Big Head Press


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 641, October 23, 2011

"Mercantilism and capitalism, that's what the
fight is really all about—and always has been"


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Let George Do It
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Will Rogers was a stand-up political commentator in the 1920s and 30s, and a folksy popular mouthpiece for the early Franklin Roosevelt Administration.

The Jon Stewart of his day (or at least the Herb Shriner) Rogers' career consisted of pretending to be a cowboy—and therefore an earthy realist—on the vaudeville stage. He was most famous for saying that he never met a man he didn't like—which only means he never met Barack Obama—and that all he knew was what he read in the newspapers.

Which explains a lot, I suppose.

All of this is just a long way of saying that I haven't picked up a newspaper in over a decade, I never watch broadcast television, and that all I know is what I hear on the radio and see on the Internet. I get my news from a wider variety of opinionated sources—NPR and Fox just to name a couple of examples—than Will Rogers ever dreamed existed.

Which brings me to the reason for this disquisition or peroration or whatever it is. I have been an extremely busy writer for the past couple of weeks, pounding away at what threatens to be my thirty-third book, a science fiction adventure whose latest title is Blade of p'Na.

The word "p'Na" stands for "principle of non-aggression".

Whenever I came up for air, all it appeared that the Internet or the radio were concerned about was the "Occupy Wall Street" affair and various similar undertakings—at least until the well-deserved and thoroughly fatal humiliation of the Libyan dictator Muammer Ghadaffi brought us all around to a somewhat different meaning of that funerary term.

Although my regular readers will tell you that I am no fan of corporatism, and I have entered my own proposals for dealing with it into the record, it seemed to me (and still does) that a great many libertarians are foolishly and inappropriately celebrating this highly orchestrated national temper tantrum, when all it really demonstrates is that anybody can get almost anybody else to do anything if you offer them cash. Isn't that how a "community organizer" gets the job done, after all, with a little help from his friends—like George Soros?

There have always been individuals in this movement who will, for example, hail a book as "libertarian" if only once in six hundred pages it includes the word "freedom". Similarly, because of certain words or phrases the "Occupiers" have been throwing around casually, certain useful idiots among us have been touting it as "almost libertarian", which is always an expression fraught with danger and stupidity.

In fact, even Lenin admitted that freedom is precious.

So precious it must be rationed.

Why is it, if this is at least a "protolibertarian" movement we're seeing, that during the entire time of the "Occupation", I have never heard any distinction being made between mercantilism and capitalism, although that's what the fight is really all about—and always has been?

Mercantilism is the system that Adam Smith complained about, when he published The Wealth of Nations in 1776. More lately it's known as corporatism, state capitalism, corporate statism, or fascism. It's a corrupt and corrupting arrangement under which the government grants certain favors and permissions, certain powers and immunities to certain business enterprises—those who can pay for them—but not to others. Private capitalism—the pure exercise of individual human rights in an economic context—is what Adam Smith proposed as an alternative.

Since its inception, American political and economic history has consisted, in the main, of a death-struggle between capitalism and mercantilism, between the followers and intellectual heirs of Thomas Jefferson, and those of Alexander Hamilton. The highest development of Jeffersonianism so far is the real libertarian movement, rooted in what we now refer to as the "Zero Aggression Principle", the essence of which can be discovered in Jefferson's writings. The highest development of Hamiltonianism so far is mercantilist, corporatist, fascism, which is what has failed us, and brought this nation to its knees.

I think it's fair to observe that the Tea Parties of last year were Jeffersonian, while the "Occupy" performances have been purely Hamiltonian.

At the same time, I have heard precisely nothing being proposed by "Occupiers" (the list, which had to be gathered by others, consists of about twenty demands) that hasn't already gotten us into this mess, or wouldn't, if enacted as they wish, make it vastly worse. The left— and unquestionably, that's pretty much all that the Occupiers are— is all about taking things away from people: their weapons, their automobiles, their red meat, their cigarettes, their backyard gardens and barbecues, their children's lemonade stands, their Industrial Revolution, and most of all, their money and control over their own lives.

I'm willing, on good faith, to trade the Coulteresque accusation that the "Occupiers" defecated on police cars against the lie that Tea Partiers are racists. I am willing to assume that neither of those charges is the truth. (I also thought her characterization of the celebrated squatters as the "Flea Party" was pretty cute, but it isn't on that basis that I want to address the subject at the moment.) Of course these days, anyone who wants to pay fewer taxes is a racist, on the strictly "progressive" assumption that any wealth generated by the Productive Class is automatically and rightfully the property of the non-producers who—again, by liberal "logic"—must all be brown or black.

But tell me: who does that reveal as the true racist here?

What I'm not willing to trade off is the absolutely mind-boggling volume of vituperative anti-Jewish bigotry to be seen and heard among the "Occupiers". Understand that I'm no great fan of the police state known as Israel, and I detest it particularly for the way it treats the non-Jewish people it has savagely displaced. But this, as they say, was not about that. It was an open, running sewer of invective for Jewish business people, and, as such, it was fully worthy of any neo-Nazi.

What I know but can't prove (as Jesse Stone would put it) is that the various "Occupations" have functioned primarily as a government sanctioned experiment, a test to see whether the Obama Administration can whip up riots, on cue and coast to coast, should it be politically expedient to do so. If the whole country could be portrayed by the captive mass media as seething with violent unrest, then government could do anything—send in troops (especially blue-helmeted ones); disarm the populace (or at least try to); bulldoze their homes; and lock half the country up in FEMA extermination camps—with apparent justification.

I'm also sure that what they got from their experiment was a disappointment. It was a pretty feeble exercise, compared to the Tea Parties.

I have a better idea—one that should be passed on to everybody you know—so get ready to press the "Forward" button. Instead of another shabby, poverty-inducing, potentially democidal socialist revolution, let us complete the American Revolution as we should have, by abolishing sovereign immunity, the vile doctrine that everything the government does is right, simply because it's the government.

While we're at it, let's get rid of limited liability, as well. These two "legal fictions" are what got us into this mess in the first place. It is long past time to "provide new guards" for our future security, as Thomas Jefferson put it the Declaration of Independence, by instituting a system under which it's possible to bring a criminal complaint against any given law—there are millions of them in direct opposition to the Bill of Rights—and prosecute it out of existence.

And let George Soros pay off everybody's student loans.

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