Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 530, August 2, 2009

"They don't read it,
they can't vote on it."

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Socialism's Dirty Little Secret
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

There is a common thread that runs through socialist governments like this one exactly the way the orange thread runs through a pair of jeans.

Victim disarmament, for example—what its advocates prefer to call "gun control"—is the utterly despicable position that insists it's somehow morally preferable to see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than to see her on her feet with a gun in her hand. Victim disarmament is a policy that not only doesn't work, but actually causes many more problems than it ever promised to solve.

But it makes the Macy-Marxists feel so warm and fuzzy inside!

Here's another one for you. After a decade of gradually falling temperatures all over the planet (and apparently on other planets, too), every scientist in the world worthy of the name who doesn't have tenure or a paycheck on the line now admits that global warming is a crock.

But science—meaning cold, hard facts—is always decades ahead of the politics of the day. Think of Galileo and the Pope. And science—meaning cold, hard facts—be damned, we're going to take stern political measures against global warming anyway, measures that just incidentally hand the means of industrial production over to the government just the way Marx and Engels wanted it. And when all that global warming doesn't happen, the latterday Bolsheviks will proclaim success.

And now, despite a century of miserable failure, immeasurable human suffering and conspicuously needless death everywhere else on this glorified mudball (politicians pay less attention to historians than they do to scientists), we're going to try medicine Stalinist style.

"But why would we do an idiotic thing like that?" I pretend to hear you asking. Well, partly because there's mountains of cash—uncountable trillions, potentially—and job security in it for properly-connected accomplices to this gangster government who can afford to fly themselves and their families somewhere else for medical treatment.

Somewhere that doesn't have socialist medicine.

But mostly, as many pundits have been saying, it's about power at the lowest, minutest zit-squeezing level conceivable. It might be difficult for a normal individual to understand why somebody would yearn for complete control over every aspect of another human being's life, but there you are: sooner or later, a lens behind every bathroom mirror.

Make no mistake about it, this heartfelt yearning for absolute control is psychosexual in character, and about as sick and perverted as it can be. Every stuttering, broken-voiced pencil-neck who ever got turned down by a cute cheerleader, every pimply-faced fat girl who ever imagind she was being laughed at by the captain and his whole football team, these are the mental midgets and moral cripples who are looking forward, from under the rocks they currently inhabit, to ruling us tomorrow. You've seen plenty of their species already, down at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Get ready to see a lot more of them.

They want to rule.

They need to rule.

And to rule lives they perceive as better than their own.

I know, because I was once a geek, myself, painfully skinny, laughably clumsy, sickly and weak, uncertain of myself in any situation. So I started to reshape my life by becoming the official Class Clown. I spent six hours every day learning to play the guitar I came to love when all the other guys were learning to work on and drive cars, because I had an intuition that girls were more interested in guitars—and in guitar players—than they were in cars. It turned out that in 1962, I was right. I even wound up being voted Most Scholarly—but not from anything I ever learned in school, I assure you.

The Boy Scouts helped me a lot, along with the NRA, and so did learning to fight—from my dad's military outfit, the 4420th Support Group of the First Air Commandos, the first guys—most of them veterans of Korea or World War II—we sacrficed to Robert Strange McNamara.

Living where I could swim in wild salt water every day with porpoises, alligator gar, sand sharks and stingrays, and being able to free-dive deeper than anyone else I knew was just the frosting on the cake.

I wasn't short, I was gangly. But a friend of mine who is very short tells me that every short guy is faced with one of three choices.

He can hide in his mother's basement.

He can become somebody's jester and toady.

Or he can make himself into a genius.

It's the path my friend, married to a statuesque blond, followed. I know of many, inside and outside the libertarian movement who did, too.

Now we're up against those who didn't.

Or who couldn't.

Or who wouldn't.

Instead, they want to live their lives through ours, beginning with the splendid and absolutely limitless excuses socialist medicine provides.

Only I don't plan to let them.

Believe me, I grew up with it in the American military, and I've seen it in full flower in England, as well. It isn't about providing you with services, it's about denying you services, since that's the cheesy little thrill that is all many bureaucrats ever get out of life. People want power over the lives of others not because they believe themselves uniquely capable of directing those lives, but because they know they're incapable of directing their own lives and find it easier in this culture to try directing the lives of others, instead.

The urge to power is down there, deep inside every one of us. And whether we realize it or not, we have to fight it every day. How we fight it, what we do with that urge is the surest measure of our character.

And our potential for survival.

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 more than 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 is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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