THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 878, June 26, 2016
No king! No queen! No lord! No master!
We will not be fooled again!
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
In just a few weeks, my 30-somethingth book (I can never come to the same total twice in a row) will be released, electronically, and in dead-tree form, by my esteemed publisher Shahid Mahmud at Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick. I've really been looking forward to this event, because this novel is very important to me. Following my stroke in 2014, it means that I've climbed back on the horse.
On the surface, Blade of p'Na, which is set on an alternative version of Earth, is a fast-moving science-fiction action- adventure prequel to my 2000 novel Forge of the Elders, and features many of the same wonderful alien-like characters—giant spiders,one of whom plays the banjo, and star-nosed moles—and strange situations as the larger book. Like Forge, which also made a deeper argument about Darwinism and the "Forge of Adversity", Blade focuses on the all-important ethical differences between conservatives and libertarians. Thanks to the late, lamented libertarian teacher Robert LeFevre, I have long argued that, rather than the great champions of individual liberty that they pretend to be, conservative Republicans are simply "Socialist Party B" to the progressive Democrats' "Socialist Party A".
In all fairness, a great many of them mean well—but then so did Mussolini.
Socialism is the dubious ethical and political contention, born in Europe at about the same time as this country was, that the group (society, hence "socialism") is more important than the individual, and has more rights. In any competition between the group and the individual, the group wins, and it is perfectly acceptable to sacrifice the interests of the individual—including his right to live—to the interests of the group. Libertarianism is the direct, adamant refutation of that view. The Left is quite happy to kill you, and cook you, and eat you in the name of "multiculturalism", "social justice" "the environment", and so on. The Right is no less delighted to do it for "national security", "Mother Church", or "sacred tradition". To both of them, you are simply meat.
Before you dismiss this analysis as nitpicking or inconsequential, consider the lives of the 900,000-odd people who died in the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Those attacks are usually rationalized as necessary to end the war cleanly (historically debatable) , and as revenge for Pearl Harbor (I do believe in revenge), not to mention the unique brutality of Japanese troops during the war, But libertarians must ask themselves a very serious question: given that World War Two Japan was a theocratic dictatorship, how many of the individuals who perished in those two cities had anything morally to do with Pearl Harbor?
How many of them, especially the women and children, ever raped a Chinese woman?
How many of them ate a British soldier?
The significant difference between libertarians and conservatives is the "Zero-Aggression Principle" which mandates that you may not use physical force or the threat of force against anybody who hasn't first used it against you. "Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'" as Will Smith observed in Independence Day. Unlike the Right or the Left, libertarianism tolerates no "collateral damage", a sickeningly cheesy euphemism for killing the wrong people—people who did nothing to hurt you. The Zero-Aggression Principle represents remarkable progress in the affairs of the human race that we cannot afford to lose.
To do so would be moral cowardice.
In Blade of p'Na, a civilization half a billion years old (the Elders are giant molluscs), is faced with an invading enemy that seemingly can only be dealt with by means of weapons of indiscriminate destruction, and while fighting off their vicious and horrifying attacks. civilization's thinkers (only a few of them human), must debate the ethical points I've been discussing. Their current urgency is no accident; we're in the mess we're in now, precisely because these issues have been evaded by our "leaders" who mostly aren't equipped intellectually to entertain them.
And the p'Nan judge Eichra Oren, a sort of combination private detective and rabbi. the hero of both books, must fight off the amorous attentions of a lively, beautiful, and not-quite-human redhead while his mother nags him to marry a nice Atlantean girl. His loyal companion Sam, a medium-sized white dog with cybernetically-enhanced brains, who greatly prefers human women to his own species, can't figure it all out. The redhead smells so good.
The story is resolved in the abyssal depths of the central sea in which most of the Elders live.
Watch for Blade of p'Na, coming to a bookstore or website near you soon!
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