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L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 917, April 9, 2017

Reality is Reality

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Jethro and Duke
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Karen De Coster is a highly articulate individual, a certifierd public accountant, and primarily a conservative, who writes occasional columns that show up on LewRockwell.com. Several years ago, she and I traded messages about national borders, she maintaining that they must be controlled to help protect Americans from criminals—ordinary violent felons and religious fanatics—who would come to our country illegally, and I maintaining that correct libertarian moral principles demand that borders are only imaginary lines on a map, and that they must be left completely open.

No one, I insisted—barring issues of purely private property— has a right to tell anybody else where they may travel across the face of the Earth. Subsequent violent and gory events in France and Germany and /1 have compelled me to change my mind very reluctantly. It has not been an easy process, or without mental anguish. The last time it happened to me this way, it was about the Watr in Vietnam which, believe it or not, I once supported. I hope I have made up for that in the decades since.

But that was 1964; this is 2017.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs and John Wayne may be right, that apologizing “is a sign of weakness”, but honesty is not. Figuring that I owed Karen an apology, or at least an acknowledgement of some kind (she’s a great admirer of the late Murray Rothbard, whom I knew personally; he never acknowledged the many times that he was proven wrong about people and events; I most assuredly don’ t want to be like that.), and lacking her e-mail address (I’ve changed computers at least twice since our argument) I wrote to her at the address in the Rockwell archives. I did not hear from her, so I’m making this statement public …

Dear Karen,

I don’t know whether you’ll recall me or the rather robust exchange we had a few years ago, and I won’t repeat the points that either of us made then. Our original concerns were over latin immigrants, I believe, who seem downright fuzzy and cuddleable compared to the Islamic fanatics we are confronted with now. I could be mistaken about that, of course.

I’m writing because I have always been a scientist at heart, epistemologicaly speaking, and it would be wrong not to make the following admission: in our arguments about immigration and borders, I was wrong and you were right. The violent events of the past couple of years, and the inclination of those foreigners we worry about most to impose what they believe on people by brute force, have proven that beyond doubt.

Regrettably, I have very little confidence that, in the absence of telepathy, any “vetting” measures will work to prevent evil-minded individuals from entering our country—our chief antagonists have a religious doctrine that encourages them to lie, strategically and tactically, to non-believers— so I have been advocating (as I always have) arming everybody. “A .380 (at least) in every purse and pocket.” Naturally, I would be happier it it started with a 4.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, now, about my former position on immigration, which I still believe is ethically correct. Human beings have a fundamental right to be unconstrained in their activities, unless they try to interfere with somebody else’s rights. And you may recall that I rejected your argument about their alleged “trespass” onto public land. But that’s my problem, not yours.

I don’t mind if you pass this letter on to anybody else or publish it. Some of my friends and readers will be disappointed with me, but reality is reality, and if you’re wrong, you’re a long time dead. Thanks for arguing with me.

L. Neil Smith


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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