Down With Power Audiobook!

Number 897, November 6, 2016

Whistle-blowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange,
and Chelsea Manning are the modern Prometheuses,
despised and hunted by the traditional “gods”
for bringing enlightenment to you and me, mere mortals.

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Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning—Patriot, Whistle-blower, Political Prisoner, Victim

Truth and Consequences
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Thirteen years ago, in 2003. I presented a speech to the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, in which I talked about the uncountable thousands of life-destroying, history-distorting lies told by government employees every day, from whoppers like the Gulf of Tonkin Incident—which never really happened, but that managed to get the War in Vietnam started, anyway—to lesser fibs, like the Food and Drug Administration telling us that vitamin supplements don’t do us any good. Ask you heart surgeon about that.

Such casual or calculated lies cost lives, in the case of the Vietnam War, about 60,000 American lives, and about two million Vietnamese. In conclusion, I proposed that any government employee who lies to any member of the public, for any reason, be subject to execution, and that keeping any government secret, of any kind, be considered the same as telling a lie.

The reaction to this proposal was educational, to say the least. Individuals who considered themselves to be libertarians were outraged that I would take such a position. In their view—the same as that of conservative Republicans and Democratic war-hawks—the government’s ability to lie to us and keep secrets from us was essential to maintaining civilization, whereas transparency in government was a mortal threat. In a democracy, I pointed out, it is people like you and me who establish government policies; how can we do that without complete access to the facts?

The United States is (sic) not a democracy, they argued, but a representative republic, where we elect or hire flunkies—senators, congressmen, and bureaucrats—to make policy for us. No, I argued back, this is a democratically-operated republic in which I have an absolute right to know everything that the government knows, if only to defend myself against that government.

I had no way of knowing then, thirteen years ago, that an invention which I had described as more revolutionary, more historical than, say, the printing press, would do more to bring complete transparency to government than any legislation. The printing press—and the endless stream of vernacular Bibles that gushed out of it in the beginning—destroyed forever the unanswerable authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic Church. Now people were free to figure out the will of God—or even whether God exists—for themselves.

Similarly, the invention of the Internet affected a revolutionary change in the relationship between those who claim authority and those who do not that will alter human society forever. Our species will never be the same since the replacement of vertical, top-down, command communication with sideways, symmetrical, peer-to-peer communication. As I write this, the American election of 2016 is still a couple of days away, and what would have been a straightforward crooked steal for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton is now in doubt. The transparency I advocated has been delivered by the Internet and by Wikileaks, a coalition of anti-government whistle-blowers. Not only have we learned that our leaders are habitual liars and disgusting criminals, but that the current crop (at least) are slave-holders and perverted child-molesters.

If Hillary Clinton loses this election, and what seemed like the inevitable, unstoppable slide into American communism is halted, it will be because of this invention, and my various prediction about it and its influence on society will have come true much sooner than I expected. If she succeeds in stealing the election anyway, she is in for the roughest four years ever endured by an American President, thanks again to the Internet.

Somewhere, in some dark recess of their skulls, the bad-guys are dimly aware of all this. Whistle-blowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning are the modern Prometheuses, despised and hunted by the traditional “gods” for bringing enlightenment to you and me, mere mortals. Instead of being chained to a rock, having their livers devoured by vultures, two have taken diplomatic refuge with other countries, while Manning is a prisoner of the Dungeon State, being deliberately driven insane. I am confident that a time will come when these three brave souls are properly appreciated and a monument on the scale of Mount Rushmore is created to honor them. I only hope it will be soon enough to save Chelsea’s life.

L. Neil Smith

Publisher and Senior Columnist L. Neil Smith is the author of over thirty books, mostly science fiction novels, L. Neil Smith has been a libertarian activist since 1962. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE "Free Radical Book Store" The preceding essays were originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. Use them to fight the continuing war against tyranny.

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