The Libertarian Enterprise Turns 30 -- Sort Of
By L. Neil Smith
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
Deep down inside I'd never have believed it possible, but this is
the sure enough thirtieth issue of The Libertarian Enterprise
that you see before you.
Over the 20-something months that we've been coming to you (don't
let that number confuse you -- somewhere along the way we suddenly
shifted from mailing once a month to twice a month) we've published a
total of 275 articles written by 32 different writers, which comes
(if you happen to care) to about eight and a half articles per writer
(our imperious Editor-in-Chief Vin Suprynowicz is Grand Champion at
77 pieces) and slightly more than nine major articles per issue.
TLE also managed to evolve in a number of other important ways,
offering its readers their choice of direct e-mail delivery,
availability at an ftp site (I'm still not quite sure what that
means), and, last but not least, a series of exceptionally handsome
and award-winning pages on the world wide web.
We also decided at some point (actually, it was an outdoor "staff
meeting" held one gorgeous summer afternoon last year on a tiny island
in the middle of the Cache la Poudre River while the publisher's wife
and daughter were fishing for trout and the Managing Editor, her
husband, and yours truly were eating a picnic lunch) not to sell
subscriptions, but to become a cybernetic equivalent of the suburban
shopping paper that's dropped on your porch every week for free.
The idea was we'd make it up by selling advertising, but more
about that later.
What makes me proudest, of course, is our content, a rich
mixture of views from the whole broad spectrum of the Libertarian
movement, directed not inward (this is not a movement publication and
it was never meant to be) but outward where it can do the most damage
-- I mean, good. Most of the 32 writers I mentioned differ with one
another to one degree or another about strategy and tactics. What we
all agree on is principle -- specifically the Non-Aggression
Principal which is the very heart and soul of Libertarianism. Because
of that, we seldom argue with each other, being content, simply to
express our views and let our readers do the screaming -- which they
do, on occasion.
Meantime, we were among the first (not the first, I've been
reminded recently) to expose AIDS as the cruel hoax that more and
more have come to realize it is. We broke our "not a movement
publication" rule enough to let voters know that they were being
offered a bill of goods by the Harry Browne Campaign. (We saw e-mail
later cursing and reviling us as a major cause of the campaign's
abysmal failure to attract more votes than the average UFO cult; by
then the rule was in place again, so we quietly hung our trophy on
the virtual wall and moved on.) We were also among the first to tell
people about John Ross's Unintended Consequences and Kings of the
High Frontier by Victor Koman.
All of which means it's time to acknowledge (as effusively as
possible without making them throw up) the amazing individuals who
are responsible for our success. First and foremost, She Who Does All
The Work, the lovely and talented Yiing Boardman, Managing Editor,
who established herself immediately as the real boss of this
outfit. If you like what we do, you have Yiing to thank.
And you should thank her husband, the lovely and talented Andrew
Boardman, who helps with the cybernetic end of things, and is more
responsible for TLE than he realizes, since it was he, as a
teenager, who nursed me and my wife through the scary stages of
paddling our way around, first in the shallow end of the pool on
local bulletin boards, and later on in the great Deep of the
Where would we be without the lovely and talented Ken Holder, who
took it on himself to start HTMLizing TLE (something honesty
compels me to confess I initially had some grave reservations about)
and ended up with one of the most colorful and uplifting sites on the
internet? I work with Ken almost every day (he built me a site, as
well, the "Webley Page" familiar to many of you) and he never fails
to surprise me -- and frequently himself, which is always a lot of
fun for those watching him -- with his brilliance, energy, and
But what holds everyone together, by lending meaning to their
expenditures of time and effort, are the indomitable integrity and
infectuous passion of Vin Suprynowicz, our lead editorialist.
Believe me, this is the fellow every badguy -- in and out of the
movement -- wishes would just shut up. Our lovely and talented
Editor-in-Chief carries a bucketful of red-hot skewers which he uses
with relish at the merest shadow of authoritarian arrogance and
pretense. If there were just a hundred more out there like Vin, we'd
have a free country yesterday.
I'd also like to thank our other lovely and talented
contributors, Vic Milan, John Taylor, Wendy McElroy, Don L. Tiggre,
Jim Davidson, Bob Boardman, Louis James, Rick White, Fran Van Cleave,
John Cornell, Frank Ney, Joe Reichert, Claire Wolfe, Dr. Joseph E.
Murray, Len Jackson, Christine Shock, Mike Dugger, Sandy Sandfort,
Cathy L.Z. Smith, Sunni Maravillosa, Eric Oppen, Ian Williams
Goddard, Rick Tompkins, Sean Gabb, David Deutsch, Don Silberger, Greg
Swann, Steve Friedman, Charles Curley and Andrew Boardman. You're as
fine a gaggle of human beings as I could wish for; I'm proud to be
associated with every one of you.
Finally, thanks to our readers who pass TLE or "clippings" from
it along to others (one advantage of free distribution is that we
actually encourage this).
This issue also inaugurates our new distribution system, an
automated mailing list with ten times as many addresses as we
previously mailed to (and a chance for individuals to subscribe and
unsubscribe themselves). The automation comes to us courtesy of Alan
Wendt of EZLink, Fort Collins.
A number of changes grace our web presence, notably an ability to
click on a URL in each article and see a picture of the author or
some other kind of illustration. We also plan to go to "press" three
times a month as soon as possible, and weekly by the end of the year.
I've always believed that a weekly Libertarian publication would
precipitate a tremendous cultural and political breakthrough for the
Now we'll see.
If you'd like to speed this process up, there's something you
could do: advertise with us if you have something to advertise: send
us advertisers if you don't. Our rates are reasonable and we'll have
circulation numbers Real Soon.
Thanks to everybody once again.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Readers, don't forget to thank our lovely and
talented L. Neil Smith. The Libertarian Enterprise sprang from
Neil's head one day, fully formed. It's been educating us ever since.]
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of The Probability Broach,
Pallas, Henry Martyn, and Bretta Martyn (forthcoming in August
of 1997) and other novels, as well as publisher of The Libertarian
Enterprise, available free by e-mail subscription or very readable at
http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/. Look for his works
at Amazon.com Books, http://www.amazon.com or give Laissez Faire Books
a toll-free phone call at 1-800-326-0996. His own site, the "Webley
Page" may be found at http://www.lneilsmith.org//.