Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 951, December 3, 2017

Like I said, the world is run by idiots.

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Customs Change
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

“By long constitutional custom, no military force had ever been allowed to enter Rome’s sacred precincts; and it is not difficult to picture the horror of the citizens when Sulla’s men came marching through the gates. After some hot street-fighting the democrats were scattered. Sulpicius’s bloody head was nailed up on the Rostrum.”
— Cyril E. Robinson, A History of Rome, from 753 BC to AD 410

In last week’s essay, I pointed out the similarities between Rome in the latter days of its republic form of government and the current situation with Mordor on the Potomac. Extortion, mass murder, and parasitism prevail. What Rome was in 89 BC, Washington DC is today, though the volume of graft, extortion, and death is certainly higher for the last 100 years than it was in Sulla’s time. This week, I’d like to point out the frivolous nature of the idea that a constitution is going to limit government.

It was a long constitutional custom that no military force was to enter Rome. There are people who seem to think that until Julius Caesar brought his troops across the Rubicon, none had. In fact, Sulla got the job done two generations before Caesar. Not only did he enter Rome with his troops, not only did he have the bloody head of his political opponent nailed up on the Rostrum, but also he led a bloody Terror that resulted in hundreds and hundreds of deaths, the confiscation of many properties, people fleeing in fear for their lives. Although Sulla made some effort, after a few months, to restore the republic form of government, he had set a precedent. Blood was to run in the streets of Rome again and again and again.

You can imagine that people with power are going to be limited by rules, including written rules, including written rules that have big letters saying they are IMPORTANT rules. But it is only your imagination. Lysander Spooner wrote a very long time ago that the constitution for the United States had either authorised all the tyranny that had been inflicted on Americans up through 1874 (when he was writing) or it had been powerless to prevent any part of that tyranny. Either way, it was not fit for free people.

Customs change. You may believe in unicorns, and you may imagine that they fart rainbows. But your belief that a constitution is limiting the power of people who have the ability to enforce their will is foolishness. You should not rely on foolishness. A rifle is far more reliable.

Because customs change, you should be prepared for change. Which means you should have tools to defend your home and family. You should have tools to keep them warm, keep them breathing, keep them fed, and heal their injuries. You should have a book on the edible wild plants of North America. You should have a book on how to capture, gut, cook, and eat wild game, including small game animals. You should know not only how to track animals the size of deer, but how to set traps and tangle-nets for small game like squirrels, rabbits, and birds. You should have a book that helps you identify edible mushrooms, and tools to examine their spores and detect the poison kinds that look similar to the edible kinds. In short, you should know how to live with much less civilisation than you see around you.

Much of what you see isn’t really civilised, and it isn’t more than customary. It is a custom that people do not kill one another out of hand as they walk down the street. It was customary for a gentleman to say, “Good morning” and tip his hat to a lady of a morning, and that still happens in some places at some times, but you can be confident that it isn’t any longer customary. Spend some time walking around a big city and you’ll see what I mean.

The sad simple truth is that if you want to be free, you are going to have to free yourself. The good news is, there are hundreds of millions of people all over the world who also want to be free, probably even several billion. Due to this desire for freedom, a great many things have been happening lately. Change has finally come to the monetary world, and the new crypto-currencies are making things better. Change is coming in many other ways, as well.

All the way back in May 2000 my friend Dale Robertson said that people were out of control. He pointed out that the Internet had made it very difficulty to control people. He was right. And people are even more out of control today than they were then.

Keep a firm grip on what matters. Home, family, your ability to defend what matters, and communications with people who can help you. Changes are coming, and some of them are going to be (more) natural disasters while some will be very artificial disasters. When you need help, ask for it. There’s plenty of resources on Earth, and nearby, and lots of people working on making them available. But the road ahead is bumpy. So fasten your onboard harness and get ready for a ride.


Jim Davidson is an entrepreneur, public speaker, freedom enthusiast, and financier. He blogs at and posts on Twitter @planetaryjim He’s working on seven blockchain projects now, and writes business plans for fun and profit.

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