L. Neil Smith's

Number 11, August 1996

TWA 800 and the Police State of Georgia

By L. Neil Smith

Featured in the Free-Market.Net Policy Spotlight on Terrorism and Freedom

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         I've been sitting around all week, watching the Olympics whether I like it or not, because my wife and daughter want to watch them, and I can deny them nothing.
         In between undeniably dramatic moments -- astonishingly courageous little girls "playing hurt", as if they were major-league football players -- I've been treated to story after story of how, due to the efforts of thousands of uniformed professional paranoids, Georgia, USA is coming to resemble Soviet Georgia. The sight of hundreds of trailers moved in to house these security "troops" is demoralizing in and of itself to anyone with a regard for a free society.
         At the same time, I've been a TV witness to the tragedy of TWA Flight 800 and an ignoble struggle by network fear-vampires to wring the story of its last delectable drop -- "It was a bomb!" "It was a missile!" "It was a bomb!" "It was a missile!" -- the whole thing beginning to sound like a macabre Certs commercial.
         Over it all hung the spectre of international terrorism, and the swollen, corrupt, bulbous-nosed, droopy-jowled visage of a politician (no "New Democrat" as it turns out, but just another damned fascist) grimly determined -- exactly like Richard Milhous "Guns are an Abomination" Nixon before him -- to be the last democratically elected President of the United States: William Jefferson Blythe Clinton.
         Clinton -- aided by his vile minions, the national "news" media -- went into raptures of ecstasy, listing all the ways that the freedom of Americans would have to be curtailed (Clinton has spoken of this before; it's a favorite theme of his) due to the heinous act he transparently hoped had been committed against TWA 800.
         Afterward, the round-heeled sprayheads obligingly searched out the usual street-cretins to rubberstamp Our Glorious Leader's latest Five Minute Plan, and add that they wouldn't mind at all paying extra for the "service" of having their inalienable rights violated even worse -- within the increasingly Bulgarian-style compounds American airports have become -- than they're being violated now.
         But there's a simpler, more effective way to prevent the criminal acts generally labelled "terrorism" that Clinton and his idiot-box doxies don't want anyone to know about. Behind virtually every terrorist attack we've ever seen or suffered, it's relatively easy to discover vicious and repeated acts of aggression against innocent individuals by the state.
         Preceeding the highly-publicized excesses of the Irish Republican Army, for example, we find 850 years of violent occupation by an exceptionally brutal foreign power that's managed to con the world into believing that it's civilized.
         Half a hundred years of Middle Eastern terror arise directly from the fact that, instead of coming to America -- the appropriate refuge for "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- either before or after World War II, European Jews decided to take somebody else's land away, and treat their victims the same way they themselves were treated by the Nazis. (In fairness, at least before the war, would-be refugees from Hitler's terroristic state weren't given much choice, at least not by the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the Roosevelt Administration, all of whom worked overtime, keeping out imported professional competition.)
         Similarly, there would never have been an Oklahoma City had there never been a Ruby Ridge or Waco. If Clinton had any real interest in reducing the threat of "domestic terrorism" (he most assuredly does not: terrorism, like war before it, has become "the health of the state") instead of ratcheting government controls tighter around the necks of 250 million Americans who've done nothing wrong, he'd immediately arrest, try, convict, and punish all of those responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco, abolish the outlaw agencies in whose names they were perpetrated, and repeal or nullify the unconstitutional laws which provided them their justification.
         The trouble is, he'd have to arrest, try, convict, and punish himself.
         Oh, yeah, the plan: the best-kept "secret" of our overly- governmentalized age is that terrorism almost invariably reactionary; simply stop doing things -- things you shouldn't be doing anyway -- that cause terrorists to attack you and the attacks will stop.
         Terrorism is the price that governments -- and their hostage subjects -- pay for exercising illegitimate power. Despite pundits whose ignorance is exceeded only by their presumption (Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot leaps immediately to mind) 20th century history demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that no further expansion of that power will do anything but make make the problem worse.
         Benjamin Franklin warned us, more or less, that anyone who trades liberty for safety is a fool, in part, because there ain't no such thing as safety.
         We're reminded by Amnesty International that more individuals have been murdered by governments in this century -- well over 100 million -- than have died in its wars (war itself being a government enterprise, as well), proving that government is a worse threat than anything it claims to protect us from. Tragedies like TWA 800 is presumed to be, represent a failure of the state -- of the very idea of the state -- and it is the state, not individuals, that must be penalized, by reducing its income, and especially the power it wields over individual lives.
         Americans are famous the world over for doing what was never done before. It's time we did something historically unprecedented again. We flew the first airplane; we sent the first men to the Moon. Both of those were possible only because we were the first people ever to tell a King to go to hell.
         Now it's time to tell a President to go to hell. It's time to be the first people ever to refuse to be steam-rollered out of our liberties by jackbooted thugs claiming to protect us from people and events that don't threaten any of us nearly as much as the thugs themselves.

L. Neil Smith's award-winning first novel, The Probability Broach, which has long been out of print, will be republished by TOR Books this October. Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the author, provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.

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