L. Neil Smith's
Number 66, February 29, 2000
He's Back!

Letters To The Editor

by Our Readers
Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org

Letter from Michael Kerner

Letter from Michael J. Bates

Letter from Templar Knight

Letter from John Wiltbank

Letter from Jim Powell

Letter from Charles Bradford

Letter from James J. Odle

Letter from Ron Hogan

Letter from Richard Roberts

Letter from Michael Kerner


The War on Drugs has been going on for decades and we are no closer to a victory than we were 30 years ago. The problem persists, yet we continue to follow the same failed strategies that never worked. One definition of insanity is to do the same thing that you have always done but expect different results. This permits me to refer to the "INSANE WAR ON DRUGS". This is not the only reason to call the drug war insane. It has produced no advantageous affects but it is doing a phenomenal amount of damage. Let me count the ways.

Utilitarian arguments

1. Numerous constitutional protections have been largely eliminated. For example, your property is not safe from Police confiscation, despite your innocence. Momentary suspicion is enough to have your house, car or boat stolen (forfeited) with no reasonable hope of return.

2. Roughly one innocent person per month dies in a hail of police bullets during a no-knock drug search. In the Kansas City area, where I live, we suffered our own loss of this type in September of 1999 when Willie Heard of Osawatamie died for nothing. He was sleeping peacefully in his bed when his home was the subject of a no-knock search for drugs. Naturally, no police officers were charged with any wrongdoing.

3. Doctors that are treating patients in great pain are deterred from prescribing adequate pain-killing drugs. They fear the disastrous attention of the DEA. Honorable doctors who have prescribed pain killers freely to relieve the suffering of the sick and dying have ended up in jail for their efforts.

4. The spread of AIDS is encouraged and uncounted thousands die annually because clean hypodermic needles are not available due to that same War. People addicted to injected drugs must use dirty needles and thereby spread HIV/AIDS.

5. Children as young as 13 are encouraged to go into the drug retailing business. Under current drug laws, this is far more profitable than any other money making opportunity available to a teen. We are turning our kids into criminals.

6. We are making a very evil group of men very rich. The Narco-Terrorists that the President spoke of make their money because the government enforces a monopoly for them. We might soon be in a shooting war, putting our boys at risk of life and limb, to save the Columbians from them. If we end the Insane War on Drugs, they lose their source of funds. Why are we so enriching them?

7. Marijuana has several medical uses that are now unquestioned (though this fact is second knowledge). Patients are denied this useful drug or must risk imprisonment to use it. As a result, sick and dying people suffer needlessly. Some even die needlessly.

8. Rival gangs fight over drug territories and bystanders get shot.

Constitutional Argument

9. The War on Drugs is itself a violation of the constitution. The Ninth and Tenth amendment make it clear that Congress has no authority to legislate on any subject not specifically listed in the constitution. Drug prohibition is NOT listed. When alcohol was prohibited in 1919, congress had enough respect for its limits that it went to the effort of getting the 18th amendment passed. Where is the comparable amendment permitting drug prohibition? NOTE: The 18th amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21st amendment when the nation saw the violence and destruction of rights that came from prohibition. Two lessons of history unlearned and ignored to our severe detriment.

Moral Argument

10. Drug prohibition violates the basic morality of the non-initiation of force principle. (This principle is the basis of Libertarian philosophy.) People using or selling drugs are engaging in consensual activity and are not employing either force or fraud. When they are arrested for this activity, the police are the ones initiating force and thus are the criminals. When they seize any property under the forfeiture statutes, they are thieves. For real crimes, those with victims, the police engage in only defensive or retaliatory force, as a result of a criminal's initiation of force.

11. It ain't nobody's business what you do so long as it is peaceful!!! I don't like drugs and would not use them except for medical reasons. (I would not hesitate for one heartbeat to use drugs if they were medically useful to myself or my family.) I don't want my kids to use them but I do not want the government to use its guns to interfere with personal liberty and sovereignty.

Michael Kerner

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Letter from Michael J. Bates


Many thanks for running my piece in TLE.

I'd also like to applaud YOUR lead article in the current edition. Many of my friends have taken up the "enforce the law," mantra of late, but I have found it a disturbing trend. Your article gives voice to what I was mulling.

In my view, many current laws require repeal, not enforcement. The wisdom I see in the left is that there is no need for them to pursue outright repeal of the second amendment. Their continued erosion of that right, as well as many others, has shown itself to be a successful strategy. The masses cry for safety, the left gives them slavery.

I also enjoyed John Haupt's article in the last issue. Nice piece of work. One thing I've learned in life is that common sense, isn't!

Thanks for letting me preach to the choir. Keep up the good work, and I'll have a new piece for you to consider soon.

Michael J. Bates <thunder_foot@hotmail.com>

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Letter from Templar Knight

I'm from Plainview TX, which is about 15 miles from Lockney. I was aghast at the drug testing the school implemented. What is even more horrifying is the reaction of some local citizens I talked with at my barber shop (the old fashioned kind, not a hair "salon"). One of the ladies in there getting her boys' hair cut was a teacher from that school. She thought the Tannahill man was wrong for not letting the state test his child for substances. Her argument was we must do something to stop drug use. Another person made the remark that we've got to something, even if it is illegal, to stop drugs. It's getting insane!

Templar Knight <Bulldog-76@webtv.net>

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Letter from John Wiltbank


Feel free to include the following in the Enterprise, as a letter, article, or whatever. Please clear any edited version by me first, though. Thanks for running such a great newsletter!

Welcome To The Selective

For about a year now the Selective Service has been sending me junk mail. As you can guess, the topic tends to focus on requesting that I join their organization, with the text very self-assured that I would. Each time I got these letters, I would dispose of them and feel very gratified. Violently ripping up a piece of paper intended to enable your own slavery is a wonderful thing, and I still sleep good at night. Didn't I consider the consequences? Well, maybe, but I simply refused to give my consent to so black an evil. I don't mean to say militaries are evil, but offensive wars are. The only defensive wars the U.S.A.'s government has fought in its over 200 years are the Revolutionary War, and, if properly construed, WWII. Since it gets more aggressive every year, am I going to enlist? No way! Besides, the Selective's mission is to enable involuntary servitude, a.k.a. slavery, which is inexcusable even for defensive wars.

Anyway, after a long period of silence, came one more letter from Washington. I don't know why this one got to me when the other ones failed, but it did (maybe because I actually opened it and read it). I considered the $250,000 fine and however-many-year jail time, I considered how great it would be to rip up the letter, and I made a decision. I do not want to cause my family lots of pointless grief, postpone or destroy my life's dreams (I am Mormon and plan to go on a proselytizing mission in a matter of months) for a meaningful but useless stand. You probably don't either. I do not have the desire right now to duck the cops, move across the country, etc. It's not the right time, and not the right conflict; at least not when I've come up with an alternative for us.

After careful reading of the letter and form, I saw nothing about what I was registering for. I didn't have to sign a line saying "I understand this will make me eligible for the draft", or any information of what the Selective Service was at all. So I decided it was not an abandonment of principles to register with these jokers any more than to register for the J.C. Penny catalog. Yes, it's rationalization, but the way I did it, I will have no guilt about opting out of an upcoming Operation Mogadishu Storm, because I did not sign up for that, and now I've even sent a letter specifically informing the Selective I will not sign up for such a thing. The Selective's computers may interpret it differently, and it might not hold up in a court of the State, but what I have and have not registered for is clear.

I X'ed the box and signed the bottom, but next to the X and sig wrote a disclaimer that they are invalid unless the stipulations of the attached letter are met.

I encourage anyone else who is not yet 18, to burn, dissolve, rip, stomp on or put into the blender the first 3 or 4 letters you get. Only once they send you the one about 9 months after your birthday, that says "in 10 days we will have no choice...blabla" (actually maybe they all said that -- I didn't really read all of them thoroughly) THAT is when they seem to be serious. If enough people force them to go through the entire series of mailings ... well, nothing will be different but I still think it would be a good thing. The really great thing would be if many people, once and if they did reply to the Selective, stapled on a letter similar to mine. People somewhere will notice. I crumpled up the form to enhance the chances that it will not be able to be read by computers and pass cleanly though the system. So here is the letter. It was copied hastily from the handwritten original, so may have some slight differences and creative spelling.

- - -
Dear People,

You see the form attached on which I request to be registered for your abominable and unconstitutional program. I hope you will register me in some way to prevent the armed criminals we euphemize as "Federal Law Enforcement" from showing up at my door and killing and/or kidnapping ("arresting") me. Not that this will necessarily prevent this -- I'll still have to hope that none of you helpful "public" "servants" accidentally mix up 7113 with 7112, necessitating that my door be kicked down and my mother be beaten to death in a way similar to incidents that have actually happened multiple times on drug raids. In fact, attaching this piece of paper to Form 3C is probably a federal misdemeanor of some kind , if you look hard enough through your hundreds of pounds (not pages) of illegitimate, vague, and often contradicting decrees effectively giving your coworkers "authority" to control every possible human action. As if any group could possess that kind of authority.

Be that as it may, once I have been registered, I, John Wiltbank (John Wiltbank [printed]) hereby un-register for the Selective Service. I do not want any of the benefits registration provides. I in fact do not want to associate with your association in any way whatsoever. The form did not state registration is irreversible. I would have, and do, refuse to register for your program if it is a) irreversible, or b) entails absolutely any commitment on my part. This (item b)) includes but is not limited to: any military or non-military service; any other action or abstention from action on my part; surrender of any personal information for any use other than the specific information and specific uses stated on the attached form, SSS Form 3C.

If either item a) or item b) is true, then please disregard the attached form because I hereby declare my signature on it null and void as well as any and all other indications that I, John Wiltbank, wish to register for the Selective Service, and I do not register.

If, on the other hand both a) and b) are false I am pleasantly surprised and would be very grateful if you would promptly register and then un-register me with the Selective Service, both the registration and un-registration occurring in the same week.

Should you choose to call some enforcement agency, and should they make their presence known at my place of residence I will be very dissatisfied with your service. Go ahead, I dare you. I will attempt to call ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX unless you mob murders me before I get the chance. We'll see who comes out ahead.

John Wiltbank <wiltbank@facstaff.wisc.edu>

John Wiltbank lives in Madison, Wisconsin, resells ultralight helicopters, installs gutters, builds strange vehicles, and plans to be the next major auto manufacturer in the U.S. His main web site is http://jump.to/the.future

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Letter from Jim Powell

Just to keep you posted about a project of interest.

My Free Press book, The Triumph of Liberty, A 2000 Year History Told Through the Lives of Freedom's Greatest Champions, is now scheduled for publication on July 4th. The book, which has a foreword by best-selling historian Paul Johnson, develops a stirring narrative about ideas, personalities and events in the history of liberty.

The book addresses many important questions such as what has been the role of ideas in the history of liberty? How have some people managed to break free? Why have some efforts to establish a free society failed? How can people best help liberty thrive? How much difference can one person make?

Among the early comments:

* "You're doing more than anyone else I know of to tell the thrilling story of liberty." -- Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times, A History of the Jews, A History of Christianity, The Intellectuals, The Birth of the Modern and other books

* "You write well...quite interesting with facts I was unaware of." -- William H. McNeill, former Chairman of the University of Chicago History Department, former President of the American Historical Association, winner of the National Book Award and author of The Rise of the West and other books

* "I admire your commitment, your versatility and your range of interests...I am pleased that our friendship in Chicago has encouraged you go to on with your writing...I do look forward to reading your book..." -- Daniel J. Boorstin, Librarian of Congress Emeritus, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Francis Parkman Prize and Bancroft Prize and author of The Americans, The Discoverers, The Creators and other books

* "Fascinating to read. You write so much faster than we do that I envy you...you deserve every encouragement...I am much impressed by how seriously you have been doing your task and what an excellent job you have been doing in condensing an enormous amount of work into readable essays. More power to you...Congratulations on what is going to be a most extraordinary book." -- Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, Hoover Institution

* "I'm up to my ears in projects, and I spent more time with this than anticipated -- I enjoyed it very much. I learned a lot of things I hadn't been aware of." -- Douglass C. North, Nobel Laureate, Member of the Advisory Board of the Center for the History of Freedom, Washington University

* "Reads extremely well and deals with such intellectually fascinating people...Keep up your excellent work since the cause of liberty requires constant retelling." -- Gary S. Becker, Nobel Laureate, University of Chicago

* "I certainly enjoyed your stories." -- Ronald H. Coase, Nobel Laureate, University of Chicago

* "The biographical essays are wonderful. I look forward to the book and am more than glad to be of assistance...A generation of American children are being taught that Malcolm X, Ralph Nader, Gloria Steinhem and William Kunstler are heroes. Please read this book to your kids. Or go to their school and hit a teacher over the head with it." -- P.J. O'Rourke, best-selling humorist, author of Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance and other books

* "I have been familiar with your writing for some time now, and it is superb. I wish to thank you in assisting in the struggle to sell our fellow Americans on the moral superiority of liberty." -- Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics & Chairman of the Economics Department, George Mason University

* "A lot of fun." -- Richard Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago

* "Terrific...tearfully inspiring." -- John Stossel, ABC-TV correspondent

The Triumph of Liberty chronicles heroic struggles against tyranny, slavery, war and mass murder. Many stories take place amidst tumultuous events like the crisis of the Roman Republic, the Reformation, the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the abolitionist movement, the woman suffrage movement, World War II, the civil rights movement and libertarian movement. Although liberty is a universally appealing ideal, it was a gift of the West, and the book is about more than 65 people from America, Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The heroes and heroines often inspired each other, comforted each other and were even buried near each other. Almost all were of humble birth, including a pencil-maker's son, a handkerchief weaver's daughter, a farmer's daughter, two former slaves, a former tanner, a failed corset maker, an engineering draftsman, a monk and wandering hobo, among others. The book features five women, four Jews (and Raoul Wallenberg, the most dramatic story about Jews) and three blacks (and stories about Charles James Fox, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lysander Spooner and William Lloyd Garrison which involve anti-slavery campaigns). A dozen of the people I write about were imprisoned, another dozen were exiled, two were beheaded, and one was shot to death, but they helped change the world for the better.

For your information, The Triumph of Liberty covers Lord Acton, Samuel Adams, Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig van Beethoven, James M. Buchanan, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Richard Cobden, Edward Coke, Benjamin Constant, Frederick Douglass, Desiderius Erasmus, Antony Fisher, Charles James Fox, Benjamin Franklin, Milton Friedman, William Lloyd Garrison, William S. Gilbert, William Ewart Gladstone, Francisco Goya, Hugo Grotius, F.A. Hayek, Robert Heinlein, Victor Hugo, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marquis de Lafayette, Louis L'Amour, Rose Wilder Lane, John Lilburne, John Locke, Thomas Babington Macaulay, James Madison, H.L. Mencken, John Stuart Mill, Ludwig von Mises, Baron de Montesquieu, Maria Montessori, Albert Jay Nock, Daniel O'Connell, Thomas Paine, William Penn, Francois Rabelais, Ayn Rand, Leonard E. Read, Ronald Reagan, Murray N. Rothbard, Friedrich Schiller, Algernon Sidney, Samuel Smiles, Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, Lysander Spooner, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, George J. Stigler, William Graham Sumner, Thomas S. Szasz, Margaret Thatcher, Henry David Thoreau, Alexis de Tocqueville, Jacques Turgot, Mark Twain, Raoul Wallenberg, Booker T. Washington, Roger Williams and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Background. I graduated from the University of Chicago in history. My professors included Daniel J. Boorstin, William H. McNeill, Earl J. Hamilton and Donald F. Lach. At Chicago, I was an editor of New Individualist Review which published articles by future Nobel Laureates F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and George Stigler as well as Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt and Murray Rothbard. Also at Chicago, I performed research for future Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase. I'm the Editor of Laissez Faire Books, the world's largest source of books on liberty, with readers in 90 countries. I'm a senior fellow at the Cato Institute (since 1988). I've presided at the New York Junto, largest New York area libertarian forum (since 1991). My articles have been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Constitution, Esquire, Architectural Digest, American Heritage/Audacity, Money, Barron's, Town & Country and other publications. I have lectured in England, Germany, Japan, Argentina and Brazil as well as across the United States, including Stanford University and Harvard University. My personal library on liberty exceeds 5,000 books, the earliest going back to the 17th century.

Just let me know any thoughts you might have.

Jim Powell <powellj@optonline.net>
81 Greens Farms Road
Westport, CT 06880
Phone (203) 226-2225
Fax (203) 222-1093

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Letter from Charles Bradford


Just a few thoughts. I have recently become aware of the barrage of advertisements and public service announcements encouraging us to participate fully in complying with the Census 2000. Surely I am not alone in thinking what a sham and intrusion into personal privacy this is?

We have the central government telling us this is needed in order to be able to dispense to us what is needed for road repairs and social services. They take from local and state areas funds and then reimburse as they think necessary. What is wrong with us keeping our money and using it as we want to. Why do they need to know how many toilets or televisions we have in our homes or how many cars we own. I wonder if this time they will ask us if there are any firearms owned in the household?

In 1990 I balked at the long form of the census and the taker treated me as a criminal. I hope to avoid the whole thing this time.

Let's hear some thoughts in an article by one of your regular writers who might be able to do a better job than I.

I would also like to mention the firm of Ruger guns. I went to their site and read their thoughts on responsible gun ownership and I am disappointed in what I read. I thought I had gone to HCI. I had just recently purchased a new pistol from them and reading this put a damper on my enjoyment. Just what is Ruger's agenda?

Charles Bradford <yamas@webtv.net>

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Letter from James J. Odle

It is 11:00 PM, Sunday night and I am sitting in the cab of an eighteen wheeler, making one of my weekly trips toward Lordsburg, New Mexico. The radio is tuned to KGO 810 AM, the San Francisco superstation, and there is Dr. Bill Wattenburg doing his weekend radio show. As usual he is lambasting California politicians (Dr. Wattenburg is an equal opportunity politician despiser. He despises politicians of all types, shapes, forms and varieties, having experienced their corruption up close and personal) for their willingness to permit the oil companies to manufacture gasoline using MTBE.

The justification for putting MTBE into gasoline is to enable the fuel to burn cleaner, thereby making the air we breathe cleaner. That's the theory anyway. The trouble is, it doesn't work. Seems that research published in the journal Science (3 July 1993, summary page 37), demonstrated that MTBE, ethanol and other oxygenates do nothing to clean the air. Quoting Dr. Wattenburg:

For the past three years, Californians have been paying at least twenty cents a gallon more for their MTBE-laced California reformulated gasoline than motorists in other states pay for their gasoline. Multiply twenty cents a gallon by forty million gallons per day for three years and you'll find that Californians have been robbed of about nine billion dollars over the last three years. This is enough money stolen from working families to have given every college student in California free tuition, books, and room and board. How in the hell could this happen? Easy. The California Legislature long ago turned over all of its authority to a bureaucracy of bungling scientific illiterates called the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the same defiant idiots who forced a poison diesel fuel on California a few years ago against the advice of many scientists (as widely reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and many other newspapers). The evidence now clearly shows that CARB bureaucrats, with the full support of their federal EPA idiot cousins, were desperate to force some new program on Californians just to justify their continued existence on the public payroll.
Many other states refused to allow their citizens to be exposed to this man-made chemical, MTBE, that was known to be toxic to laboratory animals. The State Department of Health has recently confirmed that "research has shown that MTBE is toxic to animals and probably to humans." Some oil companies are now backing away from using MTBE because they can see the lawsuits coming their way. But for three years now, Californians have been forced to breathe and drink this stuff in quantities ten thousand times greater than all the pesticides on their food. Ironically, many of the self-styled environmental saviors such as the Sierra Club who want us to breathe and drink MTBE are the same ones who file lawsuits to force the elimination of pesticides.
So why did the political leaders of California look the other way and disregard the health of our citizens and the economy of our state? I was at the 1995 legislative hearings when CARB bureaucrats and the oil companies told the legislature that MTBE was safe and that increased gas prices would only last a few months in 1995 until the oil companies had recovered their costs for converting to the new gasoline. I told our legislators then that they were being lied to and that high gas prices would continue forever because CARB was giving the oil companies a monopoly. I told them that CARB was forcing Californians to buy only CARB's special concoction called California reformulated gasoline while the rest of the country could use the standard federal reformulated gasoline available at competitive prices from refineries around the world. Good scientists long ago told the EPA and CARB how to reformulate gasoline to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective ways, and they advised against using oxygenate additives such as MTBE and ethanol in the gasoline (see the journal Science, 3 July 1993, summary, page 37). These oxygenate additives are self-defeating. They reduce the amount of energy in each gallon of gasoline and thereby force motorists to burn more gallons of fuel to go the same distance-which produces more emissions. Just as predicted, MTBE has not been an essential factor in reducing emissions. Other chemical reformulations of the gasoline suggested by the scientists are what account for reduced emissions. The only purpose of the MTBE has been to generate billions in extra profits for the oil companies. Indeed, an oil company proposed the use of MTBE in California reformulated gasoline as a sure-fire way to reduce automobile emissions and please the federal EPA. CARB bureaucrats didn't even question the obvious profit motives on the part of the oil company, nor did CARB make any reasonable investigation of the health consequences of dumping a million pounds of MTBE into our environment every day (unburned fuel evaporating and coming out of exhaust pipes). CARB promised the legislature that everything would be ok. I believe it was all too easy for the legislative leaders and the governor to look the other way. These politicians were well aware that the oil companies would make billions of dollars of new profits selling MTBE. The oil companies just happen to be some of the biggest contributors to the political campaigns of incumbent politicians.(1)

Imagine that. Oil companies contributing big bucks to political power brokers and getting special favors in return. Say it isn't so, Bill! At roughly, twenty cents a gallon that is a lot of quid pro quo all for the purpose poisoning your own drinking water while doing NOTHING to clean the air your breathe. I can't tell you how thrilled I am. Also, that great environmentalist, the man who would be king, …er, I mean our next president, Vice-president Al [be]Gored [ed] has known of this problem for years and has done nothing to rectify the situation. He is also the man who heads up the Clinton Administration's environmental agenda.

Can you say 'hypocrite'?

Oh, and if you live outside of that socialist Mecca, California, don't get the idea that your safe. Both MTBE and ethanol are used here in Arizona and probably the majority of the states as well. Once again, government at work — serving you(2) — ladies and gentlemen.

(1) The Billion Dollar Environmental Frauds: (The Cleanup of the People's Pocketbooks), By Doctor Bill Wattenburg. This article {in its complete form} and other information is available at Doctor Wattenburg's website at www.pushback.com.
(2) Yea, in the same way that a woman being raped is being 'serviced'.

James J. Odle <jodle@primenet.com>

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Letter from Ron Hogan

Guns Are Disease -- a transformational metaphor.

Gun control is a virus -- because ideas are like germs!

Let's keep on connecting the dots, folks.

From Amazon.com:

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Malcolm Gladwell
Hardcover - (March 2, 2000) 288 pages

"The best way to understand the dramatic transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life," writes Malcolm Gladwell, "is to think of them as epidemics.

Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do." Although anyone familiar with the theory of memetics will recognize this concept, Gladwell's The Tipping Point has quite a few interesting twists on the subject.

For example, Paul Revere was able to galvanize the forces of resistance so effectively in part because he was what Gladwell calls a "Connector": he knew just about everybody, particularly the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. But Revere "wasn't just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston," he was also a "Maven" who gathered extensive information about the British. He knew what was going on and he knew exactly whom to tell. The phenomenon continues to this day--think of how often you've received information in an e-mail message that had been forwarded at least half a dozen times before reaching you.

Gladwell develops these and other concepts (such as the "stickiness" of ideas or the effect of population size on information dispersal) through simple, clear explanations and entertainingly illustrative anecdotes, such as comparing the pedagogical methods of Sesame Street and Blue's Clues, or explaining why it would be even easier to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with the actor Rod Steiger. Although some readers may find the transitional passages between chapters hold their hands a little too tightly, and Gladwell's closing invocation of the possibilities of social engineering sketchy, even chilling, The Tipping Point is one of the most effective books on science for a general audience in ages. It seems inevitable that "tipping point," like "future shock" or "chaos theory," will soon become one of those ideas that everybody knows--or at least knows by name.
-- Ron Hogan

Book Description

"Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a bestselling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning? In this brilliant and groundbreaking book, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story written with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message--that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world." (c) 1996-2000, Amazon.com, Inc.


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Letter from Richard Roberts

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Attached is an essay I just wrote:

[Editor's Note: this essay is too long to run in TLE, but I wanted to provide the link for those who want to read it.]

TAO of GUN - Spiritual Sovereignty and the Hypocrisy of Gun Control http://www.starseedcreations.com/RKBA.html

I'm requesting your feedback and assistance in getting this as widely read as possible at this important time.

Thank you very much for all the work you are doing.

Best regards,

Richard Roberts <starseed@kersur.net>

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