L. Neil Smith's

Number 18, November 15, 1996.

The Publisher Talks Back

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

Ms. Yiing Boardman boardman@diminsional.com
Managing Editor, The Libertarian Enterprise

Dear Yiing:

         Much as I hate doing it, it's time to establish some standard of quality and intelligibility to be met before we publish a letter to the editor. Please don't take this as a criticism of you. You labor mightily on TLE, at present for no remuneration, and happen to be one of the most professional, competent, and literate individuals I've ever had the pleasure to associate with. In future, too, kindly include the letter-writer's e-mail address. If we, who write TLE, can take the heat, so can those who feel an urge to trash it.
         Subscriber Rod Heil's recent whimpering makes the case for such reform. He complains that we're "uninteresting ... and simply wrong" without providing any examples. My "sarcasm has gone stale", he says, or maybe he's "outgrown it"; finally, he accuses me of "grouchy, sour hatred". About the only part of the predictable litany he misses is "mean-spirited".
         I suspect what's really happening here is that Rod has been a bad boy and is feeling guilty about it. Perhaps he's decided he has to support Harry Browne and what I've been writing about the LP's pathetic presidential preference suddenly isn't as funny as it was when he was backing Rick Tompkins. But how can we know for sure? Even if we accepted his "criticisms", what could we do to fix things? If he can't be more specific, offering quotes showing clearly what he objects to, he won't be published here again.
         Or maybe it's what I've been writing about Waco.
         Yiing, the plain truth in this context is that I have even less patience now with political whiffle-balls like Rod than I had before, having recently been exposed to a three-hour rough cut of Mike McNulty's forthcoming documentary on the Mt. Carmel massacre. What hit me hardest, what continues to haunt me, was a heartbreaking series of videotaped interviews the Davidians made among themselves, attempting to dispute the government's evil, ass-covering lie that individuals were being held within the church -- within their own home -- against their wills, when in fact they had been penned up, marked for death from the beginning, so that physical evidence and testimony regarding the murderous criminality of the ATF, FBI, Janet Reno, and Bill Clinton could be safely bulldozed into oblivion.
         I watched and listened to beautiful, charming, innocent little girls (all named Koresh), well-dressed, clean, and healthy, not unlike my own baby daughter, saying they wanted to stay in the only home they'd ever known. They got their wish: a few days later, they were transformed into twisted lumps of blackened char. A little boy's tiny spine was bent backward in transcendant agony, head to buttocks, in contortions brought about by cyanide gas -- a combustion product of the CS poured in upon them by tanks bearing American flags fluttering bravely on their antennas. Seamed with long, deep scarlet cracks where their crusts had broken open to reveal half-cooked human meat, they were almost unrecognizable as having once been living beings.
         This wasn't Nazi Germany. It wasn't Cambodia. It wasn't Bosnia. It was here. Bill Clinton did it. Bob Dole helped him. And Harry Browne -- or any other politico who isn't laboring day and night to get those two into the gas chamber where they belong -- by failing to make that atrocity the central feature of his campaign, has aided and abetted what they did at Waco.
         If -- in my outrage, my insistence that justice be done, my fervent desire that nothing like this ever happen again -- my usual capacity to entertain seems to have slipped a little, it's too bad. Get that, Rod? It's too bad. Sorry I didn't slide a dirty limerick in there between the bodies and the bulldozers, but for some reason I didn't have the heart. If that makes me "grouchy", if it's evidence I've become filled with "sour hatred", I might ask what the hell is wrong with you, that you fail to have been affected the same way.
         Rod says he should unsubscribe from TLE -- he's certainly welcome to in my book -- but he backs out at the last moment, and we know perfectly well why: TLE is the only publication on the planet where he can be confident of reading what people really think, whether they believe he'll approve of it or not.
         Changing the subject, if Don Cline will look up "initiate" in the dictionary, he'll be properly chagrined. "The purpose of government," he informs us, "is to protect the rights of the people ... government must initiate force against those infringing upon individual rights." Apparently he's unaware that (A) the only way individual rights can be infringed on is by the use of initiated force, (B) that the force used to stop this is defensive, not initiated, and (C) the overwhelming majority of such infringements is carried out by government itself.
         Since the turn of the century, according to Amnesty International, governments have murdered 120 million people. That's separate from warfare, which accounts for another 100 million. Although Communist governments historically win the prize for sheer numbers, western democracies in general, and the American government in particular, are not without guilt. Look up Operation Keelhaul, if you doubt me, or simply consider Waco again.
         Robert LeFevre said that "government is a disease masquerading as its own cure". Certainly it's vastly worse than any threat it claims to protect us from. In fact, it's protecting us all to death.
         I'm the author of the statement Don complains about, simply a more rigorous iteration of the Non-Aggression Principle, the heart and soul of Libertarian philosopy. If he interprets it to mean that anyone who adheres to the standard it sets must be an anarchist, I'd be the last one in the world to argue. Bob LeFevre also said that all real Libertarians are anarchists, and that those pitiable individuals who call themselves Libertarians, but profess to believe in "limited government" are just an odd variety of Republican, fooling themselves more than they're fooling anybody else.

Thanks again,


L. Neil Smith's 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 had 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.

Imagine a government bent on sharing its sensitive, caring, environmentally friendly ways with an entire universe. Then imagine the army it needs. CLD - Collective Landing Detachment. Dark military SF. By Victor Milan. From AvoNova.

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