THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 754, January 19, 2014
There are pro-freedom people,
and anti-freedom people. And
the mostly-pro-freedom people
are actually anti-freedom people.
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Ladies and Gentlemen, Sovereigns and Sentients!
As Sun Tzu so famously wrote, "In seeking to create new allies from old enemies, the Superior Man does not cast under the chariot fellow travelers who have supported him hitherto." In "Letter from L. Neil Smith", Sovereign El Neil writes, "It may wet the panties of every ... 'Agorist' who thinks he's too good to dirty his soft pink hands with politics, but the ... only way to control the government is to become the government." He calls this an "undeniable truth." Sovereign El Neil referenced my soft pink hands, but he somehow failed to mention my pale, limpid eyes (one of my best features). I do not mind when statists call Agorism evil, unbalanced, or supporting of terrorists, child molesters, and money laundering. I simply look to the grand and glorious tradition of Agorism throughout history. After all, without Agorists, Napoleon's autarky would have collapsed early. Without Agorists, the Underground Railroad (freedom as contraband) would not have existed. Without Agorists, the patrons of Isher's weapons shops ("The right to buy contraband is the right to be free.") would not have had the option. And from whom does Sovereign El Neil think he will buy ammunition in the future, when the Feds have cut off all "legitimate" sources?
Sovereign El Neil announces that we should elect Libertarians to repeal laws, that this is a far surer path to "freedom in our lifetime" than non-electoral activism. Perhaps Sovereign El Neil has recently been struck on the head and has lost all the memories of the rants he has been making for years about the Libertarian Party, who were elected on that very platform. Having done the same thing, over and over many times, and gotten the same results, he now expects different results, if only "we get the right people into office." Perhaps Sovereign El Neil should look into St. John's Wort to cure his depression ("These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.").
Sovereign El Neil has announced in "The Mandarin In The Moon" that "whoever controls the Moon controls the Earth and everything and everybody on it." This is echoed by Admiral Heinlein's article for Galaxy magazine's middle-of-the-century issue, entitled "Pandora's Box" (published as "Where To?"—Admiral Heinlein had a less "emerital" relationship with his editor than Sovereign El Neil with Sovereign Holder). After the "life in the year 2000" story, he made several predictions. Number three (from Expanded Universe) was "The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space." In 1965 this was updated as "The nation that controls the Moon will control the Earth." In the multi-page foreword-and-analysis of "Where To?" in Expanded Universe (entitled "Pandora's Box" [so there!]), Admiral Heinlein makes much use of trend curves of advancing technology, and of how when making predictions in speculative fiction, one tends to err on the side of caution, but the growth of technology indicates one should err on the side of "adventure, excitement, and really wild things" (Adams).
Sovereign El Neil seems to base his predictions of the Chinese supremacy-through-meteor-blackmail on an optimistic view of trending technology, but our ability to respond on a pessimistic view. Now, were this Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, this might be a rational view to take. However, we are not in Harry Evans-Verres' presence, and we do not need to embrace such a defense against the Planning Fallacy. We are speculating, something Sovereign El Neil has done for years. He has spun a future scenario, based on doomsday predictions. Such is not worthy of him, as this is not the late sixties, nor is he British nor Harlan Ellison. (Again, I heartily recommend the St. John's Wort.)
To combat the disease of Heinlein, Heinlein himself shall be made to serve as the cure.
Go read Friday.
Go read it right away.
I'll wait here for you.
Done already? Good.
In Friday, Heinlein depicts the instant destruction of Acapulco by artificial meteor. The target was a corporate rival of the Shipstone corporation, as a first move to consolidating Shipstone as a corporate government of the Sol system. The point was made that a planetary target, any planetary target, was indefensible against a space-based strike (barring, of course, anti-ballistic missiles of such power as to volatilize large artificial meteors). But the launcher does not have to be planet-based to be effective! As Heinlein has said elsewhere (I don't have the quote here, please advise) "in terms of energy, low Earth orbit is halfway to anywhere in the Solar System." A rock launched off a railgun module on Space Station Alpha could launch a pre-emptive missile on Project Cultural Revolution at any viable window. Or ball bearings. Or sand. It would not need to destroy the catapult; all it would need to do is to block or foul the barrel, if it is an open-rings design, or to block the muzzle, if it is a buried catapult with only the business end open for delivery. Just launch enough sand into a converging orbit to turn the mouth of the catapult into a morning-glory ("Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon"), and wait for them to trudge out to the business end to dig it out, whereupon you hit them again. Or, at the first rattle of the Lunar saber, we launch some ball bearings at Beijing.
But El Neil is forgetting something else. Heinlein shall cure Heinlein still further. In his "the occupation of America is coming—after we lose the atomic war" articles, he points out that the greatest tool of asymmetric warfare (for the Resistance) is a knife (today we might add a garrote, poison, or Sovereign El Neil's 3x5 card self-recycling claymore [not to mention the homemade drone which Sovereign El Neil calls "a coward's weapon, anyway."]). Further, and this should be a relief to all of us (with or without soft pink hands and pale, limpid eyes), who have watched with dismay Sovereign El Neil's recent Moon Trek into Darkness, I recommend The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
Go read it right away.
I'll wait here for you.
Done already? Good.
The Lunar society is remarkably free of tinpots and commissars. Why? Because you can be rid of them as easily as slamming a door! On page 10 of the book (page 5 of Tim Minear's updated screenplay), is the first mention (of many) of elimination. "Back when I was very young, they sent us a gangster lord, from Los Angeles I believe; he arrived with squad of stooges, his bodyguards, and was cockily ready to take over Luna, as was rumored to have taken over a prison somewhere Earthside. (None lasted two weeks. Gangster boss didn't make it to barracks; hadn't listened when told how to wear a p-suit.)"
The Chinese Glorious People's Lunar Colony will be staffed with young, impressionable technicians and older, reliable commissars to keep them in line. But what happens when these "Little Emperors" have had enough of being bossed around by the kind of superiors Leo Frankowski describes in Chapter Three of Conrad's Time Machine, officers who were on average sixty IQ points lower than the technicians they commanded, but who were selected based on their Ivy League accents (or as the Communists pronounce it "political reliability")? The technicians will go into a restricted area (like where they work during the day) after hours, wait for the huffy commissars to follow them in to assign them fifty Hail Lenins, close the door behind them, hit the cycle button, and then be completely surprised to find the commissars have asphyxiated! So sorry, just an ignorant Glorious People's Peasant, what can you expect?
And what about the food situation? In Mistress, the Lunar colonists used tunnel farms to grow hydroponic crops. For the first few months, until the farms get going, the Chinese will no doubt just ship food by rocket, but if they try that after they have begun threatening catapult-based blackmail, then we can hit their supply ships with more ball bearings. Even if they do become self-sufficient, do you think the catapult technicians will be willing to work in the farms on their off hours? Neither do I. So the Chinese government will have to ship up real live Glorious People's Peasants to farm for the colony. Which raises another problem. As the Great Profitess says in Atlas Shrugged, as long as peasants must labor all their lives for a pittance, they are easy to rule; but once make them skilled technicians using complex machinery, and the personal-freedom circuit in their brain switches on, and they become unmanageable. Once the Glorious People's Lunar Colony becomes entirely dependent on its own resources, and the LEOs have begun shelling Beijing with ball-bearings, how many sit-down strikes will it take to bring the remaining (non-asphyxiated) commissars to heel?
I think, on balance, that we have little to fear from the Glorious People's Lunar Colony and the Cultural Revolution catapult. Internal liberty movements and space-based and (at last resort) earth-based launchers will easily take care of any potential problems. If the Chinese try to use their catapult to strike Alpha, they can dodge into a different orbit using their docking thrusters. Building a space-based launcher will be orders of magnitude easier and cheaper than a ground-based launcher on either planet. Admiral Heinlein and Sovereign El Neil fell prey to one of the classic blunders, in this case shared by the Galactic Empire of the Foundation Trilogy. Personal shields made on Foundation were the size of a walnut, because the planet's dearth of metals meant that inventors had to economize on their use. Imperial shields were monstrously large, because there was no evolutionary pressure towards miniaturization, and the Empire had the mineral resources of millions of planets to draw on. Our industry up to the present day has been planet-based, so we think Big Dumb Objects must all be planet-sited. But just as thousands of small mirrors can act jointly as one huge mirror, so thousands of small, cheap launchers can act as one big weapon. Decentralized, DIY asteroid defenses.
Because Sovereign El Neil is stuck (as Rich Dad says) in the Industrial Age while the world has entered the Information Age (he has highlighted the Information Age's beneficial effect on information flow, but the fact that he calls "a drone of my own" hyperbole and believes that a planet-sited Big Dumb Weapon can not be defended against, I don't think he truly bellyfeels it [Orwell].), he now declares that all those who "thinks he's too good to dirty his soft pink hands [and pale, limpid eyes] with politics" is unpatriotic. This is known in debate as "waving the bloody shirt." Considering Sovereign El Neil's own war record, he is in fact waving somebody else's bloody shirt. I was raised conservative, as well as Fundamentalist Christian (still am the latter), and it warmed my cardiac cockles to see his plug in The American Zone for "the home canning, homeschooling kind, as apt to thump the Constitution as the Bible." Though The American Zone is a sequel to the book in which he blasts the Constitution as being a Hamiltonian conspiracy to destroy liberty, so take that as you will. But now he sides with Constitutionalists against Voluntaryists. It was The Probability Broach and The American Zone which changed me from a conservative Constitutionalist to a libertarian in the first place, and now El Neil has gone the opposite direction, like Bastiat writing The Law and subsequently becoming a tax collector. Will someone please get El Neil some gorram St. John's Wort?!
As Sovereign Wendy McElroy writes, to vote is to say to one-half of the people in any given jurisdiction, "hey, you know that candidate you hate, the one who threatens to destroy your way of life and everything you hold dear, and levy outrageous taxes and a long train of abuses and usurpations against you? Yeah, well, I hereby choose to attempt to foist him upon you. I hereby, with my vote, attempt to initiate force against millions of individuals. Not just one, but millions. A government you don't want, but it's good for you. With my candidate in office, you'll know that It's a GOOD Life. What? You don't want me to make these legislative choices on your behalf, against your consent? Well too bad, suckers! You're just ignorant. Suck it up; you'll get used to it." Rabbi Hillel writes, "That which you loathe, do not to others." It doesn't matter if I vote a candidate into office to kill 9/10 of the human race or to repeal all the gun laws. The principle is the same. And if Sovereign El Neil has now abandoned the Zero Aggression Principle for the I Know Better Than You Principle, then the reason is clear and obvious.
Attention, you who are using the email address email@example.com: We demand proof of life before we will pay any ransom. We recognize that you have hijacked this platform to sneak in statist propaganda under the guise of the publisher emeritus having a breakdown, but the ruse has now worn too thin to fool anyone.
If you have harmed any of the few remaining hairs on Sovereign El Neil's noble brow, we shall use all necessary force to warn you of the coming wrath of Sovereigns Cathy L.Z. and Rylla Smith. If you have taken them captive as well, well then you have crossed the line and involved women, and all right-thinking people will see to it you do not rest until you are hunted down like the scum-sucking vermin you are (and shoved through the nearest airlock). We are not just limited to the addresses you have on file. We are everywhere. We are
Somewhere in the Agora