I don’t have to respect authority,
it needs to learn to respect me
Several Reasons I Am Not A Conservative
by L. Neil Smith
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Over the past few weeks, I have experienced a couple of interesting e-mail phenomena. First, while there never seems to be an end to generous offers concerning reverse mortgages, dubious imaginary currencies, or enhancing my sexual organs, fewer and fewer of my messages are personal, i.e., specifically directed at me.
At the same time, the personal messages I do receive sometimes concern a recent conversion I appear to have made—(the worst kind) entirely without realizing it—from the anarcho-libertarian I’ve been since 1972, when I was “turned” by Prof. Bernardo de la Paz himself (philosopher/lecturer Robert LeFevre)—to a crypto-conservative Republican.
All of this because, during the last few weeks of the recent Presidential election campaign, after a great deal of reflection, I decided to cast a vote (something that I consider a legitimate act of self-defense) for Donald J. Trump. As I have said a number of times, my principal reason for doing so is that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton (as far as I know, he still isn’t) and the election of that wretched hag is the worst thing, short of a medium-sized asteroid strike or the eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano, that I can imagine happening to this country.
I do confess that, as time passed, I found more and more reasons to like Trump and his family. Those who know me will tell you tthat I am far from immune to a pretty face (a big reason I watch FOX) and the President himself likes big ideas, which suits my style to a T.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother to explain myself further. (“It’s an act of weakness.”) But I do have books to sell, and I wouldn’t want any prospective reader to believe that I’ve gone back on what I stand for, on what Wikipedia and Amazon say I stand for—and what I won’t stand for. So here it is: who I am and how that makes me different from all those conservatives. Mind you, I have many close friends and valued colleagues who are ’servies, and I don’t want them to think I hold them in anything resembling contempt. I do not. I have simply come to extremely different conclusions than they have about “life, the universe, and everything”.
The first, and most productive source, of those differing conclusions is this business about God. Nothing abstrusely intellectual, mind you, at least in the beginning. It’s just that, since about the age of eight, the whole proposition of an invisible, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful spirit that created the universe seemed silly to me, exactly like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. People all around me claimed to be able to see Him in their minds, to hear Him in their thoughts, and to talk to Him. I might just as well have been talking to Harvey the Rabbit, who. according to his friend, Elwood P. Dowd, “has overcome not only time and space, but any objections”.
My friends often assert that Christianity, for example, has had a civilizing influence on Western man. And yet it dawned on me that, if there were a vast, loving God, the desperate prayers of millions of Jews would have formed thick black pillars miles in diameter up to heaven over the Nazi concentration camps.
Again, your mileage may vary. I know religious people I would trust—even whose intellects I would trust—far beyond any liberal academic who shares my lack of spiritual views. Still, there is Rush Limbaugh, squealing hysterically that “You can’t make up your own morality.” What nonsense. Every code of morality was made up by somebody, somewhere, even those that fraudulently claimed to be the Word of some Supreme Being that got carted down from some mountaintop somewhere. And here’s a more important point: every atheist I ever knew struggled in his or her life to develop an ethical framework, and observed it more closely than any handed-down set of imperatives.
Another way I differ from my conservative, often Christian, fellows is in the matter of sexual mores, although Muslims are even worse about trying to eradicate the greatest joy an individual can feel, and orthodox Communists are nearly as bad. When I was young, I fought in the Sexual Revolution, a major feature if which was the right to have sex without marriage, and non-reproductive sex, both of which existed and flourished long before any church. I was actually shocked to discover that the old attitudes are still around: one extremely famous conservative writer condemns sex—even with your spouse—for purposes other than making babies.
Our allies in that war have been homosexuals, who, simply as human beings, deserve the right to do as they will with others who feel the same way. Any professed Creator of the Universe who objects to that is a petty little wight who has probably padded His resume.
Last on this particular agenda is abortion. Conservatives claim to care about individual rights above all things, yet they cheerfully describe their desire to deprive women—who, famous conservative writers to the contrary, may pursue sexual gratification for other than procreative reasons, and are unwilling to serve as soft-sided incubators—of control over their own bodies. Since the First Amendment precludes making public policy on religious grounds, and many people don’t believe in souls, the only capacity on which to stake a claim for rights in pre-born entities (that does not include field mice or sheep) is sapience—higher-order, characteristically human thought. When that occurs, the entity in question is human, but not before. It is the conservative’s willingness to lock people up over this issue that helps to make me a libertarian.
More recently, my tolerance for—and acceptance of—philosophical anarchism has distanced me from my conservative friends. I recognize that government exists and has to be navigated around. But no one has ever made the case that it has a right to exist or to overshadow my own sovereignty. Read closely, and you’ll discover that the Declaration of Independence itself is a fundamentally anarchistic document. I’m sure George III read it that way. For me, it’s an extension of my religious views. I do not recognize the legitimacy of any form of authority over my life. To put it simply, I don’t have to respect authority, it needs to learn to respect me.
“Unfortunately,” said my daughter, reading an early version of this essay, “pretty much every rational voice left in the world calls itself ‘conservative’”. That is undeniably the truth. The libertarian movement has turned itself into a limping herd of weaklings and idiots (another reason I voted for the Donald). I will find allies wherever I can. And if we differ on this or that issue, at least conservatives don’t demand that I surrender my mind to a barbarian horde whipped up by Charles Schumer. Joy Behar, or Early Morning Joe.
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.
What Shall I Write Next?
(Your input wanted!)
Was that worth reading?
Then why not:
This site may receive compensation if a product is purchased
through one of our partner or affiliate referral links. You
already know that, of course, but this is part of the FTC Disclosure
Policy found here. (Warning: this is a 2,359,896-byte 53-page PDF file!)