THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 717, April 21, 2013
Being threatened by the Taliban or by
Albert Gore is pretty much the same thing
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Of all the con-games that human beings play on one another, perhaps the most effective—and evil—is the con-game called "terrorism".
Terrorism is a game in which every player wins—everybody, that is, except for the ordinary people who do the bleeding and dying -- and it's a bastard child of democracy, as surely as Tammany Hall and total war, predicated on the cruelly false notion that everybody in a democratic country, even little babies in their cradles, has a part in running it, and therefore deserves equal punishment for whatever it does.
It's also a trifle more complicated than it appears to be on the surface, and it's often hard to tell the difference between winning and losing.
Robert LeFevre, undoubtedly the most underrated thinker, leader, and teacher of the libertarian movement, had most of it figured out as early as 1972, when I attended an unforgettable seminar he conducted in Wichita, Kansas. It's useful, here, to understand that the most infamous terrorists of the period, the Brigate Rosse, a gaggle of murderous Italian communists, had only been founded in August of 1970, and the violent German "Red Army Faction", popularly known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, made its initial appearance sometime that same year.
Bob maintained that terrorists didn't kill people and break things for the fun of it (although I suspect this kind of thing has motivated more than one individual terrorist). They had a plan: each spectacular and photogenic criminal act on their part provided another excuse for the governments involved to tighten security, to intrude on people's privacy, to limit their movement, to monitor their activities and speech, and generally make everyday life more awkward, difficult and unpleasant.
Think for a moment about the predations of the "Transportation Security Administration" and the "Department of Homeland Security", specifically created by and for terrorism; you'll understand what I mean.
But I digress. Or do I?
The idea was that, sooner or later, life under these increasingly stringent security measures would become intolerable. The people would revolt and overthrow the government, in favor of something a little more Marxist. Not surprisingly, there were a couple of typical leftist disconnects in this plan. To begin with, the governments they regarded as fascistic were, in fact, pretty far gone into socialism already. (A more accurate understanding of political geometry—or simply a visit to the United States—might have spared them this error.) And the security measures these governments were adopting were as nothing, compared to what went on every day in the Soviet Union or Communist China.
Most idiotic of all, the terrorists assumed that people would somehow forget who had started the cycle of violence that led them into a dictatorship of whatever stripe. To "professional" advocates of l'action directe, the "propaganda of the deed", unsophisticated, ordinary, Productive Class individuals have a dismaying penchant for not giving a fast flying fribble whether their lives, liberties, and property are in peril from the right or from the left. To them, being threatened by the Taliban or by Albert Gore is pretty much the same thing.
But here's the tricky part: deep down inside (about a tenth of an inch) governments actually welcome terrorism, and encourage it when they can do so inconspicuously. I draw your attention to the otherwise unexplainable policies of Barack Obama. The relationship between those who commit freelance violence for political reasons, and the existing establishment, is best described as symbiotic. It scratches whatever itch the terrorists may have, while providing governments with a fine excuse to bypass constitutions, common sense, and human decency in an attempt to control every aspect of every life they regard as their property.
Again I refer you to the TSA and DHS.
Most importantly, if you remember nothing else from this exercise, remember this: nobody among the leaders of either side is interested in overthrowing a system—a political ecology, if you will—that gives them sustenance. If we accept LeFevre's evaluation of terrorism, and we are to believe the official government story about the events of September 11, 2001 (admittedly an increasingly difficult thing to do with every year that passes), then it worked. A few buildings blew up, free America turned itself into a dictatorship, and the terrorists won.
Each side got what it wanted. The government, under Republicans and Democrats alike, has enacted unconstitutional laws and adopted illegal policies and practices that would have the Founding Fathers reaching for their powder horns. And there are a hundred times as many jihadists today—maybe more—than there were in 2001 on September 10. It was unquestionably the most successful recruiting campaign in history.
The final lesson is this: in the absence of genuine, spontaneous terrorism, governments can always generate their own. That's what "false flag" attacks are all about. Many historians believe that William McKinley had the battleship Maine blown up in Cuba to precipitate a war with Spain. We all know that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident never really happened, and Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction" were mythical. A few even understand the length to which Franklin Roosevelt went to provoke the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor.
I would be greatly surprised, as a result, to learn that the FBI doesn't have a department dedicated to this very sort of thing. The wonder is that they do it so badly. Boston, at this moment, following events so transparently phony it would be funny if innocents hadn't died, is under more oppressive military occupation than it ever was by the British army during the Revolution. Do not doubt for an instant that Boston is a proof-of-concept experiment in future government endeavors.
Then-President George W. Bush attempted to explain that the 9/11 attacks occurred because "they hate our freedom". It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the century we've spent assassinating their leaders, snatching one government after another out from under them, helping European companies steal their resources, and murdering their children.
But George, as you may recall, was a couple cans short of a six-pack, and he couldn't help projecting his own feelings, and the feelings of men and women like him, onto the 9/11 terrorists, real or imaginary.
We all know who really hates our freedom.
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