L. Neil Smith's

Number 2, November, 1995

So Long, Mel

By John Taylor

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         Ex-Congressman Mel Reynolds of Illinois recently reported to jail to begin serving a five year term for 'sex crimes'. It seems ironic that Reynolds should ultimately have been convicted for the one act for which libertarians might not have condemned him, and not for his true crimes against liberty that go largely unremarked.
         Reynolds allegedly had sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old campaign volunteer. This affair was, apparently, consensual; in fact, his accuser attempted to withdraw her charges and recant her testimony after charges had been filed. At the least, there seems to be reasonable doubt that the crime for which Reynolds will serve time actually occurred, absent a true victim.
         So Reynolds was unfairly incarcerated, right?
         Well, no -- not really. Considering his record in Congress, I think we should accept the verdict on the grounds that he clearly did do to Lady Liberty what he was accused of doing to the young girl. And in a forceful, coercive, repeated fashion at that.
         Reynolds has long been an outspoken advocate of restricting the rights of his constituents and of American citizens everywhere.
         He has spoken out and voted on the floor of the House in favor of government control over civil liberties.
         He has consistently violated his oath of office by supporting legislation that is inconsistent with, and harmful to, the Constitution of the United States of America.
         He has appeared with numerous "talking heads" as an advocate for the most egregious takings of individual freedoms that the human mind can imagine.
         Besides, if Reynolds did force himself on a young girl, or otherwise coerce her into having sex with him, that's a crime as well. The same attitude that led him to believe that he could diddle the Constitution and the American people might have easily translated itself into his private life. That seems reasonable, and there's some historical precedent for such an association. Just ask practically anybody from Massachusetts.
         It's true that there's some doubt about the validity of charges against Reynolds, just as there were against "B-Movie Bob" Packwood. But let's face it. These guys clearly have developed a bad case of the 'do as I say do, not as I do do' syndrome.
         In a way, politicians like Reynolds and Packwood are a peculiar form of separatist, to use a phrase that government loves to apply to people who don't think as it wishes them to. Well, turnabout's fair play.
         Extremist separatist politicians subscribe to the belief that they know what's best for all of us; that we aren't capable or willing to make our own decisions; that they are above the laws that they make for us, by virtue of their superior standing and intellect; and that anyone who challenges their rule must be brutally suppressed, for the common good.
         Only we, the people, can save ourselves from these extremists. We must take steps to remove from office those politicians who would separate us from our liberties.
         Incarcerating Mel Reynolds is "a good first step."
         "If it saves just one young girl's life, it's worth it."
         "After all, we're doing it for the children."
         So, in the final analysis, Mel Reynolds is going to jail for screwing around with the wrong lady.
         That's good enough for me.
         One down, a few score to go.

John Taylor (76470.3001@compuserve.com or JohnNo6@aol.com) is a husband and father of two; a free-lance essayist and editorialist; and a systems engineer with broad-based analysis experience.

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