L. Neil Smith's

Number 17, October 29, 1996.

Questioning Authority #5

by Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         1) When will the shit hit the fan?
         One of my correspondents -- can't find the message now; sorry -- assures me that we'll know when the time is right, either to drop out or grab a rifle and hunker down. I sure hope that's true. But is it?
         Here's possible cue: as of about 10 PM EST on November 5th, William Ceausescu Clinton will be immune to any electoral comeback whatsoever. That's whether he wins or loses: one way or another, public opinion will mean squat to his political career. Indeed, losing might fill him with greater vindictiveness and urgency to make his impress upon history.
         He's a man, you may have noticed, who already accepts damn few restraints on his behavior. The instant the voting booths shut up shop on the Left Coast, there will be none at all. The Republicans, as personified by their zombie candidate, are utterly bereft of spine, guts, or spirit. They dare not expose Clinton's manifold wrongdoings for fear of baring their own, and should they utter a peep in opposition to anything he does Clinton has but to threaten to shut down the government to collapse them, as he did over the minimum wage hike. His worst case is that the sheer sensational pressure of his misdeeds might force his toady media to reveal enough truth to compel his resignation. In which case Gore pardons Slick and his lovely wife Imelda, and they fly off to live on funds siphoned from the public fisk while our new eco-Fuehrer completes the murder-rape of liberty.
         So: be ready for anything. It might be as relatively benign as banning all tobacco sales by executive order. It could consist of announcing that as of that moment, federal law enforcement agencies were moving to confiscate every firearm in the country whose location was known through sales records or the covert registration masquerading as "right to carry" programs, and that Americans had ten days to turn in the rest or face lethal force. It could consist of declaring a national emergency and federalizing state, county, and local cops to assist in a door-to-door search of every house in America.
         Or it could get really bad.
         Maybe this is paranoid fantasy. I don't have the balls to say it's likely. But I have to warn that it is possible.


         2) Are we cowards for not being ready to fight right now?
         One of my correspondents in effect asked this, lamenting that he wasn't yet prepared to go to war. Is he really a coward? Am I?
         In one sense, yep. Somebody has to take the first step, whether it's refusing to pay income taxes or telling the city that you'll die in your driveway before you tear down the carport you built without asking their permission. Some individual must be prepared to take a stand and the consequences.
         But in a larger sense, no. Reality bite: to do more good than harm will require a lot of individuals making up their minds more or less simultaneously to opt out of the system and resist with lethal force all attempts to coerce them back into it. Because if just one of us defies the State, or just a few, it's not simply that they'll burn us dead with OV-10As and Bradley AFVs. They will also make us examples. They will find pipe-bombs, cocaine, kiddy porn, Aryan Nations membership cards, and personal letters from Muammar Gaddafi under our beds. The media will brandish us as proof to an anxious public that anyone who opposes Clinton's least whim is a racist-militia-hate-terrorist and probably personally helped stir the ANFO for the OKC bomb, and that Americans must therefore let Slick rip up the remnants of the Bill of Rights and send all their money to Hillary -- for the children, you know.
         The media will never love us. What's key is that too many people act to be marginalized.
         What really has to happen is for the Feds to do something so brutishly stupid that a sizable minority of Americans drop out in disgust -- or to boot the ball so comprehensively that Americans must give up their government habituation and turn to voluntarist civil-society systems to survive. How lucky for us that the US government, indeed government at all levels, is brutish, stupid, and bankrupt.


         3)What if Libertarians took it upon themselves to "go where no other person has gone before?"

         Christine Krof Shock bobshock@ix.netcom.com suggests free-enterprise, libertarian-driven space colonization may be the only feasible route to freedom. Her plan:
         1. Privatizing NASA.
         2. Recruiting private enterprise.
         3. Promoting scientific discovery.
         4. Selling the idea to others.
         She advises reading "The Man Who Sold the Moon" by Robert Heinlein for ideas and inspiration.
         Good ideas. The problems I have with them are first, that NASA is the enemy of private exploration/exploitation of space, and always will be, its recent phony "privatization" notwithstanding. It would take election not just of a libertarian President but a libertarian Congress to change that: won't happen. Second, escaping to space may take longer than we've got before Freedom's Final Blackout. Third, even if we do "escape," government will try its best to bring us back down, possibly with nukes.
         Nonetheless -- leaving NASA out -- I'm all for trying. I want to see libertarian space colonization happen anyway, even if I'd hate to rely on it as freedom's last hope. And I have to admit it might be.
         If you're at all interested in this subject, I recommend you read Victor Koman's wonderful Kings of the High Frontier, available online at www.pulpless.com. Or write to Baen books or some other publisher and ask why the hell they won't print it.
         4)What would you do if it all fell to pieces tomorrow?
         5)Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War In Tethyr from TSR.

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