L. Neil Smith's

Number 17, October 29, 1996.

Our Presidential Endorsement

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         At last The Libertarian Enterprise comes to its first general election, where it will no doubt be expected to offer suggestions to readers as to how they should exercise their precious and dwindling franchise.
         As TLE's founder and publisher, I've taken it on myself to make at least one such suggestion (see below), although I suspect that, by now, most readers of this publication -- a surly, independent lot -- will already have made up their own minds without any help from me, thanks.
         Libertarians who still condescend to vote and find themselves as viscerally revolted as I do by the outcome of the Libertarian Party's July nominating convention may have suggestions of their own. I've already overheard several assert that the most courageous course is to help re-elect President Nosecandy on the grounds that it's time America got over socialism once and for all, and that Waco Willie and the Bride of Arkanstein are the likeliest candidates to make it happen.
         We've been urged to "punch a hole for Dole" since, if Republicans were what they claim to be, they'd be us -- which gives us the moral Native American sign on them that was once exploited by socialists with regard to Democrats. Theoretically, this makes Republicans more easily manipulated than Democrats. Trouble is, when the crunch comes, if Republicans vote for the same policies as Democrats -- as they have for most of the last four years -- then what's the point of having a GOP?
         My personal preference is to "cast a blank" -- that is, vote for candidates where I can make a decent choice, and decline to choose among what has become the lesser of three evils. The public never hears about an outcome like this, but politicians all track it, and they hate it. It's the next best thing to voting "None of the Above".
         I also suspect that any suggestions I offer are likely to have been anticipated by TLE readers, whether they're inclined to agree with them or not. I've never been bashful about my feelings or my opinions, nor would I be astonished if my cardiovascular surgeon were to discover lint on my heart, from wearing it on my sleeve. What I cannot discover within my heart is any willingness to rubberstamp the aspirations of Harry Browne, political, literary, financial, or otherwise.
         By now, you may have an idea how I came to this unhappy position. Suffice it to say that I will never support anyone who regards the Non-Aggression Principle, the heart and soul of Libertarianism, as an undesirable "litmus test", who requires years of browbeating before paying lip service to Bill of Rights enforcement, who doesn't seethe every minute of every day over what happened at Waco, or who'd hand a woman's right to reproductive self-determination over to 50 state governments, avowing that he's doing her a favor by preserving state's rights.
         I will do everything I can do to inconvenience such an imposter -- an imposter who has exhibited all the charm and warmth of Bob Dole, the true regard for individual liberty of Pat Buchanan, and the moral fiber and integrity of Bill Clinton -- and who added insult to injury by lying worse than Clinton about his positions (count 'em) on tax policy.
         Frankly, I've been dismayed -- and not a little demoralized -- at how easily my presumably intelligent, dedicated fellow Libertarians were taken in by Browne and his jackal-pack of political short-change artists. (Guess I've been presuming wrong the last quarter of a century.) It would be disgusting enough to watch your party taken over by Republicans, Democrats, socialists, fascists, or even alien invaders.
         But game show hosts?
         It's going to be a long, long time -- if ever -- before the vile, repulsive image fades of individuals I once respected, leaning forward eagerly in their seats wherever the Harry Browne Show happened to be playing: laughing, scratching, swilling it all down, grinning as it dribbled off their faces, just like the idiots they've apparently become.
         Or maybe always were.
         To be fair, Browne's acceptance speech did attempt to co-opt every point ever made against him. He cheered the Second Amendment briefly, chided the federales at Waco, displayed a modicum of passion over Ruby Ridge, and even offered a sugar cube to my hobby horse, Bill of Rights enforcement. His enlightenment lasted all of 30 minutes, but, since he won't be getting elected to anything, it may be appropriate to ask others to vote for his speech, and maybe even vote for it ourselves.
         Don't take the current leaders or most members of the LP for anything but what they are: hardly the cream of the movement, simply the unfortunates among our number who lack the intellect or will to break away from an example historically provided by Republicans and Democrats. Study religion. Watch daytime TV -- any network TV, for that matter. Listen to your coworkers talk about sports. Read anything written by Albert Gore or George F. Will. It doesn't take long to reach the conclusion that the world is owned and operated by morons.
         Why should the LP be any different?
         One thing is certain. If Harry Browne, as many suspect, is not the Republican National Committee's gift to the Libertarian Party, then he's the Libertarian Party's gift to the Republican National Committee.
         This is more than sour grapes, although you're entitled to believe otherwise if you wish. It has nothing to do with the fact that I supported someone else -- cause and effect work the other way around, here. It has to do with the depressing fact that these grifters and their Spam-headed worshippers may have thrown away our last hope for freedom.
         On the other hand, one couldn't hope to ask for a finer example of Libertarianism than Browne's only effective opponent, Rick Tompkins. He will understand, if nobody else does, that I was never a Tompkins proponent, per se. What brought me to his campaign, what made me his friend for life, is that, like Rick himself, what I am, what I've been for nearly 35 years, what I will always be, is a proponent of Libertarianism.
         Thanks, Rick, for standing up for what we're all supposed to stand up for. The day will come when you'll be vindicated and your effort will become legendary. Meanwhile, The Libertarian Enterprise will endorse a Libertarian for President when the LP sees fit to nominate one.

L. Neil Smith is publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise. His award-winning first novel, The Probability Broach, long out of print, has been republished in unexpurgated form by TOR Books. A list of his books and a collection of essays like this may be seen at http://www.lneilsmith.org//. Permission to redistribute this article is granted by the author, provided it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.

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