by L. Neil Smith
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
For anyone who cares about the now regrettably improbable survival of the United States of America as a free country, the internet news headlines this morning — as they have almost every day for more than a year — contained horrors enough to trouble the spirit of George Orwell:
“Secret Court Okays Broad Wiretap Power”;
“Government Ready To Initiate Military Tribunals”;
“Federal Appeals Court Blocks Legal Challenge To Detention Of Afghan War Prisoners”;
“Surgical Tags Planned For Sex Offenders … Silicon Chip To Be Inserted Under Skin”.
There was also a whole rash of ugly stories about a secret list the government and the airlines use in a conspiracy to keep people they don’t approve of from enjoying the invention, in 1903, of the airplane. If you think any of this is acceptable, stop reading. You are either evil, stupid, or insane and I have nothing more to say to you.
Ironically, the same headlines contained the following: “[Hillary] Clinton In Line For Key Spot”, which speaks volumes about the trouble Americans find themselves in, how they continue to make the same old stupid mistakes over and over, and how unlikely they are to find a way out.
This column is addressed to people who identify themselves with and vote for the candidates of the Democratic Party. More than anybody else, you made the world we live in today, and you are right to detest it. You should know that a great many people detest you for making it detestable.
I can’t remember ever writing an essay like this, directed to Democrats, whom I’ve always pretty much regarded as a lost cause, at least as far as the values that I treasure are concerned. I’ve written rather a lot for the benefit of Republicans, because I used to believe that there was something there that might be salvaged. However in the time that’s passed since September 11, 2001, I’ve learned that I was wrong.
But despite the authoritarian excesses of the Bush Administration, they don’t bear the primary responsibility for what’s happening today. No, for decades, it was perfectly all right if Democratic leaders, and the bureaucrats and policemen who worked for them, had dictatorial powers of life and death over the American people they claimed to be serving. You trusted your leaders with those powers, even if nobody else did, and anybody who didn’t, you muzzled — the gatekeepers at the networks and newspapers worked for you — and dismissed as “mean spirited”.
Now those same powers, powers that you created and bestowed upon your own — powers that nobody was ever meant to have under the rule of law we quaintly call the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — are in somebody else’s hands, hands that you’re inclined, like me, to see as basically malevolent. But now, if you complain, you get the same cold shoulder and ominously threatening glare that you once gave to others.
You aren’t patriotic.
You may be a terrorist.
The United States hasn’t recently changed course, not at all. You allowed Woodrow Wilson to hand control of the nation’s economy over to a cartel consisting mostly of foreign banks, and to tax individual incomes — forever destroying privacy in the United States. You’ll have nobody but your own party to blame when the government reads every word you write, follows every move you make, and monitors every transaction.
They’ve been telling you what you can and can’t sell for far too long.
You allowed Franklin Roosevelt to outlaw the only real money there is, beyond the grasping fingers of government, and the only weapons adequate to keep such a government in line. Gold may be legal again, but when the Thought Police come for that biography of Emma Goldman you treasured in college, those antique Margaret Sanger pamphlets, or your mint Grove edition of Story of O, you may wish that you had a machinegun.
You allowed Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson to wage war without a formal declaration by Congress — and the open public debate that would have accompanied it — and there hasn’t been a year since (there hasn’t been a day) when American’s weren’t in somebody else’s country, shooting at people who never threatened you and getting shot at in return.
You also allowed Lyndon to read people’s mail, infiltrate antiwar groups, and hound his political enemies to death using the IRS. When your e-mail isn’t secure, the very personal choices you make on the World Wide Web become stand up material for jackbooted thugs, and the FBI asks about the posters on your wall, you have only your party to blame.
Complain that Bush and his vile minions are violating the law, and they’ll point to the way you let a criminal like Bill Clinton get away — literally — with landgrabbing, rape, and murder, both here and overseas.
So the question before us is, can you see now that those powers are a bad thing regardless of the hands they’re in? Can you see now that there were good reasons, when this nation came into being, to restrict those powers, no matter who might feel inconvenienced by it? Do you understand now that the potential power to do great good — whatever you think “good” may be — is the actual power to do terrible harm?
It’s time for what was once fashionably termed a “paradigm shift”, and the paradigm that needs to shift is yours. You made this mess we live in today, and justice demands that you do something now to unmake it. The alternative is a future too terrible to contemplate, a future of “Homeland Security” (an open confession of pure fascist intent if I’ve ever heard one), a future of slavery and terror and torture and death.
Now you get to see if you’d have had the courage to stand up to the Nazis. There are American men today, and women, willing to do dark and barbaric things to their fellow human beings — who enjoy doing dark and barbaric things — and who relish the prospect, very soon, of doing dark and barbaric things to their fellow Americans. Today dark and barbaric things are being done outside our borders by these men, by these women, in your name. Tomorrow dark and barbaric things will be done inside our borders, in your name, until they are done to you.
And by tomorrow, I mean within the next four years.
Now don’t say anything. Just sit there and be quiet and listen for once. Before you can be of any help, you must purge yourself of many of the beliefs you cherish most dearly. Democrats always claim to care more about the people than others do. And it is possible the American people need many things. But what the American people do not need is more government. What the American people do not need is higher taxes. What the American people do not need is a Homeland Security Department, a USA Patriot Act, a War on Terrorism, or an invasion of Iraq.
What the American people do need is to be left alone to do with the fruits of their uncommonly valiant labor exactly what they wish to do. Anyone in political life or the mass media who claims otherwise, who claims that the American people want to be spied on, want to be taxed, and want their lives to be controlled, or the futures of their children destroyed in another war is either … what was the phrase again?
Evil, stupid, or insane.
Do not be taken in by the lies your side has told for so long in a vain attempt to convince them otherwise. The people know better, and the only reason you don’t know that they know is because you refuse to listen.
They know — just as an example we’re all familiar with — that millions of lives are saved every year by privately owned deadly weapons. They know that whenever the private ownership of deadly weapons increases in a given area, civilization triumphs over barbarism. They also know that whenever the private ownership of deadly weapons is suppressed — England and Australia are the latest examples — it is barbarism that triumphs. Your side has lied about this for so long and so often, to yourselves and everybody else, that you now believe your own lies. But they are lies nevertheless, and will continue to damage civilization as long as they continue to be propagated.
The truth is, advocates of gun control — properly termed “victim disarmament” — are people who would rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand.
The other side isn’t a bit better. It’s intriguingly symmetrical that those whom columnist Sam Francis has accurately characterized as the Stupid Party (Francis has hit some kind of a chord here — type the phrase into your browser and you’ll get thousands of hits) think that everyone is evil, and that the Evil Party thinks that everyone is stupid.
Let me repeat that: it’s intriguingly symmetrical that the Stupid Party thinks everyone is evil, and the Evil Party thinks everyone is stupid. We need a party that believes that we are neither stupid nor evil.
If your party really is the party of the people, it’s time to show it. I can help, but it’s gonna cost you. We must move swiftly. We don’t have that much time left before the “midnight knock on the door” becomes as common as it once was in Bulgaria — or during the Lincoln Administration.
Let’s begin by writing and introducing an “Emergency Restoration Act” in Congress, designed to do two things. First, it would return the relative size and scope of government in America to what it was, say, in 1912, before the Federal Reserve Act and the Income Tax allowed it to begin a surge of growth that can only be referred to as cancerous.
Any law passed after 1912 would be reexamined. Unless it won the support of 99% of both houses of Congress, that would be the end of it.
All laws would be subjected to a Constitutional test, as well, with special emphasis on the first ten amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights. That test would be conducted, not by politicians, judges, or lawyers, but by legal and historical scholars known to be friendly to the idea of very strict limits on what the government can do. States, counties, and cities would perform similar acts of legal contrition.
Finally, there would be a 100-year-long Moratorium on the passage of any laws at any level of government, during which the human race would blossom as never before in its history, and reach out to the stars.
Of course many politicians, bureaucrats, and policemen would bitterly oppose the Emergency Restoration Act, as it would eradicate a lifetime of negative achievement and force them to do something honest and productive for a living. Each year when the Emergency Restoration Act was introduced again, it would be like a harsh light, exposing more of these parasites and predators, and sending them scuttling for the baseboards like the cockroaches they are. Eventually the act would pass.
So how about it, Democrats?
The glorious sky above or the mud of Afghanistan, Iraq, and eventually Iowa, on the jackboots of 21st Century American Nazis, below?
Happy with this piece? Annoyed? Disagree? Speak your peace.
Note: All letters to this address will be considered for
publication unless they say explicitly Not For Publication
Was that worth reading?
Then why not: