corrigan's post at the Mises blog was restored. It can be found in its original location with comments restored. Just to be spiteful I'm going to say that I still think Tucker was less than honest with me in the two e-mails I received on this subject.

Brian Nickerson
oblivion437 -+at+-

Solving the Economy

I get annoyed when people forget an important fact; money isn't wealth, it is a medium of exchange to facilitate the exchange of wealth, which is goods and services. This gets to be a problem when the federales or anybody else tries to solve the economy by pumping it full of unbacked money (for the purposes of this discussion even gold bullion used as money is not wealth. Put the hoods, torture implements and canned heresy confession away and hear me out Torquemada.).

If about ten million American families were to go out and buy a new big refrigerator to stash for food a couple of months, a new computer to keep track of their food purchases and consumption, and a shotgun to keep food rioters away they would do more to fix the economy than all the government bailouts. This is because the money they spend would be backed by the guns, computers and refrigerators (not to mention food and ammo) they are buying. The vendors would be required to buy raw materials, fuel, vehicles, storage space and so on to satisfy their customers. This would result in more money backed by some tangible good. Even the buck or two some factory worker over tips a waitress for giving him an extra nice smile would be backed by something, the happiness that smile gave the worker.

Instead the government is buying up seven hundred billion dollars of bad paper backed by defaulted mortgages on overvalued real estate. The fact is until this largesse is reinvested to build factories, malls, cars, refrigerators, Elmo dolls, pistols, and whatever, it is just paper, and paper creating inflation at that.

Order a copy of each of our humble publisher's books (that you don't have already, of course.) advertised in TLE. Order a box of the cheapest cigars you can from Thompson Cigars. Buy a box of practice ammo from the closest Wal-Mart that stills sells guns and ammo (it'll also be a financial blow against victim disarmament .) It may not be much but it'll do more for the economy than the so called bail out (or is it rescue?) the government is pulling dumping counterfeit into the system.

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs -+at+-

What's the Point of the Boston Tea Party?

Ross Levin with the National Initiative For Democracy asked me on Independent Political Report what the Boston Tea Party is about. Why not just be a caucus within the LP, or other parties?

Here is my answer:

The point for me is to work on gathering the remnant that Albert Jay Nock talked and wrote about. I don't know who those people are, entirely. I don't know what they are willing to do, nor what they are doing. I do not know where they are, nor how to find them. And I don't know what they are going to do about the situations we find ourselves in.

What I do know is that the remnant who have decency, sincerity, and care about liberty exist. And I know that if I stand for freedom, if I find ways to wave on high the banner of liberty, if I withdraw my support for tyranny and say "no more!" the remnant shall find me.

I also know that it is not about being a part of a corrupt political system, it is not about being a part of a corrupt political party, it is not about working within the system, it is not about party loyalty or team players or finding new ways to make principled things corrupt, it is about individual sovereignty, and being who I am in the matter.

The Boston Tea Party is, to me, about stabbing tyrants to death where they stand. It is about saying to the people I meet that I am a free, sovereign, self-responsible individual, who cares deeply about the world around him, and I'm okay. So it is okay to be free, sovereign, self-responsible, individualistic, unique, difficult, obstreperous, ornery, and caring.

It is not about fitting in, it is not about looking good, and it is certainly not about getting votes. It is about standing for something real, something true, and something pure.

The Boston Tea Party is saying "You can have something good, decent, pure, and true. You are good enough, you are brave enough, you are worthy. It does not matter if you are tall or short, old or young, man or woman, child or elderly, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, gay, straight, or poly-amorous, black, white, brown, red, or yellow, legal or illegal, convicted or un-indicted, Christian, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan, atheistic, agnostic, deist, or transhuman. You are just fine the way you are, and you are, and you of right ought to be, free, sovereign, and independent. And I, Jim Davidson, as the guy who happens to be chair of the Boston Tea Party will spit in the eye of anyone who says different."

That's what it is about, for me.

Jim Davidson
planetaryjim -+at+-


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