Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 534, August 30, 2009

"Ding Dong the Drunk is dead!"

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

They Never Paid Attention Until We Started Yelling
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I'm just like everybody else.

For several weeks I've been listening to and watching these "town meetings", originally put together in the home districts of various senators and congressthings simply and transparently for the purpose of rubberstamping Barack Obama's obsessive Marxist lust (an obsessive lust he shares with Hillary Clinton and many another tired, threadbare old collectivist) to nationalize an institution that they refer to as "healthcare".

I dislike that term intensely, "healthcare".

Somehow it makes me think of a bowl of room-temperature softboiled eggs delivered by some idiot wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh suit. Me, I'm a 63-year-old diabetic with high blood pressure and a history of heart failure. My life has been saved—extended—time and again by a legion of straight-edged, robust doctors and nurses along with the ever-improving technology, the hardware and medicine, that backs them up.

What we should be calling it, instead, is "death prevention", but the countryside-clearing, arcology-building nomenklatura don't dare call it that. Thanks to brave souls like Sarah Palin, we now see that death is an important and desirable element in our Marxist masters' agenda.

But I have digressed, as usual.

Somehow, astonishingly, the town meetings haven't gone quite the way our elected representatives (and I use both terms loosely) desired and expected. It quickly became clear that a majority of the people in this country don't want the government to have anything to do with where, how, or from whom they get their medical attention, or anything else.

It would be even more astonishing if observers and commentators on every side of the issue remembered that public speaking and personal confrontation always show up on surveys—separately—as items that the average individual fears more than death. Those who speak out have to overcome both fears to face politicians and tell them where to get off.

I didn't know we still had it in us, as a people.

History will someday record that the American system of democratic governance eventually devolved to a point where nobody with a trace of intelligence, decency, or sanity could get elected. We are ruled by those among us who are stupid, evil, and crazy; the system selects for them.

Those who "represent" us know exactly who and what they are. They don't give a damn about what their constituents want. They don't give a damn about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. They don't give a damn about right and wrong. (A city councilman once asked me—it was clear he sincerely wished to understand—if I didn't feel unduly restrained, limited by having principles. Note: he was a Republican.) The only thing that they really fear is not getting reelected, being deprived of their absurd overpayment for the "service" of destroying America, missing their shot at the next rung on the ladder to absolute power.

As I've been saying for decades, there is enormous anger simmering just below the surface of America's Productive Class. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, they have labored hard to supply everything necessary and good in our society—from diesel fuel to lemon meringue pie, from the wheels that get us from one place to another, to the homes in which we find our refuge and comfort—only to have the rewards of their labor snatched away by rapacious parasites intent on controlling every moment and aspect of their lives.

Yet it is they, the Productive Class, who are the first to be blamed, by elements of the Non-Productive Class who couldn't tell a cotter pin from cottage cheese, for everything, real and imagined, that is said to be wrong with that society, from bad taste in color, cars, and clothing, to air pollution, depleted ozone, and global warming.

To the average politician, newspaper columnist, hairsprayed TV commentator, or Hollywood airhead, suburbia is a kind of despicable, disgusting, fetid swamp to be crawled out of, rather than as close to Utopia as humankind has ever come, the locus of all the wishes, hopes, and aspirations of a people whose only wish is to be left the hell alone.

And all these idiots can think of—congressthings and others of the so-called "dominant culture" who believe they own us—is how to suppress that anger for another year, another decade, another century. They desperately want to deny that their opposition is significant and serious. They want to dismiss it as right-wing racism and childish ingratitude. It would never occur to them to consider what that anger might be about, or that it might be justified. They simply want it managed. It's probably too late for that, but they'll be the last to know.

During a week I've been enjoying immensely, my glee has been marred a trifle by various radio pundits. Not those, mind you, who favor medical Marxism and, acting either as good propagandistas for their side, or, at the least, useful idiots, have been calling their opponents "brownshirts" or "Nazis". No, by presumed conservatives who started evaluating the town meetings not in terms of the principles painfully enunciated there by nervous but valiant individuals, or the utter stupidity, insanity, or villainy exposed, but in terms of the restrained decorum—or its absence—demonstrated by those who don't wish to become human sacrifices, slaughtered on the altar of collectivism.

This, I maintain, is obscene.

Haven't you noticed, all you conservative radio pundits who were as surprised as I was at the revolt, that they never paid attention until we started yelling? Get yourselves a spine, radio pundits, some cojones, some guts, and a sense of historical proportion. Compared to the life and death issues before us, "decorum" is of less than no concern.

I will admit that I worry, having attended my last town meeting more than 20 years ago (the one in which the city councilman asked me about principles) that it might be arrogant to include myself among that "we".

Except that I've been there before, and I'm there in spirit, now. It's my job is to write essays like this one and fling them out as far as I can into the world. I proudly stand beside the young military man who overcame his nervousness to curtly order a congressthing to leave his children alone, and who demanded, having kept his own oath and been disabled for it, whether the congressthing even intended to keep the oath he took. If I had one to give, I'd give him a medal just for that.

And I've been saying for more than 40 years, as frequently and loudly as I can, that America's Productive Class has always been compelled to suffer for its excessive—and self-destructive—politeness.

Perhaps that era is at long last ending.

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 more than 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 is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 534, August 30, 2009

Big Head Press