Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 394, November 19, 2006

"The continued existence of this culture
is incompatible with the continued
existence of the Republicans and Democrats."


Truth, Justice, and the Arab-American Way
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise and to L. Neil Smith at Random

When I was just a little boy of four or five, my mother patiently explained to me that some people need to feel better about themselves so desperately that, lacking any talent or accomplishment they can be proud of, they search until they discover somebody they can look down on.

My younger brother and I grew up believing that racism amounts to a public confession to one's own ignorance, stupidity, and humiliating inadequacy.

The ones being looked down on, back in those days, were for the most part black—we were taught to call them "colored people"—and I realized sometime later that my mother was preparing me for entry into the Denver public schools, not because I would be encountering black people (in fact my first buddy in Kindergarten was a little girl about twice my height who happened to be black) but because I would also be encountering the tiny, shriveled souls she had warned me about.

Although nothing quite prepared me for the separate bathrooms and separate drinking fountains I saw later—at Sears!—when we moved south.

There are probably more tiny, shriveled souls like that out there today than there were in 1951 when I attended Kindergarten. Government activity in any venue—in this case, race relations—always tends to make things worse. The vast majority of bigots have long since been intimidated out of picking on blacks, at least in public (except, perhaps, in England, where I heard the "N-word" more times during a three-week vacation than I had in all the years I was growing up in Texas and Florida), and for quite a while, seemed fairly frantic to find somebody else it might be socially acceptable to express hatred toward.

First, they settled on the Brown Menace, all the men, women, and children inconsiderately crossing an imaginary line across the bottoms of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California (along with those eager to row or even swim all the way from Cuba or Haiti) in search of a better future. Why today's immigrant-haters believe that this makes the border-crossers any different from their own ancestors—some of them just as illegal, and not so very remote—I have yet to figure out.

I didn't exactly keep tabs on it during the election—in fact, I watched DVDs through the actual vote-counting coverage—but I know plenty of time, energy, and television money was spent by Republicans during the campaign to excoriate any Democrat who wasn't willing to install automated machineguns at the border, equipped to detect Latino DNA. I strongly suspect that we'll be hearing a great deal less about that now, since it didn't seem to work terribly well as a political tactic.

Now the leading-edge bigots have switched again, to people — mostly in Michigan, it would appear—who came here from the Middle East for a better life. And the new N-word is "raghead", apparently because there aren't that many camels to be jockeyed in the Upper Peninsula.

What's seriously upsetting their detractors is that these people are acting as American as apple pie: the fiends organized themselves and ran a very impressive total of candidates all over the country in this last election. Of all the nerve! Why, they even succeeded in electing an individual whom the bigots are now calling "the Hezbollah Judge".

In a 1960s Rex Stout novel, Nero Wolfe told a group of black men who'd come for his help that if he'd been born black, "by now I'd be in prison, or dead". Exactly the same goes for me with regard to Arab-Americans.

But I replied to the correspondent complaining about all this that, unlike many of my fellow libertarians, Arab-Americans seem to have learned that, to control the government, you must become the government (or do away with government altogether, a topic for another day).

They should take heart. At one time in this country's history, it was Italians that pea-brains and pandering politicans looked down on. At another, it was the Irish, Chinese, and Japanese. On my mother's side my ancestors were Polish, and got treated like dirt in their own time.

That's right, I am a Polack, so called. I got married in a clean bowling shirt and my Serbian-Bohemian wife braided her armpits for the occasion.

This, too, shall pass and we shall endeavor to persevere, because the pea-brains and the politicians who pander to them will always be with us. They'll be picketing the Arcturian Embassy before we know it—"God Forbids Mixing Red and Orange Blood!"—and lynching sapient gorillas.

Meanwhile, liberals—bar none the most violently prejudiced creatures on the planet—still have tobacco smokers, meat-eaters, gun-owners, and SUV drivers to hate, loathe, despise, and legislate against.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at, or at

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