L. Neil Smith's

Number 19, December 1, 1996

Well, Duh!

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         We're informed that an organization referring to itself as the "National Commission on Civic Renewal" -- swilling down a million samoleans from some gullible charitable trust -- has been created to find out what's wrong with America: why don't we trust each other (meaning the media) any more, or trust "our" government? And why did fewer than half of us even bother to vote this November?
         Perhaps because we all knew how much good it would do?
         It may give you an idea of how anxious they are to get real answers when I tell you that the only commission members I heard mentioned were retiring Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, and that paragon of virtues, William Bennett. More than anything, I'm reminded of that Greek Council "trial" in Animal House, where the protagonists were being blatantly railroaded, and their partisans kept pretending to cough, while continuously muttering "blowjob" behind their hands. The difference is that experience warns us that a "National Commission on Civic Renewal" isn't going to turn out to be anything at all as nice as a blowjob; what it's inevitably going to develop into is the government's means of manufacturing what Ayn Rand frequently referred to as "the consent of the victim".
         Nevertheless, on the microscopic chance that anybody's really interested in knowing what's gone wrong -- and so dribblingly stupid that they need to be told -- I'm going to offer Sam and William a few obvious pointers to get them started. On the basis of past performance, they'll shrug it off and dismiss me as a malcontent -- despite the fact that I'm the author of 20 books, I've been politically active for 34 years, I predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire fully a decade before it happened, and, most importantly of all, that my state of being malcontented is exactly what they claim to be interested in investigating.
         Nothing will change; what else is new?
         But for the sake of going through the motions, let's begin by considering the fact that the average dweller in the land of the free and the home of the brave is forced to turn over more than half of his income to one government or another, and nothing we can do at the polls seems to stop this all-devouring process. A medieval serf was compelled to surrender no more than 10 percent, and Woodrow Wilson promised that we'd never have to fork over more than five.
         Hey, Sam and William, you said you wanted to know.
         Or how about the fact that, wherever the public teat has been pinched shut even a little bit, governments from the federal to the municipal have simply begun stealing whatever they want -- money, rolling stock, real estate -- at the louvered point of automatic weapons (which have been denied to us mere civilians), brandished by infantile Ninja wannabes in black nylon pajamas and facemasks? I recall that this was William's idea and that Sam kinda liked it, too.
         Hey, Sam and William, you said you wanted to know.
         Which brings us to the fact that, no matter what the Constitution seems to say in plain, unambiguous language, somehow, once they fall into the hands of the very lawyers and judges they were meant to protect us from, our individual rights always turn out just a trifle more alienable than we believed. Talk about your classic "long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evincing a design to reduce them [meaning us] under absolute despotism".
         Hey, Sam and William, you said you wanted to know.
         Or let's make it real concrete: how about the fact that, at the behest of both a Republican Bush Administration and a Democratic Clinton Administration, 81 innocent individuals near Waco, Texas -- 22 of them little children -- were coldbloodedly terrorized, tortured, and murdered in broad daylight on national television, and the murderers not only got away with this unbelieveable crime, but were allowed to subject their surviving victims to trial, and when a jury refused to convict them, managed somehow to throw them in prison for 40 years, anyway.
         Hey, Sam and William, you said you wanted to know.
         You said you wanted to know what's gone wrong? No justice, gentlemen, no peace. Not a threat, just an objective description of what's happening right now. No justice, no peace. And what's likeliest to happen to us all will make the 60s (or Beirut or Bosnia, for that matter) look like the Teddy Bears' Picnic. This isn't brain surgery, gentlemen; it isn't rocket science. But then you two ain't exactly brain surgeons or rocket scientists, are you? What you are is politicians, which means we have to talk to you very, very, very slowly.
         Okay, I pretend to hear Sam and William inquiring, you're quick with the complaints, how about offering some solutions? Well, as a preliminary act of good faith, why not a committment to stringently enforce the highest law of the land -- the first 10 amendments to the Constitution -- commonly known as the Bill (not William) of Rights? Once people know that their individual rights are absolutely secure, you'll be flabbergasted at how they'll settle down.
         To provide you with a single edifying example, there isn't a gun law at any level of government that's constitutional. Despite the maundering of a Supreme Court that's been putrescently corrupt since Marbury versus Madison, you know what I know: what the Founding Fathers meant by the Second Amendment was for individuals to be armed as efficiently as the uniformed minions of the State.
         You just don't like it.
         I shouldn't have to tell you -- and any more I'm going to charge for at confiscatory rates -- but if you want to repair America (not just sit around flapping your yaps about it until the million is used up), repair the damage you and yours have done. Repeal or nullify the 20 thousand weapons laws that have been passed illegally. Make restitution to those you've hurt with them. Do the same with each of the other nine amendments. If you want to impress us, make it unlawful to tax or regulate anything protected by the Bill of Rights.
         None of the usual alibis and excuses, now.
         No justice, gentlemen, no peace.

L. Neil Smith's Prometheus Award-winning The Probability Broach offers a window onto a Libertarian civilization -- and enough sex and violence to keep even the most apolitical reader turning pages. Buy it at bookstores anywhere, or call Laissez Faire Books 1-800-326-0996

Next to advance to the next article, or Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 19, December 1, 1996.