Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 553, January 17, 2010

"What you really want is to be left alone"

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Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Crazy Al

Letters from Curt Howland and Gennady Stolyarov II

Letter from Tenth Amendment Center

Letter from Paul Bonneau

Letter from Jim Davidson

Letter from Dave Earnest

Another Letter from Crazy Al

Letter from George Holmes

Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Marc V. Ridenour

Forwarded message from Dudley Brown:

UN Gun Ban

US agrees to timetable for UN Gun Ban

The United Nations and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are moving forward with their plan to confiscate your guns.

The United States joined 152 other countries in support of the Arms Trade Treaty Resolution, which establishes the dates for the 2012 UN conference intended to attack American sovereignty by stripping Americans of the right to keep and bear arms.

Working groups of anti-gun countries will begin scripting language for the conference this year, creating a blueprint for other countries when they meet at the full conference.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

Former United Nation's ambassador John Bolton has cautioned gun owners about the Arms Trade Treaty and says the UN "is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there's no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control."

Establishing the dates for the Arms Trade Treaty Conference is just the first step toward their plans for total gun confiscation.

The worldwide gun control mob will ensure the passage of an egregious, anti-gun treaty...

...and that's where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps in.

Once the UN Gun Ban is passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations it must be ratified by each nation, including the United States.

As an arch enemy of gun owners, Clinton has pledged to push the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty. She will push for passage of this outrageous treaty designed to register, ban and confiscate firearms owned by private citizens like you.

That's why it's vital you sign the special petition

I've made up for your signature that demands your U.S. Senators vote against ratification of the UN's "Small Arms Treaty."

So far, the gun-grabbers have successfully kept the exact wording of their new scheme under wraps.

But looking at previous versions of the UN "Small Arms Treaty," you and I can get a good idea of what's likely in the works.

Don't let any of the "experts" lull you to sleep by saying "Oh, we have it handled" or "Until you know exactly what's in the treaty you can't fight against it."

Judging by Ambassador Bolton's comments—who certainly knows what to expect from the American-freedom-hating international crowd that infests the U.N.—we are certain the treaty's going to address the private ownership of firearms.

If passed by the UN and ratified by the U.S. Senate (which is where we must ultimately make our stand), the UN "Small Arms Treaty" would almost certainly force national governments to:

  • Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding citizens cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;

  • Confiscate and destroy all "unauthorized" civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);

  • Ban the trade, sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic weapons;

  • Create an international gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun confiscation. So please click here to sign the petition to your U.S. Senators before it's too late!

You see, this is not a fight we can afford to lose.

Here's what you can do to help the National Association for Gun Rights fight Hillary Clinton and her United Nations cronies:

  • Click here and sign our petition to demand that your United States Senators vote against the United Nations Small Arms Treaty.

  • Forward this e-mail to your friends and relatives who share your concern for American sovereignty and protecting our right to keep and bear arms.

  • Please consider making a generous contribution to the National Association for Gun Rights to help us fight Hillary Clinton and the United Nations "Small Arms Treaty."

Without your help and support, the National Association for Gun Rights cannot defeat this measure.

Thank you in advance for your support.

For Liberty,
Dudley Brown

P.S. The Obama Administration just announced they would be working hand-in-glove with the UN to pass a new Global "Small Arms Treaty."

That's why it's vital you and I fight back immediately.

Please click here to sign the special petition I've made up for your signature that demands your U.S. Senators vote against ratification of the UN's "Small Arms Treaty."

To help the National Association for Gun Rights grow, please forward this to a friend.

To view this email as a web page, please click this link: view online

Help fight gun control. Donate to the National Association for Gun Rights!


Re: "Can You Hear Me Now?" by L. Neil Smith

How many libertarians does it take to change a light bulb? One (unless SF writers get their way, then we'll start using light bulbs that never burn out.)

How many Libertarians does it take to create a free, prosperous and just society? All of the ones you can get to volunteer.

How many tyrants does it take to change a light bulb? None, that's why they have slaves.

How do tyrants get slaves to change their light bulbs? Libertarians stop talking and the slaves don't rebel.

In plain English, we're not trying to convert tyrants to loving liberty (thought that would be nice) we keep talking to suborn rebellion by the slaves.

Crazy Al
Somewhere in Far West Texas

Dear Editor,

Please find below a letter from me, and reply from Mr. Stolyarov, concerning both his article at and my article on TLE. He has gladly allowed his letter below to be shared with TLE readers, and I believe we can all benefit from a bit of cross-pollination.

The link to his article, "Writers Can Prosper Without Intellectual Property" is

Curt Howland

Letter from Curt Howland to Gennady Stolyarov II:

Re: "Writers Can Prosper Without Intellectual Property"

Good sir,

I read your article today on with much interest. A few weeks ago I had a short piece on the same subject published in The Libertarian Enterprise, and I'm glad to see the issue raised again and again.

In Free and Open Source forums, I have recommended the repeal of copyright, rather than reform, in response to the abuses of copyright and patent by various large proprietary software companies. This position has been called "insane" and tends to get the discussion threads closed or outright deleted as abusive "political" rants. Obviously, I've not been convincing. :^)

I have had less trouble with discussing getting government out of roads than copyright, and I'm sure you know just how knee-jerk and emotional the issue of roads can be.

Thank you for further advancing the discussion.

Curt Howland

Reply from Gennady Stolyarov II:

Dear Mr. Howland,

Thank you for your most interesting e-mail. I have now had the opportunity to read your excellent article as well. I will reprint it in my online magazine, The Rational Argumentator, per TLE's Forwarding policy ( Hopefully, this will gain additional exposure for the articles and provide some fruitful ideas for my magazine's readers.

I have also been observing the quite vigorous discussion on the blog, pertaining to my article. I was pleased to see that several quite articulate individuals, yourself included, have been continually making excellent points in the face of criticism from proponents of intellectual property. Keep up the good work!

Gennady Stolyarov II
The Rational Argumentator:
Associated Content:
Author, Implied Consent, A Play on the Sanctity of Human Life:
Author, A Rational Cosmology:
Author, The Best Self-Help is Free:
The Progress of Liberty Blog:

Will 2010 be the Year of the 10th Amendment?

Will 2010 be the year of the 10th? According to Tenth Amendment Center founder, Michael Boldin, "With people looking to resist D.C. through state laws on everything from national health care to medical marijuana, the 10th Amendment appears ready to be front and center in the national debate this year."

Los Angeles, California (TAC) January 11, 2010—In 2009, seven states passed sovereignty resolutions under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Two states passed laws nullifying some federal firearms laws and regulations. States with Medical Marijuana laws in direct opposition to federal laws reached thirteen. In 2010, some expect the ante to be raised significantly.

"Already, over a dozen states are considering laws or state constitutional amendments that would effectively ban, or nullify, any proposed national health care plan in their state, and we expect that number to reach at least twenty in 2010," said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. "In conjunction with 20+ states that have already said "No" to the Bush-era Real ID act, another dozen or more considering state laws to nullify federal gun laws, and the steady growth of states refusing to comply with federal marijuana laws, some might consider what we see today to be an unprecedented state-level rebellion to the federal government."

The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state nullifies a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or non-effective, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.

"Nullification has been used to stand up for free speech, resist the fugitive slave laws, reduce tariffs and more. It's a peaceful and effective way to resist the federal government, and might be our only hope for moving towards the constitution. Legislators drawing this kind of line in the stand should be commended," said Boldin.

Grassroots activists around the country are looking to the Tenth Amendment and nullification to bolster their efforts too. Tenth Amendment rallies are planned in at least 10 states before the end of January, including Virginia, Washington, Alabama and Texas. "These aren't tea party protests, or tax protests, or any of the other topics that were popular last year," said Boldin. "These are rallies solely in support of the 10th Amendment, State Sovereignty or Nullification— something that indicates a major shift from the grassroots, and shows potential for the growth of a popular mass movement in support of the Tenth."

A recent article in the New York Times included "Tenther" as a top buzzword for 2009. In response, Boldin said, "With people looking to resist D.C. through state laws on everything from national health care to medical marijuana, the 10th Amendment appears ready to be front and center in the national debate once again this year."

About the Tenth Amendment Center:
The Tenth Amendment Center, a Los Angeles-based think tank founded in 2006, acts as an educational forum on issues related to the 10th Amendment and Constitutional governance.

For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Tenth Amendment Center, please call Director of Media Bryce Shonka at 213-935-0553 or email

Tenth Amendment Center

Re: "Can You Hear Me Now?" by L. Neil Smith

Wow, El Neil must have been really bugged at my piece. A 2300 word article devoted largely to ad hominems. Impressive.

Let's see, where should I start with them? Since I disagree with him, I must be "barely post-adolescent" (although I'm 60 this month). I'm not "very bright" (although I have a degree in Physics, and worked most of my life as a computer hardware engineer). I'm "too high-minded, cleft-chinned, or nobly-souled to practice icky old politics" (although I worked on many political campaigns, and on leading citizen groups, served as the Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Oregon for a couple of years, and own the website Wyoming Liberty Index).

And what the heck is "prissy-bottomed"?

Oh, well, to address Neil's other points, buried there among the ad hominems...

It's precisely because I spent so much time and effort in politics, that I have given up on it. While it may have worked—more or less, on occasion, say 50 years ago—we are long past the point where conventional politics has any effect. The world is full of people who devoted their lives to it, and what have they accomplished? At best, a miniscule slowing of the slide to tyranny. Whoop te do.

If I hadn't spent all that time working in politics, I might still think conventional politics had some utility. Eventually, one has to learn from one's experiences.

Ordinary people all over are finally waking up to the fact that conventional politics doesn't work (how many places have I read articles along the line of "it's not liberals vs conservatives any more"), and all Neil can come up with is another constitutional amendment? When the Constitution is a joke, renowned for its inability to restrain this government? It's like arguing that America needs to manufacture buggy whips again, when everybody is out there driving cars. Most people with half a brain get it already; the constitution doesn't work. Maybe it never did.

Neil simply ignores my point that the major advances in freedom we've seen have happened outside the political process, or that the latter did nothing but follow a change already in place.

Neil writes, "Many of those alternatives have taken the form of Constitutional amendments, charter amendments, initiated referenda, and other kinds of proposals, each representing a potential brushfire which the other side will have to divert time, energy, and other resources to putting out. Get two going at the same time, or two dozen, or two hundred, and libertarians won't have to bother running for office. They can fight the year round, without having to depend on a fundamentally broken national party structure or candidates who are often idiots and compromisers.

Problem is, there never was a brushfire that the statists had to divert time and energy to put out. Has even one of Neil's constitutional amendments had even a single reading in Congress? "They [libertarians] can fight the year round..." This is supposed to be an advantage? Which side is ending up here, diverting their time and energy from other more important tasks?

Constitutional amendment? The ruling class are laughing at you.

Neil, you've done a lot of good things, as I mentioned in my article. I clearly was not attacking your entire life, although you seemed for some strange reason to want to take it that way. But even old farts need to learn from experience, sometimes. Stop wasting your time. Stop believing in government (by which I mean, of course, stop using government-approved tactics).

Neil writes, "The most obnoxious thing about the government is that it won't leave you alone or let you ignore it."

Actually, it very often does. Example: I wrote numerous letters to the editor, printed in newspapers, attacking government schooling in Oregon. I posted many times on homeschooling lists, suggesting people consider not registering as homeschoolers (and thus saving a lot of homeschoolers time and effort)—and these lists are almost certainly monitored by the educrats. Result? Not a peep from them.

Sometimes the things we are afraid of, are only in our mind. Sometimes, the boogeymen in government can't be bothered, and are only concerned with a little work for a lot of pay, and with great pensions. They are fat and happy; why should they mix it up with irate citizens?

Of course the state does on occasion stomp on people. That's why it is better to fly beneath the radar when you can. And if they come to stomp you, stomp back. Your life may be at an end, but I can't think of a better way to go. It's pointless fearing death, since none of us escape it. Pointless, particularly for older men who have already lived a life.

BTW, knowing you (personally) are prepared to stomp back, might actually deter some government stomping. Fear works both ways, eh? Hmmm, maybe that's what that Second Amendment is all about. Deterrence!

Neil writes, "Watching corrupt and overblown institutions, like the government health system, collapse of their own weight offers satisfactions, until you hear the screams of all the innocent individuals being crushed in the wreckage."

Well, nothing you can do (in conventional politics) will save them. They can only save themselves; as I said, by finding alternatives. If this particular train is going to be derailed, it won't be by threatening absurd constitutional amendments, or begging congresscritters. It will be by large numbers of grumpy individuals saying "Hell, NO! I won't buy insurance, and if you try to make me, you'd better be prepared to die!"

All right, maybe it doesn't make sense to "stop fearing government". But it does make sense to control that fear, and do something that will be effective. Proposing constitutional amendments does not strike me as particularly effective or courageous. It does strike me as disconnected from reality.

Paul Bonneau

Read You Five for Five

Dear Editor,

For some reason, Neil's essay "The Cure" with its delightfully worded separation of medicine and state and its actual teeth (life at hard labor without parole) for violating or evading prohibitions of the constitution seems to have generated some misunderstanding. I won't dignify the other dude's essay by linking to it—he'd want that.

For my own part, I don't think a proposed constitutional amendment needs to be ratified by Congress and the several states to have value. I am mindful of a great many constitutional amendments on various issues which never succeeded of ratification. One can find any number of these on the Tela Totius Terrae.

There were a number of amendments proposing child labor laws. Never ratified, they did their job of changing attitudes, and we don't have ordinary employment for most children. The equal rights amendment was another that never got ratified, yet by being proposed, changed attitudes.

How many congress critters have, like Dennis Moore of Kansas, abandoned their excellent prospects for re-election because of the "tea party" movement? People stood up in town hall meetings and called him a liar, a crook, a crony of big banking, big pharma, big death merchants, and big insurance. And he's decided not to run for re-election. So have many others.

So, imagine, just for a moment, their reaction to letters from dozens of "constituents" with Neil's proposed amendment. "Look, sir, another letter proposing that you be sentenced to life at hard labor without parole for all those things you've been doing to provide for warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detentions, and war on the American people."

Don't just write to the critters in office, write to all the candidates, as well. Some of them might like the idea and use it in their campaigns. All of them will have pause to think about whether they really do want the responsibility.

No, of course, many of them won't think. Thinking is not what running for Congress is famous for. It is famous for power and money, with the average congress critter having a net worth in excess of two million dollars. Where do they get that wealth? From campaign finance rules that let them keep their campaign funds if they don't run for office again, from lobbyist deals that give them stocks and gifts for helping certain companies get certain privileges and ill gotten gains, from corruptly allocating contracts. In other words, they get wealthy by screwing over the taxpayer and the consumer.

It is like my own "Modest Proposal" from the pages of The Libertarian Enterprise many years back.

Yes, I seriously do think people who vote should be good shooters. And no, I didn't think any county would ever require it.

But the guys in Phoenix had the right idea, showing up to public forums with guns over their shoulders. Let those in power know that you are angry, well armed, and willing to be seen keeping and bearing arms, and see what it brings you.

The death by a thousand cuts of a free and peaceful country didn't happen in one night. Rome, and other evil empires, were not built in a day.

But yer busy. You got bills to pay, mouths to feed, ain't nothin in this world for free.

Here are some resources to help you write your critters about spending the rest of their lives at hard labor:

Snail mail

Calls and such:


Other contacts, including media and county:

Now, don't imagine you are changing anything. Political action won't change anything soon. Keep in mind that real change has to have economic incentives behind it, and the system that allocated three trillion dollars a year of borrowed and stolen money is set up just fine for those who are in government. But you aren't doing this stuff to change things overnight, you are doing this stuff to have fun.

When the system grinds to a halt, when the jerks in DC find that they don't have as much power, what you really want is to be left alone. So if you don't have time to have fun with government, I suggest you look at setting things up for yourself so you have some wealth, some opportunity, and some basic needs covered for yourself. Avoid government and operate realistic, sensible, individualistic markets.


Jim Davidson

Begin Forwarded Message:

So there I was... just relaxing in front of the T.V. when the kids yelled, "Hey Dad, come see the kittens."


End Forwarded Message

Dave Earnest

As you know the Underwear Bomber is considered a Terrorist because he set his pants on fire. Given the well known consequence of prevarication does that mean all Members of Congress are now on a terrorist watch list banning them from using commercial airlines?

Crazy Al
Somewhere in Far West Texas

Queen Nancy's Flight Of Fancy

Dear Editor,

I came across this astonishing news item quite by chance. As a British subject I think I can write in all honesty that our Queen (a real one that is) would not ask for and would certainly not be provided with such a shocking example of profligacy and self-indulgence. The Queen travels Business Class on commercial airlines these days. The so-called "Queen's Flight", a selection of aeroplanes and helicopters—or what's left of them - are these days restricted for short-haul usage only. Our "Socialist", and long-gone and distinctly unmissed prime minister, Tony Blair made sure he could have full use of the Queen's Flight and exploited it probably more so than even the royals ever did. He and his wretched cabinet made full use of this facility before they slashed the budget and obliged the Queen to fly commercially on international, showing-the-flag tours and state visits.

How socialist governments the whole world over love spending other peoples' money—usually on their own self aggrandisements as well. As they are supposed to be representative of the "Have-nots" in society they certainly are not too humble and hesitant in lapping up all the fringe benefits and expense allowances available for them. Witness the European Commission and their distinctly arrogant and undemocratic and non-accountable behaviour.

More fool "The people" for falling for this nonsense. We get the governments we deserve if we don't pay attention to what these buggers try to get away with because they think nobody is looking. We British have endured twelve years of all this squandering of tax-payers hard-earned cash because we fell for Tony's boyish charm and his simpering smile. We put our trust in him and his administration; while all the time he was rummaging through our pockets, wallets and bank accounts and inventing all sorts of new and covert ways of taxing us to death.

Outrageous tales of shocking examples of waste and mal-administration have been coming to light over here recently. Maybe you Americans will have your turn too when President Obama comes up for re-election. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi's personal jet is only the visible tip of a vastly expensive iceberg. Call me a cynic, but if a so-called "Man of the people" wanted to shake me by the hand—I would be tempted to count my fingers afterwards.


George Holmes

Mikey Hicks

Michael Hicks has a problem. Michael Hicks is a relatively common name. One of the several thousand people with this name (including a deceased friend of mine) is on a terrorist watch list. As a result people with the name Michael Hicks get hassled by TSA.

The particular Mike Hicks I'm writing about is eight years old. He gets hassled regularly when he flies, to include being patted down by TSA agents. Of course TSA denies they have an eight year old kid on their terrorist watch list. And of course they don't. They have an adult named Michael Hicks on the list and little Mikey gets hassled for having the same name. I'm sure a lot of other Michael Hicks get the same treatment, almost all of them adults.

The Underwear Bomber was an idiot, but he succeeded by causing the government of the US to fear and to become more repressive, which leads to opposition to the USG and marginally pushes some (damn few) honest folk into the embrace of Islam and Jihadism.

TSA acts like idiots and we have to take it, they have the power to truly impose retribution on those of us they choose. They can act like idiots and the bureaucracy grinds on like an out of control mill wheel.

Until someone breaks the wheel, which is a victory for the terrorist and more likely to lead to more tyranny and terrorism than freedom.

Or maybe we can get the wheel under control of adults who use their minds and love liberty, for the children's sake.

BTW, Said I would lay off the Underwear Bomber when someone stupider came to my attention. The employees of TSA have accomplished this goal.

A.X. Perez

Obama Signs Martial Law Executive Order

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 11, 2010
President Obama Signs Executive Order Establishing Council of Governors
Executive Order will Strengthen Further Partnership Between the Federal and State and Local Governments to Better Protect Our Nation

The President today signed an Executive Order (attached) establishing a Council of Governors to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards. When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities.

The bipartisan Council will be composed of ten State Governors who will be selected by the President to serve two year terms. In selecting the Governors to the Council, the White House will solicit input from Governors and Governors' associations. Once chosen, the Council will have no more than five members from the same party and represent the Nation as a whole.

Federal members of the Council include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs, the U.S. Northern Command Commander, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. The Secretary of Defense will designate an Executive Director for the Council.

The Council of Governors will provide an invaluable Senior Administration forum for exchanging views with State and local officials on strengthening our National resilience and the homeland defense and civil support challenges facing our Nation today and in the future.

The formation of the Council of Governors was required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act which stated, "The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions." (NDAA FY2008, Sec 1822)

Marc V. Ridenour


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